Woman’s identity returned after seventy years

Posted By: Kelsey Murphy


A field full of cement numbers.

The digits mark a person’s grave, Someone’s mother, father, grandparent, brother or sister, whose identity is hidden behind a numerical sequence.

Tuesday, one of those numbers got her name back.

"She never had a lot of good things happen in her life I am sure, and maybe this could help a little," Tim Cox, Anna’s great grandson, said.

Her name is Anna Cox. She suffered from a mental illness and was admitted to the Nebraska Hospital for the Insane in 1904.

Cox spent almost 44 years there before passing away. At that time, if the person was buried in a hospital cemetery, it was protocol for him or her to be buried under their medical number.

Facility officials say perhaps for privacy, or fear associated with negative stigmas.

"The past was the past and I think of colleagues, back in the day, that was the rules to put a cemetery stone and put the number. If we can go back and make amends for those decisions and for whatever reason those rules were there, that is something we would like to do,” Stacey Werth-Sweeney, Facility Operating Officer, said.

That hospital, now called the Lincoln Regional Center, does not perform burials any more, but they do help to improve old grave sites.

Tim Cox is Anna’s great grandson, he and his wife bought a headstone with her name on it and had it placed over her number Tuesday.

Tim says he found her burial site after searching his family’s ancestry.

Before that, he knew little about his great grandmother.

"She was kind of a black sheep; they hid her out, swept her under the carpet," Cox, said.

They say they’re happy to help reclaim Anna’s identity.

It’s just something families do for one another.