Monday, December 03, 2007

Anton Brand

Anton Brand was born October 25, 1832, in Prussia.

Anton immigrated to the United States, possibly settling in Chicago or perhaps Blue Island, Illinois, and was working for one Henry Massey, perhaps in Blue Island from 1858 to 1859; by 1860 Anton was reportedly living near Henry. That same year it appears that Anton was probably working as a laborer for a wealthy farmer named Benjamin Taylor in Worth, Cook County, Illinois.

In any case, he stood 5’7” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion, and was a 29-year-old farmer who had possibly just moved to Michigan from Chicago, when he enlisted in Company B on December 27, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered December 23. He probably joined the Regiment at their winter camp in Virginia, sometime in early 1862, and was sick in the hospital from August (probably from the 14th) of 1862 through September. He allegedly deserted on October 28, 1862, at Edward’s Ford or Ferry, Maryland, and was consequently dropped from the rolls of the company on October 23, by G.O. 162.

In fact Anton was discharged on November 28, 1862, at Fort McHenry hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for “chronic hepatitis & injury of right eye, he says caused by a piece of gun cap flying in it, while on duty at or near Richmond, Virginia, June 10, 1862.”

After his discharge from the Army Anton probably returned to Chicago where he reentered the military in Company D, Eighth Illinois cavalry, for three years, on January 14th, 1864. While he was serving with the regiment at Muddy Branch, Virginia, “a film spread over his eyes, preventing him from seeing clear[ly], so that he can scarcely walk without assistance in directing his steps.” He was honorably discharged at Fairfax, Virginia, on January 17, 1865.

Anton soon returned to Chicago and was residing at a boarding house at 494 Clark Street by February of 1865; he appeared to be unemployed (possibly as a consequence of his vision problems). In any case, it seems that Anton lived the remainder of his life in Chicago; by March of 1915, he was living at 3529 66th Street settled back in Chicago, where he lived the rest of his life.

He was married to Elizabeth (d. 1905), at 12th & Blue Island avenues in Chicago, and they had at least five children: John (1868-1910), Leo (1870-1882), Peter (b. 1872), Mary (b. 1874) and Lena (b. 1878).

He was a Catholic.

In 1865 he applied for and received pension no. 397,032, dated September of 1883, drawing $50 per month by 1921.

Anton’s eyes continued to deteriorate over the years after he left the army. According to Nicholas Schlesser, who boarded with Anton in 1865, , his right eyesight “was totally useless for some months after his return, but improved under treatment and he had hopes that it would be permanently cured. It did not turn out that way, however, . . .” Indeed, Anton’s vision problems got progressively worse. He began seeing Dr. Frederick Roesch, in about June of 1866, and Roesch stated in 1884 that he remembered Anton’s case particularly well, “for it was one of my first patients in Chicago.” Anton “complained of suffering of great pain in [the right] eye” and Roesch “found a marked ceratitis. On edge of cornea an exudation was forming extending partially over the cornea, impairing in consequence the vision considerably. Sclerolica [?] appeared rough, uneven on part where exudation commenced giving it the appearance of a cicatrice. Did not give him any encouragement regarding a recovery. Had seen him frequently during a period of 6 years, but did not prescribe anything for his eye after first consultation.”

His son John reported to the Pension Bureau in 1899 that he had “to attend to my father or have my sister do so whenever he has to go beyond the usual round of home he is not confined to either house or head [?] but because of poor eyesight is unable to care for himself outside of the usual well-known walks around home.” Sometime around 1915 Anton may have suffered a stroke and had to have constant care, probably by his daughter Lena.

Anton was a widower residing at 7143 S. Oakley Avenue in Chicago when he died of a cancerous growth on his throat and nose, on January 6, 1921, and was  buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

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