A Collection of 14 Letters written to Eliza Grace Jeffries predominantly from family members in Austrialia
Eliza Grace Jeffries born in 1849 in Liverpool, England to Thomas (1796-1874) and Eliza Grace (nee Williams) Jeffries (1818–1883). She had six siblings, Thomas Albert Jeffries (1841-1858), Rev William Jeffries (1845-1921), George Frederick Jeffries (1852-1927), Jane May Jeffries (1855-?), Rev Peter Ebenezer William Jeffries (1858-1914), and Thomas Septimus Jeffries (1860-1912). The family were devote Methodists, and over the generations, several would immigrate to different countries around the world to spread the word of God. Eliza was very close with her younger brother Peter, and when he immigrated to America in 1899, she came with him. Peter served as Pastor to several Methodist Churches in America. For example, he was at times appointed pastor Trinity Methodist Church South in Staunton, VA, St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church South in Washington, DC, a Methodist Church in Warrenton, VA, another in Baltimore, MD, and lastly, before his death on November 29 1914, Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church South in Washington, DC. Eliza moved with her brother, Peter, every time he was appointed to a new church. She was an active member of each congregation Peter was head of. Eliza loved to travel, and often did so between her family and friends who lived in England and Australia. While she herself never married, she doted on her nieces and nephews, especially those of her brother William, who had moved to Australia. William had six children there, Rev William Albert Yates Jeffries (1874 – 1953) who later married Florence Mary Edith Louise Polglass (1881–1964), Elizabeth Grace Jeffries (1880–1951), Eleanor Wibmer Jeffries (1881–1974), Mercie Wibmer Jeffries (1882–1972), Lt. Col. Lewis Wibmer Jeffries, and Shirley Williams Jeffries (1886–1963). Eliza would pass away only a few years after her brother on July 24, 1917. Both siblings are buried in Glenwood Cemetery, in Washington, DC.Washington, DC: 1900- 1913. A collection of 14 letters, written to Eliza Grace Jeffries (1840-1917). While originally born in England, Eliza and her younger brother, Rev Peter Jeffries immigrated to America in 1899. Peter served as pastor to several congregations of the next sixteen years in the Virginia, Baltimore and Washington, DC areas. Eliza often received correspondence from her family and friends, both back in England and abroad. As Eliza was never married, she had a particularly close relationship with her nieces and nephews. The majority of the letters in the collection are from the children of her younger brother William, who had moved his family to Australia. One of her nieces there, Eleanor, becomes a nurse, and often write to Eliza about her work. Below are some brief quotes of interest from the letters:
“I am so very glad, it is so much better for girls to have employment both time and thoughts.” - March 13, 1906, from a friend in England, Margaret Williams
“We had such cool weather for Xmas but it has been hot and every dry all the week. To-day the heat is dreadful. One can feel the skin drying up on the face in the sun. I wish a good storm would come up.” – January 1, 1905, from Louise (Florence Mary Edith Louise Polglass), wife of her nephew, William
“Oh, how those pictures of the churches take me back to when I used to want you to stand with me in Church Street and watch the bronze figures strike the quarters and the hour at St. Peter’s Church… the Landing Stage I can see and remember very distinctly; how often have we gone to New Brighton for the day and wandered up the tour and caught crabs and shrimps among the rocks or got to Birkenhead and on to see my mother’s people, or up the river to Eastham to the Zoo. It all comes back to me when I think of that Landing Stage.” – January 17, 1905, from her nephew Rev. William Jeffries.
“You will see by my address that I am still a the Women’s Hospital, I finished my training about a year ago, since then I have been holding the position of Sister, first on night duty, and now on day duty. I do not intend [on] staying much longer, as the hours are to [sic] long, so will resign about March. I am then going to get my special Infectious Certificate, which will mean three more months of training.” – November 27, 1907, from her niece, Elsie (Eleanor)
“I am sorry for Mr. Binkep, his wife had a little baby about May and it seems to have turned her queer in the head. She has been up in north of Scotland since July and he has had to have a compliant nurse to take charge of the baby. Please keep this quiet as they don’t wan t more than can be helped to know. It is such a dreadful thing. It is making quite an old man of him.” – November 13, 1900 from her friend F. C. G.
“This hospital is a good sized one, and does a lot of work. Dr. J. Ramsay, who is the Medical superintendent is a splendid surgeon, so that we have every opportunity of seeing and nursing some good surgical cases.” – November 3, 1909, from her niece, Elsie (Eleanor)
“Katie is now at Perth at a rather large family, she likes the people very much and is delighted with Perth (Scotland)… but she has not been very well lately. She is kept very busy altho’ [sic] there is another nurse. However delightful children are they are also very wearing and I think she begins to feel it and should not be surprised if she tries some other occupation before long.” – March 13, 1906, from a friend in England, Margaret Williams
Additionally, there are two brief notes from Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, who served as British Ambassador to the United States of America from 1903-1906. The letters while send to Eliza, she is addressed by a variety of nicknames, such as Grace or Lizzie. Furthermore, there is one postcard in the collection addressed to her brother, Rev. Peter Jeffries, from his friend that humorously starts with “Dear Blarsted Englishman!!!” The fourteen letters in this collection do come with their corresponding envelopes, however there is an additionally fourteen envelopes without letters. Most of these were sent from Australia. Lastly there is one clipping from a magazine that is an article on religion and education.