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This drawing represents Haskell's place of busi ness in Philadelphia, 1864, before, the front of the Arch Street Theatre was altered to its present appearance
9 henend tebay
A brief outline of the facts connected with the confinement of Ebenezer Haskell in the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane.
Ebenezer Haskell, an industrious, sober citizen, more than forty years a resident of Philadelphia, and long and well known amongst the leading business men of that city as an energetic and successful mechanic, on the 8th of April, 1866, being over 60 years of age, files a Petition in the Orphans' Court of Montgomery County, in the right of his wife, Adelaide A., the daughter of Henry Horn, deceased, praying a citation for an account against the Executor, James H. Horn, of the said Henry Horn, who had then been more than four years in possession of the trust, without showing any account.
This causes disturbance in the immediate family of Mr. Haskell, consisting of himself, wife, three sons and one daughter.
On the 24th of May, 1866, Ebenezer Haskell is arrested, by virtue of a Warrant issued by Alderman Hutchinson, on the oath of his son, George W. Haskell, charging him with “threats, and having a large dirk knife.” He was brought before the Alderman, and no one appearing against him, was required to give bail in $1000, for his appearance on the following day, the 25th of May, and in default of bail was committed to the County Prison.
The Constable having him in charge, surrenders him to the Police officers of a neighboring Station House, who, accompanied by his sons, and fortified by a certificate made by a practicing Dentist, and reading as follows:
"I have seen and examined Ebenezer Haskell, of Philadelphia and believe him to be insane.
“ JOHN BIRKEY,
“ No. 245 South Sixth St. “Philada., May 24, 1866."
Took him to the Insane Department of the Philadelphia Alms House.
On the following day, Dr. S. W. Butler, who at that time had charge of that department, gave a certificate of his insanity, which, as he subsequently said under oath, on the trial of the question of his lunacy before a jury," was necessarily based on the statement of
his sons," and sent him to the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane.
On the 12th of June, following, he was released by his wife.
On the 28th of September, 1866, at the request of his wife and three sons, and upon the following certificate:
“I have seen and examined E. Haskell, of Philadelphia, and believe him to be insane.
C. S. BAKER, M. D.,
623 Master Street. September 25th, 1866."
He was again admitted to the insane asylum.
The physician who gave this certificate, subsequently said under oath, on the trial of the inquest of lunacy, that he had no conversation whatever with the patient, against whom this certificate was given before signing it, and that he had not had more than two or three brief opportunities of seeing him even.
On the 19th of November, following, he escaped. On the 7th of January, 1867, he was again arrested and returned to the asylum.
On the 5th of February, following, having been previously informed that an inquest of lunacy to test the question of his insanity would commence proceedings that day, and not being permitted to attend these proceedings, as it had been promised him he might do, he again escaped, but was arrested on the same day, having made no attempt to do more than to be personally present at the inquest in which he had so vital an interest-lodged over night at a station house of the Philadelphia police, and taken back to the asylum the next day.
At all the subsequent meetings of the inquest, which were held weekly, and continued till into April, he was present—but always in charge of a keeper, with little or no opportunity to confer with either counsel or friends, or to summon witnesses.
He having been found by this inquest, tried under such circumstances, insane, and his hope of escape by means of a verdict in his favor thus cut off,-on the 25th of April, 1867, made his third escape, and left the State.
He returned again in October, following, and continued to live with his wife and children until the 17th or 18th of June, 1868.
He was then again arrested, and upon the certificate of Dr. William C. Harbeson and Dr. John Buck, neither of whom had had any previous acquaintance with him, or more than two or three interviews with him, and these not protracted, again committed to the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane.
In the early part of August, 1868, a writ of habeas corpus was sued out by his counsel for his release; the Judge before whom a partial hearing was had, before completing the hearing or making a decision, left for Europe. During this delay, on the 9th of September, 1868, he made his fourth escape, by scaling the outer walls of the institution.
In making this escape Mr. Haskell broke his leg, but succeeded, nevertheless, in escaping the vigilance of his keepers and getting to his friends, who took him to the Hospital, at Eighth and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, where he remained some nine or ten weeks, till his broken limb healed, having in the meantime been discharged on the habeas corpus from confinement in the Insane Asylum.
On the 17th of November, 1868, a trial in the Court of Common Pleas, for the City and County of Philadelphia, commenced before a jury upon a traverse of the inquest previously taken, and lasted till the 28th of the same month, resulting in a verdict establishing the sanity of Ebenezer Haskell.
A motion for a new trial, made immediately after the verdict was rendered, after a most able and exhaustive argument in favor of the motion, was overruled by the Court on the 6th of March, 1869, the Judge closing his opinion against a new trial with these words. “The case could not possibly have been prosecuted or defended with greater ability, and we feel satisfied that no advantage would result to the relator (Mr. Haskell's wife) by a second trial.”
H., R. W.