W0488 TO MARGARETTE [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster
Postmarked from Lockport [New York]
[written on back of letter:]
For, Mrs Calvin
Per Dr. Lyford
Feb 1 1834 [estimated date]1 6 oclock P.M.
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten Brockport, New York
My Dear Margarett,
After dinner I sat down and wrote a few lines on a paper to you as we are extremely anxious to hear from you. I have just returned from visiting the Menagerie and Dr. Lyford has called in with the Molonys to take coffee with us. If you do not receive my paper I will say again we have four of the Molonys for boarders P. & H. Plum & Rick. We have no girl & I G. & I work very hard--tonight they have Mr Sibbets & Lyford for us to wait upon.2 Do say if you have ever seen the Religious Magazine if not we will send them to you as husband will soon be P. Master & then lets us write every week a diary "free." Tell Jonas his Sister Harriet has passed the day here with the children & James at the store. She is a bright thing & James full of wit. "That loose dress" pray Sister is it needed as a cover for a pretty deformity? if so I would go 500 miles if I was L. Lerned & take care of you gratis.
Temperance flourishes here but some draw back who were once temperance men. Business rather dull. We have for the present given up the West [?] as I say, till I hear again from the Dr.--every body says when did you hear from the Dr.? I count back to March & then answer. Margarett I live in such a round of worldly occupation that I hardly have time for thought, but whether I have done right or not God only knows. I have taken a decided step in Religion. I have united myself with Mr. Conant's church two weeks since. But I find I am as cold & heartless as stone. Do pray for me. I am weak in faith & in good works do nothing, I am an unprofitable servant. Dr. do so take our lovely sister & let her friends behold her pleasant face.
Mary3 wrote last week for the first time since I was there & a very impudent mess of it to Hugh. She thinks Hugh does not do right because he will not give her up her bank shares & Mother & Cate are very angry because he will not now pay over their proportion before settling the demands paying legacies & these disputed notes &c. Cate wrote yesterday & husband answered it today, hers was full of threats &c. husband wrote it over again to her & then made his comments upon it & said he "considered from whence it came" &c.
Mrs Page is waiting impatiently & wishes Dr. MQ was here, Polly says she thinks no one else would answer--How is business at Brock--I saw by the paper that it was very dull in the spring & that a committee had been to see our President--who has ruined so many hundreds many thousands of our inhabitants. I went to Concord & went up to the Legislature heard Gove [?] who was in favor of a removal of the deposits, did not stay to hear Wilson against him who drew tears from the eyes of all. Judge &c. & wife, [Stilton/Tilton?] & wife went with us.
How does Elvania do. Give much love to her--I think she must enjoy herself there better than at Hop.[Hopkinton]. I have let my daughters run this summer they have on quite a coat of
tan. Oh how they love Aunt M. & talk about her. Platt is said to have ever your shake & toss of the head, a mouth like yours & I say a head and forehead exact like Calvin's and I say it is so. She is as independent as one of the Molony's & every body says she is the prettiest of all. She is the most trouble. Mary is all the time teasing to send Aunt M. her bed quilt. Dallas Hancock is going to quilt it next week & 8 others. I have written this while Caroline is setting table & making her coffee. Molony's & company up stairs, we have been painting chambers, entries, nursery & papering the same. You would not know your old chamber again it has altered so--but not the Christian humble couple are now found there as first occupied it.
M. you have no cares now do pray fervently for me. I want to tell you how husband at first objected to my going forward & sent word to Mr. C. after meeting communion not to propound me--next communion with only a hint he offered to go & see Mr. C. & have me join that day without being propounded & could me down stair through communion much engaged. Do write I say once more very soon. W. has bought the stove last week.
Ever dear sister
your most loving
though unworthy sister,
[P.S.] All send love Husband in particular.
1 Letter is undated. However, Louisa's teasing about a "loose dress" that had apparently been mentioned in an earlier letter to her, likely alludes to a pregnancy. Margarette became pregnant twice while she and Calvin lived in Brockport (they moved to Hamilton sometime in 1839). Their first child, Calvin Jr., had been born on August 15, 1834 but lived for only ten days. Their second son and first surviving child, Calvin Brooks, was born on Oct. 27 1837. It is very difficult to ascertain from the contents of this letter which of these children it may be, so it is just as likely that this letter was written in the spring of 1837. However, for classification purposes, this document required a date, and February 1, 1834 was chosen arbitrarily to reflect the possibility that this was Margarette's first pregnancy. To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.
2 It is likely that the McAllasters have taken on boarders to stave off poverty. Hugh McAllaster had little money- or business-sense and the family often struggled financially. For more details see W0889.
3 Likely Mary Lerned Flanders, Margarette and Louisa's sister. Around 1875, she put in claims for the estate of her deceased half-sister Elizabeth Lerned, and as a result there was a great deal of outrage and controversy in the Lerned family. See W1064 for more information and links.