Friday, July 16, 2004

News of Chester Arthur's Death

News of Chester Arthur's Death Obituary reproduced from November 19, 1886, issue of The New York Times.

From the site:

LONG AND BRAVE STRUGGLE AGAINST DISEASE ENDED BY AN APOPLECTIC STROKE EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING -- THE STORY OF HIS LAST HOURS OF LIFE.

Ex-President Chester Alan Arthur died at 5:10 o'clock yesterday morning at his residence, No. 123 Lexington-avenue. The immediate cause of his death was cerebral apoplexy, due to the rupture of a small artery within the brain during Tuesday night or early on Wednesday morning. From the time of the attack the ex-President did not speak. He did not become immediately unconscious, but power of speech failed him and consciousness rapidly dimmed, although almost to the last he showed signs of ability to appreciate, in an even fainter degree, what was going on about him. In the closing hour of his life he opened his eyes several times, and at the end turned his head on the pillow. Then all was over.

His sisters, Mrs. McElroy and Mrs. Carr, his son Alan, Surrogate Rollins, and Dr. William A. Valentine, assistant to Dr. George A. Peters, Gen. Arthur's regular physician, were at the bedside. Miss Nellie, the only daughter, had retired a little before the end. Death came so quietly that she could not be summoned in time. Assistant District Attorney Arthur H. Masten, who is a nephew, was also out of the room at the moment. He had been one of the watchers during the long night. Dr. Peters had been in attendance nearly all of Wednesday. He went away ad midnight. There was no occasion to disturb him afterward.

Although from the beginning of his illness Gen. Arthur was not ignorant of its gravity, his feelings were characteristic of the diseast, buoyant and depressed by turns. Upon his return from New-London, on Sept. 27, he felt so much benefited that he was sanguine of recovery. His appearance even after a Summer of rest and change was sadly unlike the robust picture familiar to the public eye. Any one who had seen him in his vigor might have passed him without recognition. The features still remained, but they were pallid and hollow and the full, straight figure still showed the emaciation that had alarmed the patient and his friends before he sought a change of surroundings. But he felt better. He was again in excellent spirits, and talked confidently of plans for business and pleasure. When the Presidency of the Arcade Railway Company was offered him, he accepted it, believing that he would be able to discharge its duties. A few days after his return he felt so well that he went out driving. The effort fatigued him excessively. He was not willing to believe the fatigue due to his enfeebled condition, but laid it to the rough streets. In speaking of the drive, he used to say, not wholly with jocose meaning, that one of the aims of his life, after he should resume outdoor activity, would be to secure at least one avenue over which people might drive to the Park without being jolted half to death.

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