To John Kirk

3 December 1863


[Published in The Christian News (Glasgow), 2 January 1864, p. 3.]


Oberlin, 3d Dec., 1863,

Ohio, U.S.

My Dear Brother Kirk,--I drop you this line to inform you and your dear wife, that my precious wife has gone to heaven. She has been failing, apparently with consumption, for more than a year past. She left home the 1st September, and spent some weeks at a water cure in N. York State. An ulcer in the lungs broke and greatly relieved her so far as suffering was concerned. She then visited her brother in Brooklyn, on the seashore. But the disease determined to her head. She started to return to the 'cure' and became paralysed on the road, was taken to a hotel and died there. Her two sons and her only surviving brother and his wife were with her. It was so sudden and unexpected that I was not with her. She was buried last Sabbath amid the sorrowings and rejoicings of a multitude of Christian friends. Sorrowing for the loss of her precious society and influence--rejoicing in sympathy with her joy and her eternal rest. She remained to the last, what she had been for many years, one of the best of wives, one of the most judicious and successful of mothers, and one of the most stable, loving, faithful, and useful of Christian women. She was truly a ripe Christian. Her great love for you and your dear wife induces me to drop you this line without delay. She died not far from Rochester, N. York, the place of her residence for many years. At Rochester her first husband and six children were buried. There, on the beautiful 'Mount Hope,' her remains rest. I am stricken with deep grief, and yet so unspeakable is her gain, that I am ashamed to speak or think of my loss. I was at her funeral, and saw her dear face for the last time, but only through the transparent lid of her coffin. Her memory is blessed. Since we returned from your country I have been very ill at three different times, and my dear wife gave herself to nursing me with a devotion that, no doubt, much wasted her strength. She would insist upon giving her life if need be to save mine. As a consequence I am in comfortable health, and she has gone to her reward. I have not all my former strength, but am able to preach considerably and to attend to college duties. My dear brother Kirk, since I have been so ill and apparently near death, I have considered the subject more than ever before. Death is no longer regarded by me as an occasion of mourning, but of unspeakable rejoicing. It is a most blessed and glorious change. I cannot tell you how glorious the change has at times appeared to me. Tears will flow when we bid beloved ones farewell, but joy will spring up and overcome our grief. O how I should rejoice to see your dear faces once more, and stand in your pulpit, and behold your good people, and tell them what the Lord has done for my soul. I must make the remainder of life's journey alone. But it is but a little way. Do give my dearest love to all your dear people, and perhaps through the News you will inform our many beloved friends of the departure of my dear wife. I am not alone in the sense of having no dear ones with me to comfort me. I am surrounded with loving and sympathising hearts and friends. My youngest daughter and my son's wife are with me, with a beautiful little grandchild. My daughters are to me all that daughters can be. And what is infinitely more the Saviour is with me. God bless you both forever,




Elizabeth Finney died on 27 November 1863.