submitted by Neal Carter, Sept. 28, 2007


He Fell the Victim of African Fever – Letter from a Friend Descriptive of His Last Days

The following letter, though not written for publication, is of sufficient interest to the public to justify its appearance in the columns of the JOURNAL:

    Monrovia, Liberia, June 11, 1891.

    Mr. Geo. W. Appelton, Muscatine, Ia.
    Dear Sir – It becomes my sad duty to inform you of the demise of my friend and brother, the Hon. Alex. Clark, late
    U. S. Minister, at the American legation, this city, on Sunday, the 31st of May last, at eighteen minutes past eight o’clock a. m. You no doubt have received this sad intelligence already by cable, but it becomes my privilege to give to you the particulars, and through you the beloved daughters and son of my deceased friend.

    Mr. Clark’s first serious attack was about the last week in March. It reached its crisis on the 2d of April. I hastened to his bedside as soon as I could, and found him extremely weak in mind and body. The next morning he was somewhat better and had more consciousness. He said: “Brown, this African fever is a powerful man.” He gradually grew better and was able to resume his morning walks. The first week in May his weakness returned and he was compelled the following week to keep his bed the greater part of the day. From about the 18th of May he was confined to his bed altogether until the day of his death. For three days previous to his death he was in a comatose state, and even when aroused had nothing to say unless he was questioned. On Saturday he assured me by a nod and a shake of his head that he knew me, but there was nothing he wished done.

    On Sabbath morning I stood by the bedside of this grand old man and saw him breathe his last, with breathings as still and peaceful as those of a sleeping infant.

    He was interred the next day at 4 o’clock p. m., from the Methodist Episcopal church, with military, civic and Masonic ceremonies. The Rev. G. W. Gibson, of the Protestant Episcopal church, officiated.

    I have in charge his Masonic regalia, square and compassES, grand lodge diploma, and by-laws of a subordinate lodge, all of which I will forward by first American vessel bound for New York.

    Extending to the entire family my deepest sympathy, I am truly yours.


    P. S. Bro. Clark said that he had been accustomed to attacks of vertigo at home. The fever seized this weak part, thus impairing his mind and preventing him from adopting a course that would have carried one of his strong and well preserved constitution safely through.

Back to Book One, INDEX

Back to the Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb, Index Page