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W0151 TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Eliza [McQuesten] Varnum
Oct 12 1842
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten West Bradford, Massachusetts
From: Bedford, New Hampshire

Ever dear Brother,

Perhaps you have thought strange you have not heard from home before this; but be assured it has not been because you have been forgotten or that we have ceased to be interested in your welfare, you too well know our feelings and engagements to indulge such a thought. You will recollect when you was at home on vacation I promised to write you soon; agreeable to my promise I commenced writing about a fortnight after you left us. Little did I then think that before I closed that epistle we should be called to meet in such a scene of affliction; the remembrance of which is deeply agonizing and awfully solemn-----Oh how changed our prospects and how changed our little family!1-----The hours which used to be devoted to domestic joys and social converse how silent and pensive, how solemnly it has told us of the fading nature of all earthly pleasures. No human vision could foresee the gathering storm no mortal tongue could have told us that our noon day gladness would so quickly be clothed in sable night. But it had not been an event of chance or the effect of mere accident. The providences of God are as wise as they are mysterious and who shall dare to charge Omniscience with injustice.

It is twelve o'clock! Midnight's deepest gloom is cast around and all is dark and doleful, I must silently bid you good night and court the restorer of tired nature----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thursday the 13th. Since you left us Dr. Thurston has buried his wife she died of the Dysentery; it is quite sickly; mostly fevers, Capt. Foster has been sick of a fever almost four weeks, his case is considered very doubtful. Mary Barker has a fever and has been quite sick but is now much better. Mr. Savage is hired for 6 months. If you come home at the close of your term we shall not expect a letter unless you wish us to send for you, if you do you must write us and I know nothing but you can be sent for; if you do not come home write us immediately. If you go to Amesbury remember us to all our friends there. We shall be much disappointed if Brother and Sister do not visit us this fall, perhaps thanksgiving or any time that is convenient. Give my love to Sally French, tell that her friends are well. I do not often allow myself to send white paper in a letter but perhaps you will find it the best part.

Your affectionate sister, Eliza

1 The letter does not state the names of the family members who had died. However, on July 13, 1841, Dr. Calvin McQuesten lost his wife Margaret (Barker Lerned) and on July 19, 1841,their son, James Barker also died.

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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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