Danvers State Hospital Cemetery

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Located at the Danvers State Hospital is a cemetery containing the graves of patients who died at the hospital. The people buried there are believed to be patients who didn’t have any relatives to claim their body.

The oldest graves are five graves from 1878, when the hospital first opened. Six more were buried there the following year and the burials continue as the hospital’s population grew.

Grave of Frank Lawrence, Danvers State Hospital cemetery, Danvers , Mass
Grave of Frank Lawrence, Danvers State Hospital cemetery, Danvers , Mass

After the Middleton Colony, an addition built for long term female patients, was established in 1903, a second cemetery was established at the facility in Middleton.

There are approximately 770 graves between the two cemeteries, with the main cemetery at the hospital being the larger of the two.

The entrance to the main cemetery is located down a steep path on the southeast side of the former state hospital property and is marked by a large boulder etched with the words “Danvers State Hospital Cemetery: The Echoes They Left Behind.”

Danvers State Hospital Cemetery, Danvers, Mass
Danvers State Hospital Cemetery, Danvers, Mass

The second cemetery is located in Middleton, about a mile and a half down the road from the hospital, in a field across from the Department of Youth Services regional service center on Gregory Street. 

The cemeteries had been abandoned and all but forgotten after the hospital closed down in 1992.

According to the Danvers State Memorial Committee website, in 1997, a woman named Pat Deegan was walking the grounds of the hospital searching for the abandoned cemetery when she stumbled upon a field of numbered markers covered with overgrowth.

Upon the discovery, Deegan photographed the cemetery and decided to try and discover the names of the patients buried there, according to an article Deegan wrote on her website:

“I began by bringing together a large group of former patients of the hospital. We looked at the photographs of the numbered markers and decided, on the spot, to dedicate ourselves to remembering the names of those buried there. There was no debating, only a certainty that replacing the numbered markers with headstones engraved with proper names was the right thing to do. We intuited that we must do this for ourselves, for the ones forgotten and for the ones who will be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders in the future. In essence, at that first meeting, we declared kinship with those who, like us, had been patients at the State Hospital. It was a kinship born, not of blood, but of intention and recognition of a common experience. It was said that those buried beneath the numbered markers had no family. So we stood up and said, ‘We are their family. We are their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. We will remember their names.'”

Deegan began interviewing former staff members to find out where the cemetery records were kept and discovered that the state had lost the records.

Deegan did manage to find a former staff person who had a photocopy of a burial record with about 150 names on it. Yet, the burial record of those buried between 1878 and 1929 had been permanently lost.

Around the same time, Deegan also found the second cemetery in Middleton which was overgrown with briars and was littered with large stones dumped there by local farmers.

In February of 1998, Deegan started the Danvers State Memorial Committee, an advocacy group composed of former patients and locals, to identify the patients buried in the graves and help preserve the two cemeteries. One of the group’s slogans became, “It could have been me buried in there.”

The group held its first rally at the cemetery in June of 1998, where ex-patients, author Marie Balter and Bill Capone, shared their stories about their time at the hospital.

Throughout the summer and fall, the group cleared brush and rocks, gave interviews to the press to raise awareness of the project, searched death records at Danvers Town Hall and planned and designed renovations for the cemetery.

Soon after, the Department of Mental Health offered the group $5,000 towards clearing the cemetery of overgrowth, which was clumsily done with a bulldozer, much to the group’s dismay.

The group continued to plan, design and raise awareness for the cemetery and by the summer of 2000 had been awarded $44,000 by the state to clear and maintain the two cemeteries for a three year period.

