W0639 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Mary [Lerned] Flanders
Jan 6 1833
To: Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
I am afraid, my dear sister, will, by this time think she is almost forgotten by her Hopkinton friends and relatives. But far be it from that. We are often with you at Brockport. Scarcely a day passes but we speak of you. I did not think when you left us that so long a time would elapse before I should write, but I forwarded Louisa all the news, to fill her letter, and thought I would wait a little longer to answer mine. Mother received her letter Monday eve, Dec 31. We were glad again to hear of your good health, contentment &c. You wish to know what the good folks said at Hopkinton after you left. We all sit at the fireside together pretty mute, first cried, and then laughed at each other for being so babyish. In a little while Pluma and her husband came & I went to Concord with them. Louisa kept house, put things to rights &c. The next day she went over to Mr. Sargents, staid all night, Friday, we went a-quilting at Mrs. Berry's--Saturday they went home. I have not seen any of them since, and it is not likely I shall this winter, unless they come over. I hear from them often wished me to tell you, "brother Kimball and Mrs. Bellows were married last Sunday in the meeting house, C. Holmes intended is dead."
In Louisa's last letter she writes thus "Tell M. you are happy to hear she wants the bedstead she felt bad enough about leaving it. I wrote to M. that you said she never mentioned the bedstead. I don't know what this refers to, when I said so, nor any thing about it. After you left, I told her the Dr. wished us to take the bedstead, we declined at first, thinking he wished us to purchase it, and thought there were so many other things we needed more, we were not able to. But after he said, "keep it till I call for it, have the posts sawed down" &c., I immediately found a use for it and was very much pleased with it. Louisa thought it a great present, said she should have been glad of it &c. I have sent for it once, but as it happens I have not got it yet, and if you have a chance to send for it, you may have it, or at least I will relinquish my right and title to it, as I had it on these conditions "Keep it, till I call for it.--and now my claim is not good--therefore we will let it remain where it is, till you find a safe conveyance to B. It would have been better for you, I presume if you could have carried all your furniture there--as they are so much higher priced than here. I imagine you have had a pitiful letter. But I will say as Daniel does--it is none of our business--if you can agree, and confide in each other as a husband and wife ought to. But still, it is generally thought safer for a woman to have the command of her own property (for fear of the worst) let her Husband be ever so good. But we all have a right to do what we please with our own. Louisa, you know worries a great deal about a little thing. For my part, I think you are in safe keeping, and I have too good an opinion of your husband to think he will ever wrong you, or rest easy without making provision for you, provided Death or some other misfortune should come upon either of you unawares. I donít know what has been written to you exactly, but I have ever thought you had a kind and affectionate Husband. And if any one sees fit to sift all his failings from his virtues--"Let him that is without sin cast the first stone." You probably know what I refer to.
Your friends all as one often enquire for you, send love &c. P. Chadwick was here to work last week, cut me a calico dress--she speaks of you with great affection, says if ever a private conveyance presents, she calculates to go round among your young friends, and collect some little tokens as keepsakes and send. For she knows there are many who would have given you a memento had they thought of it at the time.
Friday Eve. Jan. 11--We have had a very blustering cold day--but as we have just had our "January thaw," for about 2 weeks, we are are [sic] destitute of snow or sleighing. We have had fine sleighing for a month or six weeks and a mild winter so far. I might have finished my letter before, but have been waiting to hear from Sandbornton. I write so seldom it is a great task to attempt, I make such bad work with it. My pen now is nothing but a stub--when you write, let me know when this was mailed, when you received it, and if you broke any of your Coffee set. Hugh said he thought it a chance if it was not all broken by the time you got there. Elisa Little is still at Boston. Ellen at home, Wiggin and wife board at Mrs. Greeley's--have the east front room and chamber. They were married in Church with Robert and Paulina, Thurs. Eve. Dec 6, a very full Church, most all the Ladies and gentlemen in Concord were there, good singing with a number of instruments. Double bass, 2 small bass viols., Bugle flute 2 Clarionettes and violin. Wiggin requested the male singers to call at the store after meeting and Mr. Whittier treated them with wine. By particular invitation from Judge Harris, (Sunday P.M. Jan. 13th) Husband and myself with 50 or 60 more, old and young, called at his house Friday between 10 & 11 oclock--Dec 7--and staid an hour and half--we were waited upon at the door by the Judge--received into the parlour by Lucretia Green and Morse Stanley who were waiters--and introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Little, who were sitting on the sofa clad in their wedding garments. In the centre of the room were two long tables very elegantly furnished with Cake, plain white frosting, trimmed with myrtle. Custards, Whips, Blamange,--Bath biscuit, preserved Quince, pears and cream, Box raisons [sic], White English Grapes, and Wine, we did not sit or take off our things quite in City style. Saturday they moved to their boarding house--give 3 1/4 dolls. per week. She goes home every Monday and does her washing with Elisa, from choice. Robert and wife went to Boston the next Monday without any parade. Margarette Hall accompanied them and boards out with them. Richard Hall has been home, staid only 3 days. He looked like a Savage, black whiskers, very portly, wore grey glasses. He was very glad to see us all, offered himself to Emily Clark, was accepted. Mr. Lancaster, who married Miss Lemist, is now preaching here on trial. Mr. Hatch is at Merrimack. His family still remain here.
