In the early morning of Saturday, April 13, 1918 a fire broke out at the State Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma.
When the fire finally consumed the structures and the fire was out, the bodies of 40 people were found.
One was identified but the 39 others were placed in wooden boxes and interred in a mass grave.
In 1918, a family member who was placed in a mental hospital was usually dead to the family and he/she was never talked about. So the 39 bodies of all boys or men were placed in the common grave and forgotten. Not even a marker was placed over the grave.
It took 96 years until the grave was finally found and a proper burial and memorial was erected in 2014 for those 39 souls.
I was doing some research for a Greenwalt family member and came across a “Claud Greenwalt” in the Find A Grave web site.
I forgot about Claud and now just wanted to learn more about the fire and the names on the marble slab.
I found many quick references to the fire in history web sites but none that had an orderly list of the names on the memorial slab.
The memorial slab lists the names but they are not in a smooth alphabetical order that members of the family can easily find.
I decided to create a list so that family members would be able to identify their relatives. I wanted the names to be captured in search requests and the slab does not do that for the family.
I hope this list will help you find that illusive relative that is mentioned in records but then just vanishes… maybe he will be found on this list.
Norman, Oklahoma State Hospital Fire
13 April 1918
|Stewart||William H. Sr.|
Jose from Clarkston, Michigan
text file of names:
Fanning, Robert L.
Frank, Richard Thomas
Hurst, William Chesley
Mattoon, John V.
Smith, Ernest B.
Stewart, William H. Sr.
West, Joe S.
Links to news items:
Norman, OK State Hospital Fire, Apr 1918
Submitted by Stu Beitler
Oklahoma | Fires | 1918 | State Hospital Fire
Long Lost Mass Grave Discovered In Norman
Posted: Mar 26, 2014 6:57 PM EST Updated: Mar 27, 2014 9:49 AM EST
Norman State Hospital Fire
Victims killed in 1918 Norman hospital fire found buried in mass grave site
Posted 6:44 pm, March 26, 2014, by Vi Nguyen, Updated at 03:18PM, March 27, 2014
Oklahoma State Hospital fire…
State mental patients killed in 1918 fire to get markers after long-lost gravesite found in Norman cemetery
The graves of 39 state mental patients who were killed in a tragic 1918 fire will finally be marked.
By JANE GLENN CANNON NewsOK.com May 12, 2014 0
April 13, 1918 Blaze Claims 40 At Norman Asylum ‘Firetraps’ Spurred Safety Steps
Michelle Sutherlin Published: April 18, 1999 12:00 AM CDT Updated: April 18, 1999 12:00 AM
April 13, 1918 in History
Electrical fire kills 38 mental patients at Oklahoma State Hospital
Oklahoma Dept of Mental Health
and Substance Abuse Services
08 Apr 2015
13 Apr 1918
buried at 100F Memory Garden Cemetery