In 2001, the committee had a series of meetings with the Department of Mental Health Commissioner, Marylou Sudders, during which they argued that although it used to be common practice to mark a mental hospital patient’s grave with a number instead of their name in order to protect their privacy, they believed this practice was actually disrespectful and the patients should be identified by name, according to the group’s January 2002 issue of their newsletter, titled It’s About Time:

“They decided that putting names on grave stones was not an issue of confidentiality. It was an issue of respect. Patients had not been asked if they wanted to have their names on their grave. It was hospital policy to put numbers on graves and that policy probably came out of a sense of shame and a desire to protect families from the ‘shame of mental illness.’ The Danvers State Memorial Committee decided to argue that they were no longer buying into the mythology of shame. The time had come for respect. It was the norm to bury people with proper markers and committee members wanted that same standards to apply to former patients of state hospitals.”

Fortunately, Sudders agreed and supported the plan to put the patient’s names on their graves.

By 2002, the group succeeded in discovering the names of more than three-quarters of the patients buried in the two cemeteries, identified and located the majority of their graves in the main cemetery and erected three granite markers with bronze plaques as a “wall of remembrance” at the main cemetery.

Danvers State Hospital Memorial, Danvers, Mass
Danvers State Hospital Memorial, Danvers, Mass

The wall of remembrance lists the names of the patients who are known to be buried in one of the two cemeteries but the exact grave they are buried in couldn’t be determined.

The main cemetery has 677 graves, with 542 of those patients identified and 354 of their graves have been identified and located.

The smaller cemetery has 93 numbered grave markers, with 84 of those patients identified, but it could not be determined which graves they are buried in.

Contrary to some recent news reports about the property, there are no unmarked graves in the two cemeteries, only graves that are marked by numbers rather than names because it is not known exactly who is buried in that particular grave.

The following are the names of patients who are listed on the “wall of remembrance” at the main cemetery:

