This post is part of the Donohoo Descendancy Project.


 

Brothers Ansel B. and Howard H. Donohoo were born the ninth and tenth children of Michael and Caroline (Green) Donohoo. They were grandsons of Patrick and Sarah Donohoo (although they would have been very young when their grandparents died). They grew up in a Catholic family that ran a temperance tavern in Bardstown, Kentucky. Both men enjoyed entertaining friends through musical and dramatic performances, both at church and other social occasions. They moved together to St. Louis as young men in their 20s and worked for several of the same companies as traveling salesman. Both brothers married, but neither had children. Their stories have been traced through numerous newspaper mentions of their travels and theatrics.


Part 1: Ansel B. Donohoo (AKA A.B. Donohoo)

Childhood

Ansel B. Donohoo was born in September of 1857, in Nelson County, Kentucky to Michael and Caroline (Green) Donohoo [1]. In the 1860 Census, three-year-old Ansel resided in Nelson County, Kentucky, with his parents Michael and Caroline, four brothers, three sisters, his maternal grandfather and five boarders [2].

By 1870, Ansel was 14 years old, residing in Nelson County, Kentucky, with his parents Michael and Caroline, four brothers, two sisters, and three boarders [3]. By 1880, Michael Donohoo had died, leaving Caroline as the head of household, with 24 year old Ansel, four other sons and one daughter living in the household. Ansel worked as a Deputy County Clerk, while his younger brother, Howard, was a clerk at a wholesale grocery [4]. This same year, Ansel participated in some musical entertainment events at the church for the benefit of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, as reported on December 30, 1880 in the Nelson County Record newspaper [5].

Adulthood

On October 26, 1881, Ansel acted as surety for his cousin Henry Turner’s marriage to Mary Frances Ritchie Smith in Nelson County, Kentucky [6]. On April 23, 1884, Ansel B. Donohoo married Ada Wood in Nelson County, Kentucky. His brother, Howard H. Donohoo, acted as surety [7,8].

By 1885, Ansel B. Donohoo is listed in the St Louis city directory, as a traveling salesman for Yarnall Bros. He resides at 121 N. 7th [9]. Thus begins the brothers’ circuitous routes for their business travels, as documented in hotel patron newspaper lists:

On September 1, 1885,  A. B. & H. H. Donohoo of St Louis, are staying in Louisville [10]. By September 30, 1885,  A. B. Donohoo and his wife of St Louis, are again in Louisville [11]. Again on January 15, 1886, A B Donohoo of St Louis is in Louisville [12].

In December of 1886, A.B. Donohoo became a subscriber of a railroad to Bardstown [13]. At this time period, individuals could subscribe (or pledge) money towards the building of a section of railroad line, payable to the railroad company upon completion of the subscribed section [14]. In June of 1889, Mrs. A.B. Donohoo, of Magnolia, is in Louisville visiting the family of her father, Mr. D.J. Wood [15].

In the 1891 St Louis city directory, Ansel B. and Howard H. Donohoo are listed consecutively as traveling for the Taylor Manufacturing Company [16]. In April 1891, Ansel and Howard visited their mother, Caroline, in Bardstown [17]. In May of 1891 [18] and again in January of 1892 [19], A.B. Donohoo of St Louis is visiting Charlotte, North Carolina

The couple next appears when, in May 1899, Mrs. A.B. Donohoo is visited by her niece at Elizabethtown [20]. The couple still resided at Elizabethtown at the time of the 1900 U.S. Census. Ansel is a traveling salesman, the couple has been married for 16 years, they are renting a home, Ada is the mother of zero children [21].

By the 1910 United States Census, Ansel B. Donohoo and his wife Ada live in Buffalo, LaRue, Kentucky (about 18 miles south of Elizabethtown).  Ansel is 53 years old, Ada is 52. Ada is listed as having had no children. They have been married 25 years. Ansel’s occupation is “commercial traveler, whips” [22].

The Mysterious End for Ansel

On October 1, 1917, Ansel Donohoo was adjudicated in court to be of unsound mind and admitted to the Beechhurst Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. Within weeks he sued the doctor, H.B. Scott, and the Santorium for allegedly confiscating $600 worth of stock and a safety deposit box key upon his arrival and refused to return it to him:

“Sues to Recover Stock.
The Union Bank & Trust Company, of Lexington, committee of A.B. Donohoo, a person of unsound mind, filed suit in Circuit Court yesterday against Dr. H. B. Scott in his own right and also doing business under the name of Beechhurst Sanitarium, to recover five shares of stock of the Lincoln Bank & Trust Company of the value of $600, and a key to the safety deposit box maintained by Donohoo at the time he was adjudicated a person of unsound mind in the Fayette Circuit Court, at Lexington, October 1, 1917. It is alleged in the petition that after Donohoo was removed to the private institution conducted by Dr. Scott the latter took charge of the certificates of stock and the key, and since then has refused to surrender them to the committee. In addition to the recovery of the property the committee asks for a judgment for $100 for alleged unlawful detention of same by the defendant. A certified copy of the order adjudging Donohoo a person of unsound mind and the appointment of the committee is filed with the petition and made a part of the record.” [23]

