Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sept. 13, 2008-Milledgeville Insane Asylum

On August 31, 2008, I wrote about Marjamin Manning and the fact that he died at the Milledgeville Insane Asylum in Milledgeville, Georgia. Since then, I have written to the Georgia Department of Human Resources who maintain the records for Central State Hospital (that's what it is called now). I requested verification that Marjamin was a patient there and asked if he was buried at the Asylum. I received a quick response that said he was buried there and his burial number is 0043. I clarified with the gentleman that the numbering sequence of 0043 means that he was the 43rd person buried at this particular cemetery. The gentleman said he knows which cemetery and the approximate location of 0043. He also said that they show his name as Megimin.

The normal routine when someone at Milledgeville died, who was to be buried in a hospital cemetery, is they were given a burial number. Then a small metal stake with the number on it was placed in the location of the grave. When you look at the pictures of some of the burial locations, it appears that the metal stakes are less than one foot apart. There are fields and fields of markers. Here is a small picture of some of them.




An organization named Friends of Baldwin County Cemeteries has a web site on which many Baldwin County Cemeteries burials are listed. They show 5 cemeteries related to Central State Hospital. After looking at the listings of each one I found that one of them lists a grave marked number 43. That cemetery is Cedar Lane Cemetery. This grave 43 may not be Marjamin's, but its the only 43 I saw. Most of the listings reflected the presence of many graves with no markers of any kind.

There are estimates regarding how many former patients are buried at Milledgeville. One estimate I read reported 30,000. Another one in the Psychiatric News Vol. 42, #21, pg.3, by Aaron Levin said perhaps 25,000. It seems somewhat immoral that so many people would be buried and identified only as a number.

In his book, But For the Grace of God: The Inside Story of the Worlds Largest Insane Asylum, Peter G. Cranford said there were deaths resulting from maniacal exhaustion, the poor condition of the patient when they came in, disease, dysnetry and typhoid of 1854.

Milledgeville Insane Asylum opened in 1842. The Georgia state legislature approved the construction for in in 1837. Initially, there was one building that was four stories tall. Two floors were for men and two floors were for women. In 1859, there were approximately 300 patients there. The facility grew over the next 120 years to become the largest state asylum in the country. In 1960, there were approximately 12,000 patients living there. In 1859, Dr. Thomas Green, the Supertindent at Milledgeville in his Report By the Trustees of the State Lunatic Asylum at Milldgeville for the Year 1859, reported there were 308 patients and that it costs the Asylum 11 1/2 cents per day to care for them.

At the time of its opening, the treatment for mental illness was basically confinement. There were few treatments. Many of the first patients would arrived in shakels or tied up. They may have been in jails or family members may have chained them in order to control them. Upon their arrival, the chains and shakels would be removed and the patients allowed to walk freely. The groups of patients initially admitted were lunatics, idiots and epileptics. The epileptics were persons who had seizures while the idiots were persons born with disability such as retardation. The lunatics were the ones who did not fit the social norms because they could not control their behavior. I also have read that later the facility became a home for people with communicable diseases like tuberculosis. I wonder in which group Marjamin was placed. I will soon find out because I expect to hear from the Central State Hospital regarding Marjamin's medical information.

6 comments:

DWB said...

Looking forward to learning which pathology Marjamin got assigned.

L Leeper said...

Marjamin Manning was my GGG Grandfather. I have tried to obtain info from Central St Hosp, but have had no luck. How did you do it? Do you have any contact info that you would share? In return, I can give you a lot of info about the descendants of his daughter, Kissiah Manning Gregory, my GG Grandmother.
L Leeper

Sharon said...

I would be happy to share the information with you that I have about Marjamin from Milledgeville. Please email me at skbrownrn@aol.com and I will forward the information I received and the contact information. I would love to have information about Kissiah.
Sharon Brown

Rebecca said...

I went to Milledgeville to look for my great great grandmother, whose number was I. The 250's. I believe she had Alzheimer's. She was rational on some occasions and would become upset and would tear her clothes on other occasions. I also looked for her daughter who was at Milledgeville for 50 years. Her burial number was in the 4000's. I found neither metal marker. I have a picture that I believe was taken at Milledgeville in the late 1800'sor early20th century. I sent a copy to an email address for the site. But after 6 months haven't received a reply. The picture shows a woman sitting on a rock/brick planter, holding what I believe to be a small bag of candy. She is wearing a dress that makes her appear unkept. Her hair is neatly combed and pulled back. Her face has a similarity to my great grandfather, her brother.

Sharon said...

Rebecca,
Thank you for the comment. I would love to see the picture you mentioned. You could email me at skbrownrn@aol.com. I could also give you the address that I wrote to and you could send the picture there. They were very responsive when I wrote them.
Sharon

Anonymous said...

I would love this book, if anyone has a copy slp1970@bresnan.net