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1844: Governor Marmaduke's Proposal

1847: The Legislature Acts

1861-1865: Civil War Years

1890-1907: Struggle for Control

1945: The End of Patronage

1970 To The Present: De-institutionalization

1844: Governor Marmaduke's Proposal

Following breakfast on February 9th, Governor Thomas Reynolds walked into his executive mansion office, wrote a brief note, and committed suicide. On November 18th, just two days before his own brief term as governor ended, Reynolds' successor, former Lieutenant Governor Meredith Marmaduke, became the first chief executive in the state's history to urge the legislature to erect a lunatic asylum to address the plight of Missouri's mentally ill population.

Governor M. M. Marmaduke
Missouri State Archives

"Such unfortunate beings are confined to our County Jails where they seldom, if ever, receive any of those soft and kind attentions that have been found so necessary for their recover and restoration to society"

Governor M. M. Marmaduke, November 18, 1844


Assuming office unexpectedly, Governor Marmaduke seemed passionate about two issues: admitting Texas into the Union and establishing an insane asylum in Missouri.

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Online Exhibit Created 2003
Missouri State ArchivesOffice of the Secretary of State, Missouri