The Indiana State Hospital for the Insane (Woodmere)

In October 1984, as excavation began on the grounds of the Evansville State Hospital in preparation for construction of the Lloyd Expressway, 31 graves were discovered. Before construction could proceed, the bodies would have to be moved and re-interred at another location. To move the bodies, they had to be identified and next of kin had to be notified to get permission for the move. Unfortunately the records of those buried on the hospital property were lost in a fire at the state hospital in 1943.

Researchers at Willard Library and the Vanderburgh County Health Department determined that at least 200 patients were buried on the hospital grounds from about 1890 to 1920. Many may have died during the influenza epidemic during World War I. Some were thought to be buried on what is now Wesselman Park. Most of those buried were paupers and were buried wrapped only in a blanket.

An advertisement ran in the newspapers listing the names of the patients thought to be buried at Woodmere. If there were any surviving family members of those listed, none responded to the ads. The next step, taken in January 1985, was to file suit in Vanderburgh Superior Court to move the bodies.

The court consented to the move and construction began on the expressway. When the construction crew reached Vann and Division Street in June 1987, work was stopped once again when another 33 graves were discovered in the same area. The bodies were moved and reburied at Memorial Park Cemetery off of Mesker Park Drive. A monument commemorating the new resting place stands as a memorial to the unnamed people who spent their final moments at the state hospital.

The monument doesn’t name those who were buried and then reburied, but a list was published in the Evansville Press on Wednesday, 16 January 1985. The article and the list of names were reprinted in the Tri-State Packet in March 1985. The names are listed below.

Allen, Gentri
Allen, Sarah
Ault, W.A.
Baker, William A.
Barker, John
Barmmasser, Jacob
Bassett, Bery F.
Bland, Herriet
Brocker, August
Brown, Mollie
Bruner, Amy A.
Bunch, Sarah
Burch, Amanda
Bush, Martha
Calloway, Emma
Carson, James P.
Clemento, Pins
Colvin, Alonzo
Cooper, Emma J.
Creager, Amelai
Creek, Eugene E.
Dane, Mellonia
Darilingg, Ben J.
Davis, Charles
Davis, Lorin
Day, Sally
Dearmin, Henry
Dickens, Nelson
Diehl, Frank
Driscoll, Cylde
Duly, Angeline
Edwards, Abner
Eggers, Mary
Emmons, Mary J.
Endres, Franz
Eoff, Phoebe
Fallowell, Mary J.
Farley, Georgia
Featherstone, Rebecca
Ferguson, Lucy
Fleming, Bridget
Ford, Alice
Frederick, Henry
Fuchs, Julius W.
Gammon, John
Gee, Susan
Gentry, James H.
Glen, Elizabeth
Gray, Lucy
Grill, Celestine
Grove, Elizabeth
Gunn, Ann
Guyer, Lon
Hall, Mary E.
Hammond, Edward
Hanlon, Theodore, Jr.
Harris, William
Haskins, Bell
Hastings, Jacob V.
Hattenbach, Maria
Hays, Frona
Henderson, Mary A.
Hill, Charles W.
Hill, Nancy
Hoag, Sarah
Howell, James T.
Hughes, Nancy
Inackenbush, Arymenthri
Isaacs, John H.
Jacobs, Kate
Johnson, Frances
Johnson, Thomas J.
Jounger, Amelia
Klench, Karl
Kuser, Caroline
Lant, Arthur
Lone, Edward M.
Lorey, Nicholas
Lucker, Henry
Martin, Alfred
Marsh, Joseph
McCauley, Malinda
McPherson, Hattie
Mefford, Elizabeth
Melton, James I.
Miles, Jabey
Miller, David C.
Miller, Jane
Miller, John
Miller, Mary
Moore, Charles
Moore, George
Morris, Thomas J.
Nalley, John
O’Brien, Caroline
Orlander, John J.
Osborne, Matilda
Overton, Chancy R.
Parker, John W.
Partlow, Elmer
Petty, Lucinda
Pigg, Phoebe
Poindexter, Edward S.
Prather, Harry
Purkinzer, Elizabeth
Rainey, Walter S.
Ramburger, Mollie
Raney, Annie B.
Rath, Fritz
Ricketts, Monroe
Roach, John
Russel, Benedicta
Sablehouse, Theresia
Schmidt, Richard
Scott, Alveda
Shampoon, Joseph
Shaver, James
Small, Robert A.
Soward, Katherine
Spradley, Louis
Sprinkle, Martha
Straub, Louis
Stines, John
Tabor, Rachel
Taylor, Absalom
Taylor, Clara Eaglor
Taylor, David M.
Tinsley, Mary A.
Tomlinson, Samuel A.
Troubaugh, Samuel
Vanconia, Zora
Walsh, William
Weatherspoon, Hattie
Williams, John B.
Woody, Margaret
And unknown others


James Derk. “State seeks to move bodies along Division.” The Evansville Press, 16 January 1985, pg 39.
Patricia Swanson. “Hard worker at 76–Digging up graves may be ‘easiest job I’ve ever had.'” The Evansville Press, 12 June 1985, pg 23.
Sally Turner. “Remains will be moved to cemetery.” The Evansville Press, 23 June 1987, pg. 1.

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