Anne Sullivan, care taker of Helen Keller has a scripted background that says she was picked up by Sanborn while he was investigating the facility where Sullivan claims she was rescued. I say no fucking way she ever set foot in this place, let alone for 6 years….
The Board of Health Lunacy and Charity was a government panel, founded by a Samuel Gridley Howe, in order to have general supervision over all commonwealth charitable and reformatory institutions; asylums, almshouses, reform school, industrial school, state workhouse, and state school for girls. They formed a board of trustees at Tewksbury which elected an authority figure at the facility and reported to the state board once a year.
The first superintendent at Tewksbury didn’t last very long, his name was Isaac H. Meserve and he was there 4 years. I didn’t spend any time trying to find out some details about him but I did find a newspaper clipping from the Boston Globe circa 1920 that Isaac jr. Died. His obituary ws only 3 or 4 sentences but was sure to include he was a mason, knight templar, Shriner, and grand army man.
The second superintendent is recorded as Hon Capt. Thomas Marsh, but I could not find out what he was a captain of or what made him so honorable. The origins of his lineage are difficult to trace, he is probably related to John Marsh of Salem, but since there are 2 main lines of Marsh and both lines have equal number of Samuel’s and Thomas’ and Mary’s I can’t be for sure. Marsh was born and died in Exeter, NH and put most of his children through Harvard. *It doesnt matter if they are related in blood, their titles and binding-contracts are most important.
The Marsh dynasty took over from Meserve in 1858 and was the reigning Tyrannus Maximus over Tewksbury for quarter of a century, his wife, and 8 sons and daughters filling in all the management positions. This piece of history has been largely forgotten, covered up really. For the same reasons that motivate politicians today the Gov lead a charge against Marsh & Co. The investigation committee was essentially investigating themselves, the Board of health lunacy and charity, the Board of Trustees, the Marsh family are all in the same bed together, each one appointing or electing the other and no clear division or hierarchy to speak of.
I have read the full governors 60-page report, Governor Butler presents numerous eye witnesses and physical evidence but it all gets swept under the rug by the committee and Marsh is clear of all charges. In light of the fact nothing happened of consequence except Marsh was removed from post and a now-established state authority moved in I expect ‘Butlers Charge’ was disengenuine as well and only occurred for political gains, just as we would see today in the immigration/welfare arena. Especially considering on Thomas Marshes Find a Grave page we find he ‘took an active interest in masonry’ and was state treasurer prior to the superintendent position. Most likely the place he honed in his bookkeeping skills. These people don’t roll over on one another, especially in the name of the Profane. Governor Benjamin franklin Butler was the 33rd gov of Mass and is listed on the wiki page of famous freemasons. He is also remembered for his strict covidesque lockdown of Boston during a yellow fever outbreak and manipulation and censorship of the media. Nothing new under the sun. They were lodge brothers over everything else.
Still, they put on a good show. With each generation the story gets watered down more and more. Finding info on the investigation was the hardest part of researching this report. Remember at the time it was swept under the rug by the self-investigating committee and the complicit state-owned-before-the-state-existed media. Now with the general dumbing down and scrubbing the net of anything except base narrative one liners the worst you find on the Tewksbury investigation was a few local papers printing for the shock value about the accusations themselves, but nothing about evidence. They never gave real info in the newspapers even back then, just like today. And of course, they all make a point to tell you at the end that Marsh was found not guilty and the charges were later proven to be made up. That’s a crock of shit, if anything history has proven every one of these charges and worse to be true.
Rumors and whispers had always been there. None of the paupers would go to Tewksbury. Complaints would come in from family members of inmates about personal belonging missing’s, unexpected premature deaths, deceased bodies missing, and a young female child that caught the preggers.
It’s unclear what position Sanborn held or in what Board but one of his official complaints was finally took hold and it was under him that the investigation into mismanagement at Tewksbury Almshouse get pushed. The best surviving contemporary document is titled Argument Before the Tewksbury Investigation Committee, it’s a transcription of Gov Butler speaking to the committee about the evidence his own investigation could drum up, it provides the best overview of the events and surrounding atmosphere. It’s not within the scope of my report to give a detailed summary I encourage everyone to read it for themselves. I will try to hit some of the major bullet points.
Let me just say now you cant believe a word these people say. a guy named Ben Franklin addressing the complaint of another guy named Franklin Benjamin, anyone named after a fictional founding father are on the same team. As bad as they make it say in the report it is only script and reused at least one other time I found in Dorothea Dix prison reform speech read by Sammy Howe. The truth is infinite times worse than this investigation makes. This only protects the truth from getting out so a real investigation cant be done. Nobody investigates a Marsh. gtfoh. I wrote this over a year ago and my understanding has changed but i know there is still value for other people so here it is.
First Butler brings to attn that the board of trustees is compromised. One member has a witness statement against him admitting to his clergyman he ‘would not give the time to care of the Almshouse except he made enough money out of its supply contracts to pay him for his time.’ A second trustee received a favorable coal contract as agent of the Lowell Railroad and ‘free chickens for 16 years.’ A third trustee is accused of general fuckery regarding those contracts that should’ve gone to the lowest bidder but did not.
