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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

McCafferty, Mrs.
Imogene St. John McCafferty,   pp. 41-47 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 45


conditions-not a white woman within 36 miles, only
my father to attend her. Still she survived, and the baby
also. He was the first white child born in the Rock
River Valley. They named him Seth Benoni St. John.
He is still living in Michigan, too feeble to visit me.
    That winter was a terrible experience for mother,
moving as we did into the damp, new cabin, she was
taken with pneumonia, effects from which she did not
recover, and steadily failed until death released her June
15. One week before she died she requested father to
saddle the horse for a ride, father guiding the horse and
supporting her. She wished to go on the bluff, where
she selected the place she wished to be laid, and advis-
ing father what to do when she was no more. These
painful memories were deeply impressed upon my mind,
the day of her death being the most vivid. The day was
beautiful, and mother seemed to feel unusually comfort-
able that morning. After dinner, Lucinda and Kate
Holmes came over to offer their assistance and comfort.
They bathed her and changed her clothes. She seemed
so grateful for their kindness and expressed a wish to sit
up. She was very cheerful. An hour passed, then when
she asked to be helped to her bed, her breathing became
labored. She asked the girls to call father; that the end
was near, bade us all good-bye, took her feeble little babe
in her arms, caressed it, motioned to have it taken away,
then closed her eyes and it was the end of a noble life.
    It was a heart-breaking day for us, and a sad funeral.
There was not one foot of lumber this side of Milwaukee.
The wagon boxes were converted into a coffin in which
she was laid. The funeral was attended by the five fam-
ilies. There was no minister then. A prayer was read,
a hymn sung, and an elderly gentleman, (I think it was
Mr. Lawrence) made a few remarks, and they laid her
to rest in her chosen spot on the bluffs. She was the
first to give up her life, a sacrifice to the hardships of a
new country.
    In early March 1836, our provisions were nearly
exhausted. It was breaking up of spring and father felt
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