Foxborough Hospital's Secret Grave
Foxborough State Hospital, historically known as the Massachusetts Hospital for Dipsomaniacs and Inebriates was established in the 1890s. In 1914 it became a psychiatric hospital, and it was closed in 1975. Throughout those years employees passed down a story of a patient who had been buried alone because they had some type of communicable disease. No one knew the identity of this patient, where they were buried, or if it was true at all.
Then town historian Jack Authelet worked on a hunch that an unusual cluster of stones between an old building and the original Mansfield and Framingham Railroad tracks, could be the place. And he and his wife, Margery, trekked through the overgrowth until they found it. The remains were exhumed in September, 2010 from a far corner of the old Foxborough State Hospital grounds after lying undetected in the woods for a century.
After months of persuading the state to allow an exhumation, without any records or even a death certificate to fall back on, officials finally relented and the remains were unearthed.
On October 2nd, 2010 a memorial service returned the deceased to the care of the state in death, as he or she was in life. The grave will be marked by a number, like the scores of others around it.
But although the "where" of the mystery was resolved, the "who" remains an open question that is not likely to be answered.
"Even so, the person has always been known to God, and we commit our friend to Almighty God as we commit this body to the ground," said the Rev. Steve Madden of St. Mary’s Church in Foxborough when he participated in the brief ceremony.
Many patients who spent their lives in the state hospital were buried in Foxborough. The Cross Street graveyard, just off North Street, is a spillover from another area designated in Rock Hill Cemetery. Bodies are buried in nameless lines, the numbers presumably corresponding to identifying paperwork that no longer exists. During the 88 years the hospital operated more than 1,100 patients were buried in the two cemeteries.
Over time, the series of foreboding buildings with peaks and spires — that seem straight off the page of a fairy tale — were used for storage and, at least at one point, for a community haunted house at Halloween.
Once the facility closed, many remaining patients were moved to the neighboring Plainville State Hospital, also since closed. Others were released into community-based residential programs, and still others were discharged into the community.
One can wonder if there was a family to mourn the death of this unknown individual, of their inability or choice not to claim the body for a private burial and let their loved one remain in state care, even in death.
Families of patients, particularly during the Great Depression, often didn’t have the means to bring a loved one home.
Many of those patients at Foxborough lived and died in obscurity, their memories lost forever once they died.
source - boston.com
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Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer