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

return to search results

Documents associated with: McNeill, Maria
Record 9 of 20

System Number: 07638
Date: 8 October 1851
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Pomfret
Recipient: Margaret Getfield Hill[2]
Place: [Scarsdale, New York[3]]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34/33-34
Document Type: ALS


Wednesday p - m Oct 8th 51

My dear friend

I should have replied to your proposal for my striking my tent here immediately, but I might see Mr Popham[4] at his offices in passing thro the city, all I could manage however was to spend a few hours at Brooklyn on my way with Kate[5], to West Point[6], she wished earnestly to extend our trip to Scarsdale, but we each felt the claims of home too irresistible, to indulge in jaunting about even to see such dear friends as your home circle. it was only from tuesday till saturday I had a furlogh [sic] from Willie[7], who could not have cheerfully yielded his claim except to Grandmother[8] who wrote for me to bring her from Stonington, & then he agreed it would be very satisfactory that I should see Jemie[9] in his Winter uniform & barrack life, as I felt I must go to Brooklyn. I was favored all the way, for the Widows God disposes hearts to lend helping hands to one who feels desolate in journeying now. It was such a mutual enjoyment Kates accompanying me to West Point we took the Cars at 2 oclock last thursday & had embraced our Cadet by sunset, he never looked so well, so healthy, so happy! we were on the plain just before the evening parade had concluded, saw the Corps march to Mess but took Jemie off triumphantly, (by a permit from the Commander[10]), to Proffr Bartletts[11] where he spent the evening with us, & came again next morning to devote from 9 till 11 oclock to us, of course I went laden with proofs of his having had his share of my time - the new set of shirts, collars hosiery & hkds [i.e. handkerchiefs], with a basket of home made cakes & some Pomfret fruit to fill up chinks, he was so grateful for! he is so interested now in his studies that a longer visit to him would have been tantalizing, so we came away as he went to his class, Kate was delighted with the Bartletts, with the peculiar beauties of the place & with Jemies improvement in every way.

[p. 2] I wonder if you have been to Brooklyn since we were there on our return to Stonington last Friday! it was your God sons[12] birthday 16 years old! I never clung to Jacks & Willy Wyatt[13] as at parting on board the boat wherein they had attended us, dear Willy goes to N Orleans for his start in the mercantile race with Mr Rodewald[14], his gentle sister[15] will supply his sainted mothers[16] place. I thought dear Mary looking thin, but so happy in her husband! I took a great fancy to him. As they bid adieu to the north for this year next week, you must not delay meeting them, Mrs C[17] & Cath[18] are contemplating a visit to Newark as soon as they lose sight of them, dear Jacks will cling to Jule & her pet Looloo[19], I was cheered by an improvement visible in Grandma C. I shall be thankful if next year brings us within visiting distance, but I could not consistently withdraw Willie from the school here just as he had entered upon a new term, Doctor Park[20] has repeatedly expressed his clinging interest in him & were it not that our connections are nearest N York, he says he should urge my removal to Racine that Willie might enter the Episcopal College[21] there next year, he has a very select school for this half year & all seem to realise it is to be the last with their kind teacher & apply their talents accordingly, Besides the school masters claim, my landlord would not have been satisfied, I could not have removed or disposed of Winters fuel & stores, so dear Margaret I shall trust to you to secure me an abode for next March if the Lord wish - boarding even in your attractive pastors family[22] is not in unison with the views instilled by my beloved ones ideas of domestic benefits to parents & children, so I shall keep my dwindled stock of furniture in use, & depend upon my friends at Scarsdale finding me a roof tree suitable to my reduced circumstances. I am quite sure I have not the means to build even so snug a house - neither to pay more than $150 rent per ann, here my rent is not quite $100 & I ought not to exceed it because Willie's expenses increase, & my income with his united is not $900. [p. 3] If this father-in law of your pastor is building for his parsonage will not the house he occupies at present suit me? You see my hopes of a tenement thro your efforts.

Sat. p - m.

