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JIM: A tribute to Susan Wheat Dohoney, a daughter of old Adair

A granddaughter wrote lovingly of her kinswoman: During the last six weeks of her life I was with her, and heard her talk much of her past life, -- the happy, easy days in Columbia; the wider and more strenuous social life in Louisville, Frankfort, and other cities in Kentucky. Then the business life she had in this rushing city of Chicago during these later years. . . And heard her say, often, I am not afraid to die, but I love to live.

By JIM

Rarely has a young lady written so moving a tribute as did Miss Mary C. "Kate" Dehoney upon the death of her grandmother, Mrs. Susan Wheat Dohoney.

Susan was born in Columbia in 1828, the daughter of prominent Columbia businessman Milton P. & and his wife Rebecca Miller Wheat. She was also a niece of the well-known jurist, Judge Zach Wheat. She married Thomas Rhodes Dohoney in the fall of 1847; their son, Thomas Milton, mentioned below, was their only child who lived to adulthood. Thomas Rhodes Dohoney served a term as Sheriff of Adair County in the 1850s and later was appointed as U.S. Marshall by President Lincoln. He passed in 1862 or 1863.



Wrote Kate of her grandmother in a letter printed in the January 13, 1903 News:

Dateline Chicago -- Sitting here at the window of my home gazing out over the snow-covered earth, midway into the murky January day: my thoughts dwell upon the life and character of our esteemed kinswoman, Mrs. Susan C. Dohoney, the widow of Thomas Rhodes Dohoney, both of whom were once useful and highly respected citizens of Adair Co.

Even while I write a train bears the body of the widow southward to be laid to rest beside her husband in the old home town, Columbia, in their beloved native state of Kentucky. During the last six weeks of her life I was with her, and heard her talk much of her past life, -- the happy, easy days in Columbia; the wider and more strenuous social life in Louisville, Frankfort, and other cities in Kentucky. Then the business life she had in this rushing city of Chicago during these later years.

She was working successfully in the Insurance business when ill health forced her to give up. But even in her sick room I have seen her compel herself to sit up long enough to answer some business letter that demanded her attention. She has said to me, "Oh, that I could get up and finish certain things that I want to do." Then again, I heard her say to one who entered the room, "I am not afraid to die, but I love to live."

But gradually, the disease wore out the organs of her body and as death approached she leaned more heavily on the God she had served and trusted for long years.

She spoke of the beautiful day, as we looked out at the sunshine on New Year's Day. Then on Jan. 2nd at 3-10 o'clock in the afternoon, she gradually and peacefully breathed her last. On next Wednesday, Jan. 7th, old Adair will receive to her bosom another wandering daughter, come home to sleep the last sleep.

Respectfully, Kate Dohoney.

(In early July,1908, Thomas Milton "T. Milt" Dohoney, Susan's son and Miss Kate's father, wrote to his old friend J.E. Murrell of the Adair County News that he hoped to be in Columbia around July 25th to see after his mother's grave. In a brief introduction to the letter, which was published in the News, Mr. Murrell stated that both of T. Milt's parents were buried in the Columbia City cemetery. There is a marker for Susan's husband, Thomas Rhodes Dohoney, and their infant son Chatty, but none for Susan. If T. Milt made the proposed journey to Columbia that summer fivescore and three years ago, the News failed to make note of it.)

Compiled by JIM


This story was posted on 2011-12-27 01:35:38
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