Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

First Illinois State Hospital for the Insane

The marker is located in Jacksonville on the southern edge of the old State Hospital Grounds on Michigan Street.
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Jacksonville Area Genealogical and Historical Society, Jacksonville Developmental Center and IDOT

Marker Description:
Miss Dorothea Dix in her "memorial to the Senate and House of the Representatives of Illinois" urged their serious consideration of the afflicted condition of an increasing class of insane sufferers, whose healthful exercise of their intellectual faculties were withdrawn, incapable of self-government and self care. As a result the Assembly passed a law in 1847 stating "there shall be established, within four miles of the town of Jacksonville, county of Morgan, an institution to be known as the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane." Joseph Morton, James Dunlap, John J. Hardin, John Henry, Samuel D. Lockwood, William G. Thomas, Bezaleel Gillett, Nathaniel English and Owen M. Long constituted a body corporate as trustees. The building, under Superintendent Dr. James M. Higgins, was opened to accept the first patient, Sophronia McElhiney, McLean County, 3 November, 1851.

The first deceased patient buried on this site, 13 February, 1852, was Martha Fisher, Morgan County. This Immanuel North Cemetery has 234 recorded burials from 78 counties, 1852-1879 as copied form an old cemetery book uncovered in 1979 at the old administration building. The deceased hereon represent a cross section of various life-styles, friendships, occupations, religions, races and creeds from families of many nationalities and origins.

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