  • Joseph Acker 1872 – 1924
  • Liborio Altomare 1878 – 1923
  • Charles Anderson 1834 -1915
  • Nancy Annis 1834 -1914
  • Raffaelo Appesino 1871 -1906
  • Antoine Aumais 1827 -1908
  • Frank Aylward 1871 – 1922
  • Caroline Bailey 1826 -1912
  • Marie Rose Balter 1930 – 1999
  • Mary P. Barbur 1851 – 1911
  • Julia Barnes 1827 – 1906
  • Frances A. Bell 1822 -1910
  • Rosana Belmord 1883 – 1907
  • Martin Benson 1860 -1904
  • Spencer Bentham 1859 – 1903
  • Annie M. Bernard 1844 – 1907
  • Johanna Birmingham 1845 -1913
  • Horace B. Blake 1858 -1907
  • Frank Boudreau 1873 -1915
  • John Brackett 1860 – 1903
  • Mary Harriet Brady _- 1907
  • Alice Brennan 1837 – 1913
  • George O. Brooks 1850 – 1907
  • Mary Brown 1847 – 1912
  • Charles A. Brown 1849 – 1913
  • Harry Brown 1866 – 1922
  • David Bullard 1862 – 1914
  • Mary Burns 1855- 1909
  • Alice Burns 1873 – 1913
  • Edmund C. Burns 1856 – 1914
  • Bridget Burns 1854 – 1922
  • Delia Burnett 1872 – 1925
  • Malachi Butler 1831 – 1907
  • Emily Buxton 1840 – 1915
  • Frank P. Buzzell 1854 -1903
  • Elizabeth Callahan 1867 – 1925
  • Jennie Campbell 1834 –1909
  • Camilla Caristi 1857- 1909
  • Cleandeas Caron 1870 – 1907
  • Joseph D. Cary 1878 – 1908
  • Andrew Casey 1868 – 1914
  • Joseph P. Cate 1827 – 1910
  • George W. Cederlund 1872 – 1910
  • Minas Chanian1849 – 1913
  • Bridgett Chase 1838 -1910
  • Annie Clarke 1850 -1912
  • William C. Clements 1875 -1914
  • Walter D. Cleverly 1853 – 1910
  • Frederick S. Cleveland 1854 – 1910
  • Ellen Connelly 1857 – 1913
  • Armstead Conover 1835 – 1913
  • Manuel Costa 1873 – 1914
  • Charles N. Crawford 1856 – 1911
  • William W. Crooker 1850 – 1913
  • Fannie Crossland 1868 – 1913
  • Lavinia Cutter 1863 – 1912
  • John Daggett 1847 – 1908
  • Charles Davis 1868 – 1908
  • Irene Davis 1868 – 1910
  • David E. Davis 1877 – 1913
  • Ann S. Dennett 1828 – 1906
  • Osborn Dickerson 1857 – 1922
  • Edward Dion 1858 – 1915
  • James Dooley 1848 – 1905
  • Michael E. Downey 1850 – 1915
  • Michael Doyle 1885 – 1909
  • Mary F. Drury 1849 – 1922
  • Thomas N. Dunn 1847 – 1907
  • Charles E. Eaton 1856 – 1927
  • Samuel Edwards 1871 – 1910
  • Edward Ellison 1874 – 1910
  • Mabel M. Ellis 1887 – 1913
  • Mary Emerson 1830 – 1904
  • Mary Ann Evans 1838 – 1904
  • Margaret Fallon 1830 – 1900
  • Carl Johansen 1836- 1925
  • Martha Johnson 1834 – 1900
  • Peter T. Johnson 1832 – 1912
  • George H. Jones 1865 – 1914
  • John Kadaris 1875 – 1913
  • Sophie Kantro 1881 – 1915
  • Mary A. Kaye 1836 – 1912
  • Margaret Kelley 1849 – 1909
  • Joseph H. Kelleigh 1857 – 1910
  • James F. Kelly 1873 – 1913
  • Gust Kuchulis 1862 – 1924
  • Martin Lanning 1839 – 1912
  • Adeline R. Lawson 1848 – 1907
  • William Lawson 1891 – 1911
  • Florence B. Leavitt 865 – 1928
  • Dennis Lee 1848 – 1910
  • Mary J. Legere 1856 – 1904
  • Olivea Lenovan 1829 – 1907
  • Annie Leslie 1871 – 1907
