Friday, January 21, 2011

The Death of Willie Wallen 1905

March 5, 1885 - February 16, 1905

Willie was the 9th child of William M. and Serena (Sutton) Wallen, youngest brother of my paternal great grandfather, Oliver Morton Wallen. Willie died in Kempner, Lampasas Co., Texas during the move from Rockcastle Co., Kentucky to Sutton Co., Texas. He died less than six weeks before his 20th birthday.

Below is the account of Willie's death and burial, transcribed exactly as written by my great grandfather in his diary.

Feb. 5 – Sun.: Several came in to see Bro. Willie who is very sick.  

Feb. 8 – At home. Willie is no better.  

Feb. 9 – Mr. W. W. Whitis, his son Elzie, Jess and I went to Lampasas 12 mi. west of Kempner. Jess and I bought provision enough to last 4 or 5 weeks. Mr. Whitis and I staid all night with Louis Ulrich 7 mi. east of Lampasas. 

Feb. 10 – We came home.

Feb. 11, 1905 – At home, came a very severe northern about 10 A.M.  

Feb. 12 – At home, very cold. Evry thing is suffering a great deal with cold. Bro. Willie is worse, we had the Dr. with him. He can’t stand cold much.  

Feb. 13 to 15 – At home. Not feeling well. Willie is no better. It has moderated a very pleasant this eve, Feb. 15.  

Feb. 16 – Bro. Willie is very bad this morning. As soon as I ate breakfast I went over to Dr. Harisons and had him come and see him. When we got there he was sinking very fast. Dr. Harison gave him something to stimilate him and he roused up and talked nicely to us all. I don’t think I ever saw any one express a stronger hope than he did. While he wanted to get well he was perfectly reconciled to die and he had a smile on his face all day. Several called to see him, he talked to each one, and asked them to live for Jesus. He talked a great deal about dying and said he was perfectly happy. He had us all kneel and he led us in prayer just about 1 ½ hrs. before he died, he could only whisper. The Lord sent his holy angle and took him home about 6 P.M. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord”. Farewell dear one, ‘tis hard to give thee up but we are sure our loss is heavens gain. Thou art gone from us but we will not forget thee, but ever remember thy loving counsel and cherish and keep it, and at last we will meet again, so goodbye dear Bro. Willie.  

Feb. 17 – Jess got on the 6 o’clock A.M. train and went to Lampasas and got a coffin and robe for Willie, cost $35.00. He made arrangements with Bro. Airhart, Baptist pastor at Lampasas, to come and preach Willie’s funeral at 3 P.M. Jess came back on the 10:40 A.M. train. Bro. Airhart did not get to come and we had to bury Willie without any funeral. We had a song and prayer at the cemetry. We laid him to rest about ½ past 3 P.M. in the Kempner Cemetry about 1 mi. north of Kempner upon a high flat elivation. We laid him near the center of the cemetry. Sleep on dear one and take thy rest. Jesus will come and wake thee up soon. “Blessed be the name of the Lord”. William Thomas Wallen Born Mar. 5, 1885 Died Feb. 16, 1905. It has just been one mo. And two days since we buried Sister Sarah.

Kempner Cemetery, Kempner, Lampasas Co., Texas

Willie was buried without a funeral and without a tombstone. If I ever get to Kempner and I find that high, flat elevation near the center of the Kempner Cemetery, I hope to get permission to place a stone there for him.



  1. Beautifully presented. How wonderful to have diaries like this.

  2. Heartbreaking. I hope you will be able to make the journey someday.

  3. It is wonderful that you have your great-grandfather's diary. He wrote so well. Life is always fragile, but it was so much more so then. Did Oliver die young as well?

  4. Yes he did Liz. Oliver died in 1907 at the age of 37. Although he doesn't say so in his diary, he, his mother, and all 8 of his siblings died of Tuberculosis (according to a newspaper clipping just after his sister Ella died). I don't have all the death certificates but the ones I do have tend to confirm this. Life was certainly hard sometimes.