New York State Hospitals, Custodial Institutions & Cemetery Projects

St. Lawrence State Hospital-Grave Markers & Casket

St. Lawrence State Hospital-Grave Markers & Casket

UPDATE: GOOD BYE! 10.12.2016

QUESTIONS & CONCERNS: CONTACT JOHN ALLEN, Director, Office of Mental Health, Office of Consumer Affairs, Central Office Staff, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, New York 12229, Phone: (518) 473-6579, Fax: (518) 474-8998.

THE BAD NEWS: Thousands Remain Nameless! 6.15.2015.
THE GOOD NEWS: One Man Is Remembered! 6.14.2015.

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

Hopefully New York State Senate Bill S840A-2015 will soon become a law and will include provisions for a searchable database available to the public. Interested people need to contact their New York State Senators and Assembly Persons to let them know that this bill needs to become a law so that these forgotten, anonymous souls will finally be remembered. 

The list of these former New York State Hospitals includes but is not limited to: Binghamton, Buffalo, Central Islip, CreedmoorDannemora, EdgewoodGowanda, Hudson River, Kings Park, Long Island, Manhattan, Marcy, Matteawan, Middletown, Mohansic, Pilgrim, Rochester, St. Lawrence, SyracuseUtica, and Willard

The Feeble-Minded (Intellectual Disabilities) and Epileptic Custodial Institutions of New York includes but is not limited to: Craig Colony for Epileptics, Letchworth Village for Epileptics & Intellectually Disabled, Newark State School for Intellectually Disabled Women, Rome State School for Intellectually Disabled Adults & Children, and Syracuse State School for Intellectually Disabled Children. There may be more.
(Page Created 5.24.2013)

Willard Cemetery 2 - 5.18.2013

Willard Cemetery 2 – 5.18.2013

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, interested 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. If you know of any other forgotten state hospital or custodial institution cemeteries, please let me know.

1. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees
2. Cemetery Information at the NYS Office of Mental Health
3. New York State Hospitals, Custodial Institutions & Cemetery Projects.
4. New York State Senate Bill S840A-2015
5. HIPAA UPDATE March 2013!

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32 thoughts on “New York State Hospitals, Custodial Institutions & Cemetery Projects

  1. Pingback: Cemetery Restoration – People Inc. & The Museum of disABILITY History | The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900 / A Genealogy Resource

  2. Pingback: 2013 The Hart Island Project | The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900 / A Genealogy Resource

  3. Pingback: Central Islip State Hospital & Cemetery | The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900 / A Genealogy Resource

  4. Pingback: 2013 Follow-Up to State Hospital Cadavers | The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900 / A Genealogy Resource

  5. I just discovered that my great-great grandfather died in the St. Lawrence State Hospital Nov 13, 1901. I have been trying to find his death information with no luck. I just found the info in the New York Newspapers archive on this date. There is no record of his burial. Did they do cremations instead of burials there?

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    • I have the same quest…My great grandmother died in Hudson River State Hospital in or about 1976 and they buried her…I would like to know more….

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  6. Hello: I am searching for the burial locations of William Mont Storm (d. abt 1901) and Henry Edenborough (d. Jan 1890). Storm was an inmate at the Rennsalaer County House of Industry near Troy, NY. His actual date of death is not recorded, nor the disposition of his body (there was an allusion that he was relocated to the poor house at Ballston Spa, near Saratoga, before dying). Edenborough was a patient at the Homeopathic Hospital at Ward’s Island, dying from a fever, but no note on where he was interred. I would appreciate any clues or information to point me to their grave sites.

    Storm was a prolific inventor, including revolutionizing the technology of rifles prior to the Civil War, held numerous patents, made and lost his millions. Edenborough was an Australian-born soldier of fortune who had served under 7 flags, including the Confederate Navy, Peru, and Turkey. They led colorful and interesting lives, as perhaps many persons in these cemeteries, but lacked the means or the family to bury them.

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    • Hi John! I googled William Montgomery Storm last night. There is quite a bit of info about him! He came from a wealthy family, had a wife named Cora, had a daughter named Cora, and in 1900, he is widowed and lives at the Rensselaer County House. I would contact the person at Ancestry.com who has an entire family tree online, McManus Family. You can also send for his death certificate from NYS Vital Records. Look on my genealogy Links page! -Lin

