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Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery by Lorine McGinnis Schulze

Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. She and her husband head to Salt Lake City Utah to research Janie's elusive 4th great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to a dark secret. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present before disaster strikes? Available now on and
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Letter to Mr. A. J. [L. J.?] Millard, Port Clinton, Ottawa County, Ohio, from W. A. Thomson, Concord, [Pennsylvania], October 19, 1845

Concord Oct.. 19th /45

Dear Bother & Sister

through the tender mercies of God I am yet alive and permited once more to address you after delaying the same for some time in order more fully to give as description of my family I hardly know how to express myself on the present occasion but it becomes my painful duty to announce to you the death of Fidelia which you must know is heart rending to us and doubtless will be so to you

She died on the 8th day of the present month at a quarter before 5 Oclock A. M. after a sickness of about two weeks during which she suffered much pain for the greater part of the time; in my last I wrote that the children were coming down with the whooping cough they have had it very hard and the Dr. says that Fidelia died with it but she had a complication of diseases she was greatly troubled with worms and her whole system full of canker so that her mouth was almost one complete sore and her throat and stomach were about like her mouth she was so much redused by the cough that she had not strength to raise the phlegm and we could not give her any medicine that would make her vomit we applied to Dr. Phelps and he attended to her during her sickness and we think he done all that could be done for her but to no affect any more than to give something to keep down the spasams with which she was greatly troubled for the last 15 hours of her life

But she is gone and the thought of parting with one so lovely will ever dwell upon our minds and tend to impel us on toward the kingdom of immortal rest where we have the fullest assurance that we shall meet her glorified spirit and with her sing the song of redeeming grace and dying love. She died on Wednesday and the funeral was attended on Thursday when Bro. Wilson (one of our circuit preachers) preached on the occasion from 1 Thess. 4 chap. 13 verse you can find the hymns that were sung in the Methodist Coll. the first was the 568 hymn the second was the 571 hymn and the third was the 556 hymn the tunes were Windham Balerma Granville

O Lanson could you be here and accompany us to the grave of our dear departed Mother you might there by her side behold the grave of our sweet little infant that quietly sleeps in death until the tr[i]umph of God shall sound and call her from the tomb and then shall her mortal put on immortality and she shall forever bear a part in that triumphant song that shall be sung by that innumerable company which no man can number and may God grant that it may be our happy lot to meet her finaly in that heavenly world where sickness, sorrow, and death shall never be permitted to enter and where every form and every face shall be heavenly and devine but I must leave this part of my subject and devote a part of my sheet to the information of the health of the rest of us.

Elizabeth has been very sick ever since Fidelia died so that we have not thought that she could live but a very short time she has been much like Fidelia and we have expected that she would soon follow her to the tomb but she is yet alive, and today (Sunday) we feel in hope that she is a little better but her cough is very hard and it seems to grow worse instead of better Dr. Phelps visits her every other day he has just gone from here he thinks that if he can break up the cough that she will recover but says that she is not out of danger.

The ill health of our children and the loss of one of them has had a great tendency to bring Maria down and at present she is quite unwell ane very much fatigued through anxiety of mind and being considerably broke of her rest for some time past Although she has been on the gain nearly all the time since you was here and just before the children were taken down she seemed to feel a complete revolution through her whole system so that her bloat was nearly all gone and the Dr. said that she as in a fair way to get well but lately she has been on the decline but we hope that it is only occasioned by what we have above stated; she has borne up under all these afflictions much better than we could expect and we hope that if Elizabeth continues to get better that Maria will soon begin to gain strength and be better than she was before the children were sick

My own health is not good by any means it has not been good for some four weeks and I am not getting much better the Dr. says that my complaint is a spinal affection and kidney complaint. My back has been so weak for four weeks that I could not labour and it is still so weak that it is with difficulty that I can get about and see to my daily business I have suffered much from pain in my back and wince Elizabeth has been sick I have had to take the whole charge of her day and night for she will not take medicine from any one but myself so you see that I have but little chance to improve my health at present but I am some better than I was for I have been so sick that I could not sit up five minuets without fainting away but my health is some better and my back does not pain me as bad as it did two or three weeks ago and I am in hopes that in a few weeks I shall be able to commence my business again

But my dear friends although we are greatly afflicted still we are not forsaken for we truly feel that God is with us a[nd] gives us grace to bear up under all his providences and [his?] dealings with us and you may rest assured that our trust is in the Lord Almighty and we feel like one of old that although he should slay us we will trust in him and although we cannot help but mourn the loss of a dear and lovely child still it is not as those without hope and bless God that while writing this imperfect epistle I feel that I am not addressing those who are strangers to that grace which alone can support the sinking soul those to who in a measure can sympathise with us in our sorrows and feel for those that are called to mourn but perhaps I already dwelt to long upon this subject and my sheet is nearly full so a word with regard to your friends

Fathers folks are well as common and the Deacons folks are well as far as I know but I can tell you but little about the people at present for I have been confined at home but you may expect another letter from me soon please write immediately and excuse me for not writing sooner for I have waited to see how it was like to terminate with Elizabeth and also hoping to get one from you

Yours truly W. A. Thomson

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Notes: Letter to Mr. A. J. [L. J.?] Millard, Port Clinton, Ottawa County, Ohio, from W. A. Thomson, Concord, [Pennsylvania], October 19, 1845; postmarked Erie, Pennsylvania, October 25; from the Phillip F. Schlee Collection.



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