|Cartoon of Charles Gilpin 1875|
After leaving school she took up First-Day School work and while engaged on this she met John Whiting (1819-1899) a draper of Leeds. They were married in 1850 and had six children, two girls and four boys. On her marriage Anna also took over the domestic management of her husband's business, so that she had several young men under her care as well as her own children.
The welfare of children was very important to her so that, although she took a leading part in many philanthropic and social concerns in Leeds, the work that was nearest to her heart was the supervision of the Headingly Orphan Homes. When she took over this work in 1865, eight children were provided for, but it was extended until, in 1885, there were four houses sheltering seventy-six children.
|Building once Headingly Orphan Homes|
When Anna was twenty-five she felt a call to speak in meeting but did not minister until five years later, after much encouragement. She was recorded as a minister by Brighouse Monthly Meeting in 1869 and soon afterwards suffered a severe attack of typhoid which left her unconscious for ten days. Her first ministry after her recovery was remembered as very solemn and moving.
It was perhaps her own experience that led her to give unstinted personal service in ministering to the sick and dying in those days when trained nurses were seldom available. She rarely paid such visits without taking with her some flowers to cheer the patients and brighten the sick room. Her Christianity was practical, with a warm hearted kindness which endeared her to all who knew her.
It was said of her ministry that "her messages, delivered in a clear strong voice, and simple though forcible language...often brought 'food to the hungry soul, liberty to the captive, joy to the mourner and rest to the weary and heavy laden', and on not a few occasions the whole tone of a meeting, begun perhaps in something like flatness, was felt to be changed to joy through the inspiring influence of her offerings in prayer and praise."
She was warmly interested in the work of the Society of Friends and for thirty years, with only one omission, attended London Yearly Meeting. For fourteen years she was also conspicuous at the table of the London Womens Yearly Meeting, serving as clerk in 1881 and 1882.
In 1890 the family moved to Cliff Side, where she was very happy for the few years left to her. Although not in good health, she went to London with her husband early in March 1897 and joined him and other Friends in the Meeting for Sufferings room prior to the Mission Prayer Meeting for which he had come to London. But the following day she had a heart attack and died aged sixty-eight.