Eastern State Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky

Photo by J. Soule Smith, KY Virtual Library


The Cemetery at
Eastern State Hospital

Lexington, Kentucky

Eastern State Hospital was organized in 1817 as Fayette Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. It is the second oldest institution in the United States devoted to the treatment of mental disorders. A major part of the original hospital cemetery, in use from the first quarter of the nineteenth century until the early 1950s, is no longer intact. Local industrial development resulted in a relocation of many cemetery graves to a small common area of land near the hospital grounds.

Working with various records, the Eastern State Hospital Cemetery Club is identifying those who lived and died at the hospital when the cemetery was in use. Contributions of additional data are invited and may be made by contacting Mary Hatton.

Deaths at Eastern State Hospital
Kentucky death certificate data
compiled by Mary Hatton



Death Certificates

1833 and 1849 cholera deaths

1860 and 1870 census mortality schedules
1890 veterans' census

Find A Grave entries

1870 Population Census Data
compiled by Mary Hatton
In 1870, there were 508 patients listed in the census. The youngest was 7 years old, the oldest 79 years old.
1870 staff members
1870 patients A-C
1870 patients D-G
1870 patients H-K
1870 patients L-Q
1870 patients R-T
1870 patients U-V

Newspaper Accounts
Names, death date, place of burial only
Text of Obituaries, articles

Manteno State Hospital (IL)
Madison State Hospital Cemetery (IN)
Topeka State Hospital Cemetery (KS)
Western State Hospital Cemetery (KY)
Tewksbury State Hospital Cemetery Records (MA)
Worcester State Hospital (MA)
State Hospital Cemetery Restoration (MA)
Hastings State Hospital Asylum/Cemetery (MN)
Columbus Mental Hospital (OH)

State of Ohio Asylum for the Insane Cemetery
Dixmont State Hospital (PA)
Portsmouth Asylum Cemetery (RI)
Northern State Hospital (WA)

Bethlehem Royal Hospital of London

Fayette County Cemetery Trust
Historic Asylums

Abandoned Asylum
The Lives They Left Behind:
Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic

How to Successfully Restore a State Hospital Cemetery

Dr. Thomas T. Wendell was a pioneer in the care of Kentucky's mentally ill. As a staff physician at Eastern State Hospital, he worked for twenty years to upgrade care of African-American patients. The Wendell Building on the campus was named in his honor. Dr. Wendell was a graduate of Meharry College in Nashville, TN with degrees in both pharmacy and medicine. He served as a physician in Lexington from 1900 until his death in 1953. Dr. Wendell was among the leaders in the community who advocated the building of the original Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for African-Americans in 1922. Source: A Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Contributed by Yvonne Giles


About the Hospital

Historic Asylums provides some background information on Eastern State Hospital, including a timeline, 1822 enabling legislation, images and and a brief history.

It also provides an interesting 1861 drawing showing the Eastern State Hospital Cemetery as part of the Pleasure Grounds and Farm at that time.

Yvonne Giles has donated an 1834 image of the grounds. The largest picture (665022 bytes) is the most legible, but can be slow to load. Also available: 220556 bytes (medium) and 158062 bytes (small).

An overview of the current grounds from Google maps.

Obtaining information from Eastern State Hospital
It is possible for a direct descendant of an Eastern State Hospital patient to be appointed administrator of that person's estate for purposes of accessing existing records. There is a court cost of $52.00. Write Mary Hatton for contact information.


Current Photos

1975 campus and interior shots

Photo by Waller Overton Bullock, 1898, KY Virtual Library

Plaques photographed by Louis Edward Nollau ca. 1934:
Dining Hall
Building Dedication

Nurses Home photographed by C. Frank Dunn

 Above images from the KY Virtual Library


2006 pb