Contributed by Kathleen Haynes
Contact Myrtle Bridges October 10, 2008
Green River Plantation (Letterhead)*
Saturday, Nov. 7th (no year)
My Dear Wilhelmina,
Maude is sending a telegram this morning to you to consult Dr. Murphy** and get Mr. Claywell***
and Dr. Taylor to get Papa to Broad Oakes as soon as possible. My first impulse was to go home
on the first train after seeing your letter, then thinking it over I don't see any good that
I could do at Brindletown**** or Morganton. Mr. Claywell and the Doctors will know better how
to manage it than I. Of course I don't want to push all responsibility on them and if Mr.
Claywell thinks it would be any easier if I was there I will come at once. It seems to me
the best way would be to give him all the whiskey he wants and take him while under the
influence. Please write me as soon as you consult them and find what they think. Maude is
writing Dr. Murphy now. I would write Mr. Claywell this morning, but won't have time to get
all the letters off. Mr. Claywell is surely the best man in the world. If they get Papa to
Broad Oaks send me a telegram for I shall be on the rack until I hear. As soon as they get
Papa in Broad Oaks Maude and I will come to Morganton. That is if Otis gets home safely, and
Aunt Mary gets better. A telegram from California Thursday said that Otis would start home
that night. Nothing more since they are very economical with telegrams.
Aunt Mary is better this morning, tho' still in bed. We have told her nothing about Papa
Birdie left yesterday afternoon. Do write every day.
Much love to all,
Following the Civil War, Green River Plantation built 1807, was bought by Col. Franklin Coxe, (1839-)
husband of Mary Carson Mills, (1839-), who was a granddaughter of the original owner Joseph
McDowell Carson, a distinguished lawyer who represented Rutherford County in the North Carolina
House of Commons in 1813-1814. Mary lived there as a child. The family spent most of their time
in Asheville and used Green River as a summer home. Frank Coxe was an investor in real estate
& railroad interests and a leader in the development of Asheville as a health resort and vacation
center. The plantation would later become the property of Miss Maude Coxe (1873 - 21 Jun 1939),
d/o Frank and Mary Coxe. Other children: Otis M. (1863-); Francis S., son, (1866-) Daisey (1868-)
Maude (1872-); Lench (1875-). Maude Coxe & Wilhelmina Tate were good friends and often traveled
together in the United States and Europe. Source: 1880 Census Mecklenburg Co., NC - Burke Co. Heritage.
**In December 1882, the Avery Building and its south wing were completed. Dr. Patrick Livingston Murphy
(b. Oct 1848-) was hired as the first superintendent, a position in which he served for 25 years. On
March 29, 1883, the first patient was admitted to the Morganton facility. Shortly thereafter, approx.
100 patients were transferred by rail from the crowded Dorothy Dix Hospital in Raleigh. During the first
two years of operation, 252 patients were received. Dr. Murphy stated "There are some insane persons in
our district who ought to be in the asylum but cannot be cared for." The General Assembly heard his plea
for more space and authorized the money to finish a north wing for the Avery Building to provide space
for 150 additional patients. Soon the eastern boundary of the Western District was extended to Durham,
Chatham, Moore, and Richmond counties. The name of the hospital was changed from Western North Carolina
Insane Asylum to the State Hospital at Morganton in 1890. The name was retained until 1959, when it was
changed to Broughton Hospital after then Governor J. Melville Broughton.
***The 1920 Census of Burke County, Morganton Township shows Robert T. Claywell 56, Laura Claywell 23;
Sarah 24, William N. 26. Laura Claywell was Wilhelmina's friend.
****Brindletown is just southwest of Morganton on US Hwy#64.
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