I just came upon the most interesting website – Inmates of Willard. The author, Linda Stuhler, has complied lists of inmates at Willard as well as other New York State institutions. She writes a blog, has written a book, The Inmates of Willard 1870 to 1900, and has numerous links on her site directing researchers to the particular area or county in which their ancestors lived. Linda states:
The goal of this blog is to be a genealogy resource for people searching for ancestors who were patients at New York State Hospitals during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Brief histories of these former institutions can be found on the “Interesting Articles & Documents” page. If you have information to share, please share it here!
Although I don’t think I had an ancestor who was an inmate that died there, I did have one who was hospitalized a couple of times due to extreme stress in her life. She lost a son, daughter, and husband within a month’s time in 1904.
I am also interested in the history of this state institution because my Hardenbrook line had property adjacent to the hospital and Washington Hardenbrook was stated to be one of the hospital’s oldest and most faithful employees.
For those researching Upstate New York, and think you might have an ancestor in one of the state facilities, do check out this helpful site. Linda and company continue to lobby the state legislature for release of the names of those who died during confinement in these institutions.