1896 State Care System Complete

WILL COMPLETE THE STATE-CARE SYSTEM.

The Governor has approved the bill creating the Manhattan State Hospital and providing for the transfer of the lunatic asylums of this city and the care of their inmates to the State. Thirty days are allowed for carrying its provisions into effect, and then the system for the State care and maintenance of the dependent insane will be completed, save for perfecting the accommodations and facilities required.

Sixty years ago all the indigent insane in this State whose friends or relatives could not or would not take care of them were sent to the county poorhouses. The care they got and the condition of their wretched loves may be imagined. In 1836 the State hospital at Utica was established for the reception and treatment of acute cases of insanity only. Nearly thirty years later, in 1865, the movement originated by the State Medical Society for the State care of the chronic insane was carried to partial success by the establishment of the Willard State Hospital. That was a formal adoption of the State-care policy, and was followed by the opening of the Hudson River Hospital, at Poughkeepsie, and the Homeopathic Hospital, at Middletown, in 1871, the Buffalo State Hospital in 1880, and the Binghamton State Hospital in 1881.

Instead of fully carrying out the policy thus adopted, the Legislature began to exempt one county after another from the operation of the act of 1865 and to permit them to retain the milder cases. It caused a relapse in about a third of the counties of the State to the old poorhouse system, with all its horrors. This was deprecated by the State Board of Charities, the Commission in Lunacy, and the State Charities Aid Association, and many reports and recommendations were made in favor of completing the State-care system and transferring all the dependent insane to the State hospitals, whose accommodations and facilities should be enlarged correspondingly. It was in 1886 that the State Charities Aid Association took the first active steps in formulating a plan and preparing for legislation. Its first bill was introduced in 1888 and was defeated. It was defeated again in 1889, but in 1890 it had rallied public opinion to its support with so much effect that the State Care bill was carried through both houses, in the face of vigorous opposition from county authorities, and was approved by the Governor. The same year the St. Lawrence Hospital was completed.

The act of 1890 established the hospital districts and placed the administration of the system in charge of the Lunacy Commission and the first special appropriation f $454,850 was made in 1891. This was for enlarging the facilities of the existing hospitals and preparing for the reception of patients from the county asylums and poorhouses. The three counties of Monroe, Kings, and New-York had been exempted from the operation of the act because they had adequate institutions of their own, but provision was made for bringing them into the system by their own voluntary action upon the transfer of their asylum property to the State. Monroe County took advantage of this in 1891, and her asylum was reorganized as the Rochester State Hospital. The first appropriation for maintenance of the system by a special tax levy was made in 1893, and amounted to $1,300,000, and by the beginning of 1894 the transfer from poorhouses and the miserable “asylums” of counties was completed.

New-York and Kings still remained outside the State system, though they had to contribute their share of the special tax for its support. This payment was contested by New-York, but not by Kings, and last year the act was passed which took possession of the Kings County institution at St. Johnland and made of it the Long Island State Hospital. The bill effecting the corresponding result for this city would have become a law then also, except for the litigation over the unpaid arrears of State taxes and the condition imposed in the bill of their payment and the abandonment of the suit then pending on appeal. A short time ago the litigation was ended, and now the Manhattan State Hospital act is a law of the State. This will bring the dependent insane of the whole State, now numbering 18,898, under one uniform, enlightened, and effective system of care and maintenance.

For this gratifying result much credit is due to the State Charities Aid Association and the Commission in Lunacy, which worked persistently and zealously together for years, and the completion of the system will redound to the honor of the State of New-York.

SOURCE: Reprinted from The New York Times. Published January 30, 1896. Copyright @ The New York Times.

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1893 New York State Asylum Directory

CHAPTER 32.
ASYLUM DIRECTORY.

STATE HOSPITAL SYSTEM.

UTICA STATE HOSPITAL – Utica, Oneida County.
G. Alder Blumer, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
One mile from the New York Central, the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western, and the Ontario and Western railway stations. Accessible, every fifteen minutes, by New York Mills or Whitesboro electric cars. Stop at Cross or Jason streets. Telephone, No. 118.

WILLARD STATE HOSPITAL – Willard, Seneca County. 
Theodore H. Kellogg, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Accessible, from the east, by New York Central and Hudson River railway (Auburn branch from Syracuse to Geneva); from the west, via New York Central and Hudson River railway, from Rochester (Auburn branch) to Geneva, or via Philadelphia and Reading railway (Lehigh Valley division); from the north, Lyons to Geneva, via Philadelphia and Reading railway (Lehigh Valley division) and Fall Brook railway, from Geneva, via steamers of the Seneca Lake Steam Navigation Company, or by Philadelphia and Reading railway (Lehigh Valley division); from the south, via the Philadelphia and Reading railway (Lehigh Valley division), or by Seneca Lake Steam Navigation Company. Local telephone.

HUDSON RIVER STATE HOSPITAL – Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County.
C. W. Pilgrim, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
The hospital is located two miles north of the New York Central railway station at Poughkeepsie. Carriages may be procured at the station, and a public conveyance runs regularly to and from the hospital, connecting with the principal trains. The hospital may also be reached by the West Shore railway ferry from Highland station to Poughkeepsie, and by the Philadelphia, Reading and New England railway (Poughkeepsie Bridge route). Conveyances may be procured from Parker avenue station. Telephone call, “Hudson River State Hospital.”

