Hannah Amanda Sickels, 1852-1933
Here's a brief primer on
Bates-Sickels family history: my great great grandfather Job Durfee
Sickels came to the Elsie area in 1847. Great Great Grandfather
George Washington Bates II arrived in 1855 (when there were only
four log houses in the community). LaMott George Bates had been
born in 1847, his future wife Hannah Amanda Sickels in 1852.
(Hannah Amanda was pretty much universally known as "Amanda,"
except to her most intimate contemporaries, who called her "Mandie.")
Amanda thus lived in Elsie her entire life, the only one of our
ancestors to do so.
We have relatively few
photographs of Amanda, and here are what we have:
We have relatively little
documentary evidence of Amanda's life; what we have is shown below:
Described as: "Made by
friends and relatives of Amanda Sickels in Elsie, Michigan.
This quilt was made for Amanda Sickels for her wedding on
As mentioned for LaMott, the
Allens of Richfield, Ohio, were good friends dating back to
LaMott's stay there for training in harness-making in 1862-65.
Mrs. Allen wrote Amanda on 10-26-1896.
Amanda gave an address to
assembled relatives (and friends?) when her father- and
mother-in-law, George Washington Bates, Jr., and Emily
(Robinson) Bates celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
her handwritten presentation.
In October 1907, Amanda had
an operation for a lump in one breast, an operation that would
be considered barbaric by today's standards. Her sister
Emma (Sickels) Hall
wrote LaMott, describing Amanda's treatment and recovery.
Richard Bates's comments:
Amanda went to a "quack" in
Lake Orion for treatment of a lump in her breast, apparently in
1907. He treated by applying a corrosive paste to the skin which
killed the tissue a few millimeters down. The next day, he
peeled off the dead tissue and applied another treatment. This
continued until he "got to the bottom of things". For the
patient, it would be like having the same area scorched with a
blow torch, day after day. She survived, so he either killed the
cancer or, more likely, it wasn't malignant in the first place.
This was well after the days
of anesthesia, so a proper surgeon could have cut the spot out
in one operation.
I suspect that Amanda did
die of cancer, but it was many years later. I never heard any
discussion of her final illness, but I remember once toward the
end when Deloss picked her up to carry her to bed and she
screamed, probably from bone metastases.
"Just got back from a lecture given by the colonel. He talked to us
about character about dangers of vice and wine of france and his
last words were, don't disgrace the folks back home. God knows I'll
Amanda's last letter written Mother (Emily Bates) on
11-13-1933. Less than a month later Mother
received this from Grandma (dated 12-6-1933):
"... I'd better continue and
give you the latest news about poor Grandma Bates. Yesterday
papa was quite encouraged. Her pain seemed to lessen to the
extent that she didn't have to take so much quieting medicine
and could eat a little. But today she was worse again. Dr. Hart
who came for consultation seems to think there's a kidney stone
causing this intense pain. Of course they hope she may pass it,
not daring to operate. We all think she can't live long like
this so be prepared for news of her departure, anytime."
She died the next day (I have no
record of the exact cause of death, and none is recorded in the
Bates family biography; Richard Bates thinks it was cancer).
Bates was a past worthy matron of the Order of the Eastern Star
and had been active in the work of the M. E. church, having
served for some time as a member of it's board of trustees."
After Amanda's death, her
son, my grandfather, writing Mother in October 1935:
Yup! I'm just ashamed of myself for not writing you more often.
I never thought I would be so slack. I know father [LaMott
George Bates] very seldom wrote us -- mother was the standby,
writing regularly each week. Sometimes she would be so tired
that a zigzag mark across the paper told that she had fallen
asleep at the job.
One might say, "On the Computer No One Knows