Great Grandpa Amnesia Travels

I haven’t written lately. Stopped doing jewelry making to enjoy other aspects of my life. I have been doing family research or genealogical research for others. Haven’t really unearth anything spectacular.

But I do have great grandpa that traveled quite extensively before he got married. After he was married and when he was in his early 60’s was coming home from work one day in Philadelphia and it is believed that someone hit him over the head, took his valuables  such as his wedding band and whatever money he was carrying with him and put him on a freight train. It seems  he had amnesia for two and half years. Could you imagine not knowing where you came from, not remembering your family, wife, nothing about your previous life not even your name?

I’d like to share what I know about this man here in my blog.  This man was amazing, I guess in real life he kept a journal and he even wrote down in his wedding book their trip they took and what they did. One can tell from his writing that he was very detailed person. His penmanship was excellent. From what I recall from memory he used an pen and ink to record their wedding journey, he even noted something about the fire alarm in the hotel.

I was also informed that John ended up in a lumber yard in eastern Tennessee the first day after his arrival off the freight train. He didn’t know where he was nor did he know his name. He thought the men were a little rough around the edges and wasn’t sure about them so he tried to stay reserve so not to upset them or get on the wrong side of these men.

The information following this sentence was taken from his account of his trip and not having memory from the 5 May 1923 til September 1925.

“On a beautiful warm day in early Spring about 5 o’clock in the afternoon I had fallen asleep in an open train shed along a railroad in Eastern Tennessee. The shed open in the front and around the three sides benches for passengers awaiting a train. Several gun reports close by startled and awakened me and getting up from the bench too suddenly made me dizzy and I fell to the floor.  Five mountaineers came in and raised me onto the bench.  The dizziness clasped quickly and not being hurt by the fall, I sat up and asked what the gun shooting meant and once said ” Mr were only having a little horse play back of the shed, having just quit work and on our way home.” “Where as I “_______ Gray’s.” Guess nobody and distance from here. Its in Tenn. By this time they were sitting and each man had a knife a couple were whittling sticks and the others cutting niches in the bench, said one, “Where did you come from?” I don’t seem to know – can’t remember being here before or in Tennessee either.”

Well Hobo, you must be a tramp or getaway as you don’t want to tell anything. What’s your name?” That remark nettled me as I was dressed better than any of them very little this name for dist as I could see so I answered at once John Farham. Do I look like a tramp, I don’t feel as if I had ever been one. But with several days growth of whiskers, an old black slouch hat I was not very presentable especially with a good coating of dust. Well Dad, if you get upper income you have a very poor alibi. In the meantime the wind had begun to rise and the limbs of the tree which I could see from where I was sitting were swaying and a man remarked “It’s going to rain.” “Me for home” and they all echoed his statement.

I said, “Is there any place round here where I could get a place to sleep” Very few houses her about and they are filled with children and babies but there is a place about a mile beyond where you could find a place to sleep.” They all left at once for their mountain cabins and I stepped out of the shed to find forest all around a and a saw mill and stone nearby in a clearing. Walking over to this porch and found it to be a portable saw mill probably carried from place to place in clearing the timber and close by a general store. Several small houses appeared to comprise Gray’s and I took to the Road which turned out to be my home for some time.

Strange to say I seemed to have no forebading this, more like it was natural and there was no looking forward as to what might happen how I was to make a living. Neither did it appear astounding that I  could not tell anything about myself or as to why I found myself in my condition. I had on a dark blue suit soiled somewhat by dust and I presume sleeping in some places other than a bed, an old black slouch hat, much the worse for wear. My sole possession were six cents, a couple of keys on a ring, pipe tobacco and matches, no papers or letter or anything that would raise an impression me that matters should be otherwise than in my condition at the time. I just drifted and took things as they came and they came swiftly. Gray’s did not look good to me so I started along the road to the find the place of which the man spoke but never found it. It had probably rained the day previous and the ground wet and when I came to the edge of the forest it was muddy and walking laborous and darted up the grade of the mountain. Presently the sky darkened and for probably 15 minutes it rained hard blowing into my face, wetting me to the skin and making walking difficult on the ties.

The sky cleared but it was getting dark and no shelter insight. Just before dark I came across a young girl carrying a pail of water and asked her for a drink. She replied, “I have nothing you can drink from.” I saw a large house in the trees to the left of the railroad and  asked if I could get shelter there for the night but she declined to say and said there a cabin in the woods and to try there. It was dark by then and a storm beginning so I entered the forest and after a time discovered a light ahead. Having lost the beaten path it was quite a struggle to get there. The light came from the kitchen with an outside porch. Knocking on a pillar a man came out and I said, “Can you give me shelter for the night, am soaking wet and no place to go.” At that moment the winds a length of tin from the porch roof had he not caught my hand and pulled me on the porch it would have struck me as it fell where I had been standing. I saw it in the morning and it was big as a door. “That was a narrow escape wait a minute- I’ll see the old women ? he said” He went inside and in a couple minutes called to me to come in. the “old woman” his mother and a young woman, no doubt his wife appeared to be the only occupants. “Sit down and I’ll make a fire to dry your clothes. It’s been so warm the past two weeks we let the fire go out.”  “It’s very kind of you. I need a lot of drying out.”

To be continued….

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