Early Victorians idealized the notion of an end slow enough to give the dying the chance to say goodbye to their families and to prepare themselves spiritually for this all important moment. Families would cluster around bedsides, hoping to catch profound last words of their loved ones or witness religious raptures before death.
Heavily edited stories of death scenes were expounded in Evangelical memoirs and journals, highlighting the dramatic battle of the dying in the days before death. The reality however was less romantic, leading many to comment on how rare that much romanticized rapture was. Indeed by the late Victorian period people had largely discarded these notions, hoping instead for quick, painless deaths over melodramatic, drawn out affairs.
Perth Courier, March 29, 1878
Publow—Died, of consumption, on Sunday, March, 24, Emily L. Publow, aged 18 years. The subject of the above notice was the eldest daughter of Mr. James Publow, blacksmith, Balderson’s Corners. Strange to say, her death occurred on Sunday last, practically one year (by the days of the week) after her lamented mother’s decease.
Early last summer she very wisely suffered the Holy Spirit to lead her to Christ and though at times troubled and perplexed about her general welfare, grace finally triumphed and during her long and patiently borne illness she exhibited much of the Excellency of the knowledge of God.
Unselfish, full of sympathy and beautifully confiding, she won for herself many friends and enjoyed in a large measure the affections of those around her and they mourn her loss with unfeigned sorrow. A short time before her death, on being questioned by one of her spiritual comforters as to the possibility of there being any doubt about her going to her heavenly house she replied that there was not even a “shadow of a doubt” thus powerfully testifying to the “Stoning Blood of Christ”.
After a long illness she has triumphed over death and has entered into the rest that remains for the people of God. Her funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Robertson from the following text (chosen by herself) “For we know that if our earthly tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2nd Cor. Chap 5 Verse 4).
The bereaved family have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community in their bereavement. Her remains were followed to the grave in the Episcopal burying grounds in Lanark Village on Tuesday last by a large concourse of friends and relatives and there interred awaiting the morning of the Resurrection.
Want to see more? Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.
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