Vernon Co, MO USGenWeb Project :: Nevada State Hospital #3




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Information for researching former Nevada State Hospital patients and employees.

1.  General Information.  It can be difficult to research a family member who was a patient at the Nevada State Hospital #3 in Nevada, Missouri; but here is the information that can help you do so.  The Hospital, which was sometimes referred to as the Lunatic Asylum, treated a wide variety of illnesses and conditions over the years it was in operation that included mental disease, tuberculosis, syphilis, senility, epilepsy, etc.

2.  Construction of Hospital.  The Nevada State Hospital was created by an act of the 33rd Missouri General Assembly on March 19, 1885.  The original building was completed and the first patient was admitted on October 17, 1887.  The first patient was Mary Carr.  The Nevada State Hospital was enumerated in the U.S. Federal Census as part of Washington Township, Vernon County, Missouri.  It was usually listed as a separate unit, and the patients were referred to as inmates.  Many hospital employees lived in staff housing in the massive hospital complex and were enumerated before the patients.

3.  Hospital Closed.  Nevada State Hospital #3 was closed in 1991; and the large, picturesque main building was torn down in 1998.  Several of the other buildings remain and are in use today by other entities.

4.  Disposition of Remains Upon Death.  While researching Nevada State Hospital patients and working on the 2010 Vernon County Cemetery Directory, it was noted that when a patient at the State Hospital died, one of the following usually happened:

  • the family requested the remains be shipped to them for burial;

  • the family paid for burial in a local cemetery in Vernon County;

  • the family did not claim the remains and burial was in the State Hospital Cemetery at Nevada, MO; or

  • the remains were not claimed by the family and/or requested donation to medical science.

5.  Missouri Deaths after 1910.  The Missouri State Archives has placed a searchable index on-line of Missouri deaths after 1910 that are now at least 50 years old.  The link is   Death certificates were required in Missouri beginning in 1910, and a certificate should list both the cause of death and disposition of remains.  Also see suggestions for researching Vernon County Deaths.
6.  Certified Death Certificate.  Contact the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for information on requesting a certified copy of a death certificate from 1910 to present or of a death certificate that is less than 50 years old. 

7.  Medical Records.  The process for obtaining Nevada State Hospital #3 medical records of an ancestor who was a patient is to submit a written letter of request.  This must be in writing and cannot be done by phone call; the Circuit Clerk's office does not provide any legal advice.

          The Vernon County Circuit Court

          100 West Cherry Street

          Nevada, MO  64772

Your letter should include who you are, identifying information of the former patient, your relationship to the former patient, and why you are requesting release of the medical records.  It is not necessary to hire a lawyer for this request.  Medical records of former patients are not located in Vernon County.  Your request for release of medical records must be in writing, and this website county coordinator does not guarantee that you will receive the medical records you request or even that any medical records will be located for the former patient.

8.  Nevada State Hospital #3 Cemetery.  There are numerous flat markers (no upright stones) in the State Hospital Cemetery.  The Nevada State Hospital Cemetery is included in the Vernon County, Missouri Cemetery Directory 2010 as well as information on many patients who died and were buried other than in Vernon County.  The information was taken from abstracted copies of the hospital cemetery plat map, various funeral home records, death certificates, and newspaper notices.  
9.  Visiting State Hospital #3 Cemetery.  To visit the cemetery:  between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, go to the Southwest Community Services Office located at 2041 A/B East Hunter Street, Nevada, MO, where you can view a plat map of the cemetery and check out a gate key.  There is no patient information at this Office beyond the plat map.  As with very small flat markers, over the years many have sunk down a few inches and some probing may be required to find them.
10.  State Hospital #3 Employees.  Persons working at the Nevada State Hospital #3 were employees of the State of Missouri.  As such, their names, job titles, and salaries are listed in the Missouri Blue Book for the year(s) they were employees.  Copies of the current and previous years' Missouri Blue Book are available at the Nevada Public Library Genealogy Department as well as numerous other libraries.
11.  Other State Hospital Websites.  A great local history and genealogy website with information about the Nevada State Hospital #3 is hosted by Lyndon Irwin.  Many photos of the former facility are shown.  Another site with information on the Nevada State Hospital is Historic Asylums.
14.  History of Nevada State Hospital.  The First One Hundred Years of Mental Health Services 1885-1985 was published in July 1985 by the Nevada State Hospital administration and gives the history of the Nevada hospital and treatment of mental health over the years.  A copy is in the Nevada Library Genealogy Room.  Click on the title of the book to see a copy of its Table of Contents and ordering information.
15.  State Hospital Resources for Researchers.  Several resources for researching former State Hospital patients are available in the Nevada Library Genealogy Department. 

16.  Obituaries.  Generally, if an obituary was published following the death of a patient, it would have been in the patient's home-town newspaper, wherever that was.  The local Nevada, Missouri, newspaper sometimes had small articles about the arrival of patients during the hospital's first several years of operation.  Below is one such article which was published in the Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Missouri, on August 10, 1894.



Four Hundred and Twenty-Eight Patients

and the Population Growing Fast.

       Miss Annie Abbey of Kansas City was received at the Asylum yesterday as a private patient.  She was taken there in charge of Humane Officer Sherlock, who said he had performed his mission at the request of the young woman’s mother.  Miss Abbey is young, pretty, stylish, and does not appear to an ordinary observer as being unbalanced in mind.

      Ex-Representative John Teel of Lawrence county, who was received at the Asylum Wednesday, takes matters very calmly.  He likes his quarters and says he was a friend to locating the institution here, being a member of the state legislature at that time.  He says he may be a little out of line mentally, but that his wife is more crazy than he is, and that she ought to have been in the asylum long ago.  He is 53 years of age, and has been prominent in politics for a number of years.  He is a native of Illinois, and settled in Lawrence county in the latter part of the sixties.

      The Asylum received six patients Wednesday and three Thursday.  The institution now has 428 patients, and a capacity for about 600.

17.  Newspaper Indexes.  Please check the newspaper indexes to see if there might have been an article about your ancestor.

18.  County Records.  The Nevada State Hospital #3 was a State operated facility.  It was not a Vernon County facility; and therefore, its operation was not under the Vernon County government so there are no county records of its operation.

        If a Missouri county court adjudged a person insane and to be committed to the Nevada State Hospital #3, there are records of the court action in that county where the individual was a resident.  Additionally, that county would have paid fees to the State Hospital for that patient's care/keep.  County records of most Missouri counties have been microfilmed and are available at both the individual county and the Missouri State Archives.

        In Vernon County, those records are available at the Vernon County Courthouse and also in the Nevada Library Genealogy Department on microfilm.  This Vernon County microfilm pertains only to county administrative issues, primarily payments to the hospital, of only Vernon County residents who were sent to the Asylum by the Vernon County Courts.  The two rolls of microfilm are not indexed and numerous other county records are also on both rolls of microfilm.  The film is labeled as C23069 and C23070, and section titles on the microfilm include:

      Insane Patients Records 1889-1932.  (These are not hospital medical records.)

      State Hospital Expenditures Patient 1905-1909.

      State Hospital 1937-39.

      Vernon County Insane Notices 1941-44 and 1945-49.

(There appears to be gaps in the years covered; if additional information is located it will be added to this website.)



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