MIDDLETOWN STATE HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITAL – Middletown, Orange County.
Selden H. Talcott, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Middletown is sixty-six miles from New York city, and may be reached by the following railways: New York, Lake Erie and Western; New York, Ontario and Western, and New York, Susquehanna and Western. The hospital is reached by several omnibus lines. Public carriages may also be had at the station. Telephone No. 41.

BUFFALO STATE HOSPITAL – Buffalo, Erie County. 
J. B. Andrews, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
The institution is three and a half miles from the New York Central railway station, and is accessible by street cars, namely trolley line on Niagara street, trolley line on Main street, of horse cars through Elmwood avenue. Telephone No. 1235 D.

BINGHAMTON STATE HOSPITAL – Binghamton, Broome County.
Charles G. Wagner, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Located on the lines of the Erie, Delaware, Lackawanna and Western, and Delaware and Hudson railways. Electric cars leave corner of Court and Washington streets, near all railway stations, every fifteen minutes, between 6 A. M. and 10 P. M. Telephone No. 553.

ST. LAWRENCE STATE HOSPITAL – Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County. 
P. M. Wise, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Located three and one-half miles from center of Ogdensburg, on the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg and Central Vermont railways. Accessible by omnibus from Seymour house, four times daily. Public carriages may also be obtained at railway stations. Telephone call, ” State Hospital.”

ROCHESTER STATE HOSPITAL – Rochester, Monroe County. 
E. H. Howard, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Two miles from railway stations. Accessible by electric cars of the South and Lake avenue line. Telephone No. 124 I.

MATTEAWAN STATE HOSPITAL – Matteawan, Dutchess County.
(For insane criminals only.)
Post-office and railroad station, Fiskill-on-the-Hudson.
H. E. Allison, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Fifty-eight miles from New York city, on the New York Central and Hudson River railway. It is also accessible by the West Shore railway and the Erie, to Newburg; thence by ferry to Fiskill-on-the-Hudson. The institution may be reached by an electric railway, which runs within three-quarters of a mile from the Hudson River railway station; also public conveyances at the station. Telephone call, “State Asylum.”

EXEMPTED COUNTY SYSTEM.

NEW YORK CITY ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE.
A. E. MacDonald, M. D., General Superintendent New York City Asylums.
Post-office address, Station F, New York city.
All official communication with regard to the New York City Asylums for the Insane, should be addressed to the general superintendent. Ferry tickets and railroad tickets (at reduced rates, to those entitled to same) and permits for admission can be obtained only at the office of the Department of Public Charities and Correction, 66 Third Avenue, cor. Eleventh street.

WARD’S ISLAND ASYLUM.
W. A. Macy, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Accessible by department boats, from foot of East Twenty-sixth street, 10.30 A. M.; also by steam ferry, on even hours, from foot of 115th street. Telephone, 420-18.

BLACKWELL’S ISLAND ASYLUM.
E. C. Dent, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Accessible by department boat from foot of East Twenty-sixth street 10.30 A. M.; also by ferries from foot of Fifty-second and Seventy-eighth streets, running hourly. Telephone 1028-18.

HART’S ISLAND ASYLUM.
Geo. A. Smith, M. D., Acting Medical Superintendent.
Accessible by department boats from foot of East Twenty-sixth street 11.30 A. M.

CENTRAL ISLIP ASYLUM – Central Islip, Long Island.
(Branch of New York city asylums.)
H. C. Evarts, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Accessible by trains on the Long Island railway; surface and elevated roads from Grand Central station to Thirty-fourth street ferry, connecting with Long Island City station of Long Island railway. No telephone. Telegraph Central Islip, L. I.

KINGS COUNTY LUNATIC ASYLUM – Flatbush, Long Island.
W. E. Sylvester, M. D., General Superintendent.
Three miles from Brooklyn; accessible by street car from East Twenty-third street and Fulton ferries. Telephone No. 68, Flatbush. All official communications with regard to the Kings County Asylums should be addressed to W. E. Sylvester, M. D., General Superintendent, Flatbush, L. I.

KINGS COUNTY FARM – Kings Park, Long Island.
(Branch of Kings County Lunatic Asylum).
Oliver M. Dewing, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Forty-five miles from New York city; accessible by trains on the Long Island railway; surface and elevated roads from Grand Central station, New York, to Thirty-fourth street ferry, connecting with Long Island City station of the Long Island railway; also from Flatbush avenue station, via Jamaica, Long Island railway. No telephone. Telegraph, Kings Park, one mile distant.

LICENSED PRIVATE ASYLUM SYSTEM.

BLOOMINGDALE ASYLUM – One Hundred And Seventeenth Street, New York City. Between Amsterdam avenue and Boulevard.
S. B. Lyon, M. D., Medical Superintendent.
Accessible by Boulevard cars, or Elevated railway, to One Hundred and Fourth street and Amsterdam avenue cars. Number of patients 300. This institution receives and treats, gratuitously, a small number of indigent insane of New York city, and receives a considerable number of acute and hopeful cases, which pay only part of their expenses. It will be removed to “White Plains before October, 1894. Telephone No. 714, Harlem, New York City.

PROVIDENCE RETREAT – Buffalo, Erie County.
Under the charge of the Sisters of Charity.
Floyd S. Crego, M. D., Consulting Physician.
Harry A. Wood, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Located on Main street, corner of Steele. Distance from Union railway station, four miles. Accessible by electric street car line. Number of patients limited to 125. Minimum rate for care and treatment of private patients, six dollars per week. Telephone No. 791, M.

