W-MCP4-6.163 TO DR. CALVIN AND MARGARETTE [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from brother and sister-in-law Samuel & Lucinda S. [Foster] McQuesten
Mar 30 1838
To: Dr. Calvin and Margarette McQuesten, Brockport, Monroe County, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Bedford, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
Dear Brother & Sister.
I believe more than a year has pafsed [sic]1 since I wrote you last I have not
forgotten you. Time passes rapidly, and every year brings us nearer to the close of our earthly existences and it is important that we set our Houses in order and be readdy [sic] when our master calls for us. I think there is a dark cloud hanging over us, both as a nation and as a church you probably know more about the political state of things than I do. I very much dislike the course that is taken in slandering our rulers; No doubt but they are to blame, but I think there is a better way to expose their faults but I will not attempt to point out the way. I think the churches in this vicinity are in a better state than they were a few years ago. Our Presbytery has a small majority of Old school members. Dr. Churche and Mr. Bradford are appointed to go attend General Assembly. I feel anxious to know the result of the next Assembly, but we must submit it to the Great disposer of all events, the Lord rules and may all our hearts respond, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Now dear B.[rother] & S.[ister] you will want to know a little about our temporal concerns and in the first place, I have married a wife, as you have herd [sic] and I think I am well compensated for waiting so many years.2 I believe I have got the right one. Our crops here last year were verry [sic] light. I think the poor people will suffer more this year from want of bread than they ever have since my remembrance grain was verry high price and Labour verry [sic] low, and will I think continue so through the season, there have been a great many failyures [sic] in Bedford last fall Dr. Hendrick faild [sic] a report has come that J.A. McGans has faild which was not expected. Hill will be Governor again. He had a majority in B. of 67 ridings. Our friends are all well as far as I know Margaret is at Dracut [Massachusetts], will spend a few weeks there. Coz. [cousin] Aminy is here. I must leave the remainder of this for wife to fill up.
your Brother, S. [Samuel] McQuesten
[Letter continues in wife's handwriting.]
[Written up side of page:] I suppose it is lawful for every wife & mother to think she has the best husband and children in the world & if I say my husband is the best in the world I transgress law or if I say he is better than yours you will forgive me.
Dear Brother & Sister,
You will perceive by the date that this sheet was left sometime since for me to fill up & from my tardiness so to do, you may infer an intentional neglect on my part or at least a cold indifference to your kind letter. But let me afsure [sic] you neither has been the cause of my delinquency--True it is a new thing under the sun for me to write to a sister whom I have never seen, & a brother whose acquaintance with me has been so slight that he scarcely remembers me--& if I fail to interest you, perhaps it will not be a "new thing under the sun."
Your brother requests me to inform you of Mr. Daniel Parker's illness. About five weeks some, he was attacked with delirium tremens. He has not been all this time a furious maniac, tho' decidedly insane, he has been entirely deprived of the use of ardent spirit, & is now thought to be slowly recovering.--Mr. Walton Abbott has recently buried two children an infant & Calvin McQ. two years of age--disease Scarlet [Fever?] he was a child of more than ordinary interest, his parents are deeply afflicted in his death--Mrs. Leonard Walker's health is very feeble, perhaps declining. Cousin Amina left us for Londonderry, her health is very far from being firm. Sister M. has returned from Dracut,3 left Eliza & her darling in good health, she saw Mr. Sawyer & Luther, learned that Sally & her family were well also--David's family were well last year, heard nothing contradictory since.
I hardly know what to say to you about your little cherub, doubtless a mother's eye can discover perfection in him, but you must not let your love savor of the "Golden Calf." We should like much to see him, altho' we have nephews & nieces in this region not a few & it would not be strange if the number should increase Eliza intends to sustain her credit in being the smartest amongst her brothers and sisters.--
We most sincerely hope you will visit N.H. the coming summer & especially if you intend a removal out of the "States"4--I presume you receive the Presbyterian punctually & the Master of the House says it's the best food served up in the family. We all claim to be of the Old School, but there are degrees of perfection among us. I hope your brother will be induced to make one more journey to the west, I should enjoy a visit in that region, & Margaret sends love & repeats a strong desire to receive a visit from you soon--let us hear from you as often as convenient.
yours truly, L.S. McQuesten [Lucinda S. Foster McQuesten]
[Written on envelope:]
Piscataquogvill5 New Hampshire, April 30, 1839.
1 The writer uses the archaic "fs" for "ss" which we have transcribed as "ss" for ease of reading.
2 Samuel McQuesten (1789-1861) married Lucinda S. Foster (1805-1891) on January 23, 1838. She was the daughter of Dr. Samuel Foster of Candia, N.H.
3 Dracut is in Massachusetts.
4 It is difficult to establish exactly the date at which Dr. Calvin McQuesten and his wife Margarette moved to Hamilton from Brockport, N.Y. Following is the letter trail, that suggests that they moved to Hamilton sometime in 1839, possibly in June, but more likely between September and December. The exact date is not known at this time. Dr. Calvin likely came to Hamilton several times before that to check on the foundry business here.
Dec. 1838 (W-MCP4-6.236) Catharine Lerned in Hamilton to her sister Margarette Lerned McQuesten in Brockport, N. Y. about her trip to Hamilton.
March 11, 1839, W-MCP4-6.183, Fisher in Hamilton to Dr. Calvin in Brockport.
May 10, 1839, W0486, Margarette is planning a visit to Concord and N.H.
June 14, 1839 (W0137), Dr. Calvin in Brockport, N. Y. to Margarette in Hopkinton. She is visiting her family in Hopkinton. This may have been her parting visit to her family.
June [?], 1839 (W-MCP5-6.371) Margarette in Hopkinton to her husband Calvin in Hamilton (Letter missing but Calendar notes: "Calvin, Marg. & son are staying in Hamilton at home of Mr. & Mrs. Brewster, and she hopes they can stay there next winter." This item would seem to suggest that the McQuesten family was already settled in a boarding house in Hamilton in June of 1839, but the letter is missing.
July 4 & Aug. 7, 1839 (W0140 & W0144). Dr. Calvin, in Hamilton, to Margarette in Concord, N.H. where she was conducting business for Calvin to settle his pharmacy business with Budlong & Dustin: "You must let no person on earth see this letter for if you do not bring about a settlement it will go against me."
Dec. 14, 1839, (W-MCP4-6.225) Sutphin in Brockport, N.Y. to his friends the McQuestens in Hamilton, Upper Canada.
5 Although we have not been able to confirm the existence of a place called "Piscataquogvill," we do know that the Piscataquog River runs through the southern part of New Hampshire and to the Merrimack (south of downtown Manchester) which is only a few kms. from Bedford.