Saturday, August 1, 2015

Frank L. Dorsey

August 30th marks 88 years since the death of Frank Louis Dorsey.
Frank was born on July 3, 1893 in Louisville, Maryland, the second son of James M. Dorsey and Fannie Bell Stocksdale.  His father James was the son of Irish immigrants, and grew up working on the family's farm in Baltimore County.

In the 1900 census, the Dorsey family was living in Carroll County.  His father James was working as a farmer, and one of the farm hands, Adam Miller, was living with them.  James and Fannie had been married nine years prior, and had three young sons:  Harry, Frank, and James.
Sometime shortly after this census, the Dorseys moved to a farm in Reisterstown.  It was around this time that a photo was taken of the family.  The identity of the girl in the picture is unknown.
Frank's mother Fannie passed away on June 26, 1907 at the age of 43 from an ovarian tumor.

In 1910, teenage Frank was living with his father and brothers in Reisterstown.  His elder brother Harry was listed as being a laborer on the farm, while Frank and younger brother James had no occupation.
Both Frank and Harry were students at Franklin High School, with Harry graduating in 1910, followed by Frank two years later in 1912.  Oddly, their younger brother James does not appear in any of the school's Dial yearbooks.  The 1912 Dial gives interesting glimpses of Frank's time there:  his nickname was Shortie, his "greatest need" was an automobile, and he was famous for his good humor.

Frank also played on Franklin's baseball team.  According to a passage in the yearbook, written mid-season:
"This year the managers arranged a very ambitious schedule with some of the strongest schools in the city and state including McDonough, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Maryland Agricultural College Reserves, Loyola High School, Westminster High School, and Western Maryland College Freshman.  The weather prevented much early practice and consequently the playing was rather ragged, but there was a noted improvement in each game.  Finally the team struck its stride, started a winning streak and shows fair promise of keeping on winning until the close of the year."
During World War I, Frank enlisted as a private on August 28, 1918, serving in the Supply Company of the 72nd Infantry.  Not much is known about his brief service in the war, which came to an end two and a half months later.  Frank was discharged from service on January 30, 1919.  The Dial yearbook from that year included Frank on the Franklin High School Honor Roll of graduates who had served during the war.
In the 1920 census, Frank and both of his brothers were still living at home with their father.  Harry was listed as a clerk for the railroad, while Frank and James worked at home on the farm.  The family had hired a housekeeper, Sallie Gittinger, who lived with them.
Sometime during the 1920s, Frank married a woman named Catherine, but  sadly, they only had a few years together at most.  Frank passed away on August 30, 1927 at the age of 34 from peritonitis.

Sources: (census & WWI records)

  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Woolerys, Carroll, Maryland; Roll: 620; Page: 4A.
  • Year: 1910; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T624_550; Page: 21B.
  • Year: 1920; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T625_654; Page: 18A.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Deaths." Date: 2 September 1927; Page: 17.
Maryland Archives (death records)

Reisterstown Library

  • Dial, Franklin High School, 1912 & 1919.
  • Dorsey Photo
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

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