Mrs. Georgia Shepard Wilkins

 
The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
May 19, 1885, page 3
 
Transcribed by:  
 

“Town and County.”

Mrs. Samuel Wilkins, of Atlanta, nee Miss Georgia Shepard, died last week after a lingering illness of more than six months.  The intelligence of death will be sad news to her many friends in this community, who loved her for her noble and exalted character.

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The Cartersville Courant
May 21, 1885, page 2

Mrs. Samuel Wilkins.

The news of the untimely decease of Mrs. Wilkins, nee Miss Georgia Shepherd, was exceedingly painful to her many friends, but not unexpected.  In the month of February, 1884, she became aware of some difficulty in swallowing her food.  The trouble increased until it became impossible to sustain life without artificial means.  Since New Year’s Day, she has not been able to swallow even water without the aid of a flexible tube. The disease, painful and exhausting, had also one distressing feature, viz: it is absolutely incurable, except in a few almost miraculous instances.  Georgia, for so we loved to call her, was not deceived about her condition.  Brave woman, that she was, she looked the King of Terrors in the face without flinching.  Her faith grew stronger and brighter as each avenue of hope for earthly existence was closing about her.  Only two weeks before she breathed her last, she wrote the following to her only brother, to whom she was ever a devoted, loving sister:

“I had almost made up my mind to have the operation performed before I received your letter, risk the consequences, and trust to God for the rest, for He knows what is best for all of us, and if it is His will for me to be taken while it is being performed, it is all right and I will be prepared for it, for I have put myself wholly in His hands to do with me as He will.  I have prayed that I may be wholly resigned and submissive to His holy will, and I believe he will take care of me.  I felt for a long time that I would be cured by faith and prayer, but I reckon my faith was not sufficient, and I feel now that something must be done, that I cannot live long as I am, and if I am taken a few weeks sooner what does it matter, for we all have to die sooner or later.

I have put my little darling in God’s hands.  I know He will take care of her, and perhaps the world will be kind to her, and she will get along somehow.  I feel very weak and try to keep up and do all I can, and do try to be cheerful.”

The tears fell from the writer’s eyes on reading this sweet note, the last she penned, and in that line, “I do try to be cheerful,” memory pictured the brave, true hearted girl that we have known from childhood, and whose genuine and unfailing cheerfulness was ever the main-stay of her parents in youth and the bright blessing of her own fireside.  As the eldest daughter she was ever a model of filial duty to her parents and a beautiful example of sisterly affection, of true, unselfish devotion to the younger members of the family.  When her two little sisters were orphaned by the loss of both father and mother, this good, noble woman took them into her heart of hearts, and now they are doubly orphaned in the death of “dear sister Georgia.”  For fifteen long months she looked death squarely in the face and never once did her Christian courage fail.  She made all her arrangements for death as carefully as if preparing for a journey.  She bequeathed her “little darling” girl to a sister’s tender care, arranged for her own funeral services, her grave, etc., without a tremor and without the least repining.  Her pastor remarked at her home, over her dead body, that she lived nearer to her duty in prayer than anyone he had ever known.  The writer saw her in November last and then she could barely swallow the thinnest liquid, and yet she was cheerful, resigned, and courageous.  Take her life, as the writer knew it, for more than twenty years, and she was perhaps the most useful person in her home that we ever met.  In sickness she was a helpful, sympathizing friend to others, and her willing heart and hands were ever ready for every call of friendship or distress.  She needs no eulogy with those who knew her well, and her loss to her loving family, relatives and friends, is irreparable.  Dr. J. T. Shepherd is her brother.  Mrs. J. H. Wikle, of our city, Mrs. Shropshire, of Atlanta, and Mrs. Ramsaur, of Dahlonega, are her sisters, besides Misses Lulu and Estelle Shepherd.  All children of our deceased neighbors and friends, Mr. and Mrs. John Shepherd.

The Christian fortitude and resignation of Mrs. Wilkins in the hour of death are a precious heritage to her family and friends.  With a faith that seemed almost divine, she walked into the Jordan of death without a moan or regret.  Her last words were a thoughtful attention to the comfort of others, and she calmly “fell asleep” and passed away without a sigh or a struggle.

“Death should come,
Gently to one of gentle mould like thee,
Close thy sweet eyes calmly without pain,
And we will trust in God
To see thee yet again.”

 

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