MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…

My Great-Uncle, Louis A Young … The Incredible Man With No Hands…



Louis A Young 1887 – 1952

When he was 14 years old in 1902 Louis lost both his hands in a chemical explosion in Newark, NJ where he lived.  One arm gone above the elbow, the other several inches above the wrist.  A devastating accident but did it stop Louis from living a full and productive life… absolutely not.

He dressed himself, played baseball, boxed, he shoveled snow and coal for exercise. He  was an avid fisherman who could rig his own line and reel in his fish without any help.  He also supported a wife and family and his father.  He could use artificial appliances but did not advocate them which he believed to be too heavy and rendered muscles insensitive. Instead he used a simple leather strap, between the strap and his arm he placed the object he intended to use, such as a knife or fork and by tensing his muscles he could hold it firmly.

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By vocation he was a news dealer in New York City.

His newsstand at Union Square.

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He was a volunteer instructor at The Institute for Crippled Men in NY and for the U.S. government in its rehabilitation work among soldiers.

He was an amazing man and although he was my great-uncle I never knew about him until recently.  He was one of my paternal grandmother Josephine’s brothers, but she never talked about her family… that generation seems to have been very closed mouthed about a lot of things unfortunately.

But… along comes Ancestry and all kinds of  information becomes available.  I want to take a moment here to thank Ancestry and our new found cousins for the opportunity to not only know about this particular uncle but in gifting us with new family members 🙂

Back to our story.    My daughter Deb got notification from Ancestry about a possible match. The match is Louis’s grandson, Bob Jr whose father, Bob Sr is Louis’s son. Bob Sr was turning 89 in July and would we be interested in meeting the family and celebrating Bob Sr’s birthday with them???????? Um… yes, very much so.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in July off we went to Long Island to meet the family and what a wonderful day it was.


So not only have we found out about our incredible relative, Louis Young, but we have also met the nicest people you could imagine…and… they’re family… how terrific is that.

It is great to connect with new found relatives and to find out about ancestors, but also, in my opinion, is finding out the stories about them.   With Louis Young it’s an awesome story about fortitude, bravery, perseverance and optimism and I’m glad and proud to know his story and pass it on.  🙂



Author: mvobsession

I'm married, I have two daughters and two grandchildren and they all love MV. Enjoy my MV blog and contact me if I can answer any questions. This blog started out as strictly about Martha's Vineyard but over the years I've branched out to include other obsessions and interests. I enjoy photography and like sharing my photos here as well. I'm also into genealogy and reading. Hope you enjoy :)

8 thoughts on “My Great-Uncle, Louis A Young … The Incredible Man With No Hands…

  1. What an inspiration he was! Connecting with unknown relatives can be so gratifying- after doing my husband’s genealogy we found many unknown family members, and reunited many that hadn’t seen one another in 40 years. It’s wonderful!

    • Thank you for your comment. It has been an interesting journey through Ancestry the past few years. It’s the stories that are so important especially when you think that they’ve been lost or untold for years. 🙂

      • I agree- we met a cousin of my husband’s grandfather- at the time he was 90, but lived to 107- and remembered everything and everyone and their story. We gleaned so much from him, he was happy to have someone interested enough to listen!

  2. I love hearing how so many people are finding new relatives and learning about ancestors. Their stories are often amazing ones and it would be sad if they weren’t passed on. So glad you met your relative, hope there are more in the future 🙂

  3. what a wonderful story!!!
    i too am finding out all kinds of cool history about my family through ancestry, and my 90 yr old uncle, bless his heart, sent me a letter with names and dates of his (and my dad’s) parents and siblings….i’ve been able to go back like 3 more generations!!!!! so awesome!!!!

    • Isn’t it great finding these things out. I am so glad you’ve been in touch with your uncle. Keep ancestering 🙂

  4. Wonderful story. Ancestry is a great source of information and connections. I am so glad you were able to connect with new family.

  5. Thank you. It has been quite an interesting journey through Ancestry and we’re not done yet 🙂

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