Mary Elizabeth Whipple

Mary Elizabeth Whipple in 1857
Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of William Babbitt Haynes and Mary Elizabeth Case, was born in Troy, New York on October 3, 1839. William Haynes died in a ship wreck off the South Carolina coast in 1840. Mary Elizabeth's mother married Dr. James Whipple around 1850 and she and her brothers William Jay, and Samuel took the Whipple name. Dr. James Whipple and Mary Case and family emigrated west stopping in Ottumwa, Iowa. Within a year the family had resettled in Oshkosh Wisconsin. But by 1852 the family left for Galena, Illinois, headed to St. Paul, Minnesota. However their parents (according to William Jay Whipple’s biographical sketch in the "History of Winona County") changed their destination to Hudson, Wisconsin and finally settled in Prescott, Wisconsin. She had three more siblings: Valentine, Frank, Dean, and Ellen Whipple. The Whipple family moved to California in the early 1860's. Mary Elizabeth married John C Foster in April 1860. Their children were, Isaac Lewis was born in 1861, Mary Zoella in 1862, Robert in 1865, Martha in 1867, Isaac C. in 1868, Gertrude in 1871 and Bertha in 1874.
Photo Date Unknown

The following letter might help define the Mona Lisa smile in this remarkable photo. The print is unlike any I have ever seen. I am guessing it is platinum print rather than silver.

 Thinking of childhood days always brings back so many lovely memories although I did not have a happy childhood. I think now as I look back it was because or the insecurity I felt in not having a mother, and father, I as very lonely as the aunt who raised me had no children and we would call her a "perfectionist" now a days. Everything had to be just perfect, and that included my behavior and my report card were not always up to her standard for I was always the cut-up and having to stay after school. The memories I enjoy most are those of my grandmother. When I was sixteen and from then on we were very close and used to have good talks together. She spent her winters in California but was at River Falls during the summer at her home called The Maples which had been the tenants house on the farm before grandfather died. She spent her time in looking over old papers dating back to one I recall which told of Lincoln's assassination, also writing in her diary which as a sort of a book of sermons or a bit of her philosophy she would write down from time to time. She was a great reader and took time to do it. I remember her idea of the sugar bowl which she always had on the table and picking out a clipping at each meal and read aloud. I'm afraid I'll fall far short of being the grandmother that my own was to me. I think I get my independence from her. For so many things she did that no one else did and yet she had the courage to go ahead and live her life as she felt it should be lived. She was different from any person I have ever known and the beauty of it was she didn't feel she had to follow the crowd and I like that spirit. 

 From a letter written to "My Good Friend," from grand daughter Mary Louise Cory-Thomas when she lived in Coram, Montana, March 11, 1953