What Did Frank Suffer From?

My Grandma D.’s Dad is Herb Siddall.  His dad is Frank Siddall.  Frank Siddall served briefly in the Civil War.  And then later had to go to a Soldiers’ Home.

The question is–why? (And, also, what religion was he?  “Foot”?)

I can’t read the handwriting, but maybe you can.


18 thoughts on “What Did Frank Suffer From?

  1. Can’t tell why he went to the soldier’s home, but I think the religion is “Prot” – Protestant?

  2. This is what I read:

    Cause of discharge – Exp. term of Service (expected term of service? if he was getting his pension 40 years after enlisting, was he retiring?)

    Kind and degree of disability – Rheum. Deb. and Senility (rheumatoid arthritis?)

    And I agree with Lurker, that looks like Prot to me.

    Also, that handwriting is gorgeous.

  3. Oh the woes of being a historian. Try reading Braxton Bragg’s or Jefferson Davis’ letters some day. Any historically important person should be forced to practice good diction!

  4. Ha, yeah. Darn. Yes, of course it’s “Prot” not “Foot.” He was indeed Protestant.

    It looks to me–and Bridgett may have some insight–like, when he could, he went to join his older brother in the Civil War and they were discharged together after the Chattanooga stuff. Then, Frank went on to be a pharmacist, and then, after he gets married, has some kids and gets into his late 50s and something goes wrong that he needs to leave Chicago and go to the Veteran’s home for treatment. And he appears to go back two more times.

    But I know he dies in Chicago later, so he doesn’t seem to live at the Veterans’ Home, just get treatments there.

    I, too, thought that it looked like he was suffering from some kind of rheumatoid condition and senility, but doesn’t it look like they marked down a date when his condition started? Is there such a thing as sudden-onset senility?

    I asked my mom to ask her mom what she knew.

  5. Yes, Prot. and “Rheum. Deb. and Senility.” In other words, he had symptoms that manifested as crippling arthritis and dementia. Given his young age, his background in the military, and his profession, I’d suggest investigating how mercury poisoning presents. It was an occupational hazard for pharmacists, who were constantly handling mercury as a common ingredient in medicines. If he’d gotten any sort of venereal disease in the military, he would have been dosing with a mercury-based compound that would have led to erratic behavior and faulty memory. The soldier’s homes would take you only if you were unable to support yourself (at least in theory), so he probably couldn’t open the bottles and do the intricate preparations/measuring needed to practice his trade.

  6. Rereading the document, I think he was in constant care from November 1904 to August 12, 1905. He was discharged for a month and then came back and was readmitted in September, 1905. He was transferred to another facility in 1908.

    I’m not sure what soldier’s home this doc is from, but there was a huge soldier’s home in Cook County (as well as the Railroad Brotherhood Home, which served the same function only for disabled rail workers). So, just because he died in Cook County doesn’t mean that he was in his own residence when he did so.

  7. The 137th was a 90-day regiment who came down to Tennessee to chase girls and guard railroad engines. They lost 17 members to disease (common) and saw no battles. Basically, he got to wear a uniform, take a couple of long boat rides, and pull really dull duty for three months.

  8. Ha, I knew you would know! His brother seems to have been a surgeon in the Army. I wonder if that’s where Frank got the idea to become a pharmacist. Mercury poisoning? Wow. That’s sad.

    But, ha, so the whole story about him joining his brother in the war was not exactly true.

  9. No, not hardly. Actually, my husband has written a lot about both the “national homes” movement and (coincidentally) an Indiana soldier in the 136th (from Elkhart) who was in one of these jerkwater little regiments that jumped in right at the end of the war. He just handed me Patrick Kelly’s book on the National Soldiers’ Homes and I think I’m making headway with the cryptic “MB” “DB” and NWB. MB might mean main building or Main Branch. DB is still obscure to me. NWB I think means “Northwest Branch” — a facility on the Northwestern line between Milwaukee and Chicago that specialized in the treatment of the non-ambulatory and aged. It was probably easier for his wife to get to, depending on where she lived.

  10. She was in Morgan Park when he first went in and lived around the south side of Chicago her whole life. So, yeah, the NWB, if you’re right about that, would have been closer to her than Danville.

  11. According to Kelly’s book, there were 20 druggists in the Home system at the time your ancestor was there, making it one of the most common white-collar professions represented. The earnings weren’t huge and the risks were big, so they often wound up screwed up and without the independent resources to purchase at-home care.

    Oh, one of the upsides of the Northwestern Branch is that it had a beer canteen (shocking!)

  12. Danville is referred to in the record-keeping of the homes as DB. MB is Main Building of the Northwest Branch — it was a big dorm that housed between 600-1000 men, where men slept 12 in a room. It was generally disliked for being noisy and lacking privacy. The sleeping floors weren’t heated. It lacked light and ventilation, so it smelled like piss (reportedly). It was a dank, cold and cheerless place if you were confined to bed. If you were ambulatory, though, you could enjoy bowling or billiards on the upper floors (and listen to the din all night long if you weren’t.)

    NWB is the Northwestern Branch. Looks like he was in the MB, left and went to Danville, then transferred back to NWB.

  13. Hello I was on google searching Teckla Siddall and came to this website. I have the book she wrote about the Siddall in America. My father was the grandson of Horace and Elizabeth Siddall. Frank Theodore Lea Siddall was my gggreat grandfathers brother.
    Any way I was looking for Tecklas Daughters or grandaugters to see if there was others books teckla wrote i have reference to book 1.
    If anyone has info.
    Frank was a pharmacist and serves as Company Doctor for a MIning Company in Irion Mountain, Michigan.Then had a drug store in Chicago.
    Thank you

  14. Kristin–then we are very distant cousins. Teckla is my great grandmother (I am Betsy Teckla). As far as I know, the only two books she wrote were SIDDALLS IN AMERICA, which is, obviously, about the Siddalls in America and OBSTACLES OVERCOME which is a history of her Scandinavian ancestry as far back as she could trace it (her mother’s family). My grandma Doris is still alive (Teck’s daughter) so if you have any questions about stuff she might know, I’m happy to ask her.

  15. Wow.
    I am glad to meet you. Thanks for the information. So your grandmother is Doris Mae? I love reading the book and seeing names and how my relatives lived. I hope she is in good health. I was wondering if she has any thing else about the Siddalls that didnt make it in the book. I have been on genealogy and ancestry.com seeing who is looking for relatives.
    I did find a second cousin to my dad. His cousin was John Coomber Siddall. John had two children and I connected through ancestry.com with a cousin. Its nice now we have a new relationship sharing about our grandfather John siddall.
    Does your grandmother have the Book? I found one in a Library in Indiana on line.
    That is cool you have Tecklas name as your middle name.
    Wll I will check this site every so often. About Frank He did live longer than some of the brothers.George died when he was only 24.
    Well take care
    Thanks again

  16. Hello Kristin
    I rented a large house in Santa Monica from Doris Coomber Siddall in the 1970s. I was an architecture student, and she lived in an amazing craftsman house next door. I have been trying to find a relative who might have a photo of this house for the Santa Monica Conservancy. I see a listing for a John C Siddall [her son?] in Hemet, and another listing for a John Siddall who might be her grandson. Do you have any contact data for them?
    Thank you.

  17. Hello Greta.
    Wow its nice to recieve a message about my Auntie Doris. I know that her son is not alive and her grandaughter might have a photo. Is it the house with all the steps I remember that house. I will find out for you and also see if I have a photo.
    My dad was Doris and Johns nephew. I will contact her grandaughter and see what she has.
    God Bless

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