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After the death of his father in 1950, Jack Burroughs
received a flood of letters of condolence. This letter from an old friend
of Ed Burroughs -- R. M. Patchin -- is especially interesting, as it brings
to light a remarkably significant event that took place in 1899. Ed received
a severe blow to the head, from which he suffered from periods of amnesia,
headaches and even nightmares and possibly an altered mental state, for
much of the rest of his life.
555 PARK AVENUE
March 21, 1950
Dear Mr. Burroughs,
I have just read of the death of your distinguished father,
my old friend of many years ago. I hasten to express to you my deep sympathy.
He lived his life well, will be long remembered and greatly missed.
We were associated in a private car trip from Chicago,
to New York, Quebec, Toronto and back to Chicago in the summer of 1899
as the guests of Colonel L. M. Martin, father of your father's old friend
the late Frank Martin.
You may have heard of the brawl we had in Toronto with
some Canadian hoodlums in the course of which Ed was rapped on the head
and had to be taken to the hospital to have the wound sewed up. This was
about two o'clock in the morning and I will never forget the
Hospital when, in reply to the inquiry as to where we
were staying in Toronto, your father replied "in our private car down in
the Grand Trunk Station". This seemed dubious in view of the fact that
Ed was spattered with blood and his five O'clock shadow had become midnight.
The Doctor became very severe with us and next morning came down to the
station to see whether or not we were there.
I saw him only occassionaly after the trip; the last time
in Los Angeles in 1935 when we had a pleasant reunion.
You have my deepest sympathy and I am very sorry indeed
to lose a friend.
R. H. Patchin
Mr. John Burroughs,
Dear Mr. Patchin:
Thank you for the kind note of sympathy at the passing
of my father.
It was less than a year ago that Dad was recalling that
private car trip of which you wrote. He mentioned your name and the occasion
of the brawl. He suffered for a number of years with bad headaches from
the blow he received in that fight, and attributed one or two subsequent
short periods of amnesia to the rap. I remember the scar was quite evident
on his forehead when we were children, but it seemed to disappear in his
later life. Mother used to jokingly attribute his success to that blow
-- and I used to think that perhaps if I could get one I would be more
Dad also recalled that on the same trip, a colored porter
would knock on the stateroom doors the first thing every morning. The porter
bore a silver tray upon which was a choice of "eye-openers". According
to DAD, this went on over different parts of the private car during the
rest of the days and into the evenings. "It was one of the most interesting
train trips that I have ever taken," Dad would remark.
We are hearing from many of his old friends, like yourself;
and it is a pleasure, indeed to read their letters, hear the interesting
anecdotes of his early life -- and above all to be reminded of the high
regard in which he was held by all who knew him personally or through his
(John Coleman Burroughs)
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