- Sex: M
- Born: August 1, 1859 in Wilmington, Delaware
- Died: August 27, 1918 on West Brae Farm, Wilmington, Delaware
- Notes: Ellen Bernard Thompson met Walter Pyle when she was a student in Howard Pyle's art school in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. At the time they met, Walter was married to Anna Jackson of Wilmington, Delaware and had a small son, Gerald. When Ellen and Walter met each other, Anna Jackson had been ill for several years and was confined to hospital. As fate would have it, Ellen and Walter fell in love despite the difference in their ages.
When her parents found out, they forbade Ellen to return to art school or to see Walter Pyle. Ellen spent the next two years pursuing an art career from her home in Philadelphia. In 1903, she was not aware that Anna Jackson had died. In fact she never expected to see Walter again. One Spring morning she answered a knock at the door and there stood Walter, flowers in hand. "Nelly," he said "Will you marry me?" And so, of course, she did.
After their marriage, they lived in Wilmington where Walter and his brother ran the family leather business. Ellen gave up her art to care for her growing family: Walter, Jr., Ellen Bernard Thompson, Katherine, and Caroline Ashton. When my mother was quite small, they moved to a beautiful farm outside of Wilmington called West Brae where they led an idyllic life.
Tragically, in 1918, Walter was taken suddenly ill with the same kidney ailment which had stricken his brother, Howard. The illness very quickly led to his death, and Ellen was left with no resources and four young children to raise. She was determined not to lose their way of life at West Brae, and she turned to her art as a way to earn an income. For the next 20 years, she supported her family and became a well recognized illustrator.
Her art work appeared on the covers of many popular magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Parents Magazine. She also did advertising art, book covers and magazine and book illustrations.
Father: William Pyle, b. October 12, 1820 in Sadsbury, PA -- son of Isaac Pyle and Ann Webb
Mother: Margaret Churchman Painter, b. October 4, 1828
Family 1: Anna Jackson, d. ca 1903
- Gerald Pyle, b. ca 1896
Family 1: Ellen Bernard Thompson, b. November 11, 1876 in Philadelphia, PA -- d. August 1, 1936 on West Brae Farm, Wilmington, Delaware
January 23, 1904 at Church of St. Martin in Fields, Philadelphia, PA
- Walter Pyle, Jr., b. January 1, 1906 -- d. September 1986
- Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle, b. August 8, 1907 -- d. August 21, 1997
- Katharine Pyle, b. November 22, 1911 -- d. June 8, 1980
- Caroline Ashton Pyle, b. March 5, 1914 -- d. September 1973
- Research by Alice Abrash
- Katharine Pyle's birth and death dates by her grandson, David Smith
Please send corrections, additions or comments to Vici Churchman