The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06404
Date: 15 October 1851
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Pomfret
Recipient: JW
Place: [West Point[2]]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W400
Document Type: ALS


Oct 15th 1851

My own precious Jemie[3],

Are you studying so closely that you cannot write a half hour on Sat to us? you are so bright & so surrounded by joyous spirits you can hardly imagine how your neglect of poor lonely Willie[4] affects his spirits. sometimes, I fear he is going to be ill, because he is listless & complains of odd sensations & if I find fault with him for indolence, he weeps. write to him to cheer him, dear Jemie, he feels that his only companion & brother can live without his sympathy, but oh it must not be so between my only two boys, who are dearer than all else to their widowed mother. Willie is studying now at my elbow because he is to drive Mary[5] to the depot this morning, she takes Donie[6] back to Stonington by Aunt Kates[7] desire & my wish is to have a holiday there next week.

I happened to hear that Butler[8] the [p. 2] blacksmith had cling stone peaches[9] to sell - quite a bargain I bought them - & yesterday just as they were gathered I poached them to send Mrs Bartlett[10] a keg containing a bushel [11] & half, the same to Aunt Kate. the enclosed will advise my friends & I beg you dear Jemie to deliver my note in person at the Professors tea table Saturday evening of this week. I requested Mr Mathewson[12] (when he brought me my winters supply of the most excellent butter the other day, to select a barrel of Peck Pleasants[13], & send them thro their grocer in the city. I cannot tell you my precious boy how many fond thoughts of you & of these your kind friends refreshed my mind while I poached the peaches yesterday. how much we talk of you all. how often I have described Charlie Bartlett[14] as my beau ideal of what a lad should be, I dont wonder his mother delights so in him.

Grandmother[15] & Mary send love to you. so did Aunt Kate in a letter I had from her yesterday, she is sure you will do [p. 3] well & keep the good name our best inheritance unsullied as you have received it. Aunt Kate was delighted by your improvement in every way, & oh Jemie it cheers me to think of you as improving still. All our neighbors ask after you so kindly, & beg to be remembered. I heard from Mrs Barnes[16] yesterday, they are not removing from Springfield yet. not certain ever doing so! Wm[17] is at college in N Haven & well satisfied. Johnie & Ed Allen[18] have passed their examinations at Anapolis. Ed was spurred on to study hard the fortnight he was at Springfield as he found himself so far behind hand. Mr Barnes[19] says he left both boys happy & he has no doubt they will do well. There is a distant relative of mine among the Cadets - Alston[20] from Charleston. My cousin Mr Porcher[21] (Pochét pronounced) married his aunt. Make a friend of him dear Jemie, my Cousin Mrs Corbett[22] writes me she hopes you will become friends. how do you like my Slips from the Semi Weekly[23]? In great haste, but the tenderest love,

your Mother

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Donie
Donald McNeill Palmer (b. 1845), JW's cousin [more].

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

8.  cling stone peaches
Clingstone is a variety of peaches on which the flesh clings to the pit. They are the first to arrive on the market. Later in the season, cling-free varieties are available.

9.  Butler
Samuel Butler (b. 1804), blacksmith at Pomfret, CT [more].

10.  Mrs Bartlett
Harriet Bartlett, née Whitehorne, wife of Prof. W. H. C. Bartlett.

11.  bushel
Bushel is a unit of capacity in the American Customary and British Imperial systems of measurement. The American level bushel (or struck bushel) is equal to 2,150.42 cubic inches (35,245.38 cubic cm) and is the equivalent of the Winchester bushel, a measure used in England from the 15th century until 1824.

12.  Mr Mathewson
George B. Mathewson (1804-1877), of Pomfret, CT.

13.  Peck Pleasants
Peck's Pleasant is a variety of apples.

14.  Charlie Bartlett
Charles ('Charlie') Bartlett, son of Prof. W. H. C. Bartlett.

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

16.  Mrs Barnes
Charlotte A. Barnes (b. 1811), née Sanford, wife of James Barnes [more].

17.  Wm
William H. L. Barnes (b. 1834), son of C. and James Barnes [more].

18.  Johnie & Ed Allen
John S. Barnes (b. 1836), naval officer and lawyer [more], and Edmund Allen (b. 1836), of Pomfret, CT; see AMW to JW, 10 June 1851, #06396.

19.  Mr Barnes
James Barnes (1806-1869), soldier and civil engineer [more].

20.  Alston
Benjamin Allston (1833-1900), clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church [more]. Allston graduated from the United States Military Academy on 1 July 1853 .

21.  Mr Porcher
Probably Philip Johnston Porcher, Sr (1806-1871), AMW's cousin [more].

22.  Mrs Corbett
Mary Corbett (b. 1804), cousin of AMW [more].

23.  Semi Weekly
It is not clear as to which Semi-Weekly AMW refers. In 1851 there were various publications of journals from different locations throughout USA entitled Semi-Weekly, such as Semi-weekly Tribune, New York, begun in June 1850.