Mary Whipple's_story: 1862
Before the Story
After the Story
In her tracks
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Alexander Faribault's story: 1855
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After the story
In his tracks


Taopi's story: 1864
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks


Bishop Henry Whipple's story: 1867
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks


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Mary Whipple
After the Story: 1862-1911

After the War | George Whipple | Sandwich Islands | Joys and Sorrows | More

Mary Whipple was able to return home to Faribault a week after learning about the “Indian outbreak” at the Lower Sioux Agency. George and Mary soon moved out of the house that was located next to the first Seabury Divinity School and into a home previously owned by Henry Rice, a fur trader and state senator.

After the War | George Whipple | Sandwich Islands | Joys and Sorrows | More

Perhaps what shaped Mary’s life most, besides her education, was her sense of adventure, which was matched by that of her husband, George. According to a letter written by his brother, Bishop Henry Whipple, George was perhaps a bit too adventurous for his brother’s liking. Bishop Whipple wrote:

“He had become very wild and careless while in college and for some years gave me the deepest solicitude… At my suggestion, he went to sea on a whaler, and as I believe being truly converted lived on the cruise a consistent Christian life…”

George Whipple.
George Whipple.

George visited the Sandwich Islands in 1860, where he became a tutor to Captain James Mckee’s family, and learned the Hawaiian language. Bishop Whipple noted in one account that George's religious conversion came after a dangerous encounter with a whale. George then went to Faribault to teach at the Seabury Divinity School, met and married Mary, and was ordained as a minister in 1862.

Bishop Whipple's suggestion that George go to sea set the course of Mary’s life as well. Throughout his time in Faribault, George had what Mary called “the Hawaiian fever,” and George frequently made requests to the Episcopal leadership that he be allowed to serve a mission there. In 1865, George and Mary were sent to the Sandwich Islands. There they founded the Church of the Good Shepherd on Maui and began a school, where Mary taught.

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Although James Lloyd Breck kept his sons with him and eventually moved to California, his adopted daughter Clara stayed with Mary and George. Clara went to the Sandwich Islands with them, helped in the school and was an organist in the Hawaiian Good Shepherd church. In 1869 she was married there and remained there for most of her life. While in Hawaii, Mary and George also adopted Emma and Eva Havens, the very young daughters of an unsucessful marriage. The girls returned to Faribault with them in 1869. Over the next two decades, Mary and George served the Episcopal schools and parish in Faribault, changed parishes between Hawaii and California, and returned again to Faribault.

After the War | George Whipple | Sandwich Islands | Joys and Sorrows | More

Mary’s letters reflect the joys and hardships of her adventurous travels and a life spent caring for her children and students. Even as early as 1858, she wrote about aches in her joints and terrible headaches, things which afflicted her throughout her life. Later she simply wrote of her “rheumatism.” But perhaps the greatest hardships were the deaths of Emma in 1878, George in 1888, and Eva’s unexpected death in 1897.

Mary never lost her taste for adventure or her interest in learning. She loved flowers and had several pets.

Mary Whipple and a young friend on the porch, ca. 1910.
Mary Whipple and a young friend on the porch, ca. 1910. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Students from St. Mary’s often visited her for lively conversations. One historian wrote:

“She never allowed herself to grow rusty in the literature or the harder knowledge which made the background of her culture… When she could not sleep… she would light her lamp and…do intricate problems in some branch of mathematics.”

Mary Whipple died quietly on her birthday in 1911 after opening her presents, writing yet another letter, and attending Sunday services at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior. She was 82 years old.

After the War | George Whipple | Sandwich Islands | Joys and Sorrows | More

Read Mary's Story about her experiences in 1862. Find out more about her life Before the Story. Visit places in Faribault by following In Her Tracks.

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