Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sideroad: Harry S Woodington, Deserter

Marine Barracks
League Island, Philadelphia 
Jonathan Woodington (abt 1800) and Sarah Ann Wayman (abt 1818) had a very large family and lived primarily in the Philadelphia area for much of their lives. One son, Moses, married Henrietta Munson - the younger sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Ann Munson, who moved with her family to the Eastern District of Wisconsin in the 1840s from Trumbull County, Ohio.

The youngest Woodington from Johnathon's family, Harry S (Moses' youngest brother), shares a not-so-nice commonality with Mary Ann Munson's grandfather, Freeman Munson. They were both deserters. While Freeman went on to have a happy and productive life, I've yet to locate Harry after his desertion. This is not the Harry I intended to post on who is this Harry's nephew of brother George. I'll get to that next.

Harry was born in about 1866 in Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 23, on 23 Mar 1889, he joined the US Marines and was stationed at League Island Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, which was located at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuykill rivers. The shipyard was an additional shipyard which began being built up in 1871, meant to augment and eventually replace the shipyard on Front Street in Philadelphia which had been in use since 1776,

I was able to locate all the muster rolls during his brief military career:
29 Mar - 31 Mar 1889: Received instruction in drill
01 Apr - 30 Apr 1889: On drill (that had to be exciting-not!)
01 May - 31 May 1889: On drill
01 Jun - 30 Jul: Regular duties
01 Jul - 18 Jul: Regular duties
18 Jul - 31 Jul: Sick in hospital
01 Aug - 31 Aug: Sick in hospital
01 Sep - 15 Sep: Sick in hospital
15 Sep: Deserted from hospital

Now, we get to the why he was hospitalized and just how serious it was.  Harry had gonorrhea. The disease has been around for hundreds of years, but the bacteria was finally discovered in 1879 by Albert Neisser. Earlier in the 19th century, doctors used shots of mercury to the tip of the penis to help. Later, in the 19th century, gonorrhea was treated with the help of silver nitrate. However, this compound was discontinued and protargol was used which was a type of colloidal silver sold by Bayer from the year 1897. But, not all cases were helped by these treatments and further health problems could set in to the urethra, prostate, and even the liver in men over the short and long term.

In the case of Harry, he spent eight weeks in the hospital where the purge treatment (shooting various solutions, like mercury or saline directly through the tip of the penis through the urethra) and other remedies did not work in short order. By Sep 11, his case was still not beaten. On the 15th, he was granted liberty and never returned to base. On Sep 23, they closed his case and assumed he would not return. His complete treatment record is provided below. 

I've been unable to find any further evidence of Private Harry S Woodington. Now, I'll really get to the Harry Woodington I intended to get to as mentioned in the last post. Two Harry's, completely different lives on opposite coasts.

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