The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: King, Ralph
Record 18 of 41

System Number: 06521
Date: 4 August 1863
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Richmond, VA
Recipient: Deborah Delano Haden[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W515
Document Type: ALS


Augt 4th 63.

Hammond D[3] who comes often to see me, whom George[4] will be glad to hear is well & doing well - called an hour ago to tell me of a friend of his to start for England today, it would give us my own dear Debo mutual pleasure if he could hand you this & say he had seen your mother looking well, but I do not know personally Collins MacKensie[5] altho his name is familiar. So let it suffice that your two letters[6] came to me without much delay enclosed by Mr King[7], that of Feb date was just in time to comfort me when my loss of sweet Ida[8] was recent, poor Willie[9] wrote for me a few lines by a friend of his who was going to England in May I think - Mr Doty[10] hoped to see George, but I could not dictate any painful details of our so recent bereavement, it is now four months since the death of our precious Ida & each day I feel more sensibly what Willie & I have lost, she was such a rare combination of brightness & gentleness, so loving so confiding, just like one of my own little ones so dependant upon Mother, Surely our Heavenly Father will open the way for my talking to Debo of Ida in His own good time. [p. 2] I always felt sure you would have been so fond of each other, for your tastes were so congenial. I was so devoted to her, she needed all my attention. I never could write you of her, gradually my health was being restored tho the wet winter was unfavorable. God gave me strength to be a most cheerful nurse to my darling Ida by night & day, she so sweetly would say "Mother you cannot pet me too much! I have always been a pet!["] and once she said "Tho Mother in Heaven[11] looks down & blesses you dear Mother she could not have done more for me than you do" It was the earnest hope of Ida to see her father in his Brooklyn home & she thought if March were only over she would have strength to travel - we had arranged to take her South in Feb - but she was too weak for R R[12] exposure & fatigue. Many of her worst symptoms had abated & only the wednesday before her death she enjoyed a drive. she came every day into Mrs G[13]'s room to sit by the bright coal fire & enjoyed the society of Clara & Alice[14] & at intervals used her needle, her devotional reading she never omitted. So it was a surprise to me tho I had watched her every hour, when on Sunday morning March 29th she herself told me she must die, she had often talked to me of it only lamenting to leave Willie! & that she could not see her father once more. Mrs Genet has been as a sister to me these seven months for she had agreed to take Ida & Willie [p. 3] out of pity for her failing strength. I now occupy the delightful room alone which was theirs together. Willie is stationed at Camp Jackson[15] two miles out of Richmond, he has a horse & rides in to spend an hour with me every evening after his duties to the patients are thro, his health is improving, both he & I were so poorly in May he obtained a furlough for a month June & we went to Shocco Springs[16] in N Carolina. I was very feeble then & it is only now I can use my eyes, I fear dear Jemie[17] is not with you, our love to him. tell him not to believe what the northern papers say against the south[18]. I have met many of your dear fathers[19] old friends on this side of the Army & some who knew Jim at W Point[20]. Rundle[21] a Senr. Cadet in his time now a Major in this Army begs to be remembered to him. I meet the Sister in other connections of Mr Mason[22], early friends of mine. We have had too rainy a summer for the wheat crop alas! in this state, tho it was abundant further South but Augt has entered very hot, & dry for the corn so favorable! but alas for the Army how trying!

