Friday, January 4, 2013

Two Brothers Had TB, One Survived, One Didn't

The U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 database at probably isn't used very much but you might find something unexpected there. I certainly did. 

According to Perry Hankins' obituary he died in Denver, Colorado where he was being treated for Tuberculous. I knew from a letter he wrote to his young niece in February 1922 that he was also hospitalized in Oteen, North Carolina before being sent to Denver. So when I first saw that database, I immediately thought I might find something more about Perry. And I did. But I didn't expect to find a record for his younger brother and learn that he was also treated for TB.

I had hoped to find records for Perry's hospitalization in Oteen and Denver but those records are not in this database. Maybe neither of those facilities were "homes for disabled soldiers." This record is for a prior hospital stay at Mountain Branch in Johnson City, Tennessee. He entered that facility on 26 Apr 1921 for treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis—just 14 days after he married Margaret Hill in Hopkins County, Kentucky. He was discharged 27 Jul 1921 and probably returned home for a few months before going to Oteen and then later on to Denver where he died.
Before I found this record for James Hankins, I had no idea that Perry's younger brother also suffered from TB. There is no doubt this is the same James Hankins—his mother was Samantha Angeline and the family lived at Earlington, Kentucky.

Jimmy spent just over a year (16 Mar 1923-20 Mar 1924) at the Pacific Branch in Sawtelle near Los Angeles, California. And he recovered. He lived in the Los Angeles area for many years after that and died in Carlsbad, California in 1974.

Perry and Jimmy were sons of Thomas Leander Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty and the two youngest brothers of my grandmother, Verda Waller Hankins McCauley. (Wednesday's post was Jimmy's marriage record from 1929.)

These records have much more than just hospital information. They have military information—date and location of enlistment, company, regiment and rank, date and location of discharge. And they have personal information—age, physical description, religion, occupation, marital status, name and address of nearest relative.


  1. Yes, these records really are amazing. I found my 2nd great-grandfather, who served in the Civil War, in one of these records.

  2. Those are fantastic records! If only they went back to 1862 and the Civil War. I could probably get similar records for an ancestor. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. These really are fabulous records - the amount of detail is amazing!

  4. I haven't used these records yet, but they are now on my list to research. Thanks for sharing your story!