Next, he gave some background on Marsh himself along with some expenditure numbers. Marsh failed in every business venture he undertook but provided for both aged parents and sent most of his children to elite schools like Harvard and Exeter. Supposedly he did all this making 1800$ a year.
Former employees that shut up and did what they were told were given recommendations to preferential jobs, mainly as officers in diff almshouses within the commonwealth.
One of the first accusations that was filed by Sanborn years before the investigation took place was that the Marsh family were stealing inmate property. Any personal property of value had by admitted was stripped and sold second hand. Many credible witnesses swore under oath they either witnessed or participated in hauling wagon loads of trunks to the train station. Also, that the clothing provided at the almshouse was insufficient but the house itself manufactured textiles as part of the program, those too were sold and the marshes kept the profit, this happened week after week for 2 and a half decades.
Naturally what follows is an examination of Marsh bookkeeping and the trouble had trying to acquire the records at all. The investigation committee fought every step to keep the books hidden from sight and the ones produced were obvious fakes. No records of the deceased or their possessions was produced. Marsh’s only defense would’ve been under self-incriminating evidence but he obviously couldn’t do that so the committee did it for him.
Up to that point things don’t seem too bad, sure a little crooked but I’ve been to the county jug that did worse offenses that that. Butler steps it up with testimony about the abuse of the inmates. A night nurse swore when she started the Matron, Mrs. Marsh, slept with the fires out in the nursery, gave her a half pint of morphia to quiet the little ones when they cried, she never used anything except whisky, cod oil and morphine. The inmates also ‘helped’ in the nursery, one evening the night nurse found a baby with a pillow over its head, looking suffocated. The caretaker of the infant was one of the insane and claimed responsibility so the nurse reported it to Marsh. When confronted the insane caretaker told Marsh she found the child as it was and she was allowed to keep her position. The night nurse testified that out of 72 infants she saw during her time at Tewksbury only one survived.
There was a case of difficult labor during childbirth that was witnessed by visiting Harvard med student. It disgusts me to write the details but in short, the resident doctor couldn’t pull the fetus out with forceps so he used a screwdriver and rattail file to crush the skull and wash the brains out. The student reported it to the board of trustees which promptly terminated his internship.
Another incident involving a 14 y/o girl with depression was sent to Tewksbury and after 18 mos. was found to be with child. The visiting family member confronted Thomas Marsh; the exact dialogue was recorded but immediately erased from history by the committee but what it amounted to was that Capt. Marsh himself was the father of the child. Infuriated the visiting sister left her contact information with instructions to be notified if anything important arises so she could come collect the remains. After several months passed, she was informed by an acquaintance that the young mother had died some 3 months earlier. This story is significant bc of the context, it parrots almost word for word a similar account in Dorothea Dix report to the State on mental health facilities and hospitals, which was read by Howe to the state. This is the climax. its a mock outrage display, acting.
If no person claimed a deceased body after 24 hrs. it was considered property of Thomas Marsh and was worth 15 or 16 dollars to Harvard and outside medical schools. Some were buried first, there was 1$ paid for last rites and burial service then at night the corpse was dug up and sold. Tewksbury supplied Harvard with dead bodies for two and a half decades. Many witnesses swore to seeing ‘10-20 bodies piled up like cordwood with infants stuck between the adult’s legs,’ along with haggling over conditions of the bodies being overpriced. From Harvard whatever was left of the bodies was divvyed up, the small parts went to the fishing industry to be used as bait, the skin was sold to the tannery for luxury items.
The witnesses are names like Mann and Chase and a Dr. Dixwell (kin to D. Dix), so even the supposed victims are players. This is all theatrics.
Among the items of physical evidence were several articles of tanned skin. A crucifixion tattoo stretched from a Hispanic inmate’s chest, a negro belly button, these were denied to have come from Harvard of course however they are mentioned in a 1759 Drake’s Harvard History which describes the items in detail. On display in a shoemaker’s window in Boston was purchased a slipper made from a woman’s breast, with the nipple prominently featured, common knowledge it came from Harvard.
The rest of the speech just is political rhetoric, while interesting it has no place in our report. I only selected a few examples for this paper to illustrate why I believe Anne Sullivan never attended this place. No fucking way. I didn’t even touch on the filthiness, everyone in the wing bathing in the same tub without changing the water, the rats eating people left to die in their ‘rooms’ naked and starving, the rotten food and sour milk. Overpopulation, capacity was 500, they beat that the first week and by 6 months there were 2000 people there. Lemme ask you this, If Anne really had 2 eye surgeries here who paid for them? This guy was selling babies to the Harvard chapter of the Red Shoe Club. And who did the procedure? The doctor that turned a labored delivery into a botched abortion with a rat tail file? Well, the surgeries were said to be unsuccessful. She added this to her backstory for dramatic effect. Now that you have a small idea about the reality of this place we can continue with our analysis.