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W-MCP4-6.233 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from Elim Dustin
Jun 8 1838
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, New York, U.S.A.
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire

Dear Sir,

Edward A. Lerned has made me a visit of Consultation about his & your accounts. I learn from his as well as from your & Mrs. McQuesten's letter that your money matters are not settled as he is desirous to have the businefs1 settled in a peacible [sic] manner you will have the goodnefs to forward to me or his Mother an abstract of your account against him & also what he should have for tending your drug-store or his part of the profits and the amount of money you have [Rec'd?] of Mrs. Lerned & me for his use as you probably have the means of giving an account such as will do Justice to all concerned.

I hope you will allow him a reasonable sum for services. I also learn that Edward has given a deposition to be used in an action [by] Mrs. Jones [or Mrs. Janes?] against you for Defamation and that you are attempting to destroy the [force?] of his evidence by showing that he is a liar & is the instigator of the suit against you and some other charges against his (Edward's) morral [sic] character. You will have the goodnefs to write me whether you intend to put down Edward's testimony on your trial. His Mother has same feeling upon the subject as well as himself and they are not disposed to have him [ruined?] without an offer to [?] if Edward's testimony is all that will be brought against you as to the words uttered by you as to the defame of Mrs. Jones [or Mrs. Janes?] & family then you might be issued if you made a strong effort to do away the force of his testimony, but as that can hardly be supposed to be the case you will pardon me for requesting you to write me how far & in what particulars you mean to discredit him.2

You can have no desire to ruin Edward unlefs it be used as a means to your escape. I hope you will not take this letter to be an espousal of any of the Queries in which you are unhapily [sic] concerned. You need have no fuss in giving a full account of the troubles between you & Edward for the truth is what is wanted and it is desired that you should be definite in giving an account of the manner in which you mean to treat Edward's testimony on trial for unlefs you write that you shall not attempt to put him down he will send on from here What will have a tendency to support him and that cannot be contradicted. Write as soon as convenient and among other things how my daughter's health is and others of my acquaintance in you neighborhood. Mrs. Lerned & family are in good health as are also McAllister's [McAllaster] & Flanders familys [sic]. My family is in usual health. You & Mrs. McQuesten will pardon whatever you may find in this letter that might seem to be harsh or improper for there is nothing of the kind intended for I can truly say that I could wish that all the difficulties might be settled amiably and right.

Your Obedient Servant

Elim Dustin

1 The writer uses the archaic "fs" for "ss".

2 In 1835, Dr. Calvin McQuesten took in Edward Lerned, the half-brother of his wife, Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten, in order to supervise his education in medicine. Mr. Dustin, Edward's guardian, wished to have Calvin take over legal guardianship of Edward rather than pay $1 000 for the boy's care. Calvin declined this proposal, and in March of 1835, accepted an alternate agreement in which Dustin would pay the $1 000 on condition that Calvin bind himself to support Edward until he turned 21 (W0755). However, Dustin may have wanted to turn over guardianship simply to avoid paying anything for the boy's care and education since we have evidence that he avoided sending the money for over a year after Dr. McQuesten agreed to care for Edward into adulthood. In March of 1836, Major Hugh McAllaster (the husband of Margarette's sister Louisa) remarked

"Mr. Dustin says he is perfectly willing to resign his guardianship, but I suspect he does not intend to forward the $1 000 mentioned it might be a long time before the funds could be taked out of his hands should he feel disposed, to retain them" (W0841).

There is no conclusive evidence that Dr. McQuesten ever received the full amount promised.

In January of 1838, Mr. Perkins sends a letter to Dr. McQuesten on behalf of Edward's mother with an enclosed bank note for $475.00 for Edward's care. However, as of June 8 the same year, Edward and Mr. Dustin were threatening legal action against Dr. McQuesten for money that he supposedly owed to Edward for his work at the pharmacy of Budlong & McQuesten. Dr. McQuesten tried to settle this affair, but as of March 1840, Mr. Dustin was still pushing for specific terms of remuneration which Calvin was not inclined to accept. In addition, Edward was acting as a witness in a defamation suit launched by a Mrs. Jones (possibly "Janes") against Dr. McQuesten although the lawsuit was dismissed and Dr. McQuesten received judgement for the cost of the suit (W0137).

According to this letter, part of Dr. McQuesten's defense was to demonstrate that Edward was a liar (W-MCP4-6.233), and there may be some scattered evidence to support an attack on Edward's character. In a letter to his mother in 1835, Edward apologizes for his behaviour towards her and for the "months of pain & trouble I have caused you" (W0743). In 1837, Margarette wrote to her stepmother about Edward's character, stating that he "is so much taken up with trifling things...[h]owever [he] has some very good qualities and has greatly improved within two years" but she still expresses some minor concerns for his personal development (W0906). However, Louisa writes to Margarette, saying "make no promise to Mother nor Cath[erine] for they will not wish you to tell the truth about Edward" (W0486) and that she and her husband Hugh "were perfectly ignorant of the steps Edward had taken & so was Mary," (W1009), most likely referring to their sister, Mary (Lerned) Flanders. On May 31, 1839, Margarette writes her husband that "they talk plainly about E.[Edward] and many things are not as they should with him...I cannot think there is any change in him for the better by what they say" (W0978) and two months later, Calvin writes to her, stating that "[y]ou wrote me that E. says the last $100 I received for his expenses saved me from failing. That is too childish a remark to call for a reply" (W0144).

For additional information, see W0771, W0809, W0810, W0812, W0824, W0833, W0937 and W-MCP5-6.310.

The Chicago Genealogical Website lists an Edward A. H. Lerned of Hopkinton, N.H. as married in 1842. It also lists the death of same in Belvidere, Boone Co., in 1843. The date of death is likely incorrect since our Edward A. H. Lerned corresponded with Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten in 1875, see W1073.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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