MARSHALL INFIRMARY – Troy, Rensselaer County.
J. D. Lomax, M. D., Physician in Charge.
One mile from Union Railway station. Accessible by electric street car, from Congress street. Number of patients limited to 130. Minimum rate for care and treatment of private patients, five dollars per week. Telephone call, “Marshall Infirmary.”

LONG ISLAND HOME – Amityville, Long Island.
O. J. Wilsey, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Thirty-two miles from New York. Accessible by Montauk division of Long Island railway; ferry from East Thirty-fourth street, New York. Only a short distance from railway station. Number of patients limited to 114. Minimum rate ten dollars per week. No telephone.

BRIGHAM HALL HOSPITAL – Canandaigua, Ontario County.
D. R. Burrell, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Situated on Bristol street, one mile from the New York Central and Northern Central railway station. Accessible by public carriages, always to be found at the station. Number of patients limited to seventy-eight. Minimum rate, ten dollars per week. Telephone No. 35, or “Brigham Hall.”

ST. VINCENT’S RETREAT – Harrison, Westchester County.
H. Ernst Schmid, M. D., Attending Physician, White Plains.
John J. Lewis, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Under management of the Sisters of Charity; for women only. Fifty minutes from New York on the New York and New Haven railway. Trains leave the Grand Central station, New York city, for Harrison, every hour from 9 A. M. to 7 P. M. Number of patients limited to sixty. Minimum rate, $10 per week. All official communications should be addressed to the physician in charge. Telephone No. 30, White Plains.

WALDEMERE – Mamaroneck, Westchester County.
E. N. Carpenter, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Forty minutes from New York on the New York, New Haven and Hartford railway. Trains leave Grand Central station, New York, every hoar for Mamaroneck. Waldemere is one mile from station, where public carriages may be found. Number of patients limited to eighteen. Minimum rate, $25 per week. No telephone.

SANFORD HALL – Flushing, Long Island.
J. W. Barstow, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Willett S. Brown, M. D., Assistant Physician.
Institution situated about one-half mile from Long Island railway station and accessible by public carriage. Going from Brooklyn, take Greenpoint or crosstown street car to Long Island City, thence on Long Island railway. Number of patients limited to thirty-six. Minimum rate, $25 per week. Telephone, Flushing 17 A.

BREEZEHURST TERRACE – Whitestone, Long Island.
D. A. Harrison, M. D., Physician in Charge.
John A. Arnold, M. D., Assistant Physician.
Accessible from New York city from East Thirty-fourth street ferry, via Long Island railway. Trains run every hour to Whitestone; time, thirty minutes. May also be reached by driving, via East Ninety-ninth street ferry to College Point, from which place it is about one and one-half miles. Going from Brooklyn, take the Greenpoint or crosstown street car to Long Island City. In taking patients from Brooklyn it is better to drive, as it only requires a little more than one hour via Grand street to Newtown, thence through Flushing to Whitestone. Number of patients limited to nineteen. Minimum rate, $20 per week. No telephone.

DR. WELLS’ SANITARIUM FOR MENTAL DISEASES.
945 St. Maek’s Avenue, Brooklyn.
Between Kingston and Albany avenues.
T. L. Wells, M. D., Physician in Charge.
The Sanitarium may be reached by the Bergen street car line, the Atlantic avenue railway or elevated railway from Brooklyn bridge. Stop at Albany avenue station of elevated road. Number limited to sixteen women patients. Minimum rate $10 per week. Telephone No. 69, Bedford.

DR. PARSONS’ HOME.
Sing Sing, Westchester County.
R. L. Parsons, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Location, one mile from New York Central station. Public carriages may be hired at the station. Number limited to twelve. Minimum rate, $75 per week, which includes all extras. No telephone.

DR. CHOATE’S HOME.
Pleasantville, Westchester County.
G. C. S. Choate, M. D., Physician in Charge.
One mile from Pleasantville station on Harlem railway, and two miles from Whitsons station of New York and Northern railway. New York Central trains stop at Tarrytown, six miles distant. Pleasantville is thirty miles north of New York city. Number limited to ten. Minimum rate, $75 per week, including all extras. No telephone communication.

DR. COMBES’ SANITARIUM.
Wood Haven, Long Island.
H. Elliott, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Best reached by Brooklyn elevated trains, from Brooklyn bridge, or East Twenty-third street ferry to Ridgewood, thence by Richmond Hill surface car to Flushing avenue, Wood Haven. Sanitarium two minutes walk to the right. Also easily accessible from Brooklyn, by carriage, via Myrtle avenue, to Flushing avenue, Wood Haven. One mile from Wood Haven Junction station, on the Long Island Railway. Number of patients limited to thirty-four. Minimum rate $10 per week. Telephone No. 7,1, East New York.

GLENMARY – Owego, Tioga County.
(Homeopathic.)
J. T. Greenleaf, M. D., Physician in Charge.
E. E. Snyder, M. D., Consulting Physician.
Three-fourths of a mile from railway stations, where public carriages may be obtained. Accessible by New York, Lake Erie and Western and by Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railways, and Southern Central Division, Lehigh Valley railway. Number of patients limited to fifty. Minimum rate, ten dollars per week. Telephone call, ” Glenmary.”

