Tag Archives: Luther Garlin Henderson

Last Photo of Jesse Edwards James Jr. – Son of Jesse James

Jesse Edwards James Jr., son of Jesse Woodson James, Norwalk State Hospital, 1949

The James Preservation Trust has received the contribution of what is believed to be the last photo taken of Jesse Edwards James Jr., son of America’s iconic outlaw Jesse Woodson James.

The photo was taken in 1949 during Jesse Jr.’s confinement in the Norwalk State Hospital in Norwalk, California. Months later, Jesse Edwards James Jr. died on March 26, 1951 at the age of seventy-five.

In the same image also is pictured Jesse Jr.’s caregiver at Norwalk. He is Luther Garlin Henderson. The contribution of this historic photographic was made by Henderson’s son, Bruce Henderson, a retired attorney.

Luther Garlin Henderson 1903-1958, caregiver to Jesse James Jr. at Norwalk State Hospital

“My father suffered a heart attack in 1947, and was forced to cease employment in his industry. To support his wife, and infant son (me), he found less physically demanding work at Norwalk State Hospital, Norwalk, California.”                                                                                           – BRUCE HENDERSON ESQ. 

 

NORWALK HOSPITAL – THEN and NOW

In the beginning, Norwalk Hospital was called Norwalk State Mental Hospital. Often it was referred to as a sanitarium.

Opened in 1916, the facility housed 105 patients with 21 employees, all administered by one physician. The 305 acre property included a farm, worked by the patients, most all of whom were unemployable men. The hospital had its own cemetery.

Then & Now – Norwalk State Hospital, Norwalk, California

Shortly after Jesse’s Jr.’s passing, the name of the facility was changed in 1953 to the Metropolitan State Hospital, housing 1,900 patients. Marilyn Monroe’s mother Gladys was a patient there. In 1955, actor Bela Lugosi was admitted for ninety days for treatment of his morphine addiction.

Today the facility is dramatically changed. Gone is the farm. Much of the land surrounding the Norwalk Hospital where Jesse Jr. was committed now is an industrial park. The old hospital has been replaced by a modern facility. Inside, treatment is administered to conservator patients with psychiatric disabilities, felony defendants found incompetent, parolees treated for mental disorders, and patients judged not guilty by virtue of insanity. A long history of abuse and negligence continues to be alleged.

The Norwalk Hospital Jesse Jr. knew sits abandoned. A walk of the grounds displays the apparent decay. The place is advertised as a location site for film makers.

CONDITIONS  IN JESSE JR.’S TIME

Little, if any, documentation exists that records the experience of Jesse Jr. at Norwalk. Hospital records remain sealed. They even are unavailable to surviving family.

An insight into what Jesse Jr. may have experienced at Norwalk can be found in the book Life Writing and Schizophrenia: Encounters at the Edge of Meaning by Mary Elene Wood. On page 290, the author records the memory of one of Norwalk’s patients. 

“I lay in bed a lot.  It was horrible. There weren’t enough beds for everyone so women were lined up in the hallway. We were all so scared but they didn’t do anything to reassure or comfort us. We would all talk about what would happen to our kids, we were all worried about that. Some of the women lost their kids altogether. Some of the patients got electroshock therapy. I didn’t have to have that, I was lucky. They were scared about it. The whole time I kept thinking those horrible thoughts.”

 

Jesse Edwards James Jr. with caregiver Luther Garlin Henderson, Norwalk State Hospital, 1949
Reverse copy from photo of Jesse Edwards James Jr. & Luther Garlin Henderson, Norwalk State Hospital, 1949

 

 

 

ELECTROCONVULSION THERAPY

An electro shock terminal used at Norwalk

Electro shock therapy, sometimes more aptly called electro-convulsion, was one of two therapies commonly applied to Norwalk patients. The second was hydrotherapy ice bath immersion.

Given his history of nervous disorder, Jesse Jr. very likely was administered electro shock therapy while at Norwalk.

However, the lingering question is, was Jesse Jr. ever subjected to a procedural lobotomy? The procedure was a popular application in the period, as evidenced by the tragic experience of Rosemary Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy.

Death certificate for Jesse Edwards James Jr.
Lo Angeles Death Index citation for Jesse Edwards James Jr.

 

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Sunday March 29th, 2020

Stray Leaves

Our James family cousin Jamie Harmon reports about the virus from his family's worldwide tour:
Day 214. New Zealand is under national lockdown. We are completely fine and overall happy to be stuck here. But it is serious: rules enforced by police - who can question you if you go for a walk and officially have the power to enter your home (but they probably don’t do that much). We are 5 days in, and it is minimum 28 days. When the government announced the lockdown, they gave everyone 48 hours to plan. Our hotel told us it was closing, and we scrambled to find a house to rent. We are in a good spot, but we did have to cancel the hotels and flights for the last 100 days of our trip. Many of our countries cancelled on us because they imposed travel bans. Sad to see those go, but our problems are small compared to many. NZ imposed a national grocery store limit of 2 of the same item per person, but we have enough food. The country is not out of toilet paper, but they are out of flour for some reason. Regarding the picture, this is actually from 6 weeks ago in an airport in Asia. We were in Asia for about 2 months when Asia was the center of all this, and Hazel in particular has been really scared of the virus. We have been wearing masks in airports and the few crowded places we went. But we mostly felt safe by being in small hotels that were out of the way. We have been so sad to watch the virus spread in the USA. Such crazy times. Stay safe out there!
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Our James family cousin Jamie Harmon reports about the virus from his familys worldwide tour:
Day 214. New Zealand is under national lockdown. We are completely fine and overall happy to be stuck here. But it is serious: rules enforced by police - who can question you if you go for a walk and officially have the power to enter your home (but they probably don’t do that much). We are 5 days in, and it is minimum 28 days. When the government announced the lockdown, they gave everyone 48 hours to plan. Our hotel told us it was closing, and we scrambled to find a house to rent. We are in a good spot, but we did have to cancel the hotels and flights for the last 100 days of our trip. Many of our countries cancelled on us because they imposed travel bans. Sad to see those go, but our problems are small compared to many. NZ imposed a national grocery store limit of 2 of the same item per person, but we have enough food. The country is not out of toilet paper, but they are out of flour for some reason. Regarding the picture, this is actually from 6 weeks ago in an airport in Asia. We were in Asia for about 2 months when Asia was the center of all this, and Hazel in particular has been really scared of the virus. We have been wearing masks in airports and the few crowded places we went. But we mostly felt safe by being in small hotels that were out of the way. We have been so sad to watch the virus spread in the USA. Such crazy times. Stay safe out there!

Wednesday March 25th, 2020

Stray Leaves

DID YOU KNOW? Country music star Tim McGraw is an 8th great-grandson of Hans Jost Heydt and a 4th cousin of the brothers Woot & Tuck Hite of Quantrill's Raiders. Tim's father Tug McGraw was a professional baseball player with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. ... See MoreSee Less

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Saturday March 21st, 2020

Stray Leaves

IN SILENCE & STILLNESS...

While recovering
our national health,
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to see
who we are
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Now is a good time
to plan
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