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part of a self-portrait, painted when she was a girl

Virginia, known as "Ginger" when she was a child, then "Ginnie" and to her grandchildren, "Granny," attended the Dwight School in Englewood, New Jersey. She had the opportunity to study with an artist in Manhattan, but turned it down. She nevertheless drew and painted various subjects, particularly figures. She had a French pen pal during WW I (through a program called Mon Soldat). She made numerous trips to Europe and was particularly fond of Etretat on the northern coast of France. She gathered a great deal of genealogical information on her family. Her mother and grandmothers provided her with stories that we can now pass down through the generations. She told her own stories as well.
      Virginia was also very interested in gardening, creating her own landscapes at her homes in Morristown and Madison, New Jersey, Norfolk, Virginia, and Bristol, Rhode Island. She designed their house in Madison with the help of an architect. An example of the determination she had to create a beautiful environment around her I saw myself. At Bristol, she and John T. "Jack" (also "Gramps") Carpenter, her second husband, bought a small house that would suite their needs in their elder years. It had a tiny, flat yard to the side and back and a strip of asphalt in front. She took a pick-axe and dug up the asphalt and carted soil around the yard to create different levels and walkways. She planned the remodelling of the house with a local preservation architect. The transformation was well-known in town. Her love of Europe appeared all around her in her decorating choices, especially colors.
      Virginia lived in Bristol through John's death, but when she needed health care, her daughter Janie (also known as Ginnie, being named Viriginia Jane) brought her down to live in an addition to her house in Covington, Louisiana. She was in a nursing home in the last years of her life, but never lost interest in her family (which included a number of great-grandchildren) and her artwork. She was a most loving person and left behind just the sort of wonderful memories that one would want from their granny. Virginia is buried next to John Carpenter in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.



children of Virginia Ellingwood and Franklin Stoddart Smith II:

i. Franklin Stoddart III
ii. Virginia Jane
iii. Cynthia Comfort

all text and photographs © 1998-2019 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted