American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
Go

Discussion Board

Login
MA State (Insane) Hospitals
User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 14


Created By:Maureen

 My ancestor spent a few decades in Medfield State Hospital.   In the 1900 census she is listed as a resident of Westborough State, but there is another 1900 census that has her living in Boston with her husband and 6 children.  Both are dated June, 1900.   By 1910 she is in Medfield and ultimately dies there of tuberculosis in 1924.  I visited the abandoned Medfield Hospital in 2008 and and got cold feet about accessing her records that were then being housed in Westborough.  Westborough is now closed and I have been told the records were destroyed.  My timing was so off.

 

It may be too late for me to retrieve any information, but I still have a few questions for anyone who might have knowledge re this topic:

 

* Are there any guidelines for how long State records are kept?  

 

* It appears one of her sons ended up in Danvers State Hospital because his WWI reg. card is stamped with "Danvers State Hospital, Hathorne, MA."  Are the Danvers Records destroyed, too?

 

* I was told in November by the clerk that they "should be here" but clerk was not able to find them.  Is there any way to find out whether they've just been overlooked other than by making myself a nuisance?

 

* Is there anything written about the process of diagnosis for patients at the turn and into the 20's?  I assume she wasn't in there for TB, but I'm not really sure what the spectrum was for admittance. 

 


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/10/2010
Posts: 1


Created By:Norfolk Public Library
Have you found the grave stone for your relative?  There is a Medfield State Hospital Cemetery on Route 27 in Medfield just behind a pumping station near the Charles River.  If you drive down Hospital Road, with the closed hospital on your right, you will turn right on Route 27 and drive 500 feet and park at the pumping station.  The Cemetery is located behind this unit.  All the burials there had only numbers on there stones until a few years ago, at which time new stones were made.  There is also a mass grave in the new section of Medfield's Vine Lake Cemetery near the pond to those buried at this cemetery.  The names of those buried in the mass grave on the hill are engraved on a number of stones at this location.  The Medfield Historical Society has old Town Reports that list births, marriages and deaths for each year.  I hope that this information is helpful in your search.
User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 14


Created By:Maureen

Yes, thank you, that's very good info to have for anyone trying to search.   I have visited that spot.  It's very humbling to see the numbers; very peaceful after such lives of strife.  I found my ancestor is actually buried in Mt. Hope and has no stone, but I did visit the Medfield Cemetery, too.

 

(tried to attach a photo of the marker but don't think it worked.)


File Attachment(s):
Medfield State Marker.jpg (54947 bytes)

User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 2/15/2012
Posts: 16


Created By:lisa taisey
Since October of last year I have been trying to find out as much info as possible about my great grandmother who died in Marlboro Insane mental Hospital.  Thank you so much for posting this topic.  I feel I am not as alone in this subject when I read that others are going thru the same ordeals that i have been thru.  I have not gotten as far as Maureen with helpful clerks and locating the files.  My GGM was an Italian Immigrant who raised a large family and still to this day no one knows anything or will not discuss it.  She died in 1946 at the hospital after being there for 13 years.  My journey began with thinking about her & the torment and horrors she went thru maybe because she had "female problems" , "depression" or "lost a child."  The hospital closed years ago and they are getting rid of it's remnants and making it a park.  I live thousands of miles away and trying to get back asap before it gets torn down.  I found her burial thru find a grave and that site was a big help.  My mother and i have called the workers responsible for the files for a month and a half straight and not one person  had the common courtesy to return a call.  I have e-mailed a long list of folks and still no one will help me and it's a topic better avoided to the state of NJ.  I also tried to get her death certificate and filed out all the forms, included proof and followed all the rules and paperwork got sent back telling me the clerk is on leave until further notice!!!!!  It's all outrageous!!!!  I finally got a call after several compaints i filed and i should hear back today and will keep you posted.  This is a very interesting and hurtful topic but so happy other have stories to share.  Let's keep this post going to alert the hospitals that have rudely ignored us that we are NOT going away and we WANT answers that we as family members deserve.
User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 2/4/2012
Posts: 6


Created By:Darlene Burbine

 I found an ancestor who had died in 1880 at a hospital in Danvers, Ma. The only hospital that I found open at that time was Danvers State Hospital which opened in the 1870's. I live in the area and left an e-mail with the archivist at the local library and he believes I am correct. He also had a cause of death of general paresis and senile dementia. We also believe my ancestor, Gideon White Young born 1796 in Scituate, Ma. was buried there. There was some confusion back in Scituate as they had him as widowed, but he had remarried a woman over 30 years younger in 1862 a year after his first wife had died. He was also living in Chelsea on 1870 census. 


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 4/21/2011
Posts: 1


Created By:Susan Gagnon
I, too, have been trying to locate information on a G, G uncle who was listed as a patient at Medfield State Hospital on the 1930 Federal Census.   That is the last bit of information I can find about him,  so I am assuming that he probably died there.   I have contacted the Town Clerks at Medfield and at Westboro,  but neither could find any death record for him.  According to a web site I was just looking at,  they have replaced all the numbered grave markers with named markers.   My next step is to find a contact with someone involved with that project in hopes that there is a list of names for those new grave markers.  Have you had any luck with your search?
User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 2/4/2012
Posts: 6


Created By:Darlene Burbine

Danvers State Hospital

         I had questions about an ancestor dying and possibly being buried there in 1880. I sent an email to Historian, Richard Trask at the Danvers Archives of the Peabody Institute Danvers. The public library here in Danvers, Ma. has an archives and he seemed to at least have a more detailed death record, but I think other records were destroyed. Mr Trask answered my question of Danvers State Hospital being only hospital in operation at the time and it was yes. I was only able to see record of Gideon White Young's death recorded in Danvers(place of death) and Scituate, Ma.(place of birth). He had more detailed cause of death and I believe there was record of it being the insane assylum too. I've saved his reply too. Gideon White Young born 1796 and died in 1880 of general paresis and senile dementia. General paresis was caused by syphyllis and one died 15-20 years after being infected and there were no antibiotics to treat it then. Gideon was married and had 8 or 9 children with first wife. He and first wife later lived sparately for at least 10 years from census records. She died in 1861 and Gideon then remarried a little over a year later . He adjusted his age for second wedding as his new spouse was 33-34 years younger. They are shown together in Chelsea, Ma. on 1870 census with his correct year of birth. 

   


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 1


Created By:Lynne

It is now many months after your post, but the following link may be helpful:

 

http://www.1856.org/historicalOverview.html

 

By now, you may have found more sources -- Good luck with your search.


User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 1


Created By:Robert_380

Have you tried the Massachusetts State Archives near the UMass Boston campus for the hospital records?

R. Cotter



New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA
888-296-3447

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society