Friday, July 18, 2008

William S. Doyle

William S. Doyle was born 1830 in Batavia, Genesee County, New York.

In 1830 there was a Samuel Doyle living in Batavia, New York; there was also a Samuel Doyle, born around 1808 in New York, who was serving time for larceny in the Wayne County jail in Detroit, Michigan as well.

In any case, William left New York and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan.

He married Pennsylvania native Loretta Haight (b. 1832), on March 13, 1855, in Big Prairie, Newaygo County, Michigan, and they had at least three children: William Edwin (b. 1857), Lilly Loretta (b. 1859), Stephen Douglas (b. 1861) and Fanny Adella (b. 1863). (Loretta had been living with her family in Shiawassee, Shiawassee County, in 1850.)

By 1858 the family had settled in Big Rapids, Mecosta County, and by 1860 William was working as a farmer and living with his wife and in Leonard Township, Mecosta County.

William stood 5’5” with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion, was a 32-year-old farmer living in Big Rapids when he enlisted in Company K on August 11, 1862, at Big Rapids, crediting Leonard Township. He joined the Regiment on September 8 at Upton’s Hill, and was present for duty through April of 1863. He was wounded in the right ankle and taken prisoner on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia. He was paroled on May 15 at United States Ford, Virginia, subsequently admitted to Third Corps (or Division) hospital, and transferred on or about June 14 to Lincoln hospital in Washington, DC.

Upon admission to the hospital, William was assigned to ward 9, bed 47. Dr. Henry Paine wrote in his report following examination of the patient that Doyle had “always enjoyed good health. At this time he was perfectly well and continued so until May 3, 1863, when he was wounded” in the right ankle. “The ball entered anteriorly about 3/4 of an inch above the extreme end of the malleolus extremis of right ankle passed between the internal surface of the malleolus of the internal surface of the tibia, making its exit between the Achilles & the posterior edge of the malleolus on a line with the point of entrance . . . fracturing the malleolus. The patient was a prisoner for two weeks then in the Division hospital . . . until June 14 when he was admitted to this hospital. The patient was not under the writer’s charge until October 2, 1863. The condition of Doyle when he entered and the history of the case from the time of admission until October is not recorded.”

On October 2 Dr. Paine wrote “The patient considered himself very well and on Sept. 29, 1863, went to Washington on pass. The day was very fine and pleasant and he walked considerably. He became very much fatigued from walking and when he [returned] he felt completely exhausted, but slept quite well during the night. The next day he felt very tired as he says. . . . Today when I saw him for the first time he appeared very dull. His mind very inactive.” Paine believed Doyle to be exhibiting the symptoms of typhoid fever and prescribed quinine sulfate. “On examination of the wounded ankle I find the old track of the ball open and a small opening 1 1/2 inch above the posterior track and communicating with it. There is very slight discharge of pus; the ankle is not inflamed at all. The probe detects necrosis of the internal surface of the malleolus extremis.”

Dr. Paine wrote on October 3 that Doyle had no appetite “for anything” but that the abdomen was not symptomatic. “Patient is no better [and] complains of some diarrhea. Slept well last night. On examination of the abdomen found a very few rose-colored spots. The ankle abscessed as yesterday.” William remained on the quinine and was placed on a chicken diet. On October 6 Doyle was “no better excepting that his diarrhea has ceased.” He prescribed five eggs, one quart of milk and some whiskey for the patient. Two days later Paine wrote that “The patient much the same; has a slight diarrhea” and described the treatment to continue as before. And on October 11, “The patient looks very much better. Feels some strength. Tongue is clean. Some diarrhea. Relishes his nourishment much more than previously. The ankle to be dressed as before.”

On October 14 Dr. Paine wrote that Doyle was still taking chicken broth, eggs, whiskey and milk. He added “About 4 o’clock p.m. saw the patient. Found him [breathing] rapidly, laboriously” with “pulse rapid & complains of intense pain in abdomen. On examination I find the abd[omen] . . . very tender, the slightest pressure producing much intense pain.” Paine added “fatal prognosis”.

The next day, Dr. Paine “Was called to see the patient about 6 o’clock a.m. who was said to be dying -- repaired to the ward immediately. Found the patient very low. Slept nil, one hour last night. A cold perspiration over the body. Pulse almost imperceptible. . . . He expired at 8 o’clock” on October 15, 1863, from typhoid fever.

Post mortem examination noted that “When the body was opened the abdomen was found distended” as were the intestines. “The peritoneal surface in some places very bright, some of these patches being of a bright crimson color. The lungs were found healthy. Heart the same. The stomach partly colored and filled with a greenish looking fluid like fecal matter. The villi ruptured throughout and easily detached, In the lower third of the small intestine congestion was present. . . . ” The autopsy ended with an examination of the wounded foot.

William was buried at 4:00 p.m. on October 16, presumably in Washington (he died in Lincoln hospital).

However, the only known wartime death of a William Doyle was a man who served in the First U.S. sharpshooters and who died in either March or May of 1862 and is buried in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery): section G, grave 1173.

In any case, the Third Michigan Doyle’s widow was still living in Big Rapids in 1863 when William died. In 1864 she applied for and received a pension (no. 17146) but in 1867 remarried to a man named William Murphy in Big Rapids. That same year she applied for a dependent minors’ pension on behalf of three of her children (no. 111019), Fanny presumably having died.

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