The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Search for People > Document Display

return to search results

Document associated with: Hill, William (1751-1823)
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 06499
Date: 17 October [1858][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Philadelphia
Recipient: James H. Gamble[3]
Place: [Staten Island]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W494
Document Type: ALf

1205 Arch St.

Sunday P.M. Oct 17th

My Dear Friend

I pray Willie[4] were as he usually is on Sunday at my side, he would be my eyes to me in devotional reading[.] I attempt to use my pen because alone & unable yet to read, perhaps I was unwise in being on the side of the Eastwicks[5] in their call to take my dear Willie to their rural home last evening to open the Sabbath, for certainly I wished in listening as I did this morning to a very graphic sketch of the power of religion, sweetening the toils & vexations of Pilgrims drawn from the text of the waters of Marah[6]. I felt the force of the arguments as in my daily experience. Willie could not have but been interested by so eloquent & learned a preacher. But the medical course[7] of lectures & study keep Willie so confined, country air & among so exemplary companions of his own age, he needs to relax his mind & invigorate his frame. [p. 2] he was sorry at leaving me all alone to be gone two nights! he reads to me always before saying good night. I tell him I am reconciled to the suspension of eye sight that he may thus unite with me in "daily steps towards heaven[8]" & the searching the Scriptures in connection with that well arranged Church accompaniment. Sometimes I cannot do without Willie's eyes even at our family worship in the Scarsdale book[9] which I ought to know by heart. I know dear Mr Gamble both you & your pious mother[10] pray for me & my boys, for I think of you both daily when I beseech God to hear & to bless His people who so remember me & mine. My poor Jemie has lately been tenderly affected by the death of Madame Bergeron[11] in Paris. She was as a Sister to him, he spent his Sundays at her house & sometimes went at her entreaty with her to Chapel, the English ch. she ministered to him in his illness. Her funeral was in my daughter's[12] home in London, as her request was to be buried in her native land. He needs your earnest prayer, & I know you love the thoughtless but affectionate Jemie[13].

[p. 3] Willie has lately heard from Jackson[14] that he has to go to St Louis to engage in an enterprise there even without a parting embrace! Will sadly says such is the course of this world! he is learning, he read your letter with lively interest & we rejoice you & your dear sister met so many relatives so congenial, how religious elevation enhances the joy of intercourse in friendly or family meetings. I always feel that lack when so kindly welcomed where every other desire is so lavishly indulged. I would fain lead these to Jesus but I can only pray the Holy Spirit to do so. Oh what a satisfaction I enjoy when I go to the home of my friends the Perines[15]. I thank you dear friends for extending your hospitality to my God son. Oh if you could but visit his Mother, how she would bless you for it. She was in a glow of gratitude that Harwood[16] could mingle with such true christians as Mrs Maxwell[17], Homeland is like Scarsdale, I mean our part of that church circle. The Church[18] is free, built thro the unwearied efforts of the Perines. When you have a week for holiday oh that it might be about June, & I'll introduce you at Homeland. My blessing to Harwood when you meet him, if you choose that dear Mrs Maxwell share this scrawl to [sic].

