Rebecca Green tells of the death of little Byron

picture of John B. Green tombstone

On July 9, 1849, David Green wrote a letter to his father, John, and his brothers Jesse and Joseph who were on their way to California in search of gold. David remained in Dayton to handle the businesses and the farm and his portion of the letter deals mostly with these matters. His sister Rebecca added to the letter and, among other family and local news, she told of the death of Jesse’s son, John Byron Green.

The death of Byron has been written to you before but for fear that you will not receive it I will speak of it here. He died the 6th of May.  He did not appear much worse till a few days before he died and was perfectly sensible till the last.  He looked at his father’s miniature a few minutes before he died.  His mother said to me it was the last he would see of his pa. He said no, pa will come back and handed the miniature to me and told me to put it away and in a little while sunk to rest as if going into a sweet slumber. We feel his loss [very] much as he was a great deal of company for us . . . but he has left us and we must submit to it as cheerfully as possible as this was a life of suffering for him.1


  1. David Green (Dayton, Illinois) to “Dear father and brothers” [John, Jesse, and Joseph Green], letter, 9 July 1849, privately held by Candace Wilmot, Urbana, Illinois.

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