The Falling Sickness of Ruby S. McComb

Note:Ruby Walker Smith did not actually write this letter, but I am presenting the information in a way that lends itself to storytelling.

My Dear Readers,

I wanted to take this precious time I have been given in my short life to tell you a little bit about what trials and tribulations I went through as a young woman. My name is Ruby Walker Smith, and I am the daughter of the Hyrum James Smith and Cornelia Elvira Walker — and the granddaughter of the great Samuel Smith, probate judge of Box Elder County and former mayor and postmaster of Brigham City.

Ruby McCombs
Ruby McCombs

My life started in Riverdale, Idaho where I was born in May of 1901. I was the second to last child of my parents, and sixth of seven children. This was a new dawn for the world and the beginning of the 20th century,  but my day wasn’t to last. I was quickly diagnosed with the falling sickness and it has affected me from a very young age and caused me to have such frail health throughout the years.

epilepsy

It saddens me because my dear son Armin was diagnosed with the same sickness as me. Did I somehow pass this defect of my health and body onto my dear son?

When I was only 36 years old, I was out and about and had a spell of the fainting sickness. When the shaking started, I fell into a rock-bottomed ditch, and because I was unable to control the spasms and seizures of my body, I couldn’t get up and drowned, leaving my children and husband alone.

After I passed, my husband left my son in an institution, something I didn’t do while I was still alive. Even with this afflicting disease, I bore three children (Zelda, Mamie, and Arnie) to my husband Archie Ezekiel McCombs. About 15 years after my own death,  my son died in the institution my husband placed him in and followed me into the grave with the same disease.

There isn’t much more to say, but this is my story and this was my life.

Sincerely,

Ruby


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