Copy of a Letter from Clara


Dublin Core


Copy of a Letter from Clara


Health; Death; Funerals; Family; Mothers


This appears to be a copy of a letter from Clara (probably copied by Mattie to send to others). The author talks about the declining health of their mother. The author describes the doctor's visits, and the telegrams she sent to ensure her other siblings were there to see their mother before she died. She details the funeral, including the hymns sung and what their mother wore.




Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


be able to be up again.
Hattie felt very badly about
going away but thought one
would go to Baltimore and
then if Mother should grow
worse would return before going
farther. Emily was still suffering
with Erysipelas in her face and was
not able to be with Mother but very
little during her sickness. After
Hattie and Em. In the morning
at prayers Father had read
the Psalm. "God is an [?refuge?]
+ strength a very present help in
time of trouble." and Edward
said he felt as thought something
sad was in store for us. That
verse was in my mind all
day and I shall never forget
how it comforted me for my
anxiety [?increased?] every moment

and I kept thinking of Hattie
going every moment farther
away from home. About mow
we could see that Mother was
growing feverish and we sent
for Dr Bigham he was in
Medina and would not be home
until evening. We felt that
we could not trust her with any
other physician and so awaited
his return When he came I told
him that I feared it was a
very serious case and that
although I knew but little about
Paralysis it seemed as though
that might be the trouble. When
he went up to see her our worst
fears were confirmed. He
said that she had Progressive
Paralysis and told us of the
succession stages and how they
would come on one after the other.

I asked him if there was no hope
of recovery and he said "If she
lives she will have shaking Paley."
We asked him if we should not
telegraph to the girls but he said
we had better wait until mornin
when he could tell better about
her disease. Edward and I
watched with her all night
the Doctor said we should not
allow her to sleep very soundly
or she might not waken.
He told us not to tell Father
until morning as after a nights
rest he would be better able to
hear it. She seemed to rest
considerable during the night
and in the morning Edward
and I both felt as though the
Dr would surely say that she
was better but he said instead
that all her symptoms were

most unfavorable and we
had better telegraph at
once. So I wrote our the
message to the girls "Mother
very sick some immediately"
and before night we received
replies from them all. The Dr
said all his energies would
be devoted to keeping her from
entering the comatose state
until after they could arrive.
Mother did not realize at all
her ill she was said she could
not understand why she
could not more + why she
had to take so much medicine
Her fever ran very high, Tues
afternoon Em was better and
able to be up stairs for a little
while. John High came up
early Tues morning and did
numerous errands for us and

brought some one to help
us with the work. Tues night
Mother was very restless and
could sleep but little. Mary
came at midnight she came
by train to Massillon and from
there thirty miles by private
conveyance she did not dare
t wait until the morning
train. She was very much chilled
by her ride and had been so
much afraid that she
would not find Mother living
She went up stairs at once
+ helped to care for her during
the night. Cyrus Crane and
his Mother + Mary with their
minister Mr Phillips came
up in the [--morning--] evening and
Mary remained with us
A great many had called
during the day but we did

allow any one to see her she
was too ill to be disturbed by
any one. Wed morning she
seemed to us much worse
but to our surprise The Dr said
that every symptom was more
favorable and perhaps she
might rally for a little while
She likes so much to have
Edward near her whenever
he came into the room she
would reach out her hand to
him and seem to feel rested
while he was holding her
hand. Her hands shook a
great deal during her illness
especially the left one. The
Dr came early in the afternoon
and said that it was as he
had feared every symptom
was more unfavorable and
the disease was making rapid

progress He looked at her a long
time it seemed as though he could
not give her up and yet know
nothing could be done. He asked
her if she knew him and she
replied with a beautiful smile
"Why of course I know you." He
said "We think you are very sick"
"much of the time" Her mind
was wandering again and
she did not realize at all what
he had said Je gave her ice
continually as long as she could
take it and it was a great
relief to her. He said while
looking at her. "I think your
Mother a very remarkable lady."
When he left he passed his hand
over her forehead + I know he
felt sure that she would not
know him again.
During Wed afternoon Edward

