Tom Doyle, born Frank Reed:
|In response to the personal request of Hon. John A. Logan as to the status of your claim, the records fail to show the name Thomas R. Doyle. If you served under any other name, you should state the name under which you served.|
[John A. Logan was John Alexander Logan,
1826-1886. Elected U.S. Congressman from IL 1858 &
1860. Resigned seat in 1861; entered Union Army as Col.
Served at Ft. Donelson (1862) and in Vicksburg campaign
(1862-63). By 1862, was general; in 1864, briefly
commanded the Army of the Tennessee. U.S. Congressman
from IL 1867-1871, Republican. U.S. Senator from IL from
1871-1877 and 1879-1886, Republican. Candidate for the
vice-presidency of the U.S. during 1884 election. First
President of Grand Army of the Republic, organization for
honorably discharged Union veterans of the Civil War.]
Some time before Sep 1886 Frank/Tom must have revealed who he was to someone working on the case. On 7 Sep 1886, a report was written from The War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, D.C., to the Commissioner of Pensions:
|Frank Reed, a private of Company K, 8th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, was enrolled on the 25th day of July, 1861, at Bloomington, 3 yrs, and is reported on roll dated Aug 31, 1861, present. Same to Dec 31, 1862, and to Jan. And Feb 1863 absent without leave since Feb 21, 1863. Mar & Apr 1863 reports him under the head of 'Deserted.' Dropped from the rolls to date from Feb 21, 1863. Co. Mustering Out Roll dated May 4, 1866, reports him Deserted Feb 21, 1863, at Memphis, Tenn. His name is not borne on rolls from Apr 30, 1863, to muster out of Co. Records of this office furnish no evidence of alleged disability. Regiment Hospital Records prior to Feb 21 1863 not on file|
There is no indication, however, that the report
got to Tom/Frank.
On 17 Mar 1888, someone wrote the following. It is in Frank/Tom's pension file. Whether Frank/Tom attempted it, or whether someone else was writing at his direction is unknown:
|March 17, 1888
Mr. Charley Black
I got your paper, and you wanted the name in which I went under. Please find the name of Frank Read. It is the name I served in Co. K 8 Illinois is the one I served in. Frank Read is the name I went and you will find it there. The [unreadable] were McClun of Captain Harvey Regiment, and when you find it you will find mine there. Our second captain was Denison. After that [unreadable] siege at Shiloh [April 1862] the last orderly sergeant was Mareen it was at Fort Donelson [Feb. 1862] where I first took my disease, and it has followed me and will to the grave. I must close and if you want any more, please send, and do all you can for me and oblige old soldier and friend. If you find it, please write soon.
It was first signed "Frank Read." That
signature was crossed out so that what remained was
"Doyl Doyl." Every other document found for
this man has only "his mark."
The years of correspondence ended Jul 1896 when the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, wrote to him citing claim #447342 for "Thos. R. Doyle alias Frank Reed":
|Sir: Your above-cited claim was rejected July 17, 1896, on the ground that you have no title to pension, being a deserter at large from the above-named organization, as shown by a report from the records of the War Department. Very respectfully, D. [unreadable], Commissioner.|
Finally, the Bureau of Pensions had said it: He
was Thomas R. Doyle with the alias Frank Reed, and he was
not eligible for a pension because he was a deserter,
having deserted after 19 months of a three-year
enlistment. Ironically, by 1896 men who had served less
than the 19 months he had served were getting pensions.
However, they had not made the mistake of enlisting for
three years for what turned out to be the bloodiest war
this country has ever seen. His 19 months of service --
including the horrors of Donelson and Shiloh -- got him
nothing but a new name.
In 1900 he was living as a boarder in Vermilion Co. By the end of that year, his son from his second marriage married the niece of his first wife. Able Wade Payne, who had also served at Donelson and who had once been his brother-in-law, was now the uncle and step-father of his son's wife. In 1910, he was living with that son and daughter-in-law.
