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John Benedict Whitfill


John Benedict Whitfill, pictured here as a youth, is one of the patients whose remains are likely among those buried on the UMMC campus.

His grandsons, James T. Lee, of Kentucky, and Wayne Lee, of North Carolina, visited the UMMC campus in April 2018. According to them, their grandfather had moved his family to Mississippi from Kentucky in the early 1900s, but found tenant farming in Leflore County very hard. Food was scarce, and John made sure his family ate before he did.

When his health deteriorated and he lost all his teeth, he developed delirium and his family had to ask the sheriff to take him to the asylum where he died Jan. 3, 1932, of pellagra, a vitamin deficiency common at the time. 

Story and photo shared with permission from Whitfill's grandson, James T. Lee and Wayne Lee, who visited the UMMC campus in April 2018.

James Lee and Wayne Lee