Henry DeQuincy Sewell (I)

September 18, 1845 - March 25, 1846

Henry Doyle Sewell wrote to his mother on March 2, 1846:

    "It has pleased God to lay a very heavy affliction upon me and mine in the person of our darling child. Since his birth you know from us how delicate he has been and what constant fears we have had on his account. Often have we expected his removal from us and as often has the hand of death been stayed by our merciful God. That fear has been removed. He seems to begin to grow and to be healthy, though exceedingly small, delicate and backward. We had fondly hoped therefore that we shd be permitted to see him grow up before God as his child like another Samual when our hearts have been again rent with anguish by the intelligence of the medical man that he is blind, born blind. Still he has not left us altogether without hope of the removal of this terrible affliction. Though he cannot yet speak decidedly as owing to there being no power of vision, the muscles of the eye acting upon it without control cause a constant rolling of the ball, as is always seen in blind persons, so that he cannot speak decidedly as to the cause of the blindness. He thinks it a soft cataract and thinks, in that case, it may be removed when the poor boy is about two years old. I need not tell you how much grief this has caused us."

Henry Doyle wrote again on March 26, 1846:

    "Frail and uncertain is everything on Earth and what shd we be at any time if we had not the Rock of Ages on which to repose and rest. Our last letter will have detailed the very sad intelligence respecting our little darlings eyes. He is no longer in darkness, no longer on earth with us, but in Heaven with the God who made him . . ..

    "The poor little fellow never throve from his birth though enjoying all the advantages it was possible to give him and various were the conjectures as to the cause. Our two medical men are now both of opinion that there was some mal-formation of the brain not sufficient to destroy life, but enough to have probably given him intense suffering and have left him incapable of gaining his own livelihood.  One of then thinks this was also the cause of his blindness which he therefore considers was irrecoverable. The other, his immediate attendant is as positive that there was a soft cataract on both eyes which might have been removed and sight restored. This diseased brain they both consider to be the primary cause of his not thriving and of his death, the ultimate and immediate one being effusion of water on the brain, as is evidently shown by the enlargement of the openings in the head since death. With very little exception he has been free from pain from the time of his birth and his death which happened yesterday morning at 7:40 was without a struggle, a sweet peaceful falling asleep. On the Tuesday the day before his death, he appeared to have caught a slight cold and did not suck well and was drowsy. The Dr. saw him and administered a mild aperient which acted as usual. He was very pale but there were no immediate symptoms of death about him. During the night he slept well and at 6 a.m. sucked heartily but he was scarcely removed from the breast when the nurse observed a change in him and instantly sent for us. A few minutes only elapsed before we were with him, but the moment I came into the room I observed that he was dying. He was lying quite motionless but gasping at intervals which became longer and longer till in about 1/2 an hour, the last little breath scarcely perceptible escaped him and he was gone. He was just 6 months and 7 days old, a short life, but yet the prelude to one of Eternal duration and never ending happiness."

Click to return to the children of
{Rev.} Henry Doyle Sewell and Elizabeth Charlotte Monypenny.

This page posted by Robert Sewell on June 23, 2006.

Click to Contact Robert Sewell

Many thanks to my cousin John Rees who shared the above letters.
Please visit John's
Sewell Genealogy Site