FALKIRK – Central Valley, Orange County.
James F. Ferguson, M. D., Physician in Charge.
David H. Sprague, M. D., Associate Physician.
One mile from Central Valley station, on Newburg branch of New York, Lake Erie and Western railway, forty-seven miles from New York city. Number of patients limited to thirty-four. Minimum rate, twenty dollars per week. Telephone, “Falkirk.”

VERNON HOUSE – Bronxville, Westchester County.
William D. Granger, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Post-office and telegraph, Bronxville. Accessible by the New Haven railway, to Mt. Vernon, or by Harlem railroad to Bronxville. Public carriages may be obtained at railway station. Number of patients limited to sixteen. Minimum rate, thirty-five dollars per week. No telephone.

THE PINES – Auburn, Cayuga County.
Frederick Sefton, M. D., Physician in Charge.
Accessible by the Auburn branch of the New York Central and Hudson River railway, and the Southern Central division of the Lehigh Valley railway. A little over three hours by rail from Rochester, four from Albany and Buffalo, seven from New York city. Number of patients limited to twelve. Minimum rate, twenty dollars per week. Telephone No. 261.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the Department of Mental Hygiene, State Commission In Lunacy, Fifth Annual Report, October 1, 1892, to September 30, 1893, Transmitted To The Legislature April 27, 1894, Volume 5, Part VII., Chapter 32, Asylum Directory, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer 1894, Pages 675 – 685.

1899 A Hospital Quarantined. Diphtheria Breaks Out at the Willard State Institution.

A Hospital Quarantined.
Diphtheria Breaks Out at the Willard State Institution.

Geneva, N.Y., July 5. – The Willard State Hospital, situated at Willard, N.Y., twenty miles south of Geneva, is more or less rigidly quarantined as a result of an epidemic of diphtheria, with which both patients and employes alike are afflicted. The authorities of the hospital state that, although it is a mild type of the disease, they deem it necessary to put the buildings and all those connected with the institution under quarantine.

Antitoxin has been freely used, and the authorities of the hospital now believe that they have the infection under control. No fatal cases have as yet been reported. Visitors are not allowed to visit patients, and will not be until conditions are considerably improved. It cannot be learned how many cases of the disease there are at the hospital. The cause of the breaking out of the disease cannot be accounted for as far as can be learned. The hospital is managed by a Board of Trustees of which ex-Senator S.H. Hammond of this city is the President.

SOURCE: The New York Times. Published: July 6, 1899, Copyright @ The New York Times

1886 An Insane Physician. Driven Crazy By The Loss Of His Books And Instruments.

An Insane Physician.
Driven Crazy By The Loss Of His Books And Instruments.

Elmira, N.Y., Jan 6. – Dr. Henry S. Dimock, for several years a physician at Grove Springs, a fashionable Summer resort on Keuka Lake, who for some time has been the medical adviser at Crystal Springs, and who will be remembered by many people of New-York, as well as those of Western cities, has become violently insane, and this evening was taken to Willard Asylum. On the 20th of last month he lost all his books and instruments by the burning of the hotel at Crystal Springs, and the loss so preyed on his mind that last Sunday night he stole a horse and carriage from Benson Smith, of Crystal Springs, and drove the animal to Penn Yan. He told the people that he was a Pinkerton detective and was after the man who set the hotel on fire. He insisted on making a clothier open his store and sell him a suit of clothes, and after putting them on refused to pay for them or take them off. He was persuaded to disrobe, however, and then ran through the streets. He is 53 years old, and has a wife. His condition is thought to be beyond recovery.

SOURCE: The New York Times. Published: January 7, 1886, Copyright @ The New York Times

1914 Destroy Bad Food Of State Asylums

DESTROY BAD FOOD OF STATE ASYLUMS
Shocking Conditions Found by Federal Inspectors in a Sweeping Inquiry.
FIRE PERIL IN FLATBUSH
Condition “Bordering on Savagery” at Binghamton
Milk from Tubercular Cows at Poughkeepsie.
Special to The New York Times.

ALBANY, May 8. – For eighteen months, according to information received to-day by Commissioner John H. Delaney of the Department of Efficiency and Economy, the insane patients of the Hudson River State Hospital at Poughkeepsie were supplied with milk from tubercular cows belonging to the institution and purchased with the State’s money. Mr. Delaney learned that in that period twenty-three gravely afflicted milch cows of the hospital’s own herd were condemned.

An investigation at once will be made by Commissioner Delaney to ascertain whether the animals were suffering from tuberculosis when they were purchased or whether the disease developed among them after they became the property of the institution.

The State Hospital Commission, which is responsible for the management of the State Hospitals for the Insane, has as yet made no official answer to the accusations contained in the reports of Inspectors of the Department of Efficiency and Economy. It was learned to-day, however, that when an inspection of the food supply at the various institutions was made some weeks ago by experts from the Bureau of Animal Industry of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Hospital Commission started to make some inquiries about conditions at the fourteen institutions under its supervision.

According to information obtained to-day complaints were received from several institutions regarding the quality of the beef after the commission contracted for a three months’ supply of Argentine beef. Inspector Phillips then urged the commission to have an inquiry made by two Federal Inspectors, and his advice was followed.

The reports of these inspectors have been in the hands of the State Hospital Commission since early in April, but have not been made pubic. The inspectors reported deplorable conditions at nearly every institution they visited.

