In Agatha! we read the brief comments accompanying her sketches, some illuminating while others often cryptic—offering puzzles to solve. What did she mean? Some were solved, others still remain. The Postscript to Agatha! lists the puzzles not solved, one of which was “who was Delano Whistler?”

From the Postscript: Puzzles Remaining to Be Solved

While I have succeeded in solving some of the ‘puzzles’ that Agatha left us (e.g, Mrs. Campbell and the Cockroaches) there are a number that are still open and perhaps readers may offer plausible solutions and I encourage this. The solution as well as the name and city of whoever solves a puzzle to be posted on this website. A simple list of puzzles that I’d be delighted to see solved follows.

  • From the European Bound trip
    • Who was Mlle Pauline Rey? Was she Haitian? Research in genealogy files has not proved helpful. (Sketch Book pages 4, 12, 14, 15)
    • Who was Dr. Jennings? Without a first name, exceedingly difficult to find anything. (Sketch Book pages 3, 14)
  • From the European trip itself
    • Hippo (Sketch Book pages 15, 18, 25)
    • Who was Delano Whistler? (Sketch Book page 27)
    • Puzzles (Sketch Book page 31)
    • Who was J Durham? (Sketch Book page 32)
    • N.G.H. (Sketch Book page 37)

One down, six puzzles to go—solved: Delano Whistler

The Delano Whistler puzzle was especially tantalizing but I couldn’t get there. Why  did Agatha say she had seen Delano Whistler? Why would she know him? And who was he? It took the intervention of another set of information that started me on the road to solving who he was and why Agatha would have known him.

What I learned recently by studying Francis Cooke, an ancestor of mine who came over on the Mayflower, was that his wife was the elusive Huguenot that my uncle had mentioned we had in the family. Subsequently, this led to her sister (widowed in 1604) who traveled on the Fortune arriving in 1621 with her son, 19-year-old Philip De Lanoy who soon changed his name to Delano. He is the progenitor of the Delano family from whom FDR descends. So, recently I set out to find how Delano Whistler is connected. Now I have solved it back to Philip Delano—Delano Whistler is Thomas Delano Whistler and in addition to his connections to the well-known artist (of whom he is a half-brother) he counts Philip Delano as his 5th great grandfather. So, Whistler is in some very distant relationship to me—Philip Delano is my 1st cousin 10 times removed—and to Agatha, of course. And we know that while the relationship distance between relatives may seem great, folks were much more aware over a hundred years ago of their distant relatives who often lived or visited in close proximity.

AGATHA!: Agatha Snow Abroad: A Sketch Book from her 1912 European Tour

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