In September a workman who had been at Pillings & Sons, when my father had worked there saw him at a local baseball game and got in touch with us. Uncle Ben went out to make sure it was our father as we had followed many false clues. He was my father, but didn’t recognize Uncle Ben or anything that he told him nor return to Philadelphia with him. Ella, his daughter went out to Cleveland that night by train to see what she could do. Sometime after John had arrived in Cleveland he had gotten work doing something with electrical light bulbs and insisted on Uncle Ben going to his employer to get a good reference for him. When father arrived home from work I went out to meet him on the porch steps and leaned over and kissed him, no response, no idea who I was. That afternoon, I talked a great deal to him about his past life beyond May 8, 1923 and he would not go home to a wife he didn’t know but agreed to go to Uncle Ben’s house.
During our conversation he became stiff and lapsed into an odd spell did this twice and said he could see a woman and was sure he would recognize her again. We took the sleeper to Philadelphia and after waking in the morning he told us of a dream where some women were in the ocean laughing and lauhging. Four maiden English women lived next door to us in Philadelphia. They were very close friends and enjoyed laughing. Once when they were in the ocean swimming one of them lost their false teeth and we could imagine how the rest must of just laughed!
Frank, my fiance picked us up at the station and drove- as we passed where my mother had lived before being married, my father said that the house is very familiar to me and he thought that the Main Line was familiar. When my Aunt Ada met us at the door he again had no recognition of her. There was an unusual big mirror covering half the side wall he looked at that and said, “I’ve seen that mirror before.” We had breakfast while Frank went to get my mother. We were standing in the living room when my mother came in calling “Jack”, “Jack” he turned and recognized her then asked where is Ella?, where is Lilly, the little black dog? The broke down and cried and things came back to him.
He and my mother went to the shore for two weeks which the doctor suggested. After that he was perfectly normal and before long went back to work at Pillings in a less important position with less responsibility as he formerly was a shipping manager. He worked until about week before he died. He died of pneumonia on 20 April 1934 at the age of 77. He had been gone from the age of 64 till age 67. The only change that there seemed to be was how he watched his money as this was natural because on May 5th he didn’t have any. It is also suppose that he took on the name of John Farnham as his sister lived on Farnham Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. John took notes every place he stayed on grocery bags. He kept a log so he could pay back the money that was loaned to him as he went along. This is something similar he would have done in ordinary life and through out his life he has kept notes much like a journal.
This journal doesn’t tell you every place he stayed as I came across a letter giving an account of places he stayed and with whom.
Memory was gone on May 8th – first day I can remember awoke in C&C shed at Gray’s Shed with nothing but wearing apparel I wore. Walked along the railroad and caught in sudden storm soaking wet from knees down. Then came to mountain cabin after dark and they kept me over night and dried out my clothes at fireplace.
May 9th – Gate City, Virginia – Spent the night in empty railroad car May 10th – Speer Ferry – Night in empty house May 11- Near Duffield – House on Route 2 George Miller May 12th – Big Stone Gap – rain & wet from knees down May 13th – Norton and back to Appalachia – Virginia Night in empty car May 14th – Duffield – night empty cabin May 15th – 2 miles from Gate City- night in construction car (rain) May 16th – Mendota – night in old mill May 18th – Atkins, Virginia – Mrs. S. A. McIntyre House long ride in auto May 19th – Roanoke Virginia – night in railroad round house May 20th -night abandon church May 21st – country or barn May 22nd – Near Verona – night in barn May 23rd – near Winchester – night in school house awfully cold May 24th – near Green castle – night in barn near Hagertown,Pennsylvania May 25th – near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania – night in barn May 26th – Shippenburg, Pennsylvania – night in barn May 27th – Carlisle, Pennsylvania – May 28th – Midway between Carlisle & Harrisburg – barn May 29th – 3 miles north of Harrisburg May 30th – 20 miles North of Harrisburg May 31st – 35 miles from North of Harrisburg – night in a barn June 1st – Susquehanna University – Selins Grove Sleepy Hollow Mr Forest June 3rd – 5 miles North of Northumberland – Mr. Forrest June 4th – 16 miles south of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, night in barn June 5th – 3 miles North of Elmira, New York – approached wet under barn June 6th – 6 miles North of Addison – night in barn June 7th – 1 mile North of Jasper – Andrew Murphy family, (boy Neal) supper & lodging June 8th – 5 miles North Dansville – barn cold rain June 9th – 50 miles East of Buffalo – night in barn June 10th – 1/2 mile east of E. Pembroke – night in barn June 11th – June 16th – Murray Cranndall – worked $1:00 per day and board June 17th – 3 miles West of Penbroke – night in barn June 18th – Buffalo – car at night licked in L V Railroad – night in barn June 19th – N. Evan (12 miles south of Buffalo) night barn June 20th – Portland New York – 52 miles of Buffalo – open shed night June 21st – 20 miles north of Erie, Pennsylvania – night shed June 22nd – 12 miles north of Erie, Pennsylvania – night barn June 23rd – 8 miles south of Erie , Pennsylvania – night barn June 24th – 19 miles south of Erie, Pennsylvania – night barn June 25th – 45 miles East of Cleveland – night – slept out on ground at camp June 26th – Ohio – engaged to work, farm Nov 1-11th – at John Hall – farmer Nov. 12th – Cleveland
The following is some background history of John Aikin Falck. He was born in Williamstown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on 23 Feb 1857. Williamstown was later changed to Vintage. His mother died in child birth. He had a brother Edward Falck who married Mary Kneipp and sister Mary Elizabeth who married Eldwin Johnson. His father remarried and his step mother was Mary Salone Schmucker whom raised him. He had a step sister: Laura Falck and two step brothers namely Charles and Milton Falck.
His mother’s family was from Wales and his father’s family was from Germany. He grew up near Lancaster and were Lutherans.
He attended Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster later changed to Philadelphia School of Pharmacy and became a druggist. After graduation he decided to travel. He went West working as a druggist. As he traveled he wrote to the Lancaster newspaper: “The New Era” (there is a book that someone has kept up on all the articles he wrote in to the paper about his traveling experiences.)
He went to Los Angeles, California then onto Australia living in Sidney for about three years then on to India, which is now Pakistan where he lived there for seven years. Before returning to the states he traveled in Europe and then came back to Philadelphia where he met his wife and married Esther Hunt Hansell on 17 October 1899. they lived on Wynnewood Ave. in Pennsylvania until his death.
John was very fond of children and they liked him too. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When John was in Jasper, New York he came to the home of Andrew Murray and he went to the door and asked if he could sleep in the barn, Neal answered and went and got his father, said he could sleep in their home. Ella went to see them after her father had died. They had felt later that he wasn’t an ordinary tramp, they had tired to go after him, but he must have gotten a lift. He made a BIG impression on them and especially on Neal. After Father got to Cleveland he wrote a thank you note and gave his address in Cleveland. From then on they were his adopted family and they sent him presents and especially at Christmas. They really adopted each other.
After he came home, two daughters visited us in Philadelphia and later Mother (John’s wife) Jack ( my son) and I (Jack’s mother) stopped to see them in Jasper, New York. That’s when they told us they tried to catch up with him.
Thank you for taking interest in this family story and for your likes, Mary