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Top 10 famous last letters

Updated on 21 May, 2013 at 11:07 am By

 This page of TopYaps involves ten famous last letters before dying that were written as the final goodbye. This is indeed a morbid thought but imagine, what will they write about and what will they say about the worsened matter? They are too helpless to turn away and they wish they had not run so far so fast. No doubt, in letters, they signalize what we didn’t even know we had but prevent us from going back into the battle of worldly affairs.

10. Milada Horáková:

Dr. Milada Horáková was a firebrand Czech politician and an eminent member of Czechoslovak National Socialist Party. On September 27, 1949, she was accused for plotting conspiracy to override the government of Communists. After treating her with physical and psychological torture, the Communists, finally, hanged her on June 27, 1950, in Pankrác Prison. Prior to execution, she was allowed to write three letters, one to her sixteen year old daughter, one to her husband and one to her mother-in-law. The letter written for her daughter was not delivered to anyone but evidently in 1990, it was published in a book. Part of this letter reads:

The reason was not that I loved you little; I love you just as purely and fervently as other mothers love their children. But I understood that my task here in the world was to do you good … by seeing to it that life becomes better, and that all children can live well. … Don’t be frightened and sad because I am not coming back any more. Learn, my child, to look at life early as a serious matter. Life is hard, it does not pamper anybody, and for every time it strokes you it gives you ten blows. Become accustomed to that soon, but don’t let it defeat you. Decide to fight.


9. Jacob Vowell:

May 19, 1902, is considered as a black day for American coal miners. This day marks an unforgettable disaster in which 216 miners were killed due to a deadly explosion occurred at the Fraterville Coal Mine in Tennessee. Initially, miners were trapped inside the mine and manged to survive for some hours, but eventually everyone died due to blast or suffocation. Within the short time of survival, Jacob Vowell, a miner, wrote a heart-wrenching letter to his wife Ellen and family. During this incident, Jacob was accompanied by his 14 year old son Elbert. In this letter, he also mentioned his previously deceased son “Little Eddie.” The letter reads:

Ellen, darling, goodbye for us both. Elbert said the Lord has saved him. Do the best you can with the children. We are all praying for air to support us, but it is getting so bad without any air. Horace, Elbert said for you to wear his shoes and clothing. It is now 1/2 past 1:00. Powell Harmon’s watch is in Andy Woods’ hand. Ellen, I want you to live right and come to heaven. Little Elbert said he trusted in the Lord. The bad air is closing in on us fast. Dear Ellen, I leave you in bad condition, but set your trust in the Lord to help you raise my little children. Elbert said for you all to meet him in heaven, for all of the children to meet us both. Raise the children the best you can. Oh how I wish to be with you. Goodbye, all of you, Goodbye. Bury me and Elbert in the same grave by little Eddie. Goodbye Ellen, Goodbye Lillie, Goodbye Jimmie, Goodbye Minnie, Goodbye Horace. Oh God, for one more breath. Ellen, remember me as long as you live. Goodbye darling. It is 25 minutes after 2:00. There are few of us alive yet. Jake and Elbert.

8. Captain Kuno:

Captain Kuno was a suicide bomber pilot during the World War II. On May 23, 1945, the eve of his last mission, Captain Kuno wrote a letter to his 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter. This letter was written in katakana, a script used to teach children in the lower grades. Surprisingly, after 40 years to this incident, Captain Kuno’s son, Masanori, visited the place where his father the final night. His father’s photo was still hanging on the wall of Chiran Peace Museum.

