Joseph Walsh (1909-1931)

Joseph Walsh
Walsh/Langan Introduction
Photos of the children of Joseph Walsh and Maggie Langan

Photo from the collection of Mary Walsh Herdman

Civil Record: Joseph Walsh born on February 26, 1910 to Joseph Walsh and Maggie Langan. Public access to births in the New York City Archives only goes up to 1909, so I was unable to obtain this birth certificate. The date of Joseph's birth was taken from Joseph, Senior's naturalization papers.

Baptism: Joseph Walsh, born February 26, 1910, the son of Joseph Walsh and Margaret Langan, of 1334 Third Avenue was baptized on March 6, 1910 at St Jean Baptiste Church, 184 East 76th Street, New York. Godparents: Thomas Walsh and Delia Langan. (Record form St Jean Baptiste Church)


  1. Thomas Walsh was Joseph's brother.
  2. Delia Langan was most likely Maggie's sister, Bridget (Delia) Langan Crowley. However, she was Delia Crowley by 1901, so I do not know why the maiden name would have been used.
Death: Joseph Walsh, white male, single, age, 21, electrician, the son of Joseph W. Walsh and Margaret Langan died on July 7, 1931 of "Depressed, Compound, Comminuted Fracture of Skull; Laceration of Brain." Joseph was buried in Calvary Cemetery on July 11, 1931. The death was ruled a suicide (New York Death Record 17556 for 1931)

The Medical Examiner's Return listed the following information:

Accident, suicide, or homicide? Suicide Date of injury July 7, 1931
Where did injury occur? Manhattan State Hospital
Manner of injury?Jumped from second story window of hospital
Nature of injury?Fracture of Skull; Lacration of Brain
The undertaker stated that
  • He had been employed by "Anna Walsh, mother sister of deceased".
    Note: The closest name in the family to Anna was Agnes
  • Permission was granted for the deceased to be move to the "home".

Coroner's Report

The coroner's report on the death of Joseph Walsh contained three pages


    The report of July 7, 1931 listed Joseph Walsh of 1055 University Ave, Bronx, age 21, years, 4 months and 9 days, occupation, electrician, single, born New York, father, Joseph W. Walsh, mother, Margaret Langan, both born Ireland. Joseph was admitted on May 20, 1931, at 1 PB by "boat" from Bellevue Hospital.

    Joseph entered Manhattan Hospital on May 20th, 1931 and died on July 7, 1931 at about 1:43 PM.

    "Correspondents" in the case were Charles Walsh of 1055 University Ave, Bronx and Mrs. Helen Anderson 1735 Walton Avenue, Bronx.

    He suffered from:

    Fracture of skull, vault and base; slow, irregular pulse, unconscious; compound fracture of vault of skull, frontpareital region; fracture of outer third of clavicle.
    Injuries were received:
    Jumped from second story of hospital building, with suicidal intent, Manhattan State Hospital, ward 65, at 8:10 AM, July 7, 1931 resulting in fracture of skull as above described.
    Died Jully 7, 1931, at 1:43 PM


    Form of Insanity: Dementia Praecox, Catatonic Type

    Sepressed (sic) compound comminuted fracture of skull, laceration of brain, jumped from second story window of hospital


    The body was examined at the city mortuary:

    Examination results

    "Young adult white male, about 5' 11" in height; weight about 150 lbs. Straight blond hair on head; blond eyelashes and eyebrows; grey eyes; smooth shave face.
    There is a technical description of the wounds to the face and head.

Manhattan State Hospital

Manhattan State Hospital (Ward's Island, New York City) was opened in 1899. At the time, it was the largest psychiatric hospital in the world. It became the Manhattan Psychiatric Center.

The site is now part of Ward's Island Park and administered by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Most of these early mental institutions were little more than human warehouses. Antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs had not been developed and hospitals had nothing to offer patients except custodial care.

Dementia praecox

Dementia praecox: Latin dmentia, dementia + Latin praecox, premature.

The term is no longer in scientific use. The most likely diagnosis today would be Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is described as a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, grossly disorganized thinking, delusions, and hallucinations. It is often accompanied by emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

Schizophrenics are at higher risk of suicide the normal population. 30% to 40% of schizophrenics attempt suicide at some point in their lifetime. In fact, suicide is the most common cause of premature death among people with schizophrenia.

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