Elmer McMichael Sentenced, 1909

It was not the first time Elmer McMichael’s name was associated in the Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri) with theft. From the March 11, 1909 edition, page 1:

A Kleptomaniac Sent to Asylum.

Elmer McMichael of Elmo was judged a mental and moral imbecile and sent by the circuit court last week to the St. Joseph Insane Asylum No. 2.

McMichael has long been a kleptomaniac, a filcher of minor articles such as pitch forks, trace chains, axes, hoes and all manner of small farm and garden tools which he happened to see in the fields or on the premises of the farmers in his neighborhood. These articles were taken to his house, hid in a cave, straw stack or any out-of-the-way corner to there lie and mould and rust. It seems that this man could not resist from picking up thing she saw and carrying them away with him. Not many instances has been shown where he tried to make use of the articles or even tried to dispose of them.

The decision of his insanity was reached in circuit court after formal proof of his last summer’s thefts were presented and attorney W. A. Blagg for the defense called Dr. W. F. Kuhn, Superintendent of State Hospital for Insane No. 2, at St. Joseph, to the stand and framed and asked him a hypothetical question which practically outlined the entire history of McMichael’s family and life.

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