W0118 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin Caleb E. Fisher
Mar 21 1835
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, New York
From: Geneva Lyceum, New York
Dr. Calvin McQuesten,
As my thoughts were roving about this afternoon, from one friend to another they lighted for a few moments at Brockport and upon him whom I have the pleasure of addressing by the title of Cousin, and as I thought of your situation I supposed that you would indeed feel that you have been deeply afflicted in being called to bid adieu to your dearest earthly friend and to follow her to her last sleeping place (for I trust that death was but a sweet sleep to her).2 Though you feel that you have been severely chastened yet doubtless you can look up to your Father with true submission and say he doeth all things well; knowing that whom the Lord loveth he chastened.
The last word I had from you before the last, was, that cousin was getting better and the next was from a letter that Mr. Barnet wrote to his wife at Warsaw, was that she was dead. The particulars I did not hear. I have not heard anything particular from you since cousin Samuel was at your house in the fall but should be very glad to receive a line from you and trust I shall after the reception of this.
You will see by the commencement of this that I am at Geneva attending school. I have been here about one week, and as far as I can judge we have a first rate school here. It is under the instruction of Mr. French. There are about seventy students who are members of the Lyceum and I believe there are sixty of the seventy who are professedly pious and are studying for the ministry. This speaks much in favour of the school and particularly so if those who are professors do indeed possess holy conversation. Geneva is a pleasant village situated on a small lake which adds much to the prospect in the morning when the sun is rising and will be a fine place to ride in the summer evenings but I will say not more about it, perhaps you have been here and seen it for yourself.
I have now commenced that course of life to which I have for some time been looking, feeling that duty called and that it is my part to obey and under this conviction, I have commenced my studies and have come to this place for the purpose of pursuing them to advantage and I now feel perfectly satisfied with my selection of school or selection of this school.
James has been here since the first of January. I suppose he expects to be prepared to enter college in the fall yet he thinks of spending his freshman year at this place as there will be a class to study freshman studies. His health is good at this time but some of the students say that he is or has been somewhat homesick I think however not very bad.
I think it is about time to refer to home and say something about the folks there. When I left home on the thirteenth of this month they were in good health except Samuel's wife who remains feeble, and much as she has been for some months though she is abundantly better than she was when I first saw her. Sometimes we think she will get well shortly and again we almost despair of her ever enjoying health yet I know that the Lord will do all things well.
To tell you that father has purchased a farm will not I suppose be anything new. I believe that he continues to be pleased with his situation and thinks it is a good bargain as he has ever done. He has not as yet moved on to his farm or rather into his house but expects to in a few weeks, as soon as it is possible for Esquire McWhorter to move out, which will probably be sometime in April. Samuel continues to work in the furnace for Doctor Frank and probably will work there a part of the time during the summer.
In Warsaw they have dismissed their minister and I suppose are now destitute or I do not know as they have any supply. You will probably inquire the reason of their wishing Mr. Scovel to leave. I believe that impudence was the chief charge they brought against him, he would often say things in the pulpit and speak so pointedly and so particularly that all would know to whom he was directing his arrow, and perhaps a private reason was that they thought him not quite smart enough for them. They have made out to get him dismissed but I am afraid they will not do any better in another.
Religion in Warsaw was in rather mournful state, they seem to have hung their harps on the willows. Brother N. was at Warsaw in January and spent a week or two with us and since he returned he wrote us word that he had made arrangements to leave that place in June at the expiration of his two years. I suppose it is his intention to go to New Hampshire when he closes his business at Youngstown.
A letter I received from Sister Betsy a few weeks since by which I learn that she thinks of coming out west the last of April or the first of May. When G.W. Patterson returns from Albany, as he expects his sister, Aunt Elizabeth to be ready to come out when he is ready to return.
Cousin Calvin if you should come this way we shall be happy to have you call and see us, you will find us by enquiring at Geneva Lyceum. How does the school at Brockport flourish? I will not ask you to pay me for this but I do ask you to write me if you have any time, if it be not but a few lines they will be most gladly received.
It is getting late in the evening and I must stop my scribbling. Do not scrutinize this for it will not bear it as I have written it in haste and shall not review it.
Your cousin, Caleb E. Fisher
1 Calvin McQuesten's mother was Margaret Fisher. Caleb Fisher would be a cousin through this connection.
2 The letter is clearly addressed to Dr. Calvin McQuesten, and it is clearly dated. If Caleb Fisher is referring to the death of Calvin's mother (Margaret Fisher McQuesten), our genealogical records show that she died on April 13, 1833. There may be an error in the date of death or the news of the death may have taken two years to reach Caleb. Caleb does indicate that there has been a delay in communications. It cannot be referring to Calvin's wife as she died on July 13, 1841 after giving birth to James B. McQuesten, who died July 19, 1841 (Leona B. McQuiston [sic]p.80).