  • William Lofthouse 1826 – 1904
  • Lena Lundeen 1876 – 1914
  • George E. MacGibbon 1865 – 1910
  • Ellen Manning 1843 – 1911
  • Kobyork Manoogin 1868 – 1908
  • Charles F. Manson 1841 – 1915
  • Benjamin F. Marble 1865 – 1923
  • Katherine McCarthy 1855 – 1923
  • A. Smith McConnell 1832 – 1907
  • George H. McConnell 1865 – 1908
  • Minnie McCurdy 1862 – 1899
  • Daniel McFadden 1833 – 1905
  • Alison L. McKenney 1860 – 1912
  • Margaret McKinley 1849 – 1906
  • Alexander McKinnon 1849 – 1922
  • Dolly McLellan 1828 – 1912
  • Margaret McNamara 1832 – 1910
  • John McNeil 1857 – 1911
  • Philip McNiff 1836 – 1888
  • Augustine Michel 1868 – 1913
  • Albert W. Morgan 1860 – 1926
  • Joe Moskes 1874 – 1904
  • William Mullen 1834 – 1906
  • Elizabeth Murphy 1840 – 1905
  • Frank Myers 1819 -1906
  • Georgianna Newman 1870 – 1923
  • Henry M. Newton 1852 – 1914
  • James Newton 1875 – 1914
  • Annie O’Brien 1850 – 1908
  • Patrick O’Brien 1845 – 1919
  • Catherine O’Hara 1837 – 1908
  • Ferdinand Oliver 1832 – 1918
  • Minnie A. Ordway 1867 – 1922
  • Addie M. Osman 1850 – 1908
  • Sarah Palmer 1834 – 1913
  • Rosa Paquette 1891 – 1907
  • Clara Parker 1858 – 1911
  • John Passaretti 1870 – 1925
  • Elizabeth Paul 1838 – 1908
  • A’Clove Peitier 1845 – 1904
  • Carmine Pelosi 1849 – 1904
  • Greenleaf Perley 1834 – 1900
  • Mary J. Perry 1829 – 1904
  • Mary Perwer 1846 – 1908
  • Eliza Poole 1847 – 1913
  • Magh Quadapa 1872 – 1905
  • Frank Rask 1858 – 1908
  • Francis W. Rice 1854 – 1915
  • Isaac Richardson 1871 – 1905
  • Mary Richmond 1843 – 1914
  • Manuel Rodsrique 1858 – 1905
  • Annie M. Rose 1841 – 1913
  • Maria J. Royal 1860 – 1915
  • Andrew Rudek 1874 – 1923
  • Lucy C. Sante 1878 – 1906
  • Austin Schencks 1884 – 1904
  • Georgianna Schumaker 1869 – 1914
  • August Schwab 1842 – 1905
  • John Serbalsky 1875 – 1923
  • Charles A. Shaw 1877 – 1906
  • Philip Sylvester 1819 – 1879
  • William J. B. Skillings 1843 – 1913
  • Annie Smith 1878 – 1904
  • Gilbert Smith 1844 – 1904
  • William H. Spates 1828 – 1908
  • Kate Spicer 1852 – 1903
  • Sarah Steamer 1872 – 1911
  • Sarren Stelzner 1861 – 1904
  • Charles E. Stevens 1865 – 1908
  • Mary Ellen Stevens 1849 – 1911
  • Ella J. Stevens 1850 – 1915
  • William Stewart 1826 – 1905
  • Catherine St. Laurent 1871 – 1909
  • Bridget Sweeney 1826 – 1906
  • Edward Tarr 1827 – 1914
  • Mary Thomas 1873 – 1910
  • Helen F. Thomas 1839 – 1924
  • Alvan C. Tibbetts 1833 – 1900
  • John Turner 1850 – 1913
  • John Vaughn 1851 – 1902
  • Hannah Walker 1848 – 1929
  • Margaret Wallace 1839 – 1911
  • Alice F. Ware 1849 – 1909
  • Mattie West 1868 – 1913
  • Henry White 1875 – 1904
  • Oklahoma White 1897 – 1925
  • Charles S. Wilson 1855 – 1904
  • Elizabeth N. Wilson 1856 – 1908
  • Margaret M. Windsor 1835 – 1907
  • Hiram Winn 1871 – 1908
  • Henry Woodbury 1875 – 1906
  • William Young 1834 – 1904

