Letter from William Henry Seward, Jr. to Janet Watson Seward, April 25, 1865

  • Posted on: 22 November 2016
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Letter from William Henry Seward, Jr. to Janet Watson Seward, April 25, 1865
x

transcriber

Transcriber:spp:msr

student editor

Transcriber:spp:obm

Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections

Date:1865-04-25

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Letter from William Henry Seward, Jr. to Janet Watson Seward, April 25, 1865

action: sent

sender: William Seward
Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29

location: Washington D.C., US

receiver: Janet Seward
Birth: 1839-11-18  Death: 1913-11-09

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: msr 

revision: crb 2016-10-19

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Page 1

Washington
Tuesday Morning
My dearest Jenny
The prospect
is much brighter than usual
this morning, both Father
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10
& Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25

passed a comfortable night.
Father gains strength fast
now and with assistance has
walked from his room to Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11

this morning. If he continues
gaining I think he will be
able to have his jaw set this
week, it will be a very painful
operation but it is of the utmost

[top Margin] I have been completely overwhelmed with
letters & telegraphs asking replys about father & Fred
a full share are from Auburn and I thought it
would be well for you to make known my telegram
on this account I do not care to have
Will
Aunty
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
is quite unwell, Mother
Birth: 1805-09-24 Death: 1865-06-21
is worn out today but I hope
will be better after a rest
Anna
Birth: 1836-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
& Fanny
Birth: 1844-12-09 Death: 1866-10-29
although up
constantly bear the fatigue
well

Page 2

importance that it should
be done as early as possible
as there is danger of losing
the "reunion" if left too long
it is now three weeks since
he was first injured and
as yet neither jaw or arm
has made the least progress
towards uniting on account of
his not having sufficient strength
to bear the necessary bandages
and compresses. I have this
morning telegraphed to a very
eminent Dentist in N.Y. who I
understand can make a rubber
mould to cover the entire jaw inside
the mouth and hold the broken
parts together, the fractures are
such as not to permit of outside
compresses. The wounds in the
face are doing finely. I think
Page 3

I can safely say he is out
of danger although he is very
weak and is delirious every night.
Last Saturday all of Fredericks
favorable symptoms left him, he
sunk into unconsciousness and his
pulse fell to 38. The Physician
Unknown
held
a consultation and said that they
had concluded that there was some
pressure on the brain and that
and examination must be made
at once. Mother & Anna were very
fearful that he could not bear
the pain but at last consented.
The examination was made late in
the afternoon by five of the best
surgeons in the city, and resulted
in their finding under the scalp a
large depression of the inner table
of the skull. Then came the question
to be decided whether the piece should
be removed as the surgeons desired or
whether he should be left as he was
with the slightest possible chance of
recovery. All agreeing that he had not
the strength to go through the operation
Page 4

without taking chloroform and
one or two expressing the opinion that
it could not be administered without
the greatest danger. The Surgeon would
not proceed without the entire consent of
the family. Mother & Fanny were at
first opposed but at last they and
Anna decided to leave the matter for
my decision. I at once decided that it
should be done for I felt that there
was no hope for him as he was. After
this you may imagine whi with what
anxiety I wathed watched for the result.
Three pieces of bone were removed from
the inner table, each about the size of
you thumb nail, one of these was protruding
edgeways into the brain and had pierced
an artery between the skull and the brain
so that as soon as it was removed the artery
commenced bleeding so profusely that one
has the greatest fears that it could not be
stopped, it was however by application of
ice after it had bled very much. As soon
as the piece of bone was removed from
the brain Fred opened his eyes and spoke
but immediately after the bone was removed
but sank at once into a stupor again and
all of that night we thought him dying. He is now
improving rapidly and although it will be long befor
he is out of danger yet we can see an improvement each day
Bear in mind however that he is liable to a sudden relapse at any
moment.
Yours
Will
Page 5

Mrs Wm H Seward Jr
Auburn
N.Y.
WASHINGTON
APR 25
D.C.
x

Stamp

Type: postmark

Hand Shiftx

Janet Seward

Birth: 1839-11-18 Death: 1913-11-09
Apr 25
65
Page 6