Lucinda Thompson

Submitted by Teddy (Gray) Brock, who writes:

LUCINDA GRAY was born to David and Jane (Allison) Gray on 27 April 1796 near Fleming Co., KY. She was a sister to my 2g grandfather, John M. Gray, and was married to Hudson C. Thompson on 8 February 1820 in Fleming Co. I learned much about Lucinda's eight siblings through the census, but she and Hudson eluded me until they were located in the 1850 census of Greenup Co., KY. Also in their household was her mother, Jane Gray, who had been widowed in 1824, and surprisingly, no children of their own.

Hudson Thompson must have died sometime before 1860 for Lucinda is then enumerated in the household of Melinda Newman in Boyd Co. Because Lucinda's death was recorded in John M. Gray's family bible as 19 April 1882, I continued to look for her in 1870 and 1880 census. The only age appropriate "Lucinda Thompson" was found enumerated as "insane" at Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum, Lexington, KY. Finding her enumerated there again in 1880 and having a reliable source of her death date in 1882, I just assumed she died there. That wasn't the only assumption that was proven in error.

Up to this point I did not have absolute proof that the inmate, Lucinda Thompson, was my 2nd great-grandaunt, so I began by making several phone calls to Eastern State Hospital (ESH) as it is known today, and a few emails. Only once did I speak with someone who supposedly checked their records and she reported that she did not find the name. Strange, given that the lady was there nearly 20 years! Follow-up attempts were fruitless and then I somehow became aware of the efforts of a group whose goal was to give substance and dignified recognition to all who were once patients at ESH. Mary Hatton is the coordinator of the website and it was through her kindness and efforts that Lucinda's confinement was confirmed when she located documents and passed them to me. ESH website: 

My assumption that Lucinda Thompson died at ESH was disproved when Mary Hatton visited the Fleming County Courthouse in April 2007 and decided to look through the 'loose' lunacy bonds and found information on Lucinda. Documents found in Fleming show she was committed from that county in 1862, not Boyd, as I surmised, and further that she was released from ESH in September 1881 and sent to the Poor House of Fleming where she died in April 1882, just 8 days shy of her 86th birthday.

One remaining question is where Lucinda was buried. Perhaps with her husband Hudson (location unknown), or if the Poor House had their own cemetery, she may've been interred there. I understand that Fleming's Poor House Book is huge---who knows how many other familiar names may be recorded therein.

In summation, I am left to ponder the true affliction of Lucinda, and would her condition by today's medical standards have warranted the label of LUNATIC? Or confinement to an insane asylum? Or was she just a victim of dementia as defined by Alzheimer's today, or some other malady that set her apart from "normal" society, but not necessarily menacing to that society? At this time I've yet to see her medical records from ESH, but if they survive, they may provide a clearer picture of her mental condition.

Fleming County, Ky Oct. 3rd 1863

Dr. W. L. Chiply Esq,
I received yours of June 6th
in regard to Mrs. Lucinda Thom-
son my sister one of your
inmates I feel ansious to
hear from her please
wright soon and give
me the particulars of
her condision and the
prospect for her recovery
I inlose 3 stamp My address
Hillsboro Fleming Co Ky
               Yours with respect
                    John Gray

(refined transcription)
Fleming County, Ky Oct. 3rd 1863
Dr. W. L. Chiply, Esq.
I received yours of June 6th
in regard to Mrs. Lucinda Thomp-
son, my sister, one of your
inmates. I feel anxious to
hear from her. Please
write soon and give
me the particulars of
her condition and the
prospect for her recovery.
I enclose 3 stamps. My address:
Hillsboro Fleming Co. Ky.
                        Yours with respect
                         John Gray