Letter from Francis Sim to Mother and Father, May 5, 1857

In this May 5, 1857 letter, Francis Sim writes to his parents and describes the details of his wife's mental illness. Apparently triggered by the death of their son, Sarah Sim's depression causes her to try to kill herself and her remaining children. Francis laments her condition and the loss of his son, as well as his struggle to try to maintain his farm while protecting his wife and children from physical harm.

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My Dear Father & Mother

It is with feelings of great sorrow that I write you these few lines this evening I cannot keep it back from you any long [sic] , I must let you know that my poor dear wife for a long time past as [sic] been very low spirited, as [sic] greved [sic] her self most to death for the loss of our dear little Willis and at this time she is just as Crassey [sic] as most any one that I ever saw in my life. She will tare [sic] her clothes, bit [sic] her own person and what is worse than all will make efforts at times to distroy [sic] her self and the children. This is one of the greatest trials that I ever felt in my life. I have to be with her the most of the time and during the time that I am from the House some one else as [sic] to be with her. Perhaps Willis as [sic] written you something about Sarah. What can be done I can not tell. She is affread [sic] all the time that she must be lost and that God has no mercy for her. I let her go over to my neighbours and she slept there two nights and the second morning she ran off in the woods with a rope with the intent to hang her self, We soon made our neighbours acquainted with it men & women some on horses

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and others on foot and we found her alive but had lost the rope. Went off with out anything on her head and without a shall [sic] tore off the sleeves of her dress and what to do by her I do not know. Willis as [sic] left for Kansas. I expect him back in a few days. I have been obliged to tie her hand and foot on the bed. today Sunday 7th - just as bad as ever. She grows poor [sic] every day. Some days she seems very comfortable, but is in a disparing [sic] state all the time thinking that she must be lost. The Children are well poor little Phillie is as lively as a bee but I am affread [sic] at times that I shall find the children and my poor dear wife in a mangled condishion [sic] . You cannot think for one moment what my feelings are at those times. It was a trial enough I thought when I lost my dear little boy but it can not begin with this affliction. I can but badly write to you espessaiy [sic] on such a subject as this.

We recd two letters, one from Mary & the other from sister Electa. Write me often. My love to you all I remain your affectionate son

Francis Sim

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Francis Sim to Mother and Father
  • Extent: 2 pages
  • Citation: Nebraska State Historical Society, Sim Family, RG3435, Box 1, Folder 1
  • Date: May 5, 1857