+ I watched her closely.
Every little while she seemed
to see something that gave
her the greatest pleasure
In the morning when Mary
was with her she seemed
to see something and said
"above far [u]far[u]! above" and in
the afternoon she would look
upward silently for a few
moments and then the most
[u]beautiful[/u] smile would come
over her face and once she
said "How beautiful, how
beautiful" It was a great
privilege to watch her for we
knew she was nearing the
gate of Heaven and felt
that it was given her to see
something withheld from
mortal eyes. After the
bright beautiful expression

she would look distressed
as though suffering and
then again the glad light
would come into her face and
again would come that
beautiful smile of [u]perfect[/u] peace
I told Edward that I knew
she was going soon for it
seemed as though she was
already looking into the
Heavenly city. We were very
carful what we said to
her for we feared we might
hasten the last stage of the
disease. I asked her once
in the afternoon if she
would not like to see
Henry and she said
"Yes [u]dear[/u] Henry" She
seemed to think Martha
was going to Macau I
think she had probably

thought of Miss Butler's going
and she said several
times "Martha is going
to Macau + Martha does not
want her to go." I shall
ever remember with pleasure
these [u] beautiful smiles[/u] and
that [u][?raft?] expression[/u] that
came over our dear Mother's
face again and again
that last afternoon She
repeated a great many
passages of Scripture during
that afternoon a part of the
23rd Psalm. "I know that
my Redeemer birth +c."
"Come unto me all ye that
labor and are heavy laden
and I will give you resh
(repeated many time) and
may hymns "God my supporter
and my hope." Jesus Lover

of my soul. "My King + my
Redeemer "My portion and
my Redeemer." At one time
she said seemingly in
distress "Clara what shall
I do?" I [?uphid?] never mind
dont be troubled God will
take care of you " and she
said very brightly "He will
he [u]will[/u], he [u]will[/u] Her mind
would retain nothing but a
moment and much of the
him was wandering
We could see that she was
growing worse and began
to fear she would fail so
fast that she would not
know the girls Sarah came
about four-o-clock. She
was greatly startled to see
Mother looking so sick
Mother knew her and said

"I am glad you have come"
and spoke her name
several times. Hattie came
an hour later she recd the
telegram an hour after she
reached Baltimore but
had to wait ten hours for
a train. Mother knew her but
yet did not seem to understand
about it After Hattie had said
several trains "It is Hattie Mother
dont you know Hattie I have
come to stay with you" she
said Why do you ask me
so many times of course I
know you. She was not at
all startled by the girls coming
I dont think she realized
that they had come from
a distance only that they
were here. She said afterward
"The [u]dear[/u] children" She

repeated The name of
Jesus very plainly about
five times and said a
little later "It [u]is[/u] Hattie"
It is such a grief to Hattie
that she could not have been
with Mother during these three
days and Mother called for
her very often. If Dr Bigham
had been at home Monday
afternoon I could have
telegraphed to Hattie at
Wheeling and recalled her.
But as Miss Whilden writes
"It was in God's plan that
she should go or else she would
have been given light to feel
that it was right to stay."
Wed afternoon Emily had
been taken with Inflammatory
Rheumatism + suffered [?internaly?]
after trying every thing we

could think of Edward went
for the Dr in the night and
he was able to releive her in
a little while and then he
came up and watched with
us for a time at Mothers
bedside About dark she had
repeated the words "I strive
to keep my conscience clean."
putting great accent on the
word strive. We think this
the last that we heard her
say. It was probably in her
mind just as she was
losing consciousness + she
said it over and over very
rapidly for a long time.
Later her lips moved but we
could not tell at all what
she was trying to say
After hattie came she
wanted to say something

special to her but we could
not tell what it was but heard
[u]China[/u] several times After dark
on Wed it seemed as though Mother
had gone to us all for she would
never know us again. The
light was fast fading out of
her eyes an her breathing was
very heavy. The Dr said she
might live several hours. We gave
her ice as long as she could take
it and then Hattie moistened her lips
with water. Night wore away and
the gray morning dawn brightened
into morning sunlight and still
she was with us. Mary Crane
staid with Emily down stairs
and the rest of us watched
and waited for the end.
The bed had its head
towards the east side of the
room. Father sat wrapped

in heavy shawls in his large
chair at the front of the bed
and hardly took his eyes from
her face until she had gone.
The rest of us stood on either
side and often some one
would say "I wish she could
be released". Several times we
thought she was gone and then
she would breath again. She
died at 23 min to 9 When all
was over Mary Crane came in
to the room and remained while
we went down to breakfast
The Dr came up to see
Emily and John High came
no one could ever have two
friends who would do more
than Dr Bigham and
John High have done for us
Everything that could be
of any assistance they thought of doing

