CPS Unit Number 139-01
Unit ID: 1
Title: Logansport State Hospital
Operating agency: DOC
Opened: 10 1944
Closed: 4 1946
CPS Unit No. 139, a Mental Hospital unit at Logansport State Hospital in Logansport, Indiana opened in October 1944. Operated by the Disciples of Christ, the unit closed in April 1946. All but two of the men served as ward attendants.
Logansport State Hospital was located in Logansport, the county seat of Cass County in the north central part of Indiana. The Disciples of Christ opened this mental hospital unit in October 1944 and operated it until it closed in April 1946.
“In accepting responsibility for this Logansport unit, the Disciples seek more adequately to share the burden which its own fifty-six men in CPS have brought upon the three historic peace churches—Mennonites, church of the Brethren and Friends—originally sponsoring units.” (Christian Evangelist, 18 July 1945, 703)
The October 17, 1945 issue of the Christian Evangelist noted that the Disciples of Christ had contributed over $41,679 over four years in support of the sixty-nine men who had served in CPS. According to the National Service Board of Religious Objectors, the Disciples were “the only communion to meet fully the expense of its members in Civilian Public Service”. (p. 998)
Twenty men served in the unit, some married.
They reported seven different denominational affiliations upon entry into CPS. Four of the men, including the assistant director, reported affiliation with the Disciples of Christ.
“Six of the men were born either of preacher or missionary parents (one man was born in India, another in China). Six men are college graduates; two hold M.A. degrees, and a third has a B.D. with residence work completed for a Ph.D. Three intend to enter the ministry; three are equipped for teaching. One wishes to become a doctor. One seeks to enter home mission work and another is considering the home mission field.” (Christian Evangelist)
All but two of the men served as ward attendants. In that role, they cared for the patients, fed them, accompanied them on work assignments and also to activities or “amusements”. The men also kept the wards clean.
They worked a twelve hour day with one day off per week.
The work provided clinical experience to the men.
The men did not receive pay for their work, dependency allotments, or compensation for injuries or death. Rather the men themselves, their families, local congregations or denominations met their expenses and those of the family.
According to the denominational newspaper, the men and the church welcomed the “broadening of this field of service because it means work of greater social significance”. For many, serving in these units was the first opportunity during CPS to work with people, to “put their faith into practice”.
They may try through understanding, love, and kindness to gain confidence of sadly misunderstood, sick and often neglected persons. They become part of an intelligent healing process which when properly done, returns an increased percentage of patients to useful living.
The minister Herman R. Hosler and members of the Ninth Street Church in Logansport reached out to the men, a number of whom attended the church on Sundays when not on duty. Some also participated in the life of the church. Hosler was available to assist men in making adjustments to their assignment, and also to those in the unit seeking counsel.
“Disciples of Christ Sponsor CPS Unit”, Christian Evangelist 18 July 1945, 703.
“Meet Expenses of C.O.s”, Christian Evangelist 17 October 1945, 998.
For more information on women COs see Rachel Waltner Goossen, Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941-47. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997.Goossen
For more information on the work and life in CPS camps and units, see Albert N. Keim, The CPS Story: An Illustrated History of Civilian Public Service. Intercourse, PA: Good Books 1990.
See Alex Sareyan, The Turning Point: How Persons of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1994.
Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.
For more in depth treatment of mental health and training school units, see Steven J. Taylor, Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.