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Sindecuse Museum

Dr. Gordon H. Sindecuse

Dr. Gordon Hugo Sindecuse Becomes a Dentist:
In His Own Words

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Jonesville: Early Life

Jonesville Train Depot. Courtesy of The Rooms at Grayfield.

Jonesville Train Depot. Courtesy of The Rooms at Grayfield. Click to view larger.

I was born July 3, 1898 at Grandpa Salway’s farm house in Jonesville, Michigan. It was a very hot summer. Uncle Bert claimed it was so hot that the corn was popping on the stalk. My father worked as a railroad agent so we moved around a lot.

Litchfield: First Dental Aspirations

A drawing of Dr. Sindecuse's iron shoe.

A drawing of Dr. Sindecuse's iron shoe. Click to view larger.

We moved to Litchfield, Michigan where I began school. I was born with one good leg, but only part of the left one. I had a wagon and the girls in our neighborhood pulled me to school. We always passed the blacksmith’s shop and we would stop and watch him shoe horses. One day the blacksmith said he was going to make me a high iron shoe that he could attach to my left leg so I could walk.

I learned to walk and did so well I had a paper route. On this route lived a dentist who took me to his office and let me pedal his drill. That is when I decided to be a dentist.

Albion: Working Toward Dental School

This 1915 postcard depicts Albion High School, from which Dr. Sindecuse graduate in 1917.

This 1915 postcard depicts Albion High School, from which Dr. Sindecuse graduate in 1917. Click to view larger.

We moved to Albion, Michigan where I finished high school. I couldn’t wear long pants like other boys because of the iron shoe fixture. I could play football and baseball after a fashion. One day someone said that a man was in town that would like to see me. He explained it all to my dad, and it ended up that I went to Chicago and had an artificial leg made. From that day on I was able to look like a human being.

I still wanted to be a dentist but I didn’t have the money to go to college yet. I worked on the railroad as a baggage master. I also worked at the Malleable Iron Company, Union Steel Products Company,and the Hayes Wagon Wheel Company.

When I was a baggage master, we had a car load of sheep that froze to death. The railroad unloaded them in a heap. That was 1915, and after school let out I took the wool off the sheep and sold it for $70.00.

The best place I worked was the Hayes Wheel Wagon Co. It was piece work. I worked from 7 at night to 7 the next morning. The machine I was working on was run by one man during the day. However at night I ran two machines and was making good money. The boss called me in and said I couldn’t do that. I told him I had to work hard to earn enough money to go to dental school. The boss changed his mind and let me work both machines.

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