[on envelope wrapper:] Mrs. McQuesten
W0492 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster
Mar 20 1836 [estimated year]1 Sunday Evening
To: Margarette Lerned McQuesten Brockport, New York
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire
How truly gratifying to your sister & friends is the sound "a packet from Brockport"--it is like electricity--the intelligence is reiterated again & again throughout the house--then the family meeting where all sit around to devour the contents of the letters some laughing with tears streaming down their cheeks, some with their faces covered to conceal the emotions which agitate their hearts, while even the little children partake of the general joy. Such was the scene yesterday down to Mothers!!! Edward's letter could not be read by Mary nor myself & Mother took it the second time before she could finish it. It was indeed happy news. Edward's going to B. [Brockport] has thus far been bless'd.
The prayers of you & your dear husband have been heard and even while asking you have received an answer. What encouragement to persevere till all your sisters & brothers [have] fled to the ark of safety. Leave not this praying ground on which you stand till assured that all are made acquainted with God even your lukewarm sister.
Snow now is so deep with us that the fences in the village are yet buried & I believe every feeling & every heart is benumbed with cold dead indeed to spiritual things, no zeal, no engagedness, no love for one another, but brother is injuring brother & minister accused of speaking too plain to sinners, females keep at home from necessity as the weather has had no chance to call them abroad. I have not been up street since I came here nor down till since this month came in--then called to see Ellen Green--who is a keeper at home &c. Wiggin moves tomorrow in Mr. Blanchard's house (our old stone) Eliza & Ellen commence housekeeping first of May in half of Judge Greens, & in July Eliza expects to be confirmed--Ellen next month.
Ben Chases family have hired Mr. Hatch's house for the summer & we go or stay we know not where. Mr. Hatch lives in Warwick Massachusetts. We have lived or staid [sic] this far since 3rd of January in with Mary--it is very inconvenient for us all. Martha keeps house up in the east chamber, I down in east room, west chamber & privilege in kitchen back chamber & cellar. Mrs. Little called upon me a few days since very particular in her enquiries about Greenleaf they were disappointed because her son did not go to B. Catherine Little was very much so.
Monday 11 o clock
Sister Mary is washing & says give my love to M. & tell her I will write next time when I have more news than now. Her woman Mrs. Whitaker is now living with me, I have had no help except a girl 11 years old, sewing all behind hand and the crossest child I ever saw. Hugh often is teething & makes noise enough about it--he is a very heavy boy to tend, weighs about 90 lbs--cheeks red as a rose & full of his playful actions, but still demands all my time.
Our time for writing is so short that we have nothing that can be penned with sentiment or good chirography, but you know that they are every word full of love. I had some ginger crackers to send by Sanborn but lost the chance. I will try to squeeze one or two in the packet if mother can find room, & eat the rest myself. However you may like the receipt & make for yourself--1 lb of Butter, 1/2 lb Sugar, pint molasses, 3 table spoons of milk, a table spoon of ginger & tea spoon [?]. I think it excellent cake, got receipt at Galway.
I wish you would send on your [apron] when you have a chance, that I may or Jane may work it nice, do my dear sis send it--[cts?] to [?] B. I despair of it. Our Maine land is more plague than profit--I had rather begin poor & be away from all my relatives & acquaintances than to stay & hear the talk about the speculation. I hope we shall realize something, it will make many feel happy if we lose & many rejoice if we sell.
I wish you was keeping house that if we ever went West I could board with you & see how you manage about patience, prudence, economy, &c. We have to economize every way--every thing here is dear as gold dust--pork shilling, eggs the same per dozen, butter 20, & 20 cts per pound & so on--a cold dreary expensive winter for us, but I do hope for the best.
I wish I had more patience--imagine us keeping house as we do after every convenience
heart could wish for. Husband says if he goes west he shall go to the far west. Will you leave B.[Brockport] & go with us? Say to Peoria, or Chicago. I never can go contented unless you will? Alfred has been in my arms crying and pulling all the time since writing so excuse. Husband sits by writing to brother C. love to him & Edward & all who inquire for your sister.
1 Sunday, March 20 occurs in the 1836 Calendar. Dr. Calvin McQuesten and his wife Margarette moved to Brockport in 1832.
2 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.