Suzannah McCuen

Member for
12 years 6 months 21 days
Find a Grave ID
47283313

Bio

Besides working on my own family tree I'm working, through public records such as those found on Ancestry.com, Family Search and Newspapers.com, to identify the men, women & children buried at the state hospitals in Morganton, NC (Broughton Hospital), Goldsboro, NC (Cherry Hospital), Petersburg, VA (Central Hospital) & Warm Springs, MT (Montana State Hospital) & to link them to their loved ones.
I have also listed some of those buried at several other institutions across the US and hope to have assistance in linking them to their loved ones.

To document the research involved I post the death certificates on those memorials. One can hope, in time you can understand that a death certificate is not offensive, no matter what it reveals. Photographs are preferable, of course, but realistically speaking it is HIGHLY unlikely memorials for those buried so long ago are going to be so overfilled with death certificates, draft cards and newspapers clippings that photographs someone finds in a family's archives will find no place left on the memorial page for display. I post news articles when I can find them. But for the overwhelming majority of people buried in asylum cemeteries the death certificate and the draft card are the ONLY documents outside the census to be found. The death certificate, in those instances, tells us where they came from and how long they were hospitalized as well as the cause of death. Some times we are fortunate enough to find a family member's name on the record as well. It is just part of the story of that person's life. I ask that you calm yourself. This, too, shall pass.

I am a psychiatrist and have worked in state hospitals for 28 years. Suffice it to say that uninformed judgments about what life in the state hospitals was like (and is like) for those in care there do not do justice to the many attendants, nurses and physicians who gave years of their lives providing kind care to the mentally ill and vulnerable in our asylums. Nor is it appropriate to assume that families whose loved ones were tormented by mental illnesses, intractable epilepsy, brain injuries and syphilis (that for so long was untreatable) "abandoned" them in the asylums.

It is also the case that we are often mistaken in assuming that those buried in asylum cemeteries were "forgotten" or "abandoned" by their loved ones. There is no reason to think most were forgotten by their families. There were lots of reasons for people being buried on asylum grounds. Sometimes it was due to the weather presenting challenges in getting someone's remains all the way home by train or wagon or it was the expense of transporting the remains, something a family may not have been able to afford. Often there was no family left at home to accept the remains. Sometimes a family didn't send their loved one to the asylum for care until the last parent at home had become feeble or had died and after years at the asylum there may have been no one left back home to accept the remains or to even answer the telegram or the letter or the call from the hospital about what to do with the remains. Sometimes the person had been in the asylum so long they considered it home and the family decided to have them buried here. The first hospital superintendent at the WNCIA (State Hospital at Morganton) refused to donate any of the bodies to the medical schools for dissection, saying that if family or friends couldn't provide a burial place for them back home they would be buried in the asylum cemetery. So it wasn't often a matter of "abandonment" or of being "forgotten". The asylums have for too long been misrepresented as places of torment and abandonment. There were, of course, always examples of abuse - just as there were in the homes of the mentally ill. But for many the asylums were a place of refuge and of kind and effective care.

I grew up in Greenville county, SC, first in the city of Greenville, then at the foot of Glassy Mountain in the "Dark Corner" where my maternal grandmother and her parents and grandparents were born. My mother, Anne Ballenger King McCuen, a research chemist early in life, worked for decades later in life as a meticulous land historian in upper SC and published several research texts. My father, William Garrison McCuen, MD worked for decades as an internist/general practitioner caring for many of the upstate SC residents in their homes, hospitals, the Veterans' clinic and his office.

Thank you to those of you who assist me in making these memorials useful and respectful. Please, keep your helpful edits coming. And please be patient. Making edits in response to your suggestions does take time as I double check them. I receive inaccurate edits regularly and will NOT post blatantly inaccurate information. Those of us who have been "at this" for some time are all too familiar with those who recklessly send out inaccurate information and demand that it be added to memorials when focussed research will show it to be false.

A lot of conflicts might be avoided among us if each of us will accept and act as if this is about those who've gone before and NOT about us.

If you are fortunate enough in life to be looking for a project to do - please consider documenting the African American cemeteries in your community.

I will NOT link to burial place unknown memorials, including those thought cleverly disguised as cremations even a hundred or more years ago. This is not primarily a convenient place to build your family tree, as tempting as that is. You can collect your family members in a virtual cemetery easily enough. Accept the fact that you may NEVER know where some of your ancestors are buried. You may never be able to link spouses or to link children with their parents. You will just have to COPE with things being unknown and incomplete. DO THE WORK of finding their gravesites or GET OVER IT. There was a time when I created those burial site unknown memorials, lots of them, so that I could bridge those gaps, make those links. And then, years later, I went back and deleted them because this is FIND A GRAVE - it is a place for memorializing people whose remains have been located. It MATTERS to people where their ancestors are BURIED not just what you have to say about their lives. This is not BUILD A MEMORIAL. It is FIND A GRAVE. Build your tree on some other site.

