Correspondence of William A. Platt, 1856 - 1862
[William to (Sister?)]
To Mrs. L. A. Hickok
Columbus Aug 3rd, 1856
My Dear Sister
Your kind letter of 25th ult. was duly recd – I wanted to write a reply immediately after its perusal, but when I seated myself for that purpose soon found my mind not yet prepared for the task and so have delayed to the present time — You would like a detailed account of my dear Fannys last days. Her decline after her confinement was pretty regular to the last. There were days when she appeared to be better & we would feel much encouraged, but now I can see that those changes were mainly due to her happy tempers and desire to relieve her friends of painful anxiety. The downward progress can hardly be said to have been arrested for a day. She had lost much blood previous to her confinement, and afterward her stomach & system could not be brought into healthy actions - no appetite - no digestion of the little nourishment which she took, apparently more for our sakes than her own & and consequently no increase of strength. Part of the time she could retain nothing upon her stomach. This was the case more particularly in the early part of her sickness. When this difficulty was apparently overcome and we beguiled ourselves with the hope that she was about to make rapid improvement, she was taken with severe chills (or rather hard shakes) & high feaver [sic], not at any regular periods sometimes two or three paroxisms in twenty four hours, & and then one or two or three days without any. The cause of these was at first an enigma to our physician beyond his understanding, but finally it revealed itself in a discharge from the womb of a highly offensive character indicating that an absess had formed and broken. Hope then brightened once more, but alas, for a brief period only. She was rational with the exception of a day or two. Part of the time she suffered much from heat & severe pain in the head & along the spine.
This was towards her last days. She recognized her friends in the last moments preceeding the final struggle and tried to speak, but could not be understood. She always had a smile & glad expression for her boy when brought into his sight during her illness. Mother never loved a child with greater fondness, nor child a mother, than did these two. The poor child seems bewildered by his loss. Naturally very cheerful and happy and was able to find an abundance of amusement if left alone with his playthings, his countenance never wore a melancholey [sic] expression during the life of his mother. He is now much more sober and his feelings much more easily hurt - in fact changed from the manly to the babyish. This I hope will not be lasting, but to my mind it indicates a realization on his part quite beyond what I should have expected. He now clings much more closely to me.
Fanny doubtless suffered much more during her sickness than she made known. It was never her habit to complain. I have sometimes thought the cheerfulness with which she would suffer pain as remarkable & peculiar to her, as any other trait of her beautiful character, tho’ I know it is to a certain extent a characteristic of sex, before which men do & well may, bow with admiration. But she has gone - gone - cut down in the Meridian of life and happiness - mature in mind character & humor & in all. Iminently [sic] beautiful - love and admiration had ever been her need & it grew & increased with her years - none saw her but to admire - none knew her but to love & none spoke of her but to praise - such was the treasure I now mourn the loss of and to which my selfish nature is unwilling to be reconciled. But why talk to you, who knew her so well, of her qualities. I know I need not. This feeling of desolation & sorrow is not unmingled - Memory is stored with happy recollections of the seventeen years of our associated lives, which will be a bright & cheerful light to my lonely path through life.
I am devoutly thankful for the happiness that has been permitted to me during her life. I believe she is infinitely more happy for the change & ought on her account to rejoice at it. Perhaps I will yet have to rejoice but the stubbornness of nature is hard to overcome by the teachings of sober reason was so sound & convincing.
Sister Lucy (Rutherford’s wife) has been with us since Fanny’s burial. Rutherford has also been with us most of the time. They have been a great comfort to me. They intend leaving tomorrow.
If it is not asking too much I should be very glad of a visit from you also Dr. H. & the boys if all can leave home at once. I cannot accept your kind invitation this season. The situation of my family & business both forbid it.
Would like a visit from both Pamelia & you at some time. She has not yet been down. So far we have not lacked for company. It has been harvest time for her & she has been much engaged besides Mrs. Gregory & one of her daughters (Jane) is in rather feeble health. Now I know the season is uninviting for a trip in this direction & will not urge if you feel much opposed or it will be very inconvenient. If convenient, it will give me much pleasure to have a visit from you. I want to talk with you & to have you see my family & know how we are situated & advise me as to my best course in regard to my children & domestic matters.
I am anxious that all of Fannys letters should be preserved & hope you will save such as you may have. It will be a satisfaction to me & her children to read them occassionally [sic] I do not propose to take them from you, but want the pleasure of reading them when we visit you. The children can get a better idea of what their mother was from her letters, than from any other way. Every scratch of her pen is a treasure to me.
Minnie & Ruddy are getting through with (w)hooping cough very well. Mother Hayes & the rest of our family are in pretty good health.
Love to all - Affectionately William
Original in Rutherford Hayes Platt Collection
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[Herron, John J. to William A. Platt]
Cincinnati Sept 16, 1862
W. A. Platt Esq.
Col. Hayes telegraphs me that "my left arm is broken
above the elbow. I am in no danger" - & desires me to write you. He
gives no other particulars.
I hope that his arm may be saved. You will see that his regiment covered itself with glory.
John W. Herron
Original in Rutherford Hayes Platt Collection
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