[p. 4] My sister[19] in Perthshire mentions on the 27th of Sept her Cousin Anne Clunie[20] at Berwick. if you write to this favorite of ours, as you must wish to[,] of your meeting her brother in Canada, do send my love. I am expecting my Sister[21] from Stonington next tuesday. Dr Palmer[22] brings her, but he can stay only a day. I had hoped my servant Mary[23] would come with my sister, but it seems uncertain whether she can this year. We have the same faithful Spinster who came in July to take care of the house, she is valuable, but I am the active leader to when she comes, respectfully attending to all my directions. I do all my house keeping errands, I am sure you would be glad to see Willie with a large market basket on his arm before seven o'clock on market days going with me. Usually I take your mother's Richfield basket & another as ladylike & go by myself. But now you will like to hear of the Hills[24] [on] 16th St. It is a short run after tea for Willie & me. We saw both the Mrs Hills & their Wills & their Robie & Miss Alithen lately together, the two lads are in the same store growing finely & in Wisdoms way. Miss A & her brother Will are together on Sunday, he the librarian, she a teacher in a school where they have 500 scholars. She says it is her day of greatest labor in the week. She is very kind & attentive to me, found me a seamstress lately a pious Prot[estant] Irish Elizabeth[25]. Dr. Darrach['s][26] three daughters come across the St sociably, cheerfully spending an evening in my dark parlour. [...]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  17 October [1858]
Dated from AMW's address, and with reference to the Perpetual Calendar Whitaker's Almanac. AMW lived at 1205 Arch St., Philadelphia from ca June 1858 to about the spring of 1860.

2.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

3.  James H. Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more].

4.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

5.  Eastwicks
The family associated with the firm of Harrison, Winans and Eastwick, locomotive manufacturers in Philadelphia.

6.  Marah
'So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.' Exod. 15.22-23.

7.  medical course
William McNeill Whistler attended the Pennsylvania Medical School, Philadelphia between 1858 and 1860, the year of his graduation.

8.  daily steps towards heaven
Probably a later edition of A. H. Dyke Acland's, Daily Steps towards Heaven; or, Practical Thoughts on the Gospel History, London, 1852, fourth edition.

9.  Scarsdale book
This probably relates to the period between ca September 1851 and November 1857 during which AMW lived intermittently at Scarsdale, NY, in a cottage owned by her friends Margaret Getfield and Sarah Stewart Hill.

10.  mother
Jane Gamble (1790-1864), mother of J. H. Gamble [more].

11.  Bergeron
Emma Bergeron (d. 1858), née Haden, sister of JW's brother-in-law, F. S. Haden [more].

12.  daughter's
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

13.  Jemie
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

14.  Jackson
Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more].

15.  Perines
The family of David Maulden Perine, Sr (1796-1882), merchant [more]; he was the owner of a country estate called Homeland in North Baltimore.

16.  Harwood
Thomas Harwood Perine (1830-1861), godson of AMW [more].

17.  Mrs Maxwell
Probably Ann Maxwell (1784-1867), née Young, wife of Robert Maxwell [more].

18.  Church
On 10 September 1856, as a site for the building of the Episcopal 'Church of the Redeemer,' David Maulden Perine gave about one and a half acres of land on the east side of Charles Street near Melrose Avenue, and presented the stone for its erection from a quarry on Homeland at the southwest corner of Charles Street and Belvedere Avenues. The church was erected in 1858, and the parsonage was completed in 1864. About 1855 he bought and remodelled a frame dwelling house on the west side of Bellona Avenue, adjoining Homeland, to lend to the 'Church of the Redeemer' as a temporary parsonage until they could acquire one. See Mathew Page Andrews, Tercentenary History of Maryland, Chicago, 1925, vol. 4, p. 68.

19.  sister
Alicia Margaret Caroline McNeill (1786-1863), JW's aunt [more].

20.  Anne Clunie
Anne Clunie (b. 1793), a Scottish cousin of AMW [more], and her brother.

21.  Sister
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

22.  Palmer
Dr George E. Palmer (1803-1868), physician, AMW's brother-in-law [more]. Married Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more] in 1840.

23.  Mary
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more].

24.  Hills
Jane Hill (1802-1872), née Clarkson, wife of W. S. Hill [more], and her son William Hill (1842-1869); Susan Hill (1806-1872), née Clarkson, wife of Robert Carmer Hill, and her children William Hill, librarian, Robet C. Hill (b. ca 1840), and Alithen Carmer Hill (1832-1891), teacher.

25.  Elizabeth
Elizabeth, a seamstress.

26.  Dr. Darrach
James Darrach (1828-1869), physician in Philadelphia [more].