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    • http://catnip13.tripod.com/McManus.html
      “He was born on Second Street in this City, Aug. 2, 1836 (Note should be 1826). He is the
      son of Allen B. & Jane Storm. His father was a New York City man and died when his
      boy was only six years old. His mother was Jane McManus, a daughter of William
      McManus who was twice mayor of Troy (note this statement is untrue); served a term
      in Congress from this district and at one time held the office of State Astromener. William
      L. Marcy studied law in his office. The mother of William Mt. Storm was noted in literacy
      circles in her time, and she too, had an eventful and romantic life. After the death of her
      husband she went to New York and was for a time engaged upon the various newspapers
      of the day. She was for a time on the Sun, with Moses Y. Beach and wrote articles on the
      Mexican War for Horace Greeley, who was then on the New Yorker. One of her exploits
      was landing at Vera Cruz in a surf boat with a picked crew from an American man-of-war,
      securing the information she wanted, and returning safely to the vessel. Horace Greeley
      sent her to Africa to write stories of articles on that country. These things were proudly
      related by her son to a reporter from this paper last evening. Mr. Storm also said that his
      mother entered the city of Mexico with Gen. Winfield Scott and helped prepare the treaty
      with this country. The rest of the strange story the recluse tells in this way:”

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  7. Pingback: Restoring Lost Names, Recapturing Lost Dignity by Dan Barry – The New York Times | The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900 / A Genealogy Resource

  8. I just discovered the other day that my third great grandmother, Mary L. Gage was admitted to the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica in October 1861. She does not appear in the 1865 NYS census or the 1870 Federal census, so I suspect she died within a few years of being admitted. Unfortunately, that’s too early to get a death certificate, so all I can do is wait for New York State law to catch up with the 2013 federal change to HIPAA.

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    • If I remember correctly, before 1869, Utica only held people for 2 years and then sent them back to the county poor house or back home with their family. It is possible that she died there but I would check the county poor house first, then check to find out where your 3rd great-grandfather is buried. Check every cemetery in the county in which they lived. Most cemetery personnel are very helpful and sometimes they print the names on line. Best of luck and thanks for writing! Let me know what you find. -Lin

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  9. Letchworth Village Developmental Center (Rockland County) and Wassaic Developmental Center (Dutchess County) are not mentioned in your listing of known facilities. Both have cemeteries with many unmarked graves, although The Cemetery Project at Wassaic was successful in erecting a memorial at one of their cemeteries ( http://sanys.org/news/?page_id=313).
    In 2008, I was searching for the grave of a six year old child who died at Wassaic in 1966. He had lived with our family for a few years before his parents authorized his placement there in 1964. The security staff was very helpful in trying to ascertain if he was buried there, but could not find the name. They escorted me to the gated cemetery to pay my respects. Through the kindness of the remaining staff at the facility, I was eventually given information as to his burial site in rural Pennsylvania. I was probably the only visitor to the child’s grave in over forty years, as his family had moved away shortly after his death.
    That child will always be remembered in my heart and my mind, as should every person who was ever a patient in one of these facilities.

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  10. Incredible story….I stumbled across you website by accident. I am a Rockland resident. Parts of Letchworth are about to be demolished. Is there a preservation group that is working to acknowledge the souls that are buried there? Are there any movements to preserve any of its history?

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  11. Please do not give up hope. Here in Oregon we have had a similar situation, though here the remains were cremated, and placed in copper canisters. Over 3,000 were left in the basement of the Oregon State Hospital to be found when the decision to tear down the building was made. It took a photographer taking pictures, the New York times, and one very angry state senator to bring awareness to what was found. Today, at the new state hospital, 150 of the cremains have been claimed by family members. The rest are in handmade urns, which are now in a columbaria. Sadly, like what you are dealing with, the remains are just known by numbers, but least if anyone has a question they can take paperwork proving relationship, and ask. I wish you all the very best. It is time those who died at the Willard State Hospital are remembered.

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  12. I’m trying to find information on Marie Cuchal who was at Hudson State Hospital in 1930 and 1940. She died in 1977 in Poughkeepsie, New York. She was listed in the 1930 and 1940 Census at this institution. Also trying to find Frank Bilek and his sister who were listed in the 1905 and 1910 Federal Census at Rockland Psychiatric Hospital in Rockland County, New York.

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    • What kind of info are you looking for, Daniela? The majority of patients at Hudson River State Hospital were assimilated into the surrounding towns in group homes, usually run by Taconic DDSO. Because of HIPPA privacy laws, you would not be given access to her medical records from her years at the hospital. I would be happy to help you find information, and also for the others in Rockland.

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    • BTW….Frank and Pauline Bilek are NOT listed at the Rockland Psychiatric Hospital in the Census records. They were actually “inmates” at the “Asylum of the Sisters of St Dominic”, in Orangetown (Blauvelt), Rockland County. They were both 16 years old, and orphans.

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      • Sorry my mistake, I meant to write the Asylum of the Sisters of St. Dominic. I’m originally from New York. As a matter of fact, Pearl River New York and graduated from Nanuet High School. I’m trying to find who were their parents. I have an idea, but need to confirm. Anton Bilek and Antonie Kozlik. A brother Charles Bilek went to Minnesota or Nebraska on an Orphan Train. I have found information on Charles. But the birthdate listed on the census is wrong for 1900. I received a notice from the Department of Vital Records, no such person. He died in Nebraska in 1960 and his wife Rose in the 1970’s.
        Anton Bilek died in 1893, I have his death certificate, but no idea when Antonie Bilek died. She had a brother Joseph who died around 1896. (Joseph Kozlik). I have reached a dead end trying to find when Antonie died. If you need support getting the law changed let me know. Mental illness runs in my family.

