Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee

Florida State Hospital

Chattahoochee, Gadsden County, Florida

This site is in no way connected to the hospital itself.
All info contained on these pages are public records
that have been collected by volunteers to help people
who had ancestors that are buried at the facility.

I can be reached at Rhonda Smith
pages updated July  7, 2008

 Knott's Museum
William V. Knotts was director of hospital 1921

History of Hospital

Known burials at hospital cemeteries

Photos of Cemetery Markers

Contact hospital directly

Resources of interest

Miscellaneous Information



Old Cemetery in the Woods, Cemetery # 3 FL State Hospital
Old Cemetery in Woods


Letter From Florida State Hospital Oct 5, 1890
You will want to read this page!

Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee, Cemeteries

Cemetery # 1 (no information as yet) 

Cemetery # 2

Cemetery # 2 Division 1
Cemetery # 2 Division 2
Cemetery # 2 Division 3
Cemetery # 2 Division 4

Cemetery # 3
Cemetery # 3 Division 1
Cemetery # 3 Division 2 
Cemetery # 3 Division 3  Sheet 1 and 2 
Cemetery # 3 Division 3 Sheet 3
Cemetery # 3 Division 4 Sheet 1 
Cemetery # 3 Division 4 Sheet 2
Cemetery # 3 Part Div 4 and Part Div 5
Cemetery # 3 South End Div 4
Cemetery # 3 Division 5
Cemetery # 3 Division 6

Cemetery # 4 (in woods behind Cem # 3) 

Cemetery # 5 - New Cemetery on Goat Hill (one being used now) 

Picture of grave of Arnold Lee Braddock died in 1935 

Article on Gadsden Co FL cemeteries in Tallahassee Democrat Sunday, March 14, 1999

Robert B. "Bob" Williams, Director of Programs.

Gates at New Cemetery on Goat Hill

Gates at New Cemetery on Goat Hill
State Investigations into FLorida State Hospital , Chattahoochee

You need to read these web pages!!!

Northampton State Hospital, Massachussettshttp://www.javanet.com/~tclement/NSH/Main.html
This project focuses on memorializing and commemorating the forgotten cemetery of the former Northampton State Hospital. Like many other Massachussetts State Hospitals, NSH buried some of its patients on its grounds. This took place between when it opened in 1858, until approximately the 1920s. Patients buried at NSH were patients that had no family to claim them, and were technically wards of the State. By approximately the 1920s, NSH began instead to ship its deceased, unclaimed patients to medical schools as cadavers. Thus the cemetery fell into disuse. Records have been lost over the years, and any physical markers or indications are long gone. Over the decades, most records have been lost, and those patients who were already cast away from society have slipped even further from memory.All that remains is a grassy hill, some oral history, and a sense that individuals have been forgotten. (Go to this web page to read more)
Hi Betty, I have a name of an ancestor , who may be of interest to those researching the surname DUNAWAY , that is buried at Hospital Cemetery. This information came from a death certificate on BOB DUNAWAY , who was born in Georgia , but later resided in Orange County, Florida. It was amazing to me to see how much information was listed as unknown on his death certificate, by the informant, who is listed as being Florida State Hospital. Cause of death is listed as myocardial decompensated, acute due to acute bronchitis.It list him as being 76 years old , birthdate unknown. Widowed , but name of spouse and parents unknown. Birthplace of Bob Dunaway was listed as city or town, unknown . State of birth 
Georgia. Occupation of deceased - laborer. He was seen by a doctor there from March 19, 1926 to March 20,1926. He died March 21,1926 and burial is listed as - Hospital Cemetery. Date of burial was March 22, 1926. Undertaker- P.L.Laing? I would urge those researching anyone buried there , to try and get a death certificate on their ancestors from vital statistics, and also to use the Florida Death Index as a source , if anyone is unsure of the year of death .I have found this to be a very big help in locating many ancestors. LInda M. Shiver Thomas, Volusia County, Florida, [email protected]
A Book about Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee 

Insanity: Inside Out

By: Kenneth Donaldson (former patient) 

Published: Crown Publishers, c 1976 

I found a copy at USF, Tampa, FL and they have a copy at State Library in Tallahassee, Fl 

Moving account of Kenneth Donaldson who survived years in Chattahoochee, unwanted and unwarranted confinement. From a social perspective the book is important: it raisers in dramatic fashion the critical question of how society treats (or mistreats) people who need (or are mistakenly thought to need) mental health care and treatment. 

We now have a query page for Florida State Hospital, just click on Query Button below to go to Query page. 
This is a list for sharing genealogy info and is NOT a discussion board for moral or political discussions.

Please everyone redo your queries in the new system. 

Read old posted Queries

If you have a picture taken long ago of any of the cemeteries at Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee, Please e-mail, I would like a copy on these pages.  These pictures would be priceless and we would send a copy to Florida Archives.  Thanks for any help!

To see more pictures click here!