The letter, after translation:

Even though you cannot see me, I will always be watching you. Obey your mother, and do not trouble her. When you grow up, follow a path you like and grow to be fine Japanese persons. Do not envy the father of others, since I will become a spirit and closely watch over you two. Both of you, study hard and help out your mother with work. I cannot be your horse to ride, but you two be good friends. I am an energetic person who flew a large bomber and finished off all the enemy. Please be persons who rise above me and so avenge my death.
From Father

7. Wild Bill Hickok:

Originally known as James Butler Hickok, this prominent figure of the American Old West was better known for being a professional gambler, reputable lawman and a skilled gunfighter. According to historical evidents, on August 2, 1876, he was playing poker in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Amid the game, a buffalo hunter, Jack McCall, emerged from the dense crowd and shouted “Take that”, before hitting right in the back of his head. Hickok died almost instantly. Hickok had a presentiment that he might died in Deadwood and that’s why he wrote a short but maudlin letter to his wife, which read:

Agnes Darling, if such should be we never meet again, while firing my last shot, I will gently breathe the name of my wife — Agnes — and with wishes even for my enemies I will make the plunge and try to swim to the other shore. J.B. Hickok Wild Bill

6. Melissa Nathan:

Melissa Jane Nathan was a British journalist and celebrated author of the Chick lit, a romantic novel depicting the issues of womanhood, lightheartedly and humorously. This lady of incredible will power died on April 7, 2006, due to breast cancer. Posthumously, her last novel, The Learning Curve, was published which is famous for presenting a good-bye letter to her family on its opening pages.

First, to my wonderful parents. You have given me a life suffused with love, support and friendship. I have been lucky enough to see eye to eye with you both, and look up to you at the same time. Please never feel that I have had a hard life. I have had 37 wonderful years, and I’m grateful to you both for giving me that. I am happy and at peace. My wonderful Andrew. I respect you as much as I love you, and that is saying something. You, of all people I know, will get through this. After all, you’ve got through nearly 12 years of marriage with me, and that’s no easy feat. I have been so lucky to know you. You have been my steady rock, my gentle giant, my best friend, my everything. I wish you a happy life, full of love and joy. And my amazing Sammy. I wanted to know you for longer, my love, but it wasn’t to be. Still, at only three years old, you have already left an imprint on my heart that will go with me, wherever it is I’m going. Motherhood made my life worthwhile. And you gave me that. What does a mother wish for her son? I wish you happiness. You have a wonderful daddy and a family who adores you. Go into the world knowing that while you were everything to your mother, you won’t have to deal with an annoying woman who can’t stop kissing you when you’re 15. I will be in the sky kissing you from afar.

5. Captain Robert Falcon Scott:

Captain Scott was a British Royal Navy officer and a daredevil explorer, better known for his “Discovery Expedition” from 1901-1904. In late 1910, he, along with four other companions, started an expedition to reach at the South Pole and finally on January 17, 1912, they made it successful. But gradually, the joy of this mission faded away and turned into an ill-fated expedition. On March 29, 1912, Captain Scott and his crew died while returning from the South Pole, due to starvation, extreme cold and exhaustion. After eight months, the bodies were discovered in Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica.

An emotional excerpt from the letter written to his wife, Kathleen:

To my widow. Dearest darling. It is not easy to write because of the cold – 70 degrees below zero and nothing but the shelter of our tent… We are in a very tight corner and I have doubts of pulling through. In our short lunch hours, I take advantage of a very small measure of warmth to write letters preparatory to a possible end. If anything happens to me, I should like you to know how much you have meant to me. I must write a little letter for the boy if time can be found to be read when he grows up. Dearest that you know I Cherish no sentimental rubbish about remarriage. When the right man comes to help you in life, you ought to be your happy self again. Make the boy interested in natural history if you can. It is better than games. Try to make him believe in a God; it is comforting.

Oh my dear, my dear, what dreams I had of his future and yet, oh my girl, I know you will face it stoically – your portrait and the boy’s will be found in my breast. What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey. What tales you would have for the boy, but, oh, what a price to pay. To forfeit the sight of your dear, dear face. “I think the best chance has gone. We have decided not to kill ourselves but to fight it to the last for that depot but in the fighting there is a painless end so don’t worry.”

