The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Whistler, George William
Record 19 of 158

System Number: 09557
Date: 3 August [1851][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Pomfret
Recipient: Margaret Getfield Hill[3]
Place: [Scarsdale]
Repository: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, New York
Call Number: Carl A. Kroch Library, 1629
Document Type: ALS


Sunday night Aug 3rd

My dear Margaret

I recd yours of last Sunday eve on the 30th the day of our church annual Fair[4], which had revived your visit so vividly, I had been thinking of you incessantly, but rushing in vain for time to write thoughts. Kate[5] surprised me by coming to attend this, she could only be absent from home two or three days & took away my two charges, who for two months had engrossed so much of my time, Annies fond Grandmother[6] misses her so sadly I wish we could have kept her darling till we could take her to Sto[nington] - but mother thought it right she should go, tho the little ones mind was divided, she pities poor Aunt so much without any little ones of her own! & is so loving towards us, My summer as yours dear Margaret has been devoted to the care of precious loans, "mothers jewels" & thus my correspondents have been neglected. Mary B[7] my maid has been at Springfield the last fortnight & I shall rejoice to resign the kitchen duties to her by tuesday next,

Willies[8] holiday having begun (he acquitted himself creditably last friday at the examination) he proposes making an excursion this week to see his nephew[9] at N Haven, then to persuade Jacks[10] to go with him to Stonington for a dip or two & to be back here by the 12th to set out with me for West Point[11]. I never make plans now with the least feeling of realizing them but Genl & Mrs Swift[12] hope I may take my mother to Geneva[13], I am sure it would benefit us all three to go there & if in my power to accomplish it I shall. we shall probably go from here to Albany direct that I may see members of the Whistler connection on my route, I will write you when I can report Jemie[14] at West Point, he is very eager for our arrival, writes cheerfully of himself & that his hard bed & life in camp have [p. 2] driven away sore throat, rheumatism & c. that he is shorn of his ringlets & tho he finds it hard to keep awake as sentinel at night, he bears the keeping guard 8 hours out of the 24 when it is his turn as well as any of them. the chills & the fine band charm him, but he feels at times as lonely as I can wish him to do away from home! How much pleasanter to tell you all that fills my heart about my boys & Debos[15] all, in tête à tête walks (which I have not enjoyed since you were here) if I were sure of accomplishing my desire to take my dear mother & Willie to spend a day or two at Scarsdale. I'll try my best, for I shall go to NH to take a peep at the beloved trio[16] there & to Brooklyn & to Stonington tho I cannot be absent from my duties here more than a fortnight. You will rejoice to hear that the exertions Mrs Park[17] made to pay for our new & fine organ were successful, I believe the clear gains of the Fair amounted to $150.00, she looked like a martyr to the good cause, with her face bound up from Erysipelas & her pieces of embroidery were exquisite, Our village church today was filled (tho all the school boys were absent, & the collection at the communion was the most generous our pastor said which had ever been constituted on a like occasion. there are many jealous Episcopalians now visiting Pomfret, & Mr Park[18] has the promise of his pulpit being supplied during his absence - his wife goes with him on a circuit for most of the holiday, they propose starting about the time I may - The Vintons are here - the young ladies[19] expected this week to stay at their uncles the rest of the summer. Doctor Vinton preached a most thrilling subject "What is a man profitted[20]" &c morning & afternoon in continuation, while I had Kate Prince[21] as a visitor last month, he made the question as deeply impressive as [mortal?] could. But all are asleep - all mean mother & Willie who would if at my elbow unite their love with mine to you all. How I long to see you again & to be with your dear sisters[22]. I rejoice in dear Sarah's interesting change, I so delight[23] in babies, I trust not my pen on the other half of this sheet lest I should be enticed into sitting up late, for I have to rise at five or earlier every day, if you wondered last summer how I could "keep going about house" I should astonish you [with] this! I yearn for rest & would fain be a ["]Mary at Jesus feet[24]" instead of "Martha troubled about Many things[25]" tho I cast my care on Him, & bear on His promises to the widow[26].

Ever your fondly & truly attached


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1.  3 August [1851]
Dated with reference to the annual church fair at Pomfret mentioned by AMW to JW, 10 and 11 July 1851 (#06397).

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

3.  Margaret Getfield Hill
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more].

4.  church annual Fair
The fair at Christ's Church, Pomfret.

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

6.  Annies fond Grandmother
Anna Whistler Palmer (b. 1848), mariée Mrs George Stanton, and her grandmother Martha McNeill (1775-1852), née Kingsley, mother of AMW [more].

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

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

9.  his nephew
George ('Georgie') Worthen Whistler (b. 1851), JW's nephew [more].

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

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

12.  Genl & Mrs Swift
General Joseph Gardner Swift (1783-1865), chief engineer of the US Army, brother-in-law of JW's father [more], and his wife Louisa Swift (1788-1855), née Walker.

13.  Geneva
The Swifts lived at Geneva, NY.

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

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

16.  beloved trio
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more], his wife Mary Ann Whistler (ca. 1826-1852), née Ducatel, and their son George ('Georgie') Worthen Whistler.

17.  Mrs Park
Mary Park (1815-1854), née Brewster Baldwin, wife of Rev. R. Park [more].

18.  Mr Park
Rev. Roswell Park (1807-1869), minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Principal of Christ Church School [more].

19.  Vintons are here - the young ladies
Alexander Hamilton Vinton (1807-1881), clergyman, his wife Eleanor Vinton (1806-1877), née Stockbridge Thompson, and their daughters Eleanor Vinton (b. 1838) and Mary Vinton (1840-1930).

20.  What is a man profitted
'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' Mark 8.36.

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

22.  your dear sisters
Jane O'Neill Hill (1793-1882) and Sarah Stewart Hill (1800-1864), sisters of M. G. Hill of Scarsdale.

23.  delight
'delight ... A M W' continues in left and upper margins of p. 1.

24.  Mary at Jesus feet
'And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.' Luke 10. 39. 'But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.' Luke 10.40.

25.  Martha troubled about Many things
'And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things' Luke 10.41.

26.  His promises to the widow
When AMW's husband George Washington Whistler died, AMW wrote: 'My desire is to be a widow indeed according to the definition of one in Timothy.' See AMW to JW, 10 May 1849, #06392. Probably she is thinking of Timothy again. 'Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews. let them first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.' 1 Tim. 5.3-7, 5.9, 5.14.