Lot 244 of 438:
Death of a missionary in Africa described, 1843  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$300
$500 - $800

Letter from the wife of a missionary in Liberia describing in lengthy and painstaking detail his illness and death

Sawyer, Catharine A.

Settra Kroo [Kru], Liberia


December 6, 1843


Autograph letter signed by Catharine A. Sawyer., sent to Walter Lowrie in New York. 4 pp., on stampless lettersheet, with address on the 4th page. The pages are separated. 25x19.5 cm (9¾x7½").

The widow Sawyer writes to the secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions to relate the illness and death of her husband, "R.W. Sawyer is no longer your missionary in Africa. God has graciously called him home... It was for a long time his earnest prayer that his last illness might be brief, which petition was literally granted. He was really ill but about 12 hours..."

However, the months of declining health that preceded it are laid out graphically, as "on the 12 of Nov. he complained much of pains in his limbs & right side. All thought these were omens of approaching chills..." Days later, "Mr. S. came up and said, I feel very unwell and looked deadly pale. He retired to his study, & soon called me. I found him on the piazza & shaking most terribly. Helped him down stairs and he retired. He shook for about 20 minutes most terribly, then came on a high fever with excessive vomiting. Two or three times he remarked 'this must cause death'..." Still later, "The fever continued high, breathing hard until 11½ past, when his spirit broke, its release from clay & entered those joys which death is the portal..."

Lot Amendments

Marginal chip where unsealed, pages with old archive numbers in ink and blue pencil, very good.

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