In 1915, he was at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Danville. (It is called United Samaritans Medical Center, Sager Campus; 600 Sager; Danville, IL. It was and still is a Catholic hospital. Records as far back as 1916 no longer exist.) On 30 Nov 1915, having "caused trouble" for the sisters at St. Elizabeth's and for the nurses at the county hospital in Vermilion Co., he was sent to the State Hospital in Kankakee, Kankakee Co., IL. It was a mental institution and also a "last stop" for the old and poor with no other place to go. He remained there until he died on 8 Feb 1916. He died under the name Thomas Doyle. According to his death certificate (#017601), he died of "organic heart disease."
Not knowing what else to do with the body, the State Hospital sent the body back to Danville. On 12 Feb 1916, the following notice appeared in the local newspaper:
TO FIND DOYLE'S KIN
County Clerk John R. Moore is making a hard effort to locate the relatives of Tim [sic] Doyle, the eccentric octogenarian, who after causing the sisters at a local hospital and the nurses at the county hospital a lot of trouble, was sent to the state asylum at Kankakee. Doyle died at Kankakee last Tuesday morning. The addresses given as to relatives on file at the hospital failed to bring responses to telegrams. At 4 o'clock Friday afternoon Clerk John R. Moore received a message from the superintendent asking that he assist in the search. Mr. Moore has exhausted nearly every endeavor. He now appeals to the public through the newspaper. Doyle was about 85 years of age, and was sent away late last fall.
On 15 Feb 1916, Tuesday, in the dead of winter, with no family member having made any payment, the old man's body was buried at St. Patrick's Cemetery, the cemetery with a connection to Danville's St. Elizabeth's Hospital. In the Feb 15th evening paper funeral notice appeared:
|Funeral services for Thomas Doyle, who died on Tuesday of last week at the state hospital at Kankakee, were held at 9 o'clock Tuesday morning at St. Patrick's church. The body was taken to St. Patrick's cemetery for interment. Mr. Doyle was 83 years of age and had spent the greater part of his life in this county. For many years he resided at Potomac.|
St. Patrick's cemetery is now called
Resurrection Catholic Cemetery. It is at 818 Wendt St.,
Danville, IL. St. Patrick's Church and St. Joseph's
Church merged and are now called Holy Family Church, 444
E. Main, Danville, IL. The church did not begin keeping
records on funerals until 1937. According to the
caretaker at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, the file
cards in his office show that Thomas Doyle was buried in
February 1916 in lot 14, block 4, space 6, with no
gravestone. Frank/Tom is buried in a space which had been
one of four spaces in a block purchased by Edward Boyle.
Boyle, not Doyle. Others buried in the three other spaces
in that block are Maggie Boyle, buried 1876; Anna Boyle,
buried 13 Feb 1884; and Matt Boyle, buried 1890.
According to Holy Family Catholic Church, they have
baptismal records beginning about 1870. A search for
baptism records for any last name DOYLE with a father Tom
found nothing. However, the search found a baptism for a
Margaret Boyle on 27 Oct 1876, born to Thomas Boyle and
his wife whose maiden name was Hannah Sullivan. The
search also found mention of an Edward Boyle who had a
son John baptized in 1883; a daughter Margaret baptized
26 June 188?; and a daughter Nettie baptized 1887. In
other words, there was an Edward Boyle with a definite
connection to St. Patrick's, and this Edward Boyle had
reason to name a daughter Margaret. The Boyles were not
related to Tom/Frank. Why Tom/Frank was buried in their
family block is unknown. Most likely it was the solution
found by the pastor at St. Patrick's.
Thus, we began with a man named Francis Reed who was also known as Frank. He changed his name to Thomas Doyle after he deserted from the Army. After several years, he added his old last name as a middle name: Thomas Reed Doyle. A newspaper typo had him called "Tim" in one article rather than "Tom." His body was buried in a cemetery plot purchased by a "Boyle" family because some Catholic priest was stuck with the task of trying to figure out what to do with his body. Over the years, folks working with the records for the cemetery became less certain that the surname for the man who was buried in 1916 was "Doyle" and wondered more than once in penciled notes whether the surname should have been listed as "Boyle." However, like Jean Valjean under the unmarked rock, he was only one man -- no matter how many names.
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