Dorothea Lynde Dix (April 4, 1802 – July 17, 1887) was an American activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums
In Stuck Together I’ve got a crazy person. A couple of them honestly.
One is a woman who has (using my limited medical knowledge) psychotic breaks. She can mostly function normally but she’s got it in her head that Dare Riker killed her child. She never had a child. But when she has these psychotic breaks, she tries to kill Dare. She’s tried three times now.
So Lana-the-Furiously-Mad is in jail in Broken Wheel, Texas, under the care of sheriff Vince Yates. And no one quite knows what to do with her. The rule back then was often a woman convicted of a crime was thrown into prison right along with the men. That has horrified Tina Cahill and she’s determined to stop it from happening.
She’s finding precious little support from Vince—Lana tried to murder his friend and he’s out of sympathy for her. Even less from Dare—Lana not only tried to kill him three times but she held a knife to Glynna’s throat. Glynna…his wife. No one really wants something awful to happen to Lana (well, maybe a couple of them do!) But they sure aren’t going to let her just go free!
And that brings us to….Dorothea Dix. Crusader for the mentally ill. Okay, the insane. Not so much with the politically correct language back then but Dorothea Dix was the real deal. A crusader. She grew up in Boston with an alcoholic father and a wealthy grandmother who supported the family. As an adult woman she opened her own school for girls, daughters of wealthy Bostonians, then she started adding in poor children because she believed education would help lift them up.
Her health failed. (they don’t say in what way) and she did some writing during her years as an invalid, finally she traveled to England in hopes of medical help and there she became friends with a Quaker family who inspired her to work for better treatment for the insane. She brought that fervor back to America.
She visited the small, privately owned hospitals for the insane in New Jersey and was horrified. People in cells, chained, naked, beaten. She began to fight for some type of regulation for such places and this became known as Humane Asylums. Through her work the first legislation requiring humane asylums was passed in New Jersey in 1845. Did the world see the light and immediately begin building humane asylums?
Dorothea had to go to New Hampshire and start all over.
Then North Carolina, then Pennsylvania.
State by state she fought her way through the legislatures, gave speeches, held small gatherings to lobby (they didn’t use that word back then) and over the course of years she made inroads into the treatment of the insane in America. She had legislation in order in Washington DC to make the new regulations for care of the insane nationwide.
It was vetoed in 1853, again in 1854 and yet again in 1855.
Dorothea, frustrated, traveled to Europe and worked on her cause there, then to Canada. When she returned to America it was to face the Civil War. She was so well known for her care of patients—though she never did care for patients—she just lobbied for them, that she was assigned as Superintendent of Army Nurses for the Union Army. A huge job as the head of all nurses during the war.
She was ill-suited for that and spent much of the war clashing with both doctors and other nurses. Instead of trying to manage people she was trying to change and reform and lobby.
It got her into all kinds of trouble.
Then after she got fired, and the war finally ended, she started up her crusade for the mentally ill again, mostly from the ground up because the asylums she’d helped establish, especially in the south were gone with the wind (you might say).
For her years of work she became celebrated and she mostly spurned all the honors. I suspect she was a crotchety woman, though she did get governments to make huge changed, so maybe she was more charming than she sounded.
Vince Yates discovers Dorothea Dix and her work with the insane and his interest in it goes far beyond wanting to help the mad woman Lana Bullard.
STUCK TOGETHER IS NOW SHIPPING FROM AMAZON…EVEN THOUGH THE RELEASE DATE IS STILL TWO WEEKS AWAY.
IT’S ALSO BEEN SPOTTED IN BOOKSTORES!
When a lawman who values order gets stuck with a feisty crusader who likes to stir things up, there’s going to be trouble in Texas!
Now that she’s settled in town, Tina Cahill is determined to get Broken Wheel’s saloon closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention.
Vince Yates earned the nickname “Invincible Vince” because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn’t know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is showing signs of dementia. And his surprise sister quickly falls for one of Vince’s best friends. Vince suddenly has a lot of people depending on him, and Tina doesn’t approve of how he’s handling any of them.
With nearly every other man in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with strong-willed Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her crazy causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he’s got one more surprise coming his way: Tina’s picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.
BUY IT ON AMAZON OR AT ANY ONLINE BOOKSELLERS OR IN FINE BOOKSTORES ANYWHERE
I HAVE WRITTEN A NOVELLA WITH THE BACKSTORY FROM MY TROUBLE IN TEXAS HEROES. HOW THEY MET IN ANDERSONVILLE. IT’S CALLED ‘CLOSER THAN BROTHERS’ AND I’M RELEASING TWO CHAPTERS PER WEEK. READ IT HERE