Why Did Mell Marry Eliza?

Why did John Melvin French marry Eliza Ann Sickler? Did he love her from afar? Was it a spur of the moment business arrangement between her father Ziba Sickler and John and his father who were employed to build homes for Sickler?

John Melvin French (Myron's father) Old Bung) High res

John Melvin French was nicknamed “Old Bung” we have no idea why exactly or who had the nerve to call him that. I suppose it was behind his back. He was often in bad mood I am told.

Here’s a photo of Eliza taken shortly before she died of a stroke, with her is her sister Hattie Sickler Sawyer, who resembled their mother. I reassemble the unsmiling Eliza in many ways right down to that huge abdomen!

Eliza Sickler French shortly before she died.


CKD Sucks!

So we had my husband’s second Renal Doc. visit yesterday after his kidney ultrasound and blood tests. It seems he’s dehydrated from taking two diuretics for his HBP so that fact plus his generic cholesterol med are causing painful reoccurring gout in both ankles and the med to get rid of it take weeks if not months to improve it. He’s not supposed to take ibuprofen for the gout pain because it worsens the kidney disease but it’s the only thing that allows him to walk at work.

We are feeling overwhelmed of course. He needs surgery on his arm to make a site for the catheter for dialysis which takes 2-3 months to heal.  The doc wants him on a kidney transplant list. How can we afford all this? I don’t know what the future holds but we’re just living one day or week or month at a time.. We were referred to this website for help. We’re a member of the DiVita.com website already but they claim he’s in stage 5 according to their questionnaire and the doc claims he is stage 4. https://www.freseniuskidneycare.com/ckd-treatment/kidney-disease-education-class

Miss Eliza Ann Sickler’s Childhood

Elizabeth Ann Sickler was born Aug. 5, 1856 in Exeter Twp, Wyoming Co. PA. She was the third of seven children born to Ziba Sickler and his wife Charlotte Ferguson.

Ziba Sickler, Myron and Raymond French1.jpg

Ziba Sickler with his two grandsons my own Grandpa Myron E. French on Ziba’s right and his older brother Ziba Raymond on his left.

Charlotte Sickler- G GRandma

Charlotte Ferguson Sickler always had a frown on her face, even when a younger woman, was it her Scottish upbringing?  Maybe after loosing little Charlie she became a bitter woman.

CHILDREN of Ziba and Charlotte Sickler

Mary Sickler b. March 1, 1852 d. March 2., 1878. We have no idea how 26 year old Mary died but I’m assuming we will find this in the local Tunkhannock papers since the Sicklers were so well known at that time.

Charles Sickler b. Oct. 28, 1854 d. Oct. 12, 1861. Charlie and his father’s team of horses was run over by a train in a horrific accident reported in the papers.

Terrible Accident in Pittston Charles Sickler1861

Eliza Ann Sickler b. Aug. 5, 1856 d. Nov. 2, 1922,

Marvin Sickler b. Oct. 9, 1861. His mother has given birth to him three days before his older brother 8 year old Charlie was killed by the train, can you imagine that poor woman going through all that?

Clarence Sickler b. Dec. 5, 1863 d.

Elnora (Nora) Sickler b. Oct. 15, 1870 she died Nov. 6, 1965, as an old made with a ‘hairlip’ or cleft palate.

Harriet Sickler b. Aug. 3, 1873 or 4 d. March 13, 1936.

Margaret Sickler b. July 15, 1876 d. Sept 10, 1993 at seven years of age. Eliza was 20 years old when she was born and Charlotte was 43! Here is her obit:

Obit Ziba Sickler's youngest child 14 Sept 1883

Quite honestly I know nothing about Eliza’s childhood. I know of the deaths of her siblings and that is all. We have yet to find Ziba and Charlie’s graves. Perhaps Charlie is buried in Exeter Twp., Wyoming Co. on the family farm. I’m not even sure if I have Mary and Margaret’s gravestone photos.





Miss Eliza, the Unhappy Mrs.?

After Eliza was forced to marry John Melvin French they went on to have a not so happy marriage. I suppose they weren’t even in love when they married, since Eliza obviously loved her first suitor Thomas Sprague.  Here is an old family tale told by Eliza’s daughter-in law Dorothy who married Eliza’s son Myron E. French:

John more commonly known as ‘Mell’ by family and friends was very frugal and begrudged Eliza money for things she needed on more than one occasion according to my grandma. One day an older Eliza got $20.00 to pay for some meat from the local butcher that Mell had ordered her to pick up, and when Grandma French saw all that money she took Eliza off to the store to buy petticoats, gloves and handkerchiefs of which she sorely needed but was never allowed to buy.  I imagine Mell was fit to be tied over that one and grandma was more than happy to pull one over on her father-in-law. Here is a photo of Eliza as a young wife. I have no idea what age she was.

Eliza Ann Sickler Older wife

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Anyone?

My husband was recently diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. Saturday he had a new set of blood tests and kidney ultrasound. Tomorrow we go see the Renal doc. I have already been using the CKD diet for him, cooking many special low sodium, low fat, low potassium recipes from the DiVita website. I have even been making low sodium bread and hamburger rolls the last month. I have some lo-so bread dough rising in the fridge right now which comprises of using 1/4 tsp salt in a loaf of bread versus 1 tsp, and using half the amount of yeast and adding olive oil instead of any other fat. I add 3 TB Extra Virgin olive oil to each loaf of bread instead of the usual 1 Tb because you need the extra fat to make the bread softer longer.  The Renal Doc said to switch to Olive Oil and all I had was Organic Extra Virgin, I bought it at Walmart Great Value brand. I’d rather use classical if it’s on sale I will next time. I’ve also gone back to a more stringent low sodium diet than I have been using in the past for his HBP. Low sodium pizza is awful if you ask me, but I make it. I also make low sodium spaghetti sauce and he uses less sauce on the pasta.

Honestly I accidentally used the same amount of yeast I would use in my regular bread dough. I was making it from memory not the written recipe. I hope it doesn’t rise too fast or taste too different.

Soups On!

I have a crock pot of chicken broth coming up to a simmer. I used 2 Walmart rotisserie carcasses, 3 TB of Better Than Bouillon Chicken broth base, some onion, carrot, celery and Mrs. Dash seasoning. Now I’ll get my shower, toddle off to work and while I’m gone it will simmer away. When I get home a few hours later I will remove everything from the pot and strain the broth off. Then I’ll pick the chicken meat from the carcasses and probably eat the celery and carrots if they have any flavor left in them. Then I’ll pour the broth back in the pot and add a new batch of onions, celery and carrots, and when they cook up near tender I’ll add frozen veggies and let it cook another 1/2 hour until tender and add the chicken meat last. I’m omitting my usual pearl barley. I’ll add cooked angel hair pasta to the soup before I serve it. Sometimes I reheat the soup on the stove and cook one serving of the broken up pasta in the broth.