Without a Name and Dumb for Forty Years.

Dark Mystery Dragged to Light from Behind the Walls of Digby Poors Asylum, But Still Unsolved.

Legless, Nameless, Speechless

The story that follows is taken from the New York Sun. The Herald called on Hon Premier Murray yesterday afternoon, regarding it, and he replied that he had seen this “Jerome” during the past summer and that the man Is doubtless half-witted. The item for his maintenance is duly given in the financial returns. Whence came “Jerome” is a mystery. Some people theorize that he may have been an undesirable member of some family, and that this means was taken to get clear of him. The Sun says:--

The blue books published by the government of the province of Nova Scotia are as a rule pretty dry reading, and that called the Financial Returns is one of the driest of the lot. Yet there is one line in the Financial Returns behind which lurks on of the strangest mysteries, which, after 40 years, still remains a mystery.

The Financial Returns gave all expenditures from the office the provincial treasurer—that is, all expenditures made by the province of Nova Scotia. One line reads:


The Mysterious “Jerome” Item

Few, if any, members of the present legislature know what it means. They only know that it has been there for many years and therefore some one is receiving $104 every year, but who and what “Jerome” is or why he should receive anything they do not know.

One day, 40 years ago, the people living about the narrow strip of rock and land on the Nova Scotia side of the bay of Fundy, known as Digby Neck, observed a ship on the horizon. She seemed to be aimlessly hovering about the same place. When darkness came she was still there and her mission was an object of much speculation to the fishermen whose little cottages were the only residences in the neighbourhood of that rugged shore.

Next morning the vessel was gone, but there was a man, or pieces of a man on the beach. His legs had been cut off above the knees. The work had been done by a skilful hand. The wounded stumps were carefully bandaged. The man was apparently about 19 years old, with soft flaxen hair and blue eyes.

Evidently of Good Parentage.

His underclothing was of the finest linen and his other garments of good material, but of cut differing from that of any people the fishermen had ever seen. He seemed to be suffering from the effects of some terrible shock. Beside him on the beach were a small keg of water and a bag of ship’s biscuits.

He was taken to one of the cottages and nursed and cared for. He gradually recovered but was gloomy and silent. His vocal organs seemed all right but if the guttural sounds he uttered were meant for words nobody could make out what they meant.

Perhaps no effort was made to teach him English, or perhaps his sullen disposition rendered him unapproachable, or the shock to his system when his legs were cut off dulled his mind so that he could not learn. Certain it is, that although 40 years have passed since he was marooned in the mysterious manner described, he has never conveyed to any living being by speech, a single thought.

Why He Was Called Jerome.

The people called him “Jerome” because they thought some of the sounds he made with his voice resembled that, but except for this he was remained for 10 years a man without a name.

The poor commissioners of Digby county did not see why they should bear the load. He certainly was not a Digby county man. They accordingly applied to the legislature of Nova Scotia to take care of him. Pending investigation the legislature appropriated the sum of $104 for his maintenance. Investigation failed to discover anymore than was already known, and the grant was continued year after year.

“Jerome” lives now with a respectable French Acadian family near a place called Saulnierville, on the Bay of Fundy shore, in Digby county. In the summer he basks all day in the sun. In chilly weather he huddles behind the kitchen stove.

It is doubtful if any solution will ever be found unless this recount should reach the eye of some one who was on the vessel from which it is believed he was landed and he should make known the facts concealed now for nearly half a century.

Source: "Without a Name and Dumb for Forty Years," Halifax Chronicle Herald, November 15, 1889.

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