A Decidedly Different Head Wrap

George Kimmel, cashier at the Farmer’s State Bank of Arkansas City, Kansas, takes out a $25,000 life insurance policy and then disappears (1908). A few years pass. He's nowhere to be found, so, his mom and sister put in a claim for the dough. Too bad an inmate who'd entered the Matteawan Asylum as Andrew J. White comes out of the woodwork claiming to be ole George. This new development thrills the New York Life Insurance Company and infuriates the family who doesn't recognize (or claims not to recognize) this new George who looks out at them with differently colored peepers than the relative they knew. Court trials ensue to no avail. "George" remains hellbent on proving his identity. So much so that he has a doctor perform brain surgery to help him alleviate the crazy and get his story straight. The story does get straighter, but the doctor later says he's just nuts. I wonder if mom and sis ever got their windfall...

(Cobbled together from
old New York Times stories, which seem to stop before I found out the verdict. The photo of "George" after his surgery is part of the Library of Congress collection).

Matteawan Asylum, upstate New York, around 1900.

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