The names of the remaining patients buried in the main cemetery are listed on their individual headstones.

The following is a partial list of the names on those headstones:

  • Annie Babcock 1838 – 1878
  • Baby Baker 1886 – 1886
  • Robert Barker 1843 – 1881
  • John Barnes 1858 – 1894
  • John Barrett 1864 – 1894
  • Sarah Barry 1848 – 1885
  • John F. Bates 1846 – 1893
  • Sarah Barry 1848 – 1885
  • John F. Bates 1846 – 1893
  • Perry G. Bates 1807 – 1887
  • Cornelius Benson 1800 – 1878
  • Edgar F. Bessy 1848 – 1878
  • John Bourque 1882 – 1915
  • Ellen Boynton 1835 – 1906
  • Patrick Brennan 1832 – 1881
  • Thomas Brown 1858 – 1901
  • Cornelius Bryan (birth and death dates unknown)
  • Eliza Bryant 1826 – 1885
  • Mary Buckley (birth and death dates unknown)
  • William P. Buffum 1829 – 1878
  • William Burns 1828 – 1888
  • Sarah E. Campbell 1854 – 1878
  • George R. Carpenter 1836 – 1885
  • Joseph F.S. Chamberlain 1838 – 1883
  • James Chronis 1881 – 1915
  • Benjamin Franklin Coburn 1892 – 1953
  • Maria Couchian unknown – 1889
  • Fannie Crosbland 1868 – 1913
  • Mary Cruse (Cluse) 1846 – 1896
  • Catherine Cunningham 1836 – 1885
  • Martha Currier 1804 – 1878
  • George H. Damon 1860 – 1885
  • Charles Davenport 1835 – 1887
  • William B. Davis 1832 – 1915
  • Charles DeCosta (birth and death dates unknown)
  • Anna Davidson 1840 – 1878
  • Alexander DeMing 1849 – 1894
  • Mary Dolan 1896 – 1957
  • William H. Donegan 1866 – 1901
  • Ellen Collins Donovan unknown – 1911
  • James Dooley 1847 – 1887
  • Mary Dulan 1896 – 1957
  • Jason Ellis 1820 – 1882
  • Benjamin H. Fales 1823 – 1882
  • Mary Ann R. Fears 1802 – 1885
  • Annie Fitzpatrick 1868 – 1900
  • Mary Foley 1815 – 1884
  • Peter Francis (birth and death dates unknown)
  • Thomas French 1846 – 1905
  • Charles Gair 1853 – 1885
  • Maria Galiso 1860 – 1886
  • Robert Gibson 1849 – 1886
  • Bridget Gilmore 1852 – 1906
  • Edward Grandin 1842 – 1883
  • Ellen Gunnison unknown – 1878
  • Lary Hanlon 1824 – 1887
  • Thomas Healy 1839 – 1878
  • Hannah M. Heuse 1834 – 1895
  • Oliver B. Hobbs 1822 – 1887
  • Murnet (Meurnent) Jackman, Jr 1849 – 1883
  • Ida Janegar 1865 – 1905
  • Hiram Judkins 1802 – 1884
  • Thomas Kane 1840 – 1882
  • Maurice Kennedy 1839 – 1883
  • Thomas Kennedy 1820 – 1881
  • Charles G. Kent 1869 – 1935
  • Oscar F. Kent 1835 – 1884
  • Clarissa A. King 1838 – 1878
  • Elizabeth La Strange 1823 – 1881
  • Viola Lauzier 1873 – 1915
  • Frank Lawrence 1826 – 1878
  • James A. Lawrence unknown – 1918
  • Adeline R. Lawson 1848 – 1907
  • Annie Leighton 1843 – 1888
  • Georgiana Lewis 1853 – 1915
  • Altomare Liborio 1878 – 1923
  • Matilda Lind 1844 – 1880
  • Louisa Lindquist 1859 – 1901
  • Fidel Lopez (birth and death dates unknown)
  • Andrew Malcolm 1828 – 1884
  • Patrick Maloney 1834 – 1897
  • Milo Mason unknown – 1918
  • John J. McCarty 1845 – 1886
  • Roderick McKenzie 1819 – 1882
  • Philip McNiff 1836 – 1888
  • Edward Melus 1880 – 1945
  • Frank B. Menard 1851 – 1902
  • Rolf M. Merrell 1832 – 1888
  • Harriet M. Miller 1813 – 1878
  • Charles H. Moore 1826 – 1906
  • Sarah Morris 1823 – 1879
  • Jeremiah Murphy 1871 – 1901
  • Thomas Neil unknown – 1878
  • Mary Nelson 1856 – 1886
  • Carrie Nichols 1851 – 1894
  • Whilhelmi Nordberg 1878 – 1915
  • Elizabeth O’Brien 1875 – 1895
  • Anna Orto (birth and death dates unknown)
  • Alonzo Frye Osgood 1843 – 1902
  • Michael Papows 1888 – 1958
  • George F. Parker 1864 – 1887
  • Washington J. Parkinson 1816 – 1881
  • William Patterson 1832 – 1885
  • Chase Prescott 1843 – 1878
  • Mark Reilly 1871 – 1907
  • Carl Richards 1844 – 1882
  • Annie Riley 1841 – 1880
  • Eugene Robitalle 1868 – 1902
  • Bridget Rogan 1818 – 1885
  • Lydia Ronimus 1849 – 1885
  • Grace Rorayne 1842 – 1902
  • Lucy C. Carpena Sante 1878 – 1906
  • Eliza A. Parsons Shackleford 1823 – 1879
  • Maggie Snow 1841 – 1879
  • John Souber 1832 – 1883
  • Edward M. Souther 1862 – 1937
  • Rosie Spaulding (birth and death dates unknown)
  • William E. Stacey 1854 – 1893
  • Helen Stanczyk 1883 – 1933
  • Lilly Phillips Stein 1875 – 1918
  • Louisa Stimpson 1824 – 1884
  • Mollie Sushelsky 1899 – unknown
  • James Sweeney 1831 – 1906
  • Mary Ann Swift 1865 – 1888
  • Philip Sylvester 1819 – 1879
  • Harriet P. Taylor 1837 – 1887
  • Michael Thornton 1833 – 1886
  • Jeff Turner 1826 – 1887
  • Abbie R. Virgin 1812 – 1880
  • John Wales 1813 – 1882
  • John S. Warren 1822 – 1884
  • Patrick Welch 1845 – 1885
  • Oklahoma White 1897 – 1925
  • Jennie Williams 1811 – 1879
  • Charles S. Wilson 1855 – 1904
  • Margaret M. Curry Windsor 1835 – 1907
  • Grace Josephine Withington 1884 – 1957
  • Atholane Smith Withrow 1839 – 1887
  • Samuel Wood 1804 – 1878
  • George W. Young 1840 – 1884
  • Gideon White Young 1796 – 1880