4. Ziad Jarrah:

The game-planner of September 11 attacks, Ziad Jarrah was the man who hijacked and piloted the United Airlines Flight 93. His intention was to crash the plane into White House but due to revolt of passengers, it fell in a rural area of Pennsylvania, killing all people on board. On the eve of this attack, he wrote a letter to his Turkish girlfriend, Aysel Sengun, whom he had marriage plans with. This letter never reached to Sengun because shortly after the attacks, she was transferred to witness protection ring. Later, this letter was returned to American officials. An excerpt from the letter of four pages:

I don’t want you to become sad, I still live somewhere else, where you can’t see me and can’t hear me, but I will see you and know how you are. And I will wait for you until you come to me. Everybody has his time and will move sometime. I am guilty that I raised your hopes about wedding, marriage, children and family. The letter also contains phrases such as: You ought to be very proud, because it is an honor and you will see the results and everybody will be happy. In another portion he writes I did what I was supposed to do. The last page of the letter translates to: Remember what you are and who would deserve you. I hug you and kiss you on your hands and on the head. And I thank you and apologize for the very wonderful, hard five years that you spent with me. Your patience has a [unreadable] Allah …I am your prince and I will pick you up. Goodbye!!

Your man forever

Ziad Jarrah



3. Mary Stuart:

Queen of Scotland and aimed to be Queen of England, Mary Stuart was the biggest threat to Queen Elizabeth I. After revelation of her three consecutive plots to assassinate Queen of England, she was beheaded on February 8, 1587. The execution process took two strikes because the first blow missed her neck which gave her a chance to whisper the words — “Sweet Jesus.” Before six hours of execution, she wrote a letter to Henry III, brother of her late husband and contemporary king of France. The last part of her letter reads:

I have taken the liberty of sending you two precious stones, talismans against illness, trusting you will enjoy good health and a long and happy life. Accept them from your loving sister-in-law, who, as she dies, bears witness of her warm feelings for you. Give instructions if it please you, that for my soul’s sake part of what you owe me should be paid, and that for the sake of Jesus Christ, to whom I shall pray for you tomorrow as I die, I be left enough to found a memorial mass and give the customary alms.

Wednesday at two in the morning,

Your most moving and most true sister,

Marie R. Queen of Scotland.”

2. The Rosenbergs’:

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were American Communists who were charged for passing the confidential informations of American atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. After long series of trial and conviction, they were finally executed by electric chair on June 19, 1953. On the day of execution, they wrote a letter to their two sons — Robert, 6 year and Michael, 10.

Dearest Sweethearts, my most precious children,

Only this morning it looked like we might be together again after all. Now that his cannot be, I want so much for you to know all that I have come to know.  Unfortunately, I may write only a few simple words; the rest your own lives must teach you, even as mine taught me. At first, of course, you will grieve bitterly for us, but you will not grieve alone. That is our consolation and it must eventually be yours. Eventually, too you must come to believe that life is worth the living. Be comforted that even now, with the end of ours slowly approaching, that we know this with a conviction that defeats the executioner! Your lives must teach you, too, that good cannot really flourish in the midst of evil; that freedom and all the things that go to make up a truly satisfying and worthwhile life, must sometimes be purchased very dearly. Be comforted then that we were serene and understood with the deepest kind of understanding, that civilization had not as yet progressed to the point where life did not have to be lost for the sake of life; and that we were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after us. We wish we might have had the tremendous joy and gratification of living our lives out with you. Your Daddy who is with me in these last momentous hours, sends his heart and all the love that is in it for his dearest boys. Always remember that we were innocent and could not wrong our conscience.

We press you close and kiss you with all our strength.

 Daddy and Mommy 
Julie Ethel

Robert (6) on left and Michael(10) on right, reading the fate of their mumma and daddy.


1. Sullivan Ballou:

Born on March 28, 1829, Ballou was an eminent politician and lawyer of America. After the outbreak of First Battle of Bull Run, he volunteered for military service in 2nd Rhode Island Infantry. During war, he was severely injured and finally died of critical wounds. Before death, he wrote a letter to his wife Sarah, which is still considered as the most eloquent and the most emotional good-bye letter ever written:

July the 14th, 1861

Washington DC

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days – perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure – and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows – when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children – is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death — and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.

I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and “the name of honor that I love more than I fear death” have called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me – perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar — that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night — amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours – always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God’s blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.



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