Puts Sheet in Her Mouth, Stops Cries
Mrs. Freece, from Lane County, Smothered
Salem [Oregon], Jan. 26  Because she shouted too much and troubled her room-mate, Mrs. Susan Freece, a patient in Ward No. 10 at the insane asylum, was smothered to death by another woman patient who occupied the same room, between 10:30 last night and 1:30 this morning. Coroner Clough was notified early this morning, and reported that the incident was unavoidable and held nobody responsible for the woman’s death.
Mrs. Freece, the victim, was received at the asylum from Lane County only last Saturday. She was very violent and noisy and almost exhausted from screaming, and was unable to defend herself from the attack of her roommate. At 10:30 last night, Mrs. Mary Martin the night watch, visited her room and gave her an opiate. Upon making her next round she looked into the room and Mrs. Freece was still asleep, but when she looked in again at 1:30 this morning, the woman had a bed sheet stuffed in her mouth and a pillow over her face and was dead.
When the roommate was asked about the cause of her death she said she did not know that she was dead, but that she had made so much noise during the night that she “just put a sheet in her mouth and a pillow over her head to keep her quiet” Mrs. Freece was about 52 years of age.” Eugene Morning Register Jan. 26, 1908, pg. 4, col. 3. University of Oregon Knight Library Newspaper Collection.
The State Oregon is trying to find families of some 3,500 deceased patients whose cremains have been in storage at the state. A detailed list of those patients can be found at this website – Oregon State Hospital . The cremains are from patients who died between 1914 and up to the 1970’s.