Beyond Reason

Rosebud Indian Agency, courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society

Rosebud Indian Agency, courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society

Many patients at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians did not receive a formal hearing or doctor’s examination before being sent to the asylum. Authorities at least went through the motions with Peter Thompson Good Boy.

He was accused of stealing a horse on the Rosebud Reservation, and spent some time in the Deadwood, SD jail while awaiting trial.

South Dakota State Hospital, Yankton

South Dakota State Hospital, Yankton

 

While the legal proceedings ramped up after his arraignment, Good Boy evidently developed some behaviors that his counsel (and others) said looked “as though he were mentally deranged.”

Good Boy was confined in jail from at least May 1913 to September 1913. His attorney asked the Commissioners of Insanity of Lawrence County, SD to give Good Boy a hearing to determine his mental condition, which they did. They adjudged “the said Peter Thompson Good Boy to be insane.”

Center Building, Government Hospital for the Insane, circa Early 20th Century

Center Building, Government Hospital for the Insane, circa Early 20th Century

The state hospital would not accept him, because he was a resident of a reservation and had been brought to jail by a United States Marshal.

For some reason which isn’t clear, Good Boy was sent to the Government Hospital for the Insane (St. Elizabeths) in Washington, DC rather than the asylum in South Dakota, which was much closer.

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