His second wife, who outlived him, returned to America, and remained here during the education of her children, after which she moved to England. She died Jan. 31, 1881, at the age of 76 years, and was buried at Hastings.
At a meeting held in the office of the Panama Railroad Company in New York, August 27, 1849, for the purpose of suggesting measures expressive of their respect for the memory of Major Whistler, Wm. H. Sidell being chairman and A.W. Craven secretary, it was resolved that a monument in Greenwood Cemetery would be a suitable mode of expressing the feelings of the profession in this respect, and that an association be formed to collect funds and take all necessary steps to carry out the work. At this meeting Capt. William H. Swift was appointed president, Major T.S. Brown treasurer, and A.W. Craven secretary, and Messrs. Horatio Allen, W.C. Young, J.W. Adams, and A.W. Craven were appointed a committee to procure designs and estimates, and to select a suitable piece of ground. The design was made by Mr. Adams, and the ground was given by Mr. Kirkwood. The monument is a beautiful structure of red standstone, about 15 feet high, and stands in "Twilight Dell." Upon the several faces are the following inscriptions:
Upon the Front.
IN MEMORY OF
GEORGE WASHINGTON WHISTLER,
BORN AT FORT WAYNE, INDIANA, MAY, 1800,
DIED AT ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, APRIL, 1849.
Upon the Right Side.
EDUCATED AT THE U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY. HE
RETIRED FROM THE ARMY IN 1833 AND BECAME
ASSOCIATED WITH WILLIAM GIBBS M'NEILL.
THEY WERE IN THEIR TIME ACKNOWLEDGED TO
BE AT THE HEAD OF THEIR PROFESSION IN THIS
Upon the Back.
HE WAS DISTINGUISHED FOR THEORETICAL AND
PRACTICAL ABILITY, COUPLED WITH SOUND
JUDGMENT AND GREAT INTEGRITY. IN 1842 HE
WAS INVITED TO RUSSIA BY THE EMPEROR
NICHOLAS, AND DIED THERE WHILE CONSTRUCTING
THE ST. PETERSBURG & MOSCOW RAILROAD.
Upon the Left Side.
THIS CENOTAPH IS A MONUMENT OF THE ESTEEM
AND AFFECTION OF HIS FRIENDS AND COMPANIONS.
While the monument thus raised to the memory of the great engineer stands in that most delightful of the cities of the dead, his worn-out body rests in the quaint old town of Stonington. It was here that his several children had been buried, and he had frequently expressed a desire that when he should die he might be placed by their side. A deputation of engineers who had been in their early years associated with him attended the simple service which was held over his grave, and all felt as they turned away that they had bid farewell to such a man as the world has not often seen.
In person Major Whistler was of medium size and well made. His face showed the finest type of manly beauty, combined with a delicacy almost feminine. In private life he was greatly prized for his natural qualities of heart and mind, his regard for the feelings of others, and his unvarying kindness, especially toward his inferiors and his young assistants. His duties and his travels in this and in other countries brought him in contact with men of every rank; and it is safe to say that the more competent those who knew him were to judge, the more highly was he valued by them. A close observer, with a keen sense of humor and unfailing tact, fond of personal anecdote, and with a mind stored with recollections from association with every grade of society, he was a most engaging companion. The charm of his manner was not conventional, nor due to intercourse with refined society, but came from a sense of delicacy and a refinement of feeling which was innate, and which showed itself in him under all circumstances.
He was in the widest and best sense of the word a gentleman; and he was a gentleman outwardly because he was a gentleman at heart.
As an engineer, Whistler's works speak for him. He was eminently a practical man, remarkable for steadiness of judgment and for sound business sense. Whatever he did was so well done that he was naturally followed as a model by those who were seeking a high standard. Others may have excelled in extraordinary boldness or in some remarkable specialty, but in all that rounds out the perfect engineer, whether natural characteristics, professional training, or the well digested results of long and valuable experience, we look in vain for his superior, and those who knew him best will hesitate to acknowledge his equal. - Journal of the Association of Engineering Societies.A paper by Prof. G.L. Vose, Member of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers. Read September 15, 1886.