My Ancestors (2) – Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody – 1865-1944

(1) Anne Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody, (2) Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, (3) Alfred Peabody Guion, (4) Judith Anne Guion

Anders Westlin was born November 20, 1830 at Nas, Delarna, Sweden, . He married Anna Brita Kling, born June 24, 1829 at Rodon, Naskatt, Jemptland, Sweden. Her father, Johan Kling was born in Delarna, Sweden and her mother, Katherina Tjarnstrom was born in Jemptland, Sweden.

Anders and his wife Anna had four sons, none of them living beyond the age of four, before Anna Charlotta was born on May 13, 1865, and Christina was born August 30, 1866, at Ostersund, Sweden.

In 1882, Anders Westlin and his wife sold their property in Ostersund and sailed with their two daughters to New York in the “City of Rome”, arriving at Castle Garden on June 24, 1882. Anna Charlotta would have been just 17 when they landed.

Their destination was North Dakota, and there they established a cattle ranch on Silver Prairie in the vicinity of Sandoun (now McLeod), Richland County.

At some point, Anne Charlotta met Kemper Peabody and they married at Wagon Landing, Wisconsin, June 26, 1889. Kemper’s jobs kept them moving throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa when their first six children were born. Burton  Westlin, their oldest daughter, Arla Mary (my Grandmother), Kemper Francis and Helen Perry were all born in North Dakota, between 1890 and 1899. Laurence was born in Iowa in April of 1901.

In 1901 they moved to New York where he was employed by the New York Central Railroad. Their youngest daughter, Dorothy Westlin, was born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1904. The whole family was quite active in the Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon. It was there that Arla Mary Peabody met Alfred Duryee Guion.

Grandma Peabody

Anna Charlotta was kept quite busy with church activities and raising her children. She visited Trumbull fairly often along with her other children. All of Alfred and Arla’s children knew their Grandma Peabody quite well.

Grandpa notified his sons, away from home, about her death in the letter dated January 23, 1944. He wrote:

Dear Boys:

Grandma died last Tuesday at 11:30 A.M., having been unconscious from the night before. She passed away quietly and peacefully, and if the expression may be permitted, happily, with her loved ones near. Death is at best a lonely adventure and is made more so when none near and dear are close by. Helen and Dorothy were there; Burton and Anne arrived later, as did Ced who was in New York and happened in about 11:30 to see them all. At Grandma’s request no funeral service was held, which, all with the exception of Kemper, met with the approval of the family. She was cremated Wednesday. Dorothy expects to continue living in the same apartment.

Grandma’s life span marks an era in American history which is fast becoming legendary. Born in Sweden, she came to this country as a young girl and with her parents settled as pioneers in what was the raw Far West in those days. Battling fierce Dakota winter storms and summer’s heat and drought, life was lived under the most primitive conditions. With Grandpa frequently away from home for days at a time, with the constant fear of marauding Indians, often facing periods verging on privatization and want, she raised a family of seven children, never for once lowering her ideals of honor and integrity. Not knowing what the next day would bring she still carried on. In the light of these struggles when your mother was a baby, the words of that beautiful old hymn take on for me a greater significance:

Lead, kindly light, amid th’encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

Lead Thou me on.

Keep thou my feet! I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I like to think of Grandma going to join Grandpa and your mother — going home, as it were, after a long and useful journey:

So long Thy power have blessed me, sure it still

Will lead me on.

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone;

And with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost a while.

In the intimate service which we hold, each in the stillness of our own hearts at her passing, I am reminded of a little prayer which years ago, as director of a church boys club (the Brotherhood of St. Andrew) was customarily part of our closing service: “Guide us all the day long, oh Lord, through this troublulous life until the shadows lengthen and the evening come and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in Thy tender mercy grant us a safe lodging and rest and peace at last with Thee.”

So passes from this earth one whom it has been good to know and who can set for us all an example of courage and faithfulness to ideals which can be a treasured memory, and an inspiration.

Source: The Ancestry of Franklin Merriam Peabody, Collected and made into this book as a mark of affection by his grandfather, Franklin Asbury Merriam, 1929.

Tomorrow I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1946. Dan and Paulette are approaching the arrival of little “Jean Pierre” and the rest of the family, especially Grandpa, are anxious for the announcement from France.  Both Lad and Dick, with their wives, are living in Trumbull and working in Bridgeport. Dave should be headed home and Grandpa is also expecting to have him stumble in to the old homestead in the very near future.

Judy Guion 


4 thoughts on “My Ancestors (2) – Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody – 1865-1944

  1. How fortunate for Anna Charlotta’s descendants that her son left a lovely written tribute to her.

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