1859 letter from Franklin Smith
Medium, Marshall County
I received your lines the other day which gave me the account of your family and the sickness you have had with you. I am glad to hear that you are all better and I hope these lines will find you all still getting better. We have had sickness amongst us all this season up till within a few days past which has terminated fatally to one of us and it falls to my painful duty to Record to you the death of my Dear, Dear wife Betsy departed this life on the 29th of July last after an illness of near six months. Thus I have lost my best comforter and friend in this world. We have had other sickness come in the family. Robert has been sick nearly all this season and is not well yet. I can't you how he is just now. I will hear from this evening and I will let you know before I seal this. Poor Bob he is like something wild he was so at home and I have not seen him since the day of election and has heard from him but once, tho I shall hear from him as I said above. Julian has been sick with chill and fever about the time of her Mother's death and since but has got better and is now is getting tollerable stout again. There has been another Death in our neighborhood. Benjamin's wife's mother died on the same Day that Betsy did and was Buried the same day and at the same place, tho not immediately at the same hour. She was a Mrs. Winter. Jane has had to participate some in our troubles as death entered her abode and tore from her a little daughter about a year old, a sprightly little thing could run about anywhere and had begun to talk some. It died with the flux.
Now, Barbara, my dear wife is taken from me. She was my best friend, my nearest friend, my dearest friend, my bosom friend, my comforter and consoler to be torn from me the one of all others the least willing to spare and the center of the family for it is well known that we had no woman to spare. It is almost unbearable. I can't tell you anything about it and you will never now nor no one else till they experience it them selves and the reflection that it is so and can never be otherwise is as almost unbearable as any for the mind will wander in spite of all you can do. I had thought I would try and fix to work less but that is denied me now for I shall have to work the more to try to fill up the gap in the hours by buying cloth and hiring wearving for Julia can't do for us all.
I would have sent for you but the distance and knowing that it would do no one any good I did not do it.
I have heard from Robert since I began my letter and he was not better if any thing was wors so I will come to a close. I can do more talking than writing, so come up when you can as I would be glad to see you all. So no more at present but remains your sincere Brother till Death.
We, the following disinterested parties bear witness that the above statement is an exact copy of the original letter written by Franklin Smith.
Jan. 8, 1935 /s/ W. D. Walker, Pittsburg, Ks
Submitted by: Richard Smith