At the Utica State Hospital the Federal inspectors were compelled to order the destruction of a large quantity of lard used in the making of bread because it was rancid. The bakery at the institution, they said, was “unclean beyond belief.” The floor and walls they found “in a vile state.” Conditions, they said, were “a grave menace to employes and inmates of the institution.”

They found 500 pounds of pork and seven carcasses of mutton which were unfit for food. After discovering that forty dozen of eggs out of a total supply of seventy-five dozen were decayed, they were informed by the kitchen employes that it had been the practice to feed the patients with such eggs.

At the Buffalo State Hospital the Inspectors ordered the destruction of meat unfit for human consumption; at Central Islip they condemned eggs and 200 pounds of beef; at Willard a barrel of fat, intended, it was asserted, for cooking purposes, was condemned.

Similar conditions were reported at the Binghamton State Hospital. A condition described as “bordering on savagery” was found by the Federal Inspectors in the storeroom of the Mohansic State Hospital at Yorktown Heights. At the Rochester State Hospital the inspectors ordered the entire supply of eggs on hand, 320 dozen, destroyed as unfit for food. A supply of bacon and beef in the storeroom, the inspectors said, should not be used for food. Employees at the Middletown State Hospital told the inspectors most of the eggs used for the patients at the institution were decayed.

Commissioner Delaney said to-day that reports from investigators of this department who have been inquiring into conditions at the Long Island State Hospital in Flatbush show “dreadful” conditions at that institution. The investigation of the Efficiency and Economy Department thus far has been confined to the mechanical equipment of the hospital, but Federal Inspectors have made inquiries regarding the food.

The Federal Inspectors report that many of the eggs at this institution are classified in the trade as “rots” and “spots” and “weak and cloudy” eggs. Employes said that the grade of eggs furnished to the institution was extremely poor. The Federal Inspectors found 200 pounds of moldy bacon and two tubs of rancid lard.

An engineer employed by the Department of Efficiency and Economy found the floors and ceilings of the institution in a bad and dangerous condition. The menace to the inmates in case of fire, the engineer said, was very grave, owing to a defective fire alarm system and improperly marked stairways and exits. The sanitary conditions of the institution the expert called “a mockery” of conditions that should obtain.

SOURCE: The New York Times, Published: May 9, 1914, Copyright @ The New York Times

1864 The Willard Asylum and Provisions For The Insane – County Poor House Investigation

THE WILLARD ASYLUM, AND PROVISION FOR THE INSANE. 

By an Act of the New York Legislature, passed on the 30th day of April, 1864, the Secretary of the State Medical Society was authorized to investigate the condition of the insane poor in the various poor-houses, alms-houses, insane asylums, and other institutions, where the insane poor are kept, not including, however, such institutions as are now required by law to report to the Legislature of the State.

The law directed the Secretary to arrange a series of questions, such as in his judgment would be likely to elicit the greatest amount of information on this subject, procure them printed, and transmit them to each county judge in the State. It directed the county judge, on the reception thereof, to appoint a competent physician, a resident of the county, to visit the county poor-house, or institution where the insane poor are kept, and to examine into the condition and treatment of the insane inmates, and to transmit the result of the investigation to the Secretary, who was thereupon directed to condense the information so received and report the same to the Legislature.

Dr. Willard, the Secretary of the Medical Society, entered at once upon the service assigned him, and the following January his report was presented to the Legislature. This document bears ample testimony to the earnestness, fidelity, and zeal with which the author executed the duties of his commission; and although he died, prematurely and lamented, before the passage of the law creating a new institution for the insane, a grateful commonwealth has perpetuated his memory and name in the Willard Asylum for the Insane.

The leading features of the law, passed by the last Legislature, authorizing the establishment of a State Asylum for the chronic insane, and for the better care of the insane poor, are as follows:

It provides for the appointment, by the Governor, of three Commissioners to select, contract for, and purchase a suitable site for the building, -said site to be first sought for in any property owned by the State, or upon which it has a lien; the construction, by the Commissioners, of suitable asylum buildings, or the modification of buildings already erected and not occupied for other State purposes; the appointment by the Governor of seven trustees, who shall have power to appoint a medical superintendent, one assistant physician, a steward and a matron, and adopt the necessary by-laws for the government of the asylum, and fix the rate per week, not exceeding two dollars, for the board of patients, and, with the approbation of the Governor, designate the counties from which the chronic pauper insane shall be sent to the said asylum.

The chronic pauper insane from the poor-houses of the counties thus designated, shall be sent to the said asylum by the county superintendents of the poor, and all chronic insane pauper patients who may be discharged, not recovered, from the State Lunatic Asylum at Utica, and who continue a public charge, shall be sent to the asylum for the insane hereby created.

The county judges and superintendents of the poor in every county of the State, except those counties having asylums for the insane, to which they are now authorized to send such insane patients by special legislative enactments, are hereby required to send all indigent or pauper insane coming under their jurisdiction, who shall have been insane less than one year, to the State Lunatic Asylum at Utica.

Seventy-five thousand dollars are hereby appropriated for the purpose of carrying into execution the provisions of this act. The asylum hereby created shall be known as the Willard Asylum for the Insane.”

SOURCE: American Journal Of Insanity, October 1865, Pages 1-5.
Obituary 1865 Dr. S.D. Willard
Obituary 1918 Dr. J.B. Chapin
The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900, A Genealogy Resource.
New York State County Poor Houses.