Location of Danvers State Hospital Cemeteries:

Danvers State Hospital Main Cemetery:

Address: 1101 Kirkbride Drive, Danvers, Mass. Facing the main building while on the sidewalk across the street, head right on the sidewalk and continue walking to where the apartments end and the condos begin. Follow the rock and gravel path down the hill until you reach the farm where you’ll see the entrance to the cemetery on the right.

Danvers State Hospital Middleton Cemetery:

Address: Corner of Gregory Street and Middleton Road, Middleton, Mass. A path leads to the cemetery which is in the middle of the field and is surrounded by a fence in a cluster of trees.

Sources:
“Danvers State Memorial Committee’s Cemetery Restoration Nears Completion.” It’s About Time, vol. 1, Issue 2, Jan. 2002, Danvers State Memorial Committee, dsmc.info/let/Jan2002.pdf
Forman, Ethan. “Missing Markers: Push is on to install plaques at Danvers State Memorial.” Salem News, 27 April, 2018, www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/missing-markers-push-is-on-to-install-plaques-at-danvers/article_0053658a-3e8f-577b-9b8f-33810b7ba9f7.html
“2002 DSMC Cemetery Memorial.” Danvers State Insane Asylum, www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com/memorial
Deegan, Pat. “Remember My Name: Reflections on Spirituality in Individual and Collective Recovery.” PatDeegan.com, Oct. 2004, www.patdeegan.com/pat-deegan/lectures/remember-my-name
“2000-2005 Patient Cemeteries.” Danvers State Insane Asylum, www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com/cemeteries
“Slideshow.” Danvers State Memorial Committee, dsmc.info
“Danvers State Hospital Cemetery in Danvers, Mass.” Find A Grave, www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2186316/danvers-state-hospital-cemetery
Forman, Ethan. “Ceremony at Former Danvers State Hospital Honors Patients Buried in Numbered Graves.” Salem News, 28 May. 2015, www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/ceremony-at-former-danvers-state-hospital-honors-patients-buried-in/article_2b81d7e4-3895-5a26-9d2a-c137d12bc9ec.html

Danvers State Hospital Cemetery

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the writer and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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