Letter to Britton Vest from Betty Mabry

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Submitted by: burtwyat@ctesc.net (Frederica Burt) – August 7, 2000


Mr. Britton C. Vest
Bagdad, Williamson County, Texas

April 12th 1868

Kindest Friend

I received your letter last evening requesting me to write you the particulars of my dear brother William’s death. With grief do I relate his sufferings and death. He was taken sick on the night of the 13 of March but he told us nothing of it. Next morning he arose as he commonly did and made a fire, but went back to the room and lay down again. I got breakfast ready but he refused to eat. I went to him and found he had a very high fever.

He however after laying abed for some two hours he again got up, washed himself and combed his hair and tried to be cheerful as usual. We fixed him his breakfast but he ate very little. He soon had to take to his bed again. Alas! that bed from which he never arise only to be carried by his weeping friends to the silent churchyard. His sickness was of short duration, living but four days after he was taken. We sent for a physician the second day. He did all in his power to save him, but all in vain. His short race was run, all medical skill could not stay his approaching destiny. He suffered greatly but bore it with unshrinking fortitude. He was perfectly at himself til the last moment; Oh, would you all have been here at his dying to see this Christian die. Could you have heard his dear dying words it surely would make you rejoice instead of grieve. There were a number of his faithful friends around his dying couch. He bade us all goodbye and said to meet him in heaven. He told us to tell all his friends to meet him there and begged us not to weep for him. His last words to me was “Beck, you mustn’t weep for me”. Oh how those sweet words are still remembered, they sound so plainly to me yet. I try to do as he requested me but how can I keep from weeping for so dear and kind a brother as he was always to me. I think my heart must be stone not to shed tears, yes bitter years, for my noble brother. I find it hard, yes the hardest trial I ever had to endure to give him up.

It so hard I can’t give him up although I know he is gone and can never return to me. It sometimes appears to me more than I can bear but of course, it is not or it would not have been put upon me. He was buried with Masonic honors surrounded by many mourning friends, there are many to mourn for him, for if he had an enemy I knew it not. everyone loved him as you very well know. He died of pneumonia.

Ma has been very low with pneumonia but is going about again. Papa has sold out here said rented a place in Salado. We intended on moving tomorrow but I don’t know whether we will get off or not, as it is now raining. Give my love to Mrs. Vest and Parson Vest, to Lide, and all the family. Excuse mistakes and blunders. Wright soon.

Betty Mabry

April 22nd 1868

I have not had a chance to send my letter to the office before. Papa received Parson Vest’s letter the other day. I don’t expect he can meet him at his meetings as he is in a great rush at this time. We have got to Salado at last.