Mental Illness & Ignorance

I am the first to admit that I didn’t have a clue about what mental illness really is, and I have never claimed to be an expert on this issue, because I am not. When I discovered that my great-grandmother was sent to Willard State Hospital at the end of her life, it made my stomach flip and I felt overwhelming sadness. I remember reading her obituary over and over again to see if I had read it correctly. I even asked myself, could there be another state hospital at Willard that wasn’t a mental institution? Did she really die there? Why was she sent there? What was her diagnoses? Before I lose your attention, let me explain who was sent to Willard so that you will no longer be uneducated, unaware, or uninformed. Anyone who was not considered “normal” was sent to Willard including the elderly with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Remember, there really were no nursing homes until the 1950s. Others were Hearing Impaired, had Developmental Disabilities, were Trauma Victims including Victims of Domestic Violence and Rape (back then they called it “Seducer’s Victim”), had PTSD (Soldier’s Heart & Shell Shock), Menopausal Women, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Brain Injuries, Stroke Victims, Epilepsy, Neurological Disorders, Psychiatric Disorders, and some were locked up because of their sexual orientation, personal beliefs, and religious beliefs.

You have to ask yourself, why are we so ignorant on this issue? Why are we receiving the great majority of mental health information from television commercials put out by the pharmaceutical companies and Dr. Phil? God Bless Him! Why is the jail at Riker’s Island being used as the largest mental health facility in the country? This is how we used to treat the mentally ill 150 years ago. When we pay our taxes which is a huge burden on the people of New York State, we assume that the people appointed to these high paying positions are actually doing their jobs and taking care of the people they are supposed to be advocating for; those who need the most help. Obviously, this is not the case and this abuse of the public trust needs to end.

Are burial records available to the public? Yes, but you would have to sit in the town clerk’s office and pull out each record that applies to that county’s particular state hospital or custodial institution. If you post their names online, you run the risk of being charged $10,000 for each violation, or each person. It would be much easier to record this information from each institution’s burial ledgers. Is it ridiculous that the Office of Mental Health classified burial records from state facilities as medical records? Yes. Were they really protecting the identities of former patients? No. In every correspondence that I received, it was made crystal clear that this was done to protect the families because some may find it offensive. Not only has the OMH insulted families and descendants of these people who were buried in anonymous graves, they have contributed to the stigma. They need to step out of the way, focus on the living, and hand over the burial ledgers to cemetery groups and responsible volunteers who will get the job done at NO cost to the state. Our ancestors and our families have nothing to be ashamed of! That would be like being ashamed of heart disease or diabetes. Putting names on a memorial, headstone, or list, should not be offensive to anyone, unless, of course, you are ignorant.

“I Got A Name” by Jim Croce
Abused and Used – New York Times
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees

The list of these former New York State Hospitals includes but is not limited to: BinghamtonBuffaloCentral IslipDannemoraEdgewoodGowandaHudson RiverKings ParkLong IslandManhattanMatteawanMiddletownMohansicPilgrimRochesterSt. LawrenceSyracuseUtica, and Willard. The Feeble-Minded and Epileptic Custodial Institutions of New York includes but is not limited to: Craig Colony for EpilepticsLetchworth Village for Epileptics & Developmentally DisabledNewark State School for Developmentally Disabled WomenRome State School for Developmentally Disabled Adults & Children, and Syracuse State School for Developmentally Disabled Children. There may be more.

A Day at Willard Cemetery 5.18.2013

On Saturday, May 18, 2013, I visited the Willard Cemetery for a second time. This was the day of the annual Willard Tour that benefits a day care center on the old Willard property. Hundreds of people attended the tour and a good crowd gathered at the cemetery. Quite a bit has changed since my first visit on May 14, 2011, when the grass was up to my knees and no one was there but me, my husband, and two of our friends. It was a very sad place. The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project was formed by Colleen Kelly Spellecy in 2011. She has done a fabulous job organizing the group, having a sign installed at the entrance, raising awareness about the project, getting the cemetery lawn mowed, and collecting donations. I was happy to see so many concerned people at the cemetery.

Now there is hope, not only for the Willard Cemetery but for all state hospital and custodial institution cemeteries across the State of New York. A bill was introduced to the NYS Legislature in March 2012 and was re-introduced on January 18, 2013 as S2514-2013. If this bill becomes law, then the names of our forgotten ancestors will be released. They will finally be honored and remembered with dignity. This bill specifically addresses the “burial records” issue. Although HIPAA has stepped out of the way to allow individual states to release “medical records” 50 years after a patient has died, I am not sure if this issue was specifically addressed in this bill. Let’s take one step at a time and be grateful for what is in the works right now! Anyone who has ever dealt with the New York State Office of Mental Health in trying to obtain any type of information on an ancestor, whether it concerns asking where they are buried or obtaining a medical record, knows how arrogant and non-responsive they are unless you have a Ph.D. after your name. This needs to change.

Another fact that people don’t realize is that the great majority, if not all, of these historical cemeteries are “inactive” which means no one else will be buried there. I hope that ALL names are released including more recent burials. For example, when Willard closed in 1995, a gentleman was transferred to another facility. When he died in 2000, he asked to be buried in the Willard Cemetery because this was his home. Who will be here in 2050 to add this man’s name to a headstone or memorial? Who allowed these cemeteries to become forgotten?

