W-MCP5-6.351 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from G. [McIlwraith?]
Jan 11 1854
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Hamilton, Canada
From: Hamilton, Canada
I do most heartily congratulate you on your return to a pleasant happy home with the one you chose to share your love and cares, your smiles and happy hours.1
Where once the drooping city, brings forth the blooming rose. There are times when blighted hopes reborn--times when the soul is weary of itself, but is made happy in administering to the happiness of others. Although, spring and summer days are gone, I fancy I see my old friend heading to his daily rounds with the firmness of youth, and feelings as buoyant as the fawn among his native hills.
Let thy autumn days be the harvest time, enjoying what can make life desirable, for no one is more deserving. My best regards to the treasurer of your joy, with the hope of a pleasant acquaintance between our families. Remember me to the little boys whose acquaintance I made anew last as your house.
1 This letter is likely referring to Dr. Calvin McQuesten's third marriage--to Elizabeth Fuller on December 22, 1853. The marriage was not always a happy one. Elizabeth Fuller became the step-mother of Dr. Calvin's two boys, sent them away to school, and when Dr. Calvin grew old, she struggled with the children over control of the estate. Isaac was concerned that he would not be able to protect his father from Elizabeth's increasingly unpleasant nature and did not want to subject his wife Mary to life with "the old lady." He often wrote numerous letters to his brother Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten about moving to Hamilton from New York to help take care of their father but Calvin Brooks never complied.
Elizabeth demanded money and would make threats if she did not get what she wanted. Isaac had suggested to his father that he separate from Elizabeth and hoped that his father would do so if she carried out her threats to make public his supposed poor treatment of her (W2304, W2321, W2333, W2395, W2398, W2428, W2431, W-MCP5-6.260, Box 14-108). Apparently Elizabeth's sister, Mrs. Currier, had suffered terrible mental illness and had been institutionalized around 1857 and there are some allusions to the possibility that Elizabeth is also becoming insane (W2436). Furthermore, in W2423, Isaac worries about a misplaced revolver, stating that "I don't design making it a present to Mrs. McQ. if it is at the house," and in W2413 he alludes to fears that his father will be poisoned.
In 1873, a "deed of trust" document involving Isaac and Calvin Brooks McQuesten as well as William Proudfoot (Isaac's law partner)was drawn up, and on Oct. 13, 1880 "a Declaration was drawn up in which he transferred control of his estate, real and personal, to his two sons" (W0234, W2423, Minnes 7) so that Elizabeth could not pressure him into leaving his property to her. In addition, a secret will was written and when Dr. McQuesten died in 1885, Elizabeth was bequeathed an annuity and went back to the U.S. to live (see Box 14-108). Isaac McQuesten inherited the house, (originally named "Willowbank, but which Isaac & Mary renamed "Whitehern"), and Dr. Calvin Brooks received his share in Real Estate and investments.
For more on Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten and the evolution of her marriage to Dr. Calvin McQuesten, see W1174, W1178, W1211, W2306, W2308, W2311, W2315, W2328, W2348, W2368, W2372, W2416, W2436, W2451, W2476, W2483, W1545, Box 14-108.