Besides working on my own family tree I'm working, through public records such as those found on Ancestry.com, Family Search and Newspapers.com, to identify the men, women & children buried at the state hospitals in Morganton, NC (Broughton Hospital), Goldsboro, NC (Cherry Hospital), Petersburg, VA (Central Hospital) & Warm Springs, MT (Montana State Hospital) & to link them to their loved ones.
I have also listed some of those buried at several other institutions across the US and hope to have assistance in linking them to their loved ones.

To document the research involved I post the death certificates on those memorials. One can hope, in time you can understand that a death certificate is not offensive, no matter what it reveals. Photographs are preferable, of course, but realistically speaking it is HIGHLY unlikely memorials for those buried so long ago are going to be so overfilled with death certificates, draft cards and newspapers clippings that photographs someone finds in a family's archives will find no place left on the memorial page for display. I post news articles when I can find them. But for the overwhelming majority of people buried in asylum cemeteries the death certificate and the draft card are the ONLY documents outside the census to be found. The death certificate, in those instances, tells us where they came from and how long they were hospitalized as well as the cause of death. Some times we are fortunate enough to find a family member's name on the record as well. It is just part of the story of that person's life. I ask that you calm yourself. This, too, shall pass.

I am a psychiatrist and have worked in state hospitals for 28 years. Suffice it to say that uninformed judgments about what life in the state hospitals was like (and is like) for those in care there do not do justice to the many attendants, nurses and physicians who gave years of their lives providing kind care to the mentally ill and vulnerable in our asylums. Nor is it appropriate to assume that families whose loved ones were tormented by mental illnesses, intractable epilepsy, brain injuries and syphilis (that for so long was untreatable) "abandoned" them in the asylums.

It is also the case that we are often mistaken in assuming that those buried in asylum cemeteries were "forgotten" or "abandoned" by their loved ones. There is no reason to think most were forgotten by their families. There were lots of reasons for people being buried on asylum grounds. Sometimes it was due to the weather presenting challenges in getting someone's remains all the way home by train or wagon or it was the expense of transporting the remains, something a family may not have been able to afford. Often there was no family left at home to accept the remains. Sometimes a family didn't send their loved one to the asylum for care until the last parent at home had become feeble or had died and after years at the asylum there may have been no one left back home to accept the remains or to even answer the telegram or the letter or the call from the hospital about what to do with the remains. Sometimes the person had been in the asylum so long they considered it home and the family decided to have them buried here. The first hospital superintendent at the WNCIA (State Hospital at Morganton) refused to donate any of the bodies to the medical schools for dissection, saying that if family or friends couldn't provide a burial place for them back home they would be buried in the asylum cemetery. So it wasn't often a matter of "abandonment" or of being "forgotten". The asylums have for too long been misrepresented as places of torment and abandonment. There were, of course, always examples of abuse - just as there were in the homes of the mentally ill. But for many the asylums were a place of refuge and of kind and effective care.

I grew up in Greenville county, SC, first in the city of Greenville, then at the foot of Glassy Mountain in the "Dark Corner" where my maternal grandmother and her parents and grandparents were born. My mother, Anne Ballenger King McCuen, a research chemist early in life, worked for decades later in life as a meticulous land historian in upper SC and published several research texts. My father, William Garrison McCuen, MD worked for decades as an internist/general practitioner caring for many of the upstate SC residents in their homes, hospitals, the Veterans' clinic and his office.

Thank you to those of you who assist me in making these memorials useful and respectful. Please, keep your helpful edits coming. And please be patient. Making edits in response to your suggestions does take time as I double check them. I receive inaccurate edits regularly and will NOT post blatantly inaccurate information. Those of us who have been "at this" for some time are all too familiar with those who recklessly send out inaccurate information and demand that it be added to memorials when focussed research will show it to be false.

A lot of conflicts might be avoided among us if each of us will accept and act as if this is about those who've gone before and NOT about us.

If you are fortunate enough in life to be looking for a project to do - please consider documenting the African American cemeteries in your community.

I will NOT link to burial place unknown memorials, including those thought cleverly disguised as cremations even a hundred or more years ago. This is not primarily a convenient place to build your family tree, as tempting as that is. You can collect your family members in a virtual cemetery easily enough. Accept the fact that you may NEVER know where some of your ancestors are buried. You may never be able to link spouses or to link children with their parents. You will just have to COPE with things being unknown and incomplete. DO THE WORK of finding their gravesites or GET OVER IT. There was a time when I created those burial site unknown memorials, lots of them, so that I could bridge those gaps, make those links. And then, years later, I went back and deleted them because this is FIND A GRAVE - it is a place for memorializing people whose remains have been located. It MATTERS to people where their ancestors are BURIED not just what you have to say about their lives. This is not BUILD A MEMORIAL. It is FIND A GRAVE. Build your tree on some other site.

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Anatomical Board NC

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asylum integrations

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