Who was sent to Willard? Anyone who was not considered “normal” including the elderly with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Remember, there really were no nursing homes until the 1950s. Others were Hearing Impaired, had Developmental Disabilities, were Trauma Victims including Victims of Domestic Violence and Rape (back then they called it “Seducer’s Victim”), had PTSD (Soldier’s Heart & Shell Shock), Menopausal Women, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Brain Injuries, Stroke Victims, Epilepsy, Neurological Disorders, Psychiatric Disorders, and some were locked up because of their sexual orientation, personal beliefs, and religious beliefs. These people, their families, and descendants, have nothing to be ashamed of. That would be like being ashamed of heart disease or diabetes. Putting names on a memorial, headstone, or list, should not be offensive to anyone.

Also attending the tour on this day was Seth Voorhees, Senior Reporter for the Time Warner Cable news channel YNN that serves Rochester and the Finger Lakes. Mr. Voorhees was genuinely interested in my mission to get this law passed in New York and offered me the opportunity of an interview. Although I am not a public speaker, I jumped at the chance to get the word out to a larger audience. I can’t thank him enough for all the time he spent putting this video report together. This piece aired on YNN, Saturday, May 25, 2013. I also need to thank Senator Joseph E. Robach for drafting and introducing the bill to the New York State Legislature. I hope this piece will raise awareness about the anonymous graves issue as this was never about patient confidentiality, it’s about respect.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees.
Not Forgotten by Colleen Spellecy.

The list of these former New York State Hospitals includes but is not limited to: BinghamtonBuffaloCentral IslipDannemoraEdgewoodGowandaHudson RiverKings ParkLong IslandManhattanMatteawanMiddletownMohansicPilgrimRochesterSt. LawrenceSyracuseUtica, and Willard.

The Feeble-Minded and Epileptic Custodial Institutions of New York includes but is not limited to: Craig Colony for EpilepticsLetchworth Village for Epileptics & Developmentally DisabledNewark State School for Developmentally Disabled WomenRome State School for Developmentally Disabled Adults & Children, and Syracuse State School for Developmentally Disabled Children. There may be more.

Seth Voorhees & Lin Stuhler 5.18.2013

Seth Voorhees & Lin Stuhler 5.18.2013

Roger Luther from nysAsylum.com & Lin Stuhler 5.18.2013

Roger Luther from nysAsylum.com & Lin Stuhler 5.18.2013

Colleen Spellecy, Craig Williams, Lin Stuhler 5.18.2013

Colleen Spellecy, Craig Williams, Lin Stuhler 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery Sign 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery Sign 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery Memorial Project 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery Memorial Project 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 5.18.2013

Old Metal Marker 5.18.2013

Old Metal Marker 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 5.18.2013

This photo is of the Civil War Veterans Section of the cemetery. They were provided with clearly inscribed headstones from the government. Colleen discovered that a few of them were not “inmates” of Willard but were residents of the town. I wonder how many other United States Veterans who served their country with honor but ended up at Willard are buried here among the 5,776 in anonymous graves?

Willard Cemetery Memorial Project

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees

Between 1869 and 1890, Willard Asylum for the “Chronic” Insane served the entire State of New York with the exception of New York, Kings, and Monroe Counties. After 1890, Willard State Hospital served the counties of Allegany, Cayuga, Genesee, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne, and Yates.
1916 Willard State Hospital.
Not Forgotten by Colleen Spellecy.
Transcribed Interview with Gunter Mingus and Mike Huff at Willard Cemetery – 9.26.2013 – by Colleen Spellecy.

Willard Cemetery

Willard Cemetery

Willard Cemetery Memorial Project “has grown out of the concern for the 5,776 Willard patients that are buried in unnamed and unremembered graves at Willard Cemetery, Willard, New York, as well as those buried at Ovid Union Cemetery in “Patients Row” and unmarked patients in Holy Cross Cemetery.”

Committee Members include Colleen Kelly Spellecy: Chairperson; Yvonne Greule: President Romulus Historical Museum; Janet Brown: Advocate for Memorial; Sheila Reynolds: Secretary Ovid Union Cemetery; Paulette Likoudis: Trustee Lodi Whittier Library; Gail Snyder: Town of Ovid Historian Advisory Board; Peg Ellsworth: Past President Romulus Historical Society; and Diane Valerio: Chaplain American Legion.

Colleen has done a fabulous job organizing this project: getting the cemetery lawn mowed, creating awareness about the project, collecting donations, and getting a sign installed to let people know that this is a cemetery. She has worked very hard on this project and I know that she will see it through until it is completed! I am sure that as this project progresses this group will need volunteers. Please contact Colleen Spellecy at: cspellecy@rochester.rr.com to find out more information. To make a donation or to find out what you can do to help, please visit Willard Cemetery Memorial Project. Thank you for your interest!

More Information To Come!
Willard Cemetery 2 - 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 2 – 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 3 - 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 3 – 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 4 - 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 4 – 5.18.2013

Notes & Insights from Craig Williams – Willard Cemetery

Here are some wonderful notes, used with permission, from Craig Williams, Curator of History at the New York State Museum at Albany, concerning the burial ledgers of the Willard State Hospital Cemetery, and Ovid Union Cemetery. Mr. Williams is an expert on the history of the Willard Asylum and has always been more than willing to share his vast knowledge on the subject. He has provided me with maps, old photographs, answered my numerous questions, and filled in the gaps with insight that only comes from years of experience. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Mr. Williams for all the help he has given to me!

