A Birthday Party for Edwin Whiting

 Edwin Whiting's Surprise 79th Birthday


In 1888, Edwin's family surprised him with a large family gathering in honor of his 79th birthday. The large family dinner photographed by George Edward Anderson has circulated in the extended family for many years.

Source: Photo from the George Edward Anderson Collection, #16149,

Additional Notes About the Large Birthday Dinner Gathering of Edwin Whiting Family

The names on the large family Photo of Edwin Whiting and his family gathered around the dinner table were provided by Lyra Gertrude Perry Killpack in 1947. Just before she died, she wrote the following note along with the names of the people, names starting at the front left and going clockwise around the group. This names will be best understood if you are able to view the Edwin Birthday photo in the book, Edwin Whiting and His Family, by Marie J. Whiting and Marcus L. Smith, pg. 89, or the online version of this book on this website. The following four pages, 90-93 of the Edwin book breaks up the original photo into successive images with numbers to help identify nearly each individual by name.

The following are further notes of Mrs. Killpack about this picture to describe things to look for: “Tables at the back and east of grandpa Edwin's large home. Fence in the rear is the dividing line of grandpa Edwin's place and Stephen Perry's place” (Who sold him the property on the south).

“Note the scaffold for drying fruit, the wood pile, the old well, the old cleaning barrel where the wood ashes were emptied and then filled with water to soften for washing. The high crowned hat on Madge's lap and one on aunt Kit's head. The bangs and some with the up-sweep of hair like 1947. The beards and mustaches like this centennial year of 1947. Shirts with no collars or ties, long dresses and sturdy shoes. The old home-made rockin' chair, the saw horses with wooden pegs projectin' above the rail plank (no nails then). The flat stones for door steps, grandpa's vines and shrubs.”

By magnifying the image, you can find most of these items. The names of most of the 67 participants going CLOCKWISE around the table are given in her account.

 Source: Lovell A. Killpack, Jr. , Orem, Utah 1965

 Also notice the two wooden chairs in the front of the picture on each side and then compare these with the photo of the Edwin Whiting Heirloom Chair, seen in some of the artifacts, elsewhere in this website.

In the book, Edwin Whiting and His Family, Marcus L. Smith, co-author, expertly and accurately analyzed this large photo for details of the date and the occasion. It was later that Marcus that first pointed out that the now available online newspapers reported this event. The following articles, one from the Provo Daily Enquirer and a short article from the Deseret News confirm his earlier analysis. Read his expert study of the facts presented only on the picture itself, to determine the date and event with accuracy,

A Birthday Party in Honor of Father Edwin Whiting

-Published in The Daily Enqirer, Newspaper 1888-09-18 vol. 12 no. 73

 "Last Sunday we left camp for a short visit to Springville. Where there we had the pleasure of attending a birthday party given in honor of the veteran nurseryman, Father Edwin Whiting, who is just entering upon his 80th year. It was quite a surprise to the old gentleman, when he was led to the shade of his apple orchard, (planted by himself thirty years ago) and looked upon a long table loaded with the choicest coking, and surround by seventy-five of his children and grandchildren, together with thirty or forty of his nearest friends. The surprise was still more complete when the aged hero of this occasion was ushered to the head of the table and placed in a large, easy chair, presented to him by one of his stalwart sons. In our judgment, a prettier picture of this kind is seldom seen. Father Whiting, his face first showing surprise, then covered with modest blushes, now beaming with happiness as he really comprehends the situation, and finds himself suddenly hemmed in by his large family and congratulatory friends, presents a scene that will be remembered in the long years to come. As he sits there, one can plainly see on his face that the deepest love and gratitude is welling up from his heart for each of the dear ones present. While this large family circle in position at the table, Professor George E. Anderson, the double lightning photographer, brought his apparatus to bear on the group, and the picture was flashed on the face of the glass. (Mr. Anderson passed through this ordeal in safety.)

 At 8 o'clock in the evening the company were gathered: prayer, singing, speeches and recitations were rendered till 11:30, and in every respect was a perfect success. One curious, and we may say pleasing, feature of this occasion was the presence of eleven babies in long clothes, and seven just merging from their trains, eighteen in all, and as the little dears lay scattered about in chair, cribs, on sofas, and in their mothers' arms, one might well say, “What's the use of making so much noise about booming, and filling up the Territory from the outside? Why, the system of home emigration will shortly fill every corner of Utah with a people that will make the very mountains echo with the hum of the most important industries!” and the cry will go forth, “Give us room that we may dwell!”

 The wishes of the many friends of Brother Whiting present, were, that he might live to see many more such times of rejoicing."


Tabbyune Canyon, Sept. 13, 1888

Honoring A Veteran

Another brief article was published in the Deseret News on September 19, 1888



(3. Link to Edwin book and names