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  13. I’m trying to find an obituary for Marie Cuchal who died on 1 Nov. 1977 in Poughkeepsie. I’m fully aware of HIPPA regulations. What were the reasons someone would be committed to Hudson State Hospital in the 1930’s and 1940’s? Any information at this time would be welcomed.

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  14. I’m trying to find a newspaper obituary for Mary Cuchal who died in 1977. How much would it cost to get a death certificate? Also with the Bilek children, I’m trying to verify their parents names. Anton Bilek and Antonie (Kozlik). I know that Anton Bilek died in 1893. Antonie Bilek was listed in the 1900 census with 4 or 5 children, so I’m assuming that she died after the census. Charles Bilek was on an orphan train to Nebraska and I found him in the 1930 and 1940 census, but cannot verify that he is the same person in the 1910 and 1920 census in Minnesota. I also found anton Bilek (a son) also in Minnesota after 1920. But again unable to verify he is the same person in the 1910 and 1920 census. Their birthdates are not matching with written records. Anton and Charles brothers and sons of Anton and Antonie are in the same area of Minnesota after 1920. I would like to find out their adopted name. I’ve researched the Italian Genealogy website and no such luck even with misspellings. I sent for a birth certificate for Charles Bilek but there was no match. the years are not adding up. Census, military and death notices all have different bdays for both anton and Charles. any help or suggestions would be appreciated. I’m trying to find “adopted” name and the circumstances of antonie bilek death that led to them being orphans.

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  15. I am interested in what may have happened to what would have been my Aunt Leah L. Guy who was at the Rome center, can anyone give any clues to my delima? Her father Charles Guy was my Grandfather.

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  16. My grandfather Charles Floyd Bauer (b: 1874) son of Jacob W. Bauer was at the poor house and Gowanda State Hospital before he died around 1950. His wife Harriet M died in 1928. All known relatives that could have given me info as to where he is buried have died. Can you tell me where I may write or go to, to find more information…..Thank you for your consideration.

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  17. I am trying to find an elderly friend find his great uncle Jimmy Brooks (James) who is listed on the 1940 census at Dannemore Prison for the Criminally Insane. We know that in 1925 he was a policeman in NYC. My friend’s grandmother passed early in John’s life and his father passed when John was 4. He had lost all connection to this side of the family. Any suggestions on searching for Dannemore people would be greatly appreciated.

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  18. How do I obtain information about my ancestor an inmate in NY State Inebriate Asylum during the NY Census from 1905? I’m researching her for my family tree. She died 2 Nov 1911 and buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, Chemung Co., NY. Thank you.

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  19. I believe my grandmother may have been at Rockland in Orange county but can not find where she is buried? Would you happen to know anything about burial info there?

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  20. How do you locate a death certificate, of a person, that you do not know the date of death…..but you know his, DOB, immigration status, wife name, career choice….thanks j . Busenbark

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    • Are you speaking of a person who died at a NYS Hospital/Asylum? If so, you can request a copy of the death certificate from New York State Vital Records webpage (links are on my Genealogy Page at: https://inmatesofwillard.com/genealogy-links/). If you don’t know the date of death, you will pay quite a bit for them to search. First try to find dead relatives and where they were buried, what county, what cemetery, what year. Try USGenWeb for New York State, then search for county, go through each cemetery list on line and look for your surname. It’s a great project for cold winter nights but it is time consuming. I have even searched Google by putting in the person’s name, for example: “John Smith genealogy, New York.” I would try everything first to narrow down my window before paying for a NYS search! Also, try FamilySearch.org; Ancestry.com, etc. Sometimes your family tree has already been done. It’s worth a shot! Best of Luck to you!

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  21. I don’t know who I might talk to, but my Great Aunt Esther Dvorcef Nichols died in a New York Mental Institution. We have zero info beyond that. Esther and her family immigrated to Brooklyn from Russia to the tenement houses where shortly after their Mother died… Esther and her siblings were very young. Esther and her brother and two sisters were orphaned when their Dad disappeared just after their Mom died. Then their brother suicided. We have the death record for that. The three girls were left and put in different orphanages. Esther married a Joseph Nichols and they had two children, Dorothy and Laurence. By 1930 it shows her husband Joseph as still married but that he and the children with her not in the home and with his Mom, and by 1940 census it shows Joseph as a widower. We are trying to figure out where to look for where she went, and where she was buried. Her youngest sister was my Grandma. Each one of them had every reason to have sever PTSD from what they went through. Heartbreaking.

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