 

Beechhurst Sanatorium from asylumprojects.org

 

Before this issue could be resolved in the court, A.B. Donohoo died at the Beechhurst Sanatorium on November 9, 1917. The cause of death on his certificate was cerebral hemorrage with a contributing cause of senility. The doctor giving the information for the death certificate: Dr. H.B. Scott. [24] The Sanatorium filed for a burial permit [25] and A.B. Donohoo was buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Louisville the next day, November 10, 1917. [26]

Within a few days, Ansel’s sister, Lelia Forman (also the informant on his death certificate), filed for his will to be probated in the court at Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky (where she lived, and the same court that judged Ansel to be of unsound mind):

“Will of A.B. Donohoo is Allowed for Probate here

____

The late A.B. Donohoo was found to be a resident of Lexington in county court yesterday when Judge Frank Bullock allowed his will for probate here. Mr. Donohoo left his entire property to his wife, an invalid confined to the hospital, in trust and after death it is to go to the natural heirs. Mrs. T.T. Forman, of Lexington, is one of the heirs. The Union Bank and Trust Company is named as executor. Mr. Donohoo had lived in Buffalo, N.Y., and in Elizabethtown, Ky. At the time of his death he was in Lexington and had declared his intention of making this his permanent home, it was brought out.” [27

Ada Wood Donohoo Lives On

Ada Donohoo, listed as an invalid in the newspaper article at her husband’s death, was cared for at the Louisville Neuropathic Sanatorium, 1412 Sixth Street, Louisville, Kentucky. [28] The Sanatorium was advertised in a 1919 Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association as “an ethical institution for the care and treatment of Mental and Nervous diseases…” [29]

 

From 1919 Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association

The 1920 Census reveals Ada, a 63 year old widow, living at the Sanatorium with several other inmates, nurses, and even a janitor. [30] In the 1930 Census, she continues to reside at the Sanatorium as a 76 year old widow. [31] Ada died of hypostatic pneumonia on July 3, 1933. [32] She was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery the next day, near her husband. [33

For further information on the Louisville Neuropathic Sanatorium, see the links below. The building still exists today, and is steeped in haunted lore.

Louisville Magazine wrote an article about the history of the house.

Check out the street view of the recently restored house. 


Source Citations & Research Notes:
[1] Ansel’s death certificate lists his birth date as September 1859. The informant was his sister Lelia (Donohoo) Forman. However, the 1860 Census lists Ansel as a 3 year old boy, and his younger brother Howard is a 1 year old boy. His sister possibly confused the two brothers’ birth years.
[2] United States Census, Year: 1860; Census Place: District 1, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: M653_389; Page: 179; Image: 179; Family History Library Film: 803389. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
[3] United States Census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: M593_491; Page: 73B; Image: 150; Family History Library Film: 545990. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
[4] United States Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: 435; Family History Film: 1254435; Page: 188D; Enumeration District: 205; Image: 0584. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Original data: Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[5] Nelson County, Kentucky newspaper abstracts : September 1807 – September 1890. compiled by Carolyn Wimp ; indexed by Judy Nacke. Vine Grove, Kentucky : Ancestral Trails Historical Society, c2001. Family History Library 976.9495 B38. Abstracts from fourteen different Nelson County newspapers from 1807-1894. Includes index. Page 84. Nelson County Record, Thursday, December 30, 1880.
[6]”Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VHCZ-TQL: accessed 26 Nov 2014), Henry Turner and Mary F Smith, 26 Oct 1881; citing p. 160, Nelson, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 000481494.
[7] “Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VHC8-MS3 : accessed 17 December 2014), Ansel B Donohoo and Ada Wood, 23 Apr 1884; citing p. 360, Nelson, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 481,494.
[8] “Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V657-JTC: accessed 18 December 2014), Ansel B Donohoo and Ada Wood, 23 Apr 1884; citing p. , Nelson, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 481,488.
[9] Ansel Donohoo, St Louis, Missouri, City Directory, 1885. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Ansel Donohoo, page 332.
[10] The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), Tue, September 1, 1885, page 6, digital images, Newspapers.com: accessed 3 February 2015.
[11] The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), Wednesday, September 30, 1885, page 3, digital images, Newspapers.com: accessed 3 February 2015.
[12] The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Fri, Jan 15, 1886. Page 3. Accessed at newspapers.com on 3 February 2015.
[13] Nelson County, Kentucky newspaper abstracts : September 1807 – September 1890. compiled by Carolyn Wimp ; indexed by Judy Nacke. Vine Grove, Kentucky : Ancestral Trails Historical Society, c2001. Family History Library 976.9495 B38. Abstracts from fourteen different Nelson County newspapers from 1807-1894. Includes index. page 129, Thursday, December 23, 1886. Nelson County Record.
[14] Decennial Edition of the American Digest, Volume 17. West Publishing Co.: St. Paul, Minnesota, 1910. Page 35. Accessed at books.google.com on 18 January 2016.
[15] Mrs. A. B. Donohoo. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), Sun, Jun 23, 1889, Page 6. Accessed at newspapers.com on 21 January 2015.