NYS Museum Albany album b 154-2 Old Cemetery

NYS Museum Albany album b 154-2 Old Cemetery

“As you know, those records are now among the sealed materials…. sad, since back when they were at Willard, the staff were only to willing to help locate “lost” relatives by using those records… Often overlooked is the section of the Union Cemetery dedicated to Willard. I have a memory of being told that there were over two hundred burials there. I’ve always meant to check with the Cemetery to learn if they have a log of burials. In the inside cover of Willard’s first burial ledger, there is the handwritten note stating – “January 17th, 1876 – Trustees of Union Cemetery at Ovid, N.Y. made deed of lot 161 to Willard Asylum for the Insane. Deed deposited with J. B. Thomas, Treasurer, Consideration, $25. // Ganett W. Freligh, Pred’d’t // John C. Meddick, Treas.” The Willard burials that I know of at Union are along the east center edge, by the main road. The few formally marked (you can see many more depressions) date from the 1980s plus or minus. Could that location be Lot 161? Is there another section at Union where there are older Willard burials? There must have been a period in the 1980s when people were being buried at both cemeteries. I wonder how that was decided?”

“One of the things I noted in the burial ledgers were the fair number of people later removed by family or for other reasons (move to a Catholic cemetery, for instance), maybe a couple dozen over the hundred plus years? The Stock memo says 5,757 burials and there were several burials after that date. The last “regular” burial was on November 18, 1991 (not counting the 2000 burial). As you know, at the very end, there were two burials of lab specimens (including one fetus). From the four manuscript ledgers, I get 5,249 burials (not counting the two above) in the main (“Protestant”) section. The Soldiers Cemetery account shows 106 burials. A few of those (half dozen) may have been counted among the 5,249, being reinterred when that section was set up in April 1885. The last burial there seems to have been done on December 10, 1926. The Jewish cemetery (old and new), first used in January 1932, appears to have 202 burials. The old portion is where the monument now stands. The new is in the far northeast section of the cemetery. Catholic (old and new), first used in January 1959, seems to have 327 (including the 2000 burial of M). Added together, I get 5,884. I did not deduct the burials that were later removed…”

“That first burial ledger has a number of interesting clues. It lists the first burial as being done on 5 January 1870, not long after the Asylum’s opening. This cemetery was (I think) immediately north of the Branch (Grandview)… maybe in what is now parking lot or closer (under?) the current building?… By December 1873 there was already some confusion over the number of burials (85 by that time). In March 1875 a 71-year-old woman was buried, with a place of birth being listed as “Africa.” I note that since in some Upstate cemeteries separate sections were made for African-Americans…never the case at Willard.

The first burial at the new cemetery (on “Risings Hill”) was on July 3, 1875. She is listed as burial 123. On October 16, 1875, the ledger notes that “This day, John Hanlon (Sexton), finished transferring bodies from the old “Cemetery” to the new, on “Risings Hill.” He reports he had removed 119 bodies, and that bodies corresponding to Nos. 7, 27, 64 and 70 had been disinterred. // Alexander Nellis, Jr., Assistant Physician.” That comment on “disinterred” doesn’t actually match the records. They were all placed in “Form 1″ (Row 1?)…The July 3rd burial is the first one in Form 2 (Row 2?). Those rows were just north of Mocha’s shed. An implication of the removal to the new cemetery is that the old one had grave markers. Apparently, some things were overlooked. In the third cemetery ledger, in November 1898, there is the note of “Bones taken from new Branch” were put at the west end of Form 2. In 1897 and 1898 there was substantial regrading around the Branch. That work probably exposed the overlooked burial(s?).

The annual report for 1874 discusses the reasoning for the new cemetery. “Experience has demonstrated, that the present location of the cemetery is a bad one, though the most appropriate one on the asylum farm. It is inconvenient because of its distance (remember, the Asylum was still just Chapin Hall), from the nature of the soil, and it also interferes with the enlargement of the upper reservoir, which is indispensably necessary. We therefore desire to change the location. Twenty-five acres of land can be purchased a short distance north…”

“Obviously, the cemetery in the 19th-century only took up a small portion of the hill, the rest was probably used for farm purposes. The first engravings of that north edge of the Asylum land show what might be a bridge going across the ravine, the original entrance not being the current one. The Stock memo states “the current entrance was cut in and established because new more modern day vehicles could not cross the small culvert bridge. The story goes that the village mayor wanted the fire truck to be able to go in a parade down Main Street of Willard and enter the cemetery for ceremonies at the old Civil War cemetery site but could not because the bridge was too narrow. The new entrance was established. While doing this, some landscaping was required and the sharp embankment needed to be made more gradual. In that process, some heavy equipment was used and they proceeded to taper the hillside but had to stop when they began to strike some old grave sites.” The old entrance shows on the facility maps.

Just a couple other items from my notes from the cemetery ledgers. A note was made to the entry for a July 5, 1886, that a glass bottle with a person’s name was placed in the burial alongside the one whose name was so enclosed…. confusing, but implying that such identification practices happened early on. There are at least three references to infants being buried. One was from September 1896 and mentions a “Form A” location at the west end of Form (Row?) 1. Alongside a November 1880 burial entry is the note that the daughter was present at the burial of her mother. In the last ledger, especially from the 1940s on, there are frequent references to amputated limbs being buried in unrelated graves.”