“The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project chair Colleen Spellecy of Waterloo said the ceremonies will begin at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 16, 2015, at the cemetery, located near the east shore of Seneca Lake. It is being billed as a memorial celebration for all those interred at the cemetery in unmarked graves, with a special remembrance of Lawrence Mocha.” Two 3 hour tours of Willard will begin at 9:00am and 1:00pm with the Memorial Celebration at 11:00am.
Mocha was born June 23, 1878 in Austria. He emigrated to the United States in 1907, settling in New York City. He experienced some mental issues that ended up with him being sent to Willard in 1918. He stayed there until dying Oct. 26, 1968, at the age of 90.
During his 50 years at Willard, he dug more than 1,500 graves for his fellow patients. The cemetery operated from 1870 to 2000, and those who died at the psychiatric center, both with and without family, were buried in graves marked only by a number.”
SOURCE: Finger Lakes Times – March 22, 2015.
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic.
Willard Drug Treatment Campus – 7116 County Road 132, Willard, NY 14588.
Is there a way to determine how many inmates were Veterans?
Thank you for asking, Bob! The answer is, no. I think it is disgraceful that only a few Civil War vets have a headstone. Out of the 5,776 deceased buried in that cemetery, there has to be veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. My husband, who is a vet, tried to get some people interested in this national disgrace, but nothing came of it. Very, very sad! All of the deceased should have headstones or at the very least, their names, dates of birth and death, and location of grave, should be on a list available to the general public on the internet. Thanks for caring!! -Lin
I am a vet as well and retiree from the Bath VA. I spend quite a bit of time with the Ptriot Guard Riders at Veterand funerals. That group supports the Veterans Recovery Program which identifies unclaimed remains and ensures proper burial. I wonder if they could help?
Anything you could do to make the Veterans Recovery Program aware of the hundreds of veterans buried in anonymous graves in New York State Hospital Cemeteries would be greatly appreciated!!!!! Thanks, Bob and keep in touch! -Lin
ne tell me when they will do a tour again? I am so sad that these people died and no one is able to identify them. This is so sad. I will be at the memorial on May 16th. I would also like to tour this place?
I believe that the tour starts at 9:00am with the Memorial Service at 11:00am at the cemetery which is down the road from the old facility. I put directions on the link in this post.
I was not able to be present at the celebration May 16, 2015. Congratulations and gratitude for all the hard labors. I noted that some names ( maybe 100 or so) were read. Is there a copy of that list as I am still looking for my cousin Julia Mariani, an inmate in the 1940 Census at Willard?
Where is there State Cemetery in Penn Yan located?
I hope that NYS DMH will be more open and responsive since the NY Times article.
Hi Rev. Donald. The list of 100 is located at the bottom of this post: https://inmatesofwillard.com/2015/06/14/the-good-news-one-man-is-remembered/ . The names that were read were over 100 years old; your cousin wasn’t on that particular list. There is no “State Hospital” Cemetery in Penn Yan. My great-grandmother was buried in Lakeview Cemetery in an anonymous grave most likely because my grandparents didn’t have the money to buy a marker. PLEASE CONTACT COLLEEN SPELLECY at The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project! (https://inmatesofwillard.com/2013/05/24/willard-cemetery-memorial-project/) She may be able to help you!! Good Luck! -Lin