Research Note: Magnolia is a rural area to the southeast of the Elizabethtown area. It seems that Ansel and Ada may have kept homes in both the St. Louis area and the Elizabethtown area (including Magnolia and Buffalo) due to their frequent travel, as seen in their records over several decades.

[16] Ansel B. Donohoo, Howard H. Donohoo. St Louis, Missouri, City Directory, 1891. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[17] “Bardstown, April 3.- ‎(Special.)‎” The Courier-Journal ‎(Louisville, Kentucky)‎, Sat, Apr 4, 1891, Page 10. Accessed at newspapers.com on 21 January 2015.
[18] AB Donohoo. The Charlotte News (Charlotte, North Carolina). Sat, May 2, 1891. Page 6. Accessed at newspapers.com on 3 February 2015.
[19] AB Donohoo. The Charlotte News (Charlotte, North Carolina). Sat, Jan 16, 1892. Page 4. Accessed at newspapers.com on 3 February 2015.
[20] Nelson County, Kentucky newspaper abstracts: 1895 to 1902. compiled by Carolyn Wimp ; indexed by Judy Nacke. Vine Grove, Kentucky : Ancestral Trails Historical Society, c2001. Family History Library 976.9495 D2w.  Abstracts from fourteen different Nelson County newspapers from 1807-1894. Includes index. Nelson County Record. Friday, May 26, 1899. page 34.
[21] Ada Donohoo, U.S. Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Elizabethtown, Hardin, Kentucky; Roll: 524; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0046; FHL microfilm: 1240524 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
[22] “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ‎(­https­://­familysearch­.­org­/­ark­:/­61903­/­1­:­1­:­M26S­-­V5R­ : accessed 8 January 2016)‎, Ada Donohoo in household of Ansel B Donohoo, Buffalo, Larue, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district ‎(ED)‎ ED 79, sheet 3B, NARA microfilm publication T624 ‎(Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.)‎; FHL microfilm 1,374,503.
[23] “Sues to Recover Stock.” The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Sat, Oct 27, 1917. Page 7. Accessed on newspapers.com on 27 December 2015.
Research Note: A quick newspaper search revealed that Dr. H. B. Scott and the Beechhurst Sanatorium were involved in several litigation cases, many about questionable practices at the Sanatorium. It is not yet determined if the facts of this case were questionable or very coincidental with the timing of the case and the death of Ansel Donohoo.
[24] Ansel B. Donohoo. Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.  Kentucky. Birth and Death Records: Covington, Lexington, Louisville, and Newport – Microfilm (before 1911). Microfilm rolls #7007125-7007131, 7011804-7011813, 7012974-7013570, 7015456-7015462. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky. Kentucky. Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates – Microfilm (1911-1955). Microfilm rolls #7016130-7041803. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.
[25] Burial Permits. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Sun, Nov 11, 1917. Page 49. Accessed at newspapers.com on 27 December 2015.
[26] “Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch ‎(­https­://­familysearch­.­org­/­pal­:/­MM9­.­1­.­1­/­QVLM­-­JNTD­ : accessed 9 January 2016)‎, Ansel B Donohoo, 1917; Burial, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States of America, Cave Hill Cemetery; citing record ID 83868264, Find a Grave, ­http­://­www­.­findagrave­.­com­.
[27] “Will of A.B. Donohoo is Allowed for Probate Here.” Date: Tuesday, November 13, 1917 Paper: Lexington Herald (Lexington, KY) Volume: 48 Issue: 317 Page: 10. Source: GenealogyBank.com. Accessed in 2015.
Research Note: The couple lived in Buffalo, Larue, Kentucky, not New York. See the 1910 Census.
[28] Ada Donahue. Address: 1412 S. Sixth Street. Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, 1927. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[29] Louisville Neuropathic Sanatorium Advertisement, page xxxvii. The Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association, Volume 12. Office of Publication: Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1919.
[30] Ada Donahue, U.S. Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Louisville Ward 8, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: T625_581; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 149; Image: 214 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. ‎(NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls)‎. Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 ‎(Chicago City)‎.
[31] Ada Donahue, U.S. Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: 756; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 0108; Image: 952.0; FHL microfilm: 2340491 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.
[32] Ada Wood Donohoo. Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1963 ‎[database on-line]‎. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm ‎(1852-1910)‎. Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky. Kentucky. Birth and Death Records: Covington, Lexington, Louisville, and Newport – Microfilm ‎(before 1911)‎. Microfilm rolls #7007125-7007131, 7011804-7011813, 7012974-7013570, 7015456-7015462. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky. Kentucky. Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates – Microfilm ‎(1911-1955)‎. Microfilm rolls #7016130-7041803. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

[33]   “Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch ‎(­https­://­familysearch­.­org­/­pal­:/­MM9­.­1­.­1­/­QVLM­-­JNT8­ : accessed 8 January 2016)‎, Susan Ada Donohoo, 1933; Burial, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States of America, Cave Hill Cemetery; citing record ID 83867699, Find a Grave, ­http­://­www­.­findagrave­.­com­.