A true story about Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee, FL
The movie 

"The true story of a Korean War Veteran, Emmett Foley (Chris Calhoun), who fought for mental health care reforms after being committed to the hellish Florida State asylum in 1955. Made in 1988."
Featuring: Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Frances McDormand and M. Emmett Walsh
Directed by Mick Jackson

"The abuse eventually was exposed by The Tampa Tribune, and then-Gov. Farris Bryant ordered an investigation that led to reforms in the early 1960s."

Article on Chris Calhoun (Emmett Foley)

137 reforms came after the investigation of the Florida Governor's Office. Many old buildings were torn down and replaced.
I found a copy at Blockbuster Video.

Florida State Archives Photographic Collection. 
To find photo's do a search for Florida State Hospital. 

 Florida State Hospital
View #2
View #3

Apartment Building

Staff Nurses 1914

Staff doctors 191?

Employees about 1880-1900

These links may not work. Photos are there will just need to do a search.

Florida's state hospital : Chattahoochee, Florida  Post Card  about 19?? post marked 1913 

Aerial view of Florida State Hospital, Norman La Coe; Gainesville, Fla.; 1975. 
Subject: Florida State Hospital Buildings.Chattahoochee (Fla.) Aerial photographs. 

Water Tower and Males Dormitory  about 196? 

Sewage disposal construction at Florida State Hospital about 195? 

Building H  about 194? 

B Ward  about 196? 

Staff about 193? 

Building 194? 

Dining Room about 1940 

Laboratory interior  about 1925? 

Prison and water tower about 1925 

Canning factory  about 192? 

Examining room  about 192? 

Fire Station about 1940 

Dining Room about 196? 

Escambia unit at Florida State Hospital  about 196? 

Old tuberculosis building about 194? 

Male building and water tower about 196? 

Building about 1945 

Ernest Murphy inside mattress factory about 196? 

Landis Hall 1945 

Superintendent's home 1945 

Interior of bathroom in building  1945 

Building and water tower 1945 

Building and water tower # 2  1945 

Superintendent's residence and water tower  1905 

Hospital facility, superintendent's residence and water tower about 1905 

Inscribed surface of brick wall at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee 1945 

Building with patients in secured terraces at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee 1945 

View of white female convalescent yard, Chattahoochee Hospital  about 1905 

Building H at Florida State Hospital : Chatahoochee, Florida  about 192? 

Florida State Cemeteries, Chattahoochee

This list changes as we find new information! 

Cemetery # 1 (family members of hospital administrators) moved to ???
Cemetery # 2 (1897-1904) moved to ?????rdson Place? (lost Cemetery?)
Cemetery # 3 (1904-1928) old cemetery in the woods, picture above
Cemetery # 4 (1928-1931) (behind Cemetery#3) no plat map for this cemetery
Cemetery # 5  (1932-1999) (new cemetery on goat hill)

Florida State Hospital Cemetery Tour 
16 Jan 1999 

Myrt Mayne of Tallahassee, FL., was responsible for the idea of the cemetery tour. 


Grady Turnage, Historian, leader of the Tour 

Don Humphrey, River Junction Prison 
Betty James Smith, FLGenWeb Project 
Elliott M Brown, Historian 
John Lawrence, retired mortician, Fl State Hospital 
Kathy S Johnson, Twin City News, Gadsden Co FL 
W R Burkhalter, 
Wayne Fallis, Div of Forestry, GPS all Cemeteries Gadsden Co FL 
Sandra High McLin, Genealogist 
Don Griffin, 
Whit and Carol Gainey, Washington Co., FLUSGenWeb Project 
Davis Bevis, Historian 
Oliver Sellers, Fire and Parks Service, Gadsden Co FL 
Tommy Baker, EMS, Gadsden Co FL 

Inmates at Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee
Inmates from 1880 Gadsden Co FL Census 

Inmates from 1885 Gadsden Co FL Census

White Male Inmates 1900 Gadsden Co FL Census

June Holcomb has volunteered to transcribe 1900, 1910 and 1920 Hospital Census!

"From Mount Vernon to Chattahoochee, A history of Mt. Vernon, River Junction, Chattahoochee and vicinity" by Grady Turnage 1987

Florida State Hospital was 'founded' in 1878 when the old arsenal building was updated and became Florida State Hospital for the Indigent Insane. This is according to Grady Turnage's book "From Mount Vernon to Chattahoochee, A history of Mt. Vernon, River Junction, Chattahoochee and vicinity". It was first printed in 1987. Grady Turnage is the historian for Chattahoochee. He writes a column weekly for the Twin City News, the Chattahoochee newspaper. He also knows the history of the hospital and can probably tell you where the old cemeteries are and if there are any left over from the pre-FSH days. In his book, Mr. Turnage states "As the Second Seminole War raged in the Central Florida peninsula, the threat of roving bands of Red Sticks and Seminoles was still very real. A resolution from the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida in January 1832 was directed to Joseph M. White, the territorial delegate in the US Congress, requesting him to urge the passage of a law to establish an 'arsenal in the territory as measure highly important to the peace and safety of the country.' Mr. White secured the inclusion of an item 'for for an arsenal in Florida, twenty thousand dollars', in an appropriation for the support of the army in 1832, approved April 5, 1832." Mr. Turnage describes all the complications of building the arsenal, which became known as the Chattahoochee Arsenal or Apalachicola Arsenal. "The arsenal finally was completed in 1839 under the supervision of Lt. John Williamson after a total cost of $226,932. By this time, the Indian threat was about over although there were still roving parties of Red Sticks around." He does state that on February 25, 1835, while working on the arsenal, Captain John Hills died of the fever, and Lt. Charles Petigru took over as supervisor of construction. He too became sick and died Sept. 6, 1835. "Both men are buried in Mosquito Creek swamp along an old road that led east from Chattahoochee to a crossing point on the creek. Grave markers may be seen there today near what was later to become a cemetery for Florida State Hospital patients." 
-Myrt Mayne