You must not fear my having to endure stinting of food Mr Genet is a generous provider & Mrs G the very nicest house keeper I have ever met with, the best cooking & the neatest house! their house is quite new with all the modern improvements, I enjoy a bath every day before dinner & then a nap. I take daily walks for health & to call upon friends who are less at liberty to do as they please, taking fruit to one who is a cripple & doing all I can to cheer the distressed, now that my health [p. 4] admits of it. The shade trees are so protecting & streets so clean & I choose the cool of the day for exercise. Mrs Genet & I talked of going to the mountains for Sulphur Springs, but the enemy threatens & stops us, we hope we may in Sept get to the Natural bridge[23], Mrs G & youngest daughter Alice go tomorrow to spend this month with friends in the country, so I shall be with Clara G. of whom I am so fond, she reads daily to me & offered to write this for me, but it is more satisfactory to me & to you to send my own scrawl, the hurry I am in to secure its going will I fear make it even more difficult for you to read. I fear I may not hear as often from Mr King as I have done[.] if you could get Mr Maude[24] to enquire in Liverpool as to whether the Trenham[25] house connected with Charleston S C would forward letters you might enclose to Doct Peter Porcher[26] for me at Ch[arleston] - he is one of my cousins & connected by marriage with the Trenhams. He kindly encloses letters to my brother Charles[27] in those he sends his daughter in Florida. Tell my dear Sister Alicia[28] I wish she could read Ch[arles']s account of his experience of the war, but he has such a cheerful reliance upon God & is so unwearied in well doing he is always hopeful, and so am I! Share my love with dear Aunt A & tell her I trust the way will be opened for my visiting you all again. love to dear Mary R[29] & all hers, to George & his, to Seyr[30] & Mr Traar[31] & your dear boys & Annie[32]. I was so glad to share your April report to Kate L.[33] early in June it reached me. So try again[.] I shall not try my eyes by attempting to read this[.]

Your loving Mother


I[34] wish I could have met Mrs B[35] in N Y[.] My blessing & love to Jemie

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

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

3.  Hammond D
D. Hammond, probably a relation of Sam Hammond (b. 1835) and Mason Hammond, of Pomfret, CT; see #06410, #06412.

4.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

5.  Collins MacKensie

6.  two letters
Not extant.

7.  Mr King
Ralph King (1801-1878), broker, father-in-law of W. McN. Whistler [more].

8.  Ida
Ida Bayard Whistler, née King (d. 1863), JW's sister-in-law [more], first wife of his brother William.

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

10.  Mr Doty
A friend of William Whistler; probably Captain Horace H. Doty (b. 1824 or 1825), officer of marines, specialist in signal lights and lighthouse illumination [more].

11.  Mother in Heaven
Isabella King (1805-1857), née Gibbs, cousin of AMW [more]; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 17 September 1857, #06488.

12.  RR
i.e. Railroad.

13.  Mrs G
Mrs Genet, AMW's house-keeper in Richmond, VA.

14.  Clara & Alice
Clara Genet and Alice Genet, daughters of Mrs Genet, of Richmond, VA.

15.  Camp Jackson
Confederate army camp close to Richmond, VA. William McNeill Whistler was an assistant Surgeon in the 1st South Carolina Regiment of Rifles, 'Orr's Rifles.' The regiment was organized on 20 July 1861 at Sandy Springs and sent to Virginia in April 1862.

16.  Shocco Springs
Shocco Springs, New Warrenton, NC. A resort hotel, taking up to 400 guests, was built there in 1835.

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

18.  northern papers say against the south
It is clear that AMW had by now adopted a supportive stance towards the Southerners.

19.  fathers
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

20.  W Point
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, opened in 1802; see AMW to JW, 10 June 1851, #06396.

21.  Rundle
Charles Henry Rundell (ca 1830 - d.1864), a fellow-cadet with JW at USMA, West Point [more].

22.  Mr Mason
Mason, an acquaintance of AMW from Richmond, VA.

23.  Natural bridge
Natural Bridge, over Cedar Creek gorge, near Lexington, VA, a 90 ft. natural stone arch wide enough to carry a highway.

24.  Mr Maude
Maude, a Liverpool friend of AMW.

25.  Trenham
The firm of Fraser, Trenholm and Co. of Liverpool was the financial clearing house for Confederate agents abroad. The firm was associated with John Fraser and Co. of Charleston, and Trenholm Bros. of New York City. George A. Trenholm, later Confederate Secretary of the Treasury, became a senior partner in both firms in 1853.

26.  Doct Peter Porcher
Dr Peter Porcher, AMW's cousin.

27.  Charles
Charles Johnson McNeill (1802-1869), brother of AMW [more].

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

29.  Mary R
Mary Isabella Rodewald (1823-1867), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of J. F. Rodewald [more].

30.  Seyr
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

31.  Traar
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more].

32.  Annie
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

33.  Kate L.
Kate ('Cousin Kate') Livermore (1820-1907), née Prince, wife of A. Livermore [more].

34.  I
'I ... Jemie' continues on p. 1.

35.  Mrs B
Mrs B., an acquaintance of AMW in New York.