Frank Scott’s second wife & TB

Maritime-Tuberculosis-Association-Billboard-1930s1-300x197Growing up, I learned only bits and pieces about my great-great-grandfather, Frank Scott. His first wife (Maggie McAllister, my great-great-grandmother) unexpectedly died at the age of 38 on June 11, 1910, leaving Frank with four young daughters. After his wife’s death, he placed his daughters with family members, so perhaps my great-grandmother’s bond with—and memory of—her father wasn’t as great as it would have been had the family not been broken up. My grandmother Harriet has fond memories of driving with her “grandpa Scott” in his delivery truck, and of visiting him at his pickle factory. Frank died when Harriet was only 13, so her memories were perhaps not as full as they might have been had he lived longer.

I was told that he remarried after his first wife died, but all I was able to learn about this second wife was that her name was “Loie.” I was also told that Frank died of tuberculosis in a “sanitarium” in November, 1937.

I travelled to Wadena, Minnesota, last fall to do some family history research, and I was hoping to track down some evidence to support the received oral history that Frank Scott had died of tuberculosis in a “sanitarium” in or near Wadena. While in the Wadena County Historical Society, I asked about this sanitarium, and was told that there was indeed once a TB  hospital called the Fair Oaks Sanitarium in Wadena.

Sanitarium 1920s

Main “lodge” of the Sanitarium, circa 1920

Sanitarium, circa 1923

Postcard of the Sanitarium’s nurses’ home, postmarked 1923

Sanitarium 1920 b

Printed from same negative as above; circa 1923

Sanitarium 1925

Main “lodge” of the Sanitarium, circa 1925

Fair Oaks sanitorium postcard

Postcard of Sanitarium’s nurses’ home, said to be circa 1940

The Minnesota Historical Society has photographs of the Sanitorium from around 1950:

Fair Oaks Sanitarium, circa 1950

Fair Oaks Sanitarium, circa 1950

When I asked if any admissions records were kept from the Sanitorium, the curator pulled out an oversized original hospital ledger that recorded rich information about all patients that had been admitted. Good thing HIPAA doesn’t apply to these records, as they were a genealogical goldmine!

When I looked over the records for 1937, then 1936, then 1935, I never did find a record of admission for Frank Scott. What I did find, however, once I got back to 1933, was a record of admission for Frank’s second wife, Loie Scott. Thanks to the information contained in the Sanitorium ledger, I went from knowing almost nothing about her to having a good idea of who she was, where she came from, and how she died.

The ledger is formatted so that patients’ information spans several pages. A full-width page begins and ends each spread, and then there are a pair of two-thirds-width pages between the starting and ending pages that physically cover all information everything except the patients’ names and allow additional information to be recorded. Using this system, a large amount of information could be recorded per patient. Here is what was recorded for Loie (“—” indicates the field was left blank):

Line number 13
Admission number 663
Name Mrs. Loie Scott
Address Menahga, Minn.
County Wadena
Date admitted May 4, ’33
Rate: Pay
Rate: Part-pay
Rate: Free R.
Guaranteed by Todd + Wadena Co’s
Employer’s name
Employer’s address
Employer’s phone number
Father’s name William J. Mackay
Father’s address Deceased
Father’s phone number
Father’s nationality Scotch Canadian
Father’s birth place Shelbourne, N.S.
Mother’s maiden name Ellen Bauer
Mother’s address Deceased
Mother’s nationality German
Mother’s birth place Shelbourne, Nova Scotia
Nearest relative or friend: name Mr. Frank Scott
Nearest relative or friend: address Menahga, Minn
How related Husband
Civic condition M [=married]
Occupation Housewife
Religion Presbyterian
Patient’s birth place Shelbourne, Nova Scotia
Patient’s birth date Jan. 10, 1878
Patient’s age 55
Gender F
Color W
Years in county 14
Years in state 16
Home physician Dr. C. H. Pierce
Address Wadena, Minn
Stage of disease: I
Stage of disease: II B
Stage of disease: III
Bacilli in sputum Neg.
Complications Hypertension with Cardiac Disturbance
Cause of discharge Death
Date of discharge June 8,-’33
Number of hospital days 35 Da’s

The ledger was far too large to fit on the flat-bed scanner I brought with me, and my camera was in need of repairs, so I had to capture images of the ledger pages with my iPhone camera. Loie is on line 13 in these images:

Wadena TB sanatarium LaNudge 2Wadena TB sanatarium LaNudge 3Wadena TB sanatarium LaNudge 4Wadena TB sanatarium LaNudge 5Wadena TB sanatarium LaNudge 8Wadena TB sanatarium LaNudge 9

So there you have it: a serendipitous discovery in a historical document that was itself serendipitously discovered, leading to a fuller picture of the life of one of my ancestors. It’s because of these sorts of discoveries that I remain always optimistic about being able to eventually discover fuller information about ancestors for whom little history is currently known. Don’t give up, just keep searching for these unexpected gems.

2 thoughts on “Frank Scott’s second wife & TB

  1. I certainly see what you have been doing this weekend. I asked Mom who she was on the beach with and she said she would have to see the photo. Can you email me a copy and perhaps it will jog her memory.

    I did notice the name in the Scott section Dr. Pearce (sp) and that was the name of Mom’s doctor growing up. Maybe a son?

    Talk to this week.

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