Eastern State Hospital has the honor of being the first public facility in the United States constructed solely for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. In the summer of 1770, Colonial legislators met in Williamsburg, the capital of the Virginia colony, and passed a bill authorizing the construction of a hospital for this purpose. The building was erected on an eight-acre site near the College of William and Mary, and the first patients were admitted on October 12, 1773.
The Eastern State Hospital Cemetery is but a short distance from the original Hospital location. Patients who died were buried here, but all were laid to rest on unmarked graves, thus the cemetery for the most part is just a piece of well kept land. It has wrought fence on the front of the cemetery, and immediately upon entering the gate there is a monument area that was erected in 1986, consisting of five granite stones with the theme "CELEBRATING THEIR DIGNITY". The following words are inscribed in one of them:
"We erect this monument in memory of those persons whom we have known, loved and served through the years. While living they knew the suffering of inner pain, confusion and despair. Now they are at peace in the hands of God where no torment will ever touch them again"
On the other four stones, the names of all laid to rest are inscribed. They are not alphabetized nor does it show any dates.
There are only about half a dozen old stone markers in the cemetery, and on the last few years, simple stones with names and dates are noted by the fence area.
GPS Coordinates: 37.2556, -76.7103
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #50694
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