I wish a slight attack of cold & bile had kept off till I had mailed this for I know our post goes by slow horses. My dear mother took a very severe cold last saturday on our journey from Stonington, but she has so far recovered as to walk out again & to have an excellent appetite, peaches are just over here, I have been preserving a moderate quantity this morning. I am rather surprised at George's[23] silence for I am anxious about Marys[24] health as Eliza Flagg[25] reported her looking so delicate & with a cough again, George is probably trying to gain time to go to Scarsdale, or to have a confab with Mr Popham relative to accommodation for me there. You will communicate to me dear Margaret the result I hope, & remember how tenderly interested I feel in all your branches & especially under your roof tree, distribute my affectionate regards where you think they may be acceptable, how I should have enjoyed the church service at Annas Woods college[26]! how the joy of a ransomed soul thro Christ irradiates her deformed face & gives a charm to make an impression on my mind, we have a touching case of an aged invalid a member of our congregation here, whose limbs are mortifying! yet her countenance is expressive of that peace which depends not on outward things. Doctor Park has returned from Wisconsin invigorated & Mrs Park[27] seems more than ever zealous for the benefit of the flock he is to separate from next year, his prospect of visiting Europe as tutor to a young man of wealth, who bears all the expense, next spring, is very cheering to him, but now I must stop my pen that I may go to see a poor old colored woman who is bed ridden & who expresses such a wish for my going often I shall propose daily reading the scriptures to her. Has Eliza Flagg [finished] the drawing for working the table cloth for the Sacrament? if not when it is finished with at Scarsdale, Jacks might call for it at corner of 4th St & he could send it to his Aunt Kate by the Stewardess of the Vanderbilt[28], I feel quite a wish to work one to leave here & am sure Mrs Park will be grateful for the design. Where can we find the floss thread? & where is the linen to be bought? Love to your dear Sisters[29] from

your attached friend

A M Whistler

I[30] hope to hear soon of a little girl or boy at Mr Carmers[31]

My mother sends much love.

This document is protected by copyright.


[Address panel:] Miss M G Hill
Wm Popham Esqr
New York
[Postmark:] QUINEBAUG / CT / OCT / 14

[Seal:] AMW


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

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

3.  Scarsdale, New York
Margaret G. Hill lived at Scarsdale, NY.

4.  Mr Popham
William Sherbrooke Popham (1793-1885), merchant [more].

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

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

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

8.  Grandmother
Martha McNeill (1775-1852), née Kingsley, mother of AMW [more].

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

10.  Commander
General Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870), Superintendant of USMA, West Point, and later Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate States of America [more].

11.  Proffr Bartletts
Professor William Holmes Chambers Bartlett (1804-1893), mathematician [more].

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

13.  Willy Wyatt
William Wyatt McNeill (1833-1853), JW's cousin [more].

14.  Mr Rodewalde
Johann Frederick Rodewald (1808-1886), banker, husband of Mary Isabella McNeill [more].

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

16.  sainted mothers
Maria Matilda McNeill (d. January 1852), née Camman, wife of AMW's brother, W. G. McNeill [more].

17.  Mrs C
Maria Margaretta Cammann ('Grandma C') (1774-1862), mother-in-law of William Gibbs McNeill [more].

18.  Cath
Catherine Julia Cammann, a relation of Dr G. P. Cammann [more].

19.  Jule & her pet Looloo
Julia Catherine Rodewald (1825-1897), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of A. Rodewald, Sr [more], and her daughter Mary Loise (Louloo) Rodewald.

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

21.  Episcopal College
Doctor Park was the first president of Racine college, Racine, Wisconsin, 1852-59, and its chancellor, 1859-63.

22.  pastors family
The family of Rev. William Whittinghame Olssen (1827-1911), Rector at Scarsdale, NY [more].

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

24.  Marys
Mary Ann Whistler (ca 1826 - d.1852), née Ducatel, JW's sister-in-law [more].

25.  Eliza Flagg
Eliza Flagg (1830-1855), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of Rev. E. O. Flagg [more].

26.  Annas Woods college
Anna Wood; unidentified. The college must have been some kind of charitable institution.

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

28.  Vanderbilt
Steamer Cornelius Vanderbilt (1847-1896), Stonington Line (1,041 tons.); see AMW to Joseph Harrison, 13 August 1849, #07637.

29.  I
'I ... Carmers' continues in the end of p. 3; 'My ... love' added in left upper margin of p. 1.

30.  Mr Carmers
Charles Whitehead Carmer (1811-1883), merchant [more].

31.  dear Sisters
Sarah Stewart Hill (1800-1864), and Jane O'Neill Hill (1793-1882), of Scarsdale, married William S. Popham; they were sisters of Margaret G. Hill.