[Note: letter continues but with different pen and potentially different author]
Hattie Sarah Mary + I did
everything necessary for Mother
it was the last we could do
+ then Edward + John High
helped us carry her down into
the parlor. Dear little Mother
at rest in Heaven She did not
look very natural on Thursday
but on Sabbath we thought she
looked very much as she did
when in health. Our friends in
the church were so helpful they
anticipated every wish + gave us
all the assistance we needed
We dressed her in her black satin
dress, she had always liked it
Sarah arranged folds of blacket
cashmere over her + between the folds
are put sprays of senilax
This was on Sabbath morning
The casket was a very pretty one
exactly like Mr Cranes The plate

had the words "At-Rest"
beautifully engraved upon it
Cousin Adelia came from Columbus
on Sat + Mrs Hamsher from Chicago
We had letters from Cos Gilbert
+ Mary which I will try + copy for
you It was a great disappointment
for Emily not to be able to attend
the funeral. She did not give
it up until Saturday but the
Dr came up an hour before the
services [--+ sai--] on Sabbath + said
she might be dressed + drawn
in a chair into the parlor so she
was with the rest of us
Mr Elliott offered a prayer +
'Asleep in Jesus' was sung.
We could not see them + nothing
has ever seemed more beautiful
to me than those versus as we
heard them from the parlor
Then we gathered about the

coffin + Father kissed her then
each of the girls + last of all Edward
her first born We then went to the
church + found a large congregation
the Ladies had brought beautiful
flowers + the choir had taken
special pains wit the music
They sang "How blest the[--re--] eighteen
when he dies" "God my supporter
+ my hope" It is not death to die
Mr Elliott preached from
the words "Who shall separate
us from the love of Christ +c
He spoke very touchingly of
Mother + often I heard sobs
from different parts of the house
But she has many more friends
[u]there[/u] than here so many that she
knew long years ago have passed
over the river + are again
associated with her
Father looked very tired

during the services but was
perfectly calm. When we went
to the cemetery it rained so
but few of the many could go +
they could not sing as they
had expected
They had thought of singing
"Shall we gather at the River" but
we would not allow them to
think of it after it rained
although they were quite willing
to go When we came home it
was almost night

[Note: letter returns to original hand writing/ink. The top right hand corner says "Lois" in blue pen. The following is written vertically at top of page]
Dear Settie
I have copied
this for you
+ Miss Lewis
you seem
so near to
me + I know
you will
feel interested
in what is of
so much ^interest to
[Note: letter continues horizontally]
Copy of Clara's letter
You will be anxious to know
all that I can tell you of her last
days and as I was with her almost
constantly I will tell you all that I
can recall of her sickness and
death. It was all very sudden
and unexpected. Mother had seemed
about as well as usual during the
winters. She slept fairly well at
night and did not have a sense
cough as she had a year ago
Owing to the very cold weather
She did not go to church during
the winter had only been out
twice since. Dee the last time
two two weeks before the day she was

buried. She seemed to enjoy
that Sabbath very much had not
seen the people for a long time
and as many of them have since
told us gave the, a very cordial
greeting. She remained to S School
and we remarked during the
evening that she had seemed
to have a very happy day. The
next Sab march 19th she was
quite busy all day assisting me
in the kitchen and caring for Em
who was sick with Erysipelas.
In the afternoon she rested for
an hour and in the evening
she studied the SS lesson with
Edward expecting to attend
church the next day. Hattie was
expecting to start for Baltimore
on Monday morning and we
sat up quite late on Sat. It
was nearly midnight when we

heard a noise in Mother's room
and I went up and looking in
at the door did not see her any
where for an instant I was
bewildered. there going round the
bed I found she had fallen
on the floor and was unable
to rise. I called Hattie and
we put her in bed and she
assured us that she was not
hurt in the least but had been
trying to get up and had fallen
Sabbath morning she felt like
getting up so we helped her
dress and she came down stairs
she spent much of the day on the
lounge and slept much of the
time breathing rather heavily
we noticed but not in pain
She had her dinner with
the family and afterwards
went up stairs or an hour

or more then came down and
spent the evening reading a
little. Thus ended her last
earthly Sabbath. There was no
premonition of any thing serious
We did not apprehend illness
or at least anything immediate
Monday morning Father said
that he wakened he thinks
about three o clock and found
Mother was not in bed he was
alarmed and looked for her
found her as we had the night
before. He lifted her into bed and
said that she seemed comfortable
and went quickly to sleep so he
did not call any of us. She
told us in the morning that she
was not at all hurt and
would come down stairs but
we persuaded her to be in bed
and rest hoping she would soon.

Original Format



Unknown, “Copy of a Letter from Clara,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed August 15, 2022,

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