General Dan Sickles Dearly Loved His Bo-Bo

DBF

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William_Webb_-_A_Blenheim_Spaniel_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

“A Blenheim Spaniel”
William Webb (1775 - 1845)
(Public Domain)

A new life entered Dan Sickles in his golden years. Meet Bo-Bo born in 1902. He was a Blenheim Spaniel that had been purchased from the kennels of Blenheim Palace in England. Originally Bo-Bo lived with his owner the 9th Duke of Marlborough John Spencer-Churchill but when he died Bo-Bo was given to Sickles and Dan finally had someone he loved dearly.

Sadly Bo-Bo got sick three years after living with the general. In August of 1905 he was stricken with distemper and pneumonia. Sickles was desperate for his little friend and called in veterinary surgeon Dr. Thomas Sherwood who remained at the pooch’s side along with two nurses from a New York hospital. Bo-Bo was given oxygen but to no avail as he died at 4 a.m. on August 22. As his death is recorded:

“Bo-Bo crawled from the pillow where he had lain to General Sickles, who was keeping a constant vigilance next the bed. Bo-Bo licked Sickles’ hand, put his head against the general’s hand, and passed away.” {1}

General Sickles sat with his beloved Bo-Bo refusing to leave his little buddy’s side. He was inconsolable. In his grief Sickles gave his beloved pet a funeral of human proportions. He was buried in a wood coffin lined with satin topped with a small American flag and roses. He lay in state in the front parlor of Sickles’s home on Fifth Avenue. But he wasn’t done with his tribute to Bo-Bo.

Where was Bo-Bo going to be buried? The general’s father George G. Sickle had bought a cemetery plot for the Sickles’s family at Beechwoods Cemetery in New Rochelle, New York. Well if it was good enough for the Sickles than it was perfect for Bo-Bo Sickles. After some maneuvering the trustee’s finally allowed the cemetery to allow a canine to be laid to rest along with the Sickles family human remains. Bo-Bo was interred in the family crypt. After receiving numerous complaints from others that had loved ones laid to rest in the cemetery, the president of the cemetery’s board of trustees Henry M. Lester responded:

I’m very sorry that the dog was buried in the cemetery, but I don’t see what can be now. There is apparently no section of our charter which forbids the burial of animals, and if we dig up the body on our own responsibility and throw it out, I am afraid General Sickles might have a suit against us.” {2}

The one most upset was George Sawyer a step-brother of the general (Sawyer’s mother was the second wife of Dan Sickles father and as his mother died in 1893 she shared the space with Bo-Bo). What did he have to say?

"All this talk about General Sickles wishing to be buried beside his faithful dog is nonsense. He owns a plot in a cemetery in Brooklyn, where his first wife and daughter are buried, and in all probability, he will have his grave beside them.” {1}

Turns out he was partially correct. General Daniel Sickles was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In my opinion the most egregious point in this story is that he grieved more for Bo-Bo than he did his daughter Laura. He never attended her funeral nor did he ever visit her grave site. I wonder if he left flowers for Bo-Bo?


* * *



Sources
1. http://hatchingcatnyc.com/2017/12/30/bo-bo-blenheim-spaniel-general-sickles/
2. “Sickles at Gettysburg” by James A. Hessler
3. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-sad-life-of-laura-buchanan-sickles.170694/
 

rpkennedy

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I wonder if Sickles had some kind of emotional disorder. He seems to have had at least some form of narcissism and could run very hot or cold with people, including family. But when he got emotional, he could go almost full hysteria. I have to think that something was out of whack with him.

Ryan
 

Ole Miss

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He certainly treated his 1st wife Teresa poorly when he took a woman of the evening to England with him leaving her at home. If he presented the professional to the Queen as alleged I would not be surprised.
Sickles was an evil, self-absored, criminal with no redeeming traits that I know of at this time!
Regards
David
 

John Hartwell

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Well, his apparent relationship with poor Bo-Bo seems to have been the one example of decent human emotion in his life. Sort of contradicts the idea that dogs are good judges of character, though.

"Bo-Bo licked Sickles’ hand, put his head against the general’s hand, and passed away.” Of course we only have Honest Dan's word on that.
 

rpkennedy

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He certainly treated his 1st wife Teresa poorly when he took a woman of the evening to England with him leaving her at home. If he presented the professional to the Queen as alleged I would not be surprised.
Sickles was an evil, self-absored, criminal with no redeeming traits that I know of at this time!
Regards
David

He loved dogs?

Ryan
 
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LoyaltyOfDogs

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Well, his apparent relationship with poor Bo-Bo seems to have been the one example of decent human emotion in his life. Sort of contradicts the idea that dogs are good judges of character, though.

"Bo-Bo licked Sickles’ hand, put his head against the general’s hand, and passed away.” Of course we only have Honest Dan's word on that.

And Bo-Bo, seeing only that Sickles treated him well, with no opportunity to see how shabbily he treated his family members, was none the wiser. May we all become the people our dogs think we are!
 

Llewellyn

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The first paragraph of the Opening Post to this thread is puzzling me. ("A new life entered Dan Sickles in his golden years. Meet Bo-Bo born in 1902. He was a Blenheim Spaniel that had been purchased from the kennels of Blenheim Palace in England. Originally Bo-Bo lived with his owner the 9th Duke of Marlborough John Spencer-Churchill but when he died Bo-Bo was given to Sickles and Dan finally had someone he loved dearly.")

Charles Spencer-Churchill, the 9th Duke of Marlborough, inherited his titles on the death of his father in 1892, and did not die until 1934, so the sale/ gift of Bo Bo could not have been as a result of the Duke's death.

There were strong links between the Spencer-Churchills of the late nineteenth century and New York society, so perhaps Sickles knew the Duke socially ? The 9th Duke married Consuelo Vanderbilt in 1895, and his cousin (and lifelong friend) Winston Churchill was the son of Jennie Jerome. Sickles, Consuelo and Jennie were all high-born New York socialites. The marriage of Consuelo and the Duke was loveless, and cynically and ambitiously arranged by her mother.
Sickles' shocking treatment of his wife was mirrored to some extent by the Duke's treatment of Consuelo. He married her for her money, and is said to have cruelly told her so during their honeymoon. They separated after ten years or so of marriage, but the marriage was not legally annulled until 1926, a few years before the Duke's death.
Happily, Consuelo was popular with most ordinary English folk as a kind and thoughtful person. She remarried and outlived the Duke by 30 years, dying in December 1964. She is buried in the same churchyard at Bladon, near Blenheim Palace, where several other Spencer Churchills are at rest, including Winston.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I was hoping to muster up something as kind as what @LoyaltyOfDogs had to say! I'm really trying! All my head can do is flash to Sickles cuddling a dog named Bobo. Then it shuts down.

With RP on the guy, there was something awfully, horrendously, terrifyingly wrong with Dan. @John Hartwell , your article states " Lies with family-mourned as human ". Bobo may have been the only reason anyone could stand being around him. We don't hear anything about how his family viewed the guy. Has to have been THAT guy.The one no one tells about picnics?
 

John Hartwell

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1595427952745.png

Bo-Bo and Whoosiwhatsis
There was a great deal of press coverage of Bo-Bo's passing, newspapers all across the country reported, and editorialized. Most were sympathetic to Sickles' loss, but others used the occasion to attack or ridicule him as like "some soft-hearted or soft-brained woman goes into hysterics over the death of her pet dog or cat;" or observing that "Bo-bo was the better man."

Even bigger news was the furor over poor Bo-Bo's burial place, which went on for weeks.

See:
 
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