Search Our New Beta Online Collections!

Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 8, page 160, February 22, 1857

<< Back to search results

View this document

From collection:Part of:

Identifier: DX03742076

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 8, page 160, February 22, 1857

Description: Describes William Levison's death scene, as told by Catharine Potter.


Down stairs during the evening, talking with Mrs [Elizabeth] Gouverneur and Miss Church.

I have learnt, from the landlady, Mrs [Catharine] Potter, the details of poor [William] Levison’s death-scene — which are such that I can scarcely fancy anything more appalling. With the exception of the landlady each person present seems to have lost entirely lost self-control. [Jesse] Haney flung himself on the floor, shrieked out, held his hands up to his head and cried "Oo-o-o-o-o!" John Levison, (the brother) behaved "as if crazy" was perpetually applying himself to the gin-bottle and carrying it out to the two amateur watchers, sitting on the staircase. "They kept coming in" says Mrs P, "and going to the fire place to spit, again and again. I declare it was nothing but spitting and drinking." And [Willis] Patten, that bulky hard-featured, discordantly-voiced, Hippopotamus-like man would come forwards with his hands in his trousers pockets, and stare into Levison's face with a look of stolid fright. And there the dying man lay "with his eyes rolling." Mrs L [Mary Levison] fetched from the adjoining room fell swooning to the ground, and was carried out —

Horrible! Horrible! No solemn, sorrowful recognition of Death as [word crossed out] something that had been thought of, as an old, old, sad story, that we must submit to, and if we can do no better let our hearts break in silence — But instead of this

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
New York

Dates: 1857-02-22

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Death
19th century


| More

Disclaimer: We are working to create a web-based collection index. Information available through this website should be considered "draft only."