Mad dog causes 1882 holiday season tragedy

Published 12:33pm Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dr. John Mitchell was sent for, but was unable to give Levi relief. By this time, Levi was not able to swallow medicine.

By 3 p.m. the next afternoon, any mention of giving him medicine or seeing the faces of his wife, children, brother, sisters, friends or neighbors, would give Levi spells. These would last from a few seconds to several minutes. They seemed to affect only his nerves, not his mind. He would “holler” loudly while having a fit, but immediately after would speak with clarity.

Levi would pray for himself between spells, numerous times saying, “Lord, have mercy on a trembling sinner.” He sent for his only brother, Elder A.D. Bowers, to pray for him.

About noon the next day, nearly five hours before he died, Levi seemed to get happy. He exclaimed that he could see his mother and little infants in heaven, along with angels, who were waiting for him. He was ready to die, he said, but dreaded leaving his wife and children, especially the unborn child his wife was now carrying.

He then called his family and friends around his bed, bade them good-bye, and told them to meet him in heaven. He fell silent, except for a couple of small spells, and died quietly and easily.

His death came on Jan. 5, 1883, just a few days before his 34th birthday. Soon thereafter, his son, Levi Jr., was born.

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