Buffalo State Hospital & Cemetery

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

Buffalo State Hospital served the counties of Erie and Niagara.
1916 Buffalo State Hospital
Buffalo State Hospital – OPACITY.
Roger Luther – New York State Asylum for the Insane – H.H.Richardson Complex.
The Buffalonian – The H.H. Richardson Complex (Buffalo Psychiatric Center).
The Richardson Olmsted Complex.
Risen from the Dead: Buffalo’s Richardson Olmsted Complex – New York States of Mind.
Olmsted In Buffalo – New York State Asylum for the Insane (Richardson-Olmsted Complex).

Buffalo State Hospital

Buffalo State Hospital

I’m not sure if Buffalo State Hospital had a cemetery, they may have used a public cemetery. If I had to guess, I would think deceased patients of the facility were buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

THE BLACK ROCK BURYING GROUND. – When the lands comprising the South Village of Black Rock were surveyed in 1804 or 1805, there were two blocks, Nos. 41 and 42, appropriated by the state for burial purposes. These, however, were
found to be too low, and hence not suitable; many, therefore carried their dead even to the “Franklin Square” ground; and when Black Rock village was incorporated, Col. William A. Bird, in behalf of the corporation, procured the exchange of those two lots for one situated on higher ground; being lot No. 88 on North street, since known
as the Black Rock Burying Ground. This lot was bounded by Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Fourteenth streets, and the mile strip or what is now “The Avenue.”

When the “Guide Board Road” (now North street) was worked through, this lot was cut in twain, and a small triangle was left on the south side, in the old limits of Buffalo City. This small lot, by an arrangement with the Black Rock authorities, was used as a Potter’s field for the unfortunates who died at the Poor-house; this building being a little to the west of it, next to the church of the Holy Angels, and now used for the Parish School. In this little spot of ground have been doubtless laid without a pitying eye to weep over their wreck, or a friendly hand to raise a tablet to their memory, as noble persons as have ever existed; but poverty and misfortune blighted their prospects, and they became dependents on the bounty of their fellow-creatures.

Many a time have I pondered over the unmarked hillocks here and thought what tales could be revealed were the history of the unknown and unnoted dead under my feet made up into a living record. But they were not permitted to rest in peace. The City of Buffalo a few years since fenced in the lot, and desecrated the spot by using it as a public pound. Could no other vacant place be found, that even a pauper might not be allowed to rest here without having his last hold on earth made the stamping place for vagrant cattle?

The main lot was used for years by the inhabitants of Black Rock; but burials having been discontinued for some time, the land was conveyed to that noble institution the Charity Foundation of the Episcopal Church. As in the Franklin Square and North Street Public Cemeteries there were no private lots here, but places were assigned by the authorities.

When the Forest Lawn Cemetery was established, in 1850, many families bought lots and removed their dead from this ground. Since then, in grading Rogers street many graves were dug up, and the bones collected and removed to Forest Lawn. And within the last few years, in grading “The Circle” which takes in most of this old burying ground, many more have been dug out and deposited there. More still remain which should be properly taken care of. Although I ever disapprove of the practice of our city rulers in disturbing and removing the bones from our old burying grounds, yet in this case it seems to be a matter of public necessity; and as part have been removed they may as well all be.”
SOURCE: 1879 Buffalo Cemeteries – William Hodge – Pages 8 & 9.

I have created a page for each state hospital and custodial institution cemetery that I know of in the hope that some group: historical societies, former patients, concerned citizens, may be interested in forming their own cemetery restoration, beautification group in order to memorialize and honor the people buried in anonymous, unmarked graves. Of course, we need the names of these people to be released in order to memorialize them properly.

What you would need to do first is to find the forgotten cemetery, take photographs (which I would be more than happy to post), and organize your own group. You can also leave comments on this page in order to get more people involved. This isn’t something that can be accomplished in a few weeks, this will take dedication, an ongoing commitment, and lots of time.

 

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3 thoughts on “Buffalo State Hospital & Cemetery

  1. I was able to put a headstone on the grave of my great Aunt Hattie, who was buried at the former Gowanda State Hospital in October 2014. I was very surprised at how easy it was to find out information on her.

    I first asked the Gowanda State Hospital for her medical records back in 1987. At that time the Gowanda State Hospital was still operating. I was pregnant and was having complications with that pregnancy so I asked for her medical records. She had been dead since 1965. After a few weeks I did receive detailed records of here stay at the State Hospital. I am sure laws have changed and I might have a difficult time today to receive those records. The records I received had a great deal of family history information that no one in my family was aware of.

    There is a list of former patients who are buried at the formed Gowanda State Hospital, which is now the Collins Correctional Facility, at the Gowanda/Collins history museum. There are also two hospital cemeteries.

    Good luck to all who are searching for those family members..

    The Gravestone that was placed on Aunt Hatties grave site reads:

    “Hattie”
    Hedwig Krause
    Dec. 12. 1910 – June 30, 1965
    Born in Danzig Germany
    Daughter of August & Anna
    Dombrowski Krause

    Rest in peace Aunt Hattie, your family hasn’t forgotten you.

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  2. I’ve been researching the Buffalo State Hospital for years. They, unfortunately, don’t have a burial grounds. There are a few patients buried in Forest Lawn, but they’re in family plots. 😦 Although, the state did try and obtain burial plots in Forest Lawn in 1901, for some strange reason, it didn’t go through. It’s so hard finding where they were buried. 😦

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