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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2012-10-30 09:39 pm

Abraham Hamilton Parrish, 1856-1915

The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated. ~Plato

That 19 year old staring at the camera was one of my cousins.

We are only distantly related, Ham and I.

First cousins, five times removed.

He was the son of Abraham Lincoln Parrish, Jr. and Susanna Elizabeth Snelling. Born in 1856 in Knox County, MO, Abraham Hamilton Parrish was known to family and friends as Ham.

He had one sister, and seven half siblings from his father's marriage to Anna Evans.

He would marry in 1887, and have two sons.

He died in 1915 - alone, at State Hospital Number 2 in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, MO.

He was buried in the cemetery there - a graveyard for patients who either had no family, or no family members willing to claim their bodies.

That cemetery is all but forgotten now, and a state prison occupies the land where the State Hospital was.
Perhaps Ham's mental state had deteriorated due to his uncontrolled epilepsy by the time he was admitted to State Hospital Number 2 on 19 Dec 1899.

His wife, Margaret Gragg, had divorced him and remarried on 11 Dec 1898.

I expect it wasn't a very merry Christmas for Ham that year.

A piece of his medical record survives, from a five year period of time from 1903 through 1908.

It was clear his epilepsy was still uncontrolled.

Mar 16 1903 Quiet except when disturbed by seizures. Doing well physically. Very dull mentally.
July 22 - about the same.
May 15 1905 - staff (?) reports no improvement mentally
June 10 - general health very good. eating and sleeping well.
Jany 6 1906 - general health good. mentally no improvement.
Feb 6 - Remains about the same. eating and sleeping well, and causes no trouble.
Mar 9 - no change
Apr 12 - no change
May 17 - physical condition good. Has frequent convulsions and at times is badly confused
Aug 5 - I can see no improvement in his condition. He eats and sleeps well.
Sept 25 - no change
Oct 23 - no change
Jany 9 1907 - general health good. No improvement mentally.
April 25 - very little change. has numerous convulsions at times is badly confused.
Aug 7 - [illegible] a bite to the second finger of the right hand from another patient
Sept 15 - had to amputate finger today
Oct 20 - wound has healed. and he is in his general condition physically and mentally

Ham died on 25 Aug 1915, at the age of 59. That's just 6 years older than I am now.

His death certificate lists his cause of death as status epilepticus, which is a very grand way of describing a brain that just won't turn off the juice, and that stays in a state of persistent seizure. It is an acute, prolonged epileptic crisis.

I had a young client once with uncontrolled epilepsy. Shortly before her death, I visited her and her mother in her hospital room, where her doctors had her in a light coma. I could still observe seizure activity.

She died too, shortly after I went to see her.
I can't go visit Ham's grave in real life.

But I can leave a remembrance on his memorial at Find a Grave.

And I'll meet him on the other side.

Great Grandfather Abraham Hamilton Ham Parrish

(Anonymous) 2013-12-21 06:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for mentioning Ham, he had epilepsy and drank; I got a Court Order for his records and it also mentioned a broken jaw that the other patients said the interns gave him. He was never mentioned by my Grandfather, Wilmer Harrison Parrish; he and his brother Robert Elston Parrish were very young when he was admitted on 19 Dec 1899; Wilmer 11 Yrs and Robert 4 Yrs. The divorce papers said he drank, called Margaret names and hit her, she worked for money for food.