From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Charity (Negro Woman)

(born: 1803  -  died: 1824) 

Charity, from Versailles, KY, was the first person admitted to the newly opened Kentucky Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Lexington, KY, on May 1, 1824. Charity's death date is not known; some sources say that she died within a year of being placed in the asylum.

When she was institutionalized, Charity was a 21-year-old mulatto or Negro who could not walk, talk, or eat solid food. She may have been a free person (not a slave). It is not known why she was the first patient in the mental facility that was originally named Fayette Hospital.

The campaign for erecting the facility began in 1816, led by an early settler named Andrew McCalla. Known today as Eastern State Hospital, the facility was built on the Sinking Spring property and completed in 1822.

When the building committee ran into financial difficulties, the facility was purchased by the state in 1823. Kentucky Eastern Lunatic Asylum was the second state asylum built in the United States; the first was built in Williamsburg, VA, in 1773.

For more see History of Lexington, Kentucky: its early annals and recent progress, by G. W. Ranck; and Eastern State Hospital at

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Woodford County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Versailles, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Charity (Negro Woman),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-03-31 16:48:33