If you have a address or phone number, or any type of inforamtion that will help a researcher, please send email and I will post here.


Are there other sites on the internet?  If you know the URL please e-mail



Eastern State Hospital
First psychiatric hospital in North America.
History of Eastern State Hospital



Old records of State Hospital have been donated to Florida State Archives..... and may be seen there.  The State Hospital is entering data in computer ....


Old cemetery before 1900 
Here I am (Betty Mae Smith) walking thru what we were 
told was the old State Hospital Cemetery 
at Chattahoochee. It was almost dark when 
Sandra took this picture. We did not find 
any markers. Sandra believes her great- 
grandmother is buried here. We were told 
the hospital does have a record of where 
and who is buried here.
Betty walking thru old cemetery

photo by Sandra High McLin

Cemetery Directions


New Cemetery:  Go Hwy 90 east from Chattahoochee, cross bridge, 1st road to right (south), go about 1/2 mile and you will come to gate.  Most days the gate is open and you can drive the lanes in the cemetery.  If gate is locked there is a pass thru that you can walk thru and walk over the cemetery.  It is a very large and well keep cemetery on a hill.  Most graves only have a number on the grave.  I am informed that a family may install a small headstone (per cemetery requirements) on a family members grave.

The Old Cemetery: Sandra Shepard phone # 850  663-7221 Senior Clerk, FL St Hospital

 The older cemetery (before 1900 period) is on the west side of road as you drive down the hard road to the new cemetery.  Another way to old Cemeteries is to start at overpass and walk south down the old railroad bed to a drainage ditch under tressel (about 300 yds).   There will be pieces of a fence off to the left - there will be a rain-washed trail- go into woods there.  Go about 400 yds.  You will see a stream after making your way around the stream, the headmakes will start after another 100-200 ft.  Look very closely- they blend into the brackground.


Gadsden County, Florida census

Persons at the state hospital were listed on census of Gadsden Co FL. and the conditions for which persons were sent to the hospital is listed.



Florida State Hospital
Date: 97-09-02

Betty: I've got some info on how to get records of ancestors that were in Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee. One will need to write to: Mr. Mark Campbell, Health Information Manager, FSH, POBox 1000, Chattahoochee, FL 32324, giving specific information regarding the patient inc. full name, date of birth, SSN, when they may have  been there, anything specific that can help to identify the person.  I spoke with Lola Whitehead, Mr. Campbell's secretary, at 663-7780, who told me also that they will need an "authorization from the nearest living relative of the patient". NOTE: We discussed that this will have to be the person requesting the information, unless someone closer is known and can be located.

They will only take requests in writing, no phone calls.

You can also walk-in to H Building (the one by the flag pole) 2nd floor, room 228, see Sandra Shepard who will look up the information.

She also needs a signed authorization (but she has forms on hand).

Lola explained that they only keep records for seven years then they are destroyed, except for a card file that gives only limited information, ie, how long they were there, when they died, what happened with remains, etc. I explained to her about the web page, but that didn't seem to mean anything to her. She is not familiar with the internet.

I told her the reason for my questions, and explained that the person making the inquiry would probably be a descendant of the patient and asked if they needed documentation of this descendance and she didn't indicate that it was necessary (probably because there would be no way that they could disput whatever they are told).
Hope this helps,  MM



Social Security Administration
Freedom of Informaton Office
4J9 West High Rise Building
Baltimore, MD 20235
(send your documentation with your letter, ask for a copy of the file on the person at the State Hospital) This only works for people who had a social security number. That means after 1936.

Also, ask for a copy of SS-5.  send SS# if known as it will cost less.


Florida State Hospital Complex

Which hospital or department?


(Can anyone help fill this list)

Infectious disease:
   1. T B
   2. Syphyllis  (left untreated causes mental and physical deteoration)


  1. Mental Insane:

  2. Criminal Insane:



A book you may want to read

Women of the Asylum

Voices from behind the Walls
Jeffrey L Geller and Maxine Harris
forwarded by Phyllis Chesler
Anchor Book published by Double Day
ISBN 0-385-47422-9
Hardback with cover
$4.95 plus shipping order from:
Edward R Hamilton Booksellers
Falls Village, CT 06031-5000
order # 681660


Rhonda Smith
coordinator Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee web page
copyright 2001-2008 Rhonda Smith

I wish to thank Betty James Smith for creating these pages originally
and allowing me to use the info on them.

Go to Gadsden Co FL website