The mystery of John Doe No. 24 outlived him. But this 1993 obituary in the New York Times, briefly covering what was known of a deaf, dumb, blind teenager found wandering the streets of Jacksonville in 1945, inspired a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which in turn inspired Illinois journalist Dave Bakke to "meticulously reconstruct nearly fifty years of John Doe's life...using police reports, mental health records, oral interviews, newspapers" and write God Knows His Name: The True Story of John Doe No. 24.
Two Years Before the Mast. "In the following pages I design to give an accurate and authentic narrative of a little more than two years spent as a common sailor,before the mast, in the American merchant service. It is written out from a journal which I kept at the time, and from notes which I made of most of the events as they happened." At the beginning of his third year of Harvard a severe attack of measles interrupted Henry Dana's studies, and so affected his eyes as to preclude, for a time at least, all idea of study. The state of the family finances was not such as to permit of foreign travel in search of health. Accordingly, prompted by necessity and by a youthful love of adventure, he shipped as a common sailor in the brig, bound for the California coast.