After a month's hiatus, much reflection and getting many updates, I return with more on John Otto Siegel. I introduced you to him on August 11, 21 and 28 back in 2016. I encourage you to go back to these by following the links at the right of this page. Therein you can read of the curious and confusing heap of facts that Siegel has left us to decypher.
Very soon after birth in Germany, he was adopted by Julius and wife Annie Siegel. Soon the three, and perhaps others arrived either in the US or Canada, (yet to be verified.) By 1901 the three were living in Winnipeg Manitoba, but soon Julius had relocated to the US and was shortly joined there by Annie and John.
The Canadian national census for 1901 lists 8 year old John with Julius 57 and Annie aged 46. The above image has been cropped for viewing purposes with the three listed above, and ages and place of birth below.
The city directory of 1901 lists the Siegels living at 208 Jarvis Street in the West end of the city. Most curiously the directory also lists another Siegel... Benjamin.. living right next door.
At the time the population of Winnipeg was about 43,000. And in the directory, it lists only 2 Siegel's. Surely they must have been related but this requires further investigation. Neither is listed in Winnipeg the following year.
This also being quite close to a very historic part of the city, but more... actually much more on that, in the blogs to come!
By the age of 17 John was living in Milwaukee Wisconsin and signed up with the US navy. His less than stellar record in the service would see him serve on at least 6 different vessels. He'd go AWOL at least twice, one being gone over 2 years and resulting in an arrest poster resulting in his capture, a court-martial and held on ship for about 1/2 year.
He'd also taken on a wife in 1912 and soon had a child, only later to abandon both without benefit of a divorce. Released from the navy dishonourably, John took up various jobs including driving a wagon for the famed Wells Fargo company. By then he had also taken on a new wife, and child soon to follow, despite already having one of each of these.
By 1917 John somehow got back into the US Navy.
John raced on board and hauled a crewman out of his quarters and got him to safety. He then went back a 2nd time and saved another crewman. He then returned yet a 3rd time and tried to do the same, but a burst pipe blocked an exit door. Unable to escape, he became overcome with smoke and collapsed on the deck. His own shipmates had to then save the rescuer.
He was later recommended, successfully, for the Medal of Honor.
I will pick up on this and much more regarding Winnipeg next Sunday and hope you will join me then,