Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Young Timothy: Found At Last?

Young Timothy Moynahan (born May 5th, 1861), who was twelve years old when he suffered an attack of meningitis in 1873 (that resulted in admission to the London Lunatic Asylum in February 11, 1878) is one of my ongoing obsessions.

"Removed To London"

Source: Essex Record; 14 Feb 1878; page 1 of 4

On my recent trip to the Archives of Ontario (September 2017) my obsession with Timothy was renewed following the help I received from the amazing reference staff there. I believe that I am even closer to locating his final resting place.

I also found a reference to a patient ("Tom M.") with some details identical to Timothy Moynahan in a book by Geoffrey Reaume "Remembrance of Patients Past: Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane". 

"Remembrance of Patients Past: Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane" by Geoffrey Reaume

Geoffrey Reaume's book, "Remembrance of Patients Past: Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane" brings to light the stories of the people, like Timothy, who were confined to the Toronto Hospital for the Insane. Geoffrey writes,
"Psychiatric patients as individual human beings, rather than a collection of labels and anonymous numbers, is what this book is all about.The 70-year time frame, 1870-1940, also covers much of the lifespan of many of the people who will be discussed in these pages, as was the case for Tom M., mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. It is the lives of people like him and his contemporaries to which the book is devoted, this remembrance of patients past."
I feel so incredibly grateful for this book and the life-long work of Geoffrey Reaume. Geoffrey has really helped me to understand the life and times of my asylum ancestors so that I can honour them and keep their memory alive.

Timothy Moynahan (1861-?)

Timothy was the son of Timothy Moynahan (Sr) (1813-1902) and Archange Parent (1824-1903). This was Timothy Sr.'s second marriage following the death of his first wife Margaret (Cronin) Moynahan (1811-1859).

I believe that when Timothy's father Timothy Sr.  died in London, Ontario in 1902, that he was visiting with his son Timothy Jr in the London asylum and died there. I have no proof of this but I also have no idea what other business would cause Timothy to travel from Windsor to London, Ontario at 89 years of age? 

The London Asylum
1878 to 1906

Archives of Ontario:  London Psychiatric Hospital patient registers 1870-1957

In June 2016, I visited the Archives of Ontario to access the records for Timothy Moynahan Reg. No 1300. Here are some points taken from the Patient Files (note xxxx indicates words that I cannot decipher)
  • Oct 17, 1878: Labourer, Roman Catholic, Single, Canadian: About five years ago he had an attack of xxxx-spinal meningitis amid which time he has exhibited symptoms of loss of reason - dangerous and violent -not hereditary - xxxx and temperate habits - inclined to be filthy in his habits - admitted by warrant - February xxxx 1878.
  • Condition Feb, 15, 1878: Mania. Across xxxx xxxx fellow. Strong and healthy. Walks up and down halls constantly; pulling at his clothes; makes his water in floors xxx; very little can be got from him because he will hardly talk at all; 
  • Mar 1, 1878: Unchanged
  • Mar 2, 1878: Put into canvas as he wont keep his clothes on
  • Apr 2, 1878: Unchanged
  • May 2, 1878: No change
  • Jun 5, 1878: Unchanged
  • Jul 2, 1878: No change
  • Aug 1, 1878: No change
  • Sep 2, 1878: No change
  • Oct 3, 1878: No mental or physical change
  • Nov 2, 1878: Unchanged 
  • Dec 2, 1878: Unchanged
  • Jan 1, 1879: Remains unchanged mentally and physically; walks up and down hall; still wears canvas suit;
  • Feb 3, 1879: Remains unchanged
  • Mar 3, 1879: Out of canvas; wearing his own clothes  
  • May 2, 1879: Got quarreling with patient Silverthorne; received a slight bruise and cut on nose
  • Jan 1, 1880: In good bodily health; unchanged mentally
  • Sep 13, 1880: In the last few days has not been eating; Is failing; Handles knives as if he is inclined to commit suicide; Made a slight cut on wrist; Gave him a dose of calormal? to be followed by salts; Also feed him on a milk diet;
  • Jan 1, 1881: In good bodily health; unchanged mentally; Eats well; Diet (extra) struck off; 
  • Apr 2, 1881: Has not been eating in the last 2 or 3 days; Is in fair bodily health; 
  • Jan 1, 1882: In fair bodily health; unchanged mentally; xxxx and untidy; does not work; is quiet
  • Jan 1, 1883: No change in his condition in the past year
  • Jan 1, 1884: In fair bodily health; unchanged mentally; xxxx untidy; but quiet & stupid; also a little xxxx picking
  • Feb 23, 1884: Left cheek swollen; possibly the result of decayed teeth  
  • Jan 1, 1885: In fair bodily health; unchanged mentally; works with xxxx pickers & with wagon party
  • Feb 22, 1885: Broke a pane of glass lst night and cut the fleshy part of hands; applying xxxx dressing; 
  • Jan 1, 1886: Hand quite well; is in fair bodily health; works almost the same as a xxxx xxxx; no mental change xxxx
  • Jan 30, 1886: has large blister on bottom of heel produced by slipper
  • Mar 15, 1886: Has right eye black; cause unknown; unchanged bodily & mentally
  • Jan 1, 1888: In good bodily health and unchanged mentally
  • Jan 1, 1889: Remains unchanged bodily and mentally
  • Feb 23, 1889: Ditto; Fighting with C. Blatchford xxxx his face and neck scratched 

On August 4 1906, 
Timothy Moynahan (#1300)
Was Transferred to the Toronto  Asylum

At this point in his life, forty-five year old Timothy Moynahan likely was not even aware that he was the last living of his family
His father: Timothy Moynahan died 19 Oct 1902
His mother: Archange (Parent) Moynahan died 28 Jun 1903
His brother James Moynahan died 24 Feb 1899
His brother Enos Moynahan died 8 Aug 1903
His half-sister Mary Moynahan died 8 Apr 1905

With no next of kin, he was transferred to the Toronto Asylum

The Toronto Asylum
1906 to 1921 to ?

I came across the following information in Geoffrey Reaume's book Remembrance of Patients Past: Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane 

Quite a coincidence! And there's a photo of the patient in Geoffrey Reaume's book! Could Tom M. be Timothy Moynahan? If so, Timothy who was the last of his kin, has been found at long last thanks to
Geoffrey Reaume!

Based on the census reports below, I know that Timothy Moynahan lived to 1921. More research is needed.

1911 Census
The Toronto Asylum: 999 Queen St.

"Recensement du Canada de 1911," database, FamilySearch ( : 15 July 2016), Timothy Moynahan, 1911; citing Census, Toronto South Sub-Districts 13-72, Ontario, Canada, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 2,418,528.

1921 Census
The Toronto Asylum: 999 Queen St.

1921 Census: Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 92; Census Place: Ward 6, Toronto South, Ontario; Page Number: 9

Next Steps?
Thanks to the amazing reference staff at the Archives of Ontario who reviewed the files, they determined that it contained restricted material that is governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act(FIPPA). 

In order for me to access these records I must contact the Senior Manager, Information and Privacy (Customer Service and Preservation Services, Archives of Ontario) in writing. 

I am so grateful for the helpful staff at the Archives of Ontario and will be mailing my request this week

Some helpful links:

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