Yesterday I spent the PM. at Aunt Chadwick's with Polly. We carried up your letters--aunt sent love, said "it seemed almost as if you was there talking." Catharine Little called in, sent her love. Mrs. Stanley has had her house all repaired and fixed for two families. Mr. Stanwood is going to move in with them as the Fanwell house is so small. Mrs. Tucker lives with her. I did not write but little Friday left off at Harris. Moses Palmer came in with a bundle from Sandbornton, a new gown, your paper, a letter from Louisa and a number of little articles, peppermints &c. She did not write any news, they are all well. I rather expect what was on your paper about Mr. Little will make them rather uneasy, tho' they wrote nothing. I find Mr. Flanders begins to have a Western fever.
There was a man here yesterday to look at our house to see how much we would take for it &c. Is there any prospects for a new trader at B. Have you received a letter from Berry. The Academy begins again next week. Mr. Colby is still at Mr. Chandlers. Left a report that Doct. Colby is going to Boston. Bill Chase is in town, very neighbourly at Mothers. It is uncommonly healthy in town, I don't recollect but one death, Mr. James Hildreth. Martha and Rhoda keep house together at Mr. Fellows. They have had their vendue sold off every thing. Horace boards out in Stumpfield, settling up. I think it a chance if he don't see Brockport next Spring. He wants to get into some business. I told him I would write and see if Minot or some one wanted a clerk, when and how &c.
Mrs. Sanborn still lives with me, though now she has gone a journey for 3 or four weeks. I expect her sister tonight to take her place. The meetings are just out. Mr. Sibley spent the noon here, sent love, was very glad to hear from you. I do not understand what you mean by seeing Lake Ontario twice a year. I think you must be very pleasantly situated. You are often enquired for by every one. Mr. Chase's family are all well. Horace Chase is Judge of Probate. Judge Harris is turned out of office. Amanda returned 3 or 4 weeks since quite out of health. Her babe cross &c. I have not called on her yet. Wentworth has gone to Washington. Mr. Currier sends a great deal of love. Charlotte is keeping the winter school over with Betsey. Mrs. Eaton stays there too. C. called in one day, read your letter, sent love, &c. I don't know whether she means to write or not. Mr. Sibley says he well remembers the roast Turkey Doct. Nowell spoke off [sic].
Sunday Eve. Mr. Berry has just gone out of here, all alive about going there. He wishes to know about the place in general. What encouragement to Shoemakers--price of wood, house rent &c--borrowed your paper. Any time when convenient, send me a paper. We had fine moon and sleighing for Christmas--a full Church and good singing. A great many people from the neighbouring towns. Christmas day and the next evening Professor Hale preached. I believe he is from Hanover. I believe Mother nor any of the children did not attend any of the meetings. The children have all been quite sick with a something similar to Jaundice. Doct. Gregg attended them. He said it was a kind of Epidemic he hardly knew what to call it. Nothing alarming, however a number of Children have been complaining. Mine have been remarkably healthy this winter. Often speak of Aunt Margarette. M [Flanders?] is now singing Sherburne. Oh how it reminds me of days gone by when you and I used to sing together. When we sing and Daniel plays on the viol these cold winter evenings. My thoughts are in Brockport--or rather want an image of our corner. We undertook to have some singing the [?] after you left us. Daniel got the viol. Louisa nor I could join him. "Music! Oh how does language fade before thy spell."
Greenville now is the time it is 1/2 past 9. The wind is whistling without. Mother has been in this evening--shall answer your letter before long. Judith Flanders is with her says say to Margarette "Oh how I want to see her, she once told me I should be sorry, now I am sorry," said you would know what she meant. I have almost a firm belief, should we live and prosper, we shall some day visit you, am glad to hear there is a glimmering prospect that you will creep in some of the packets in the course of some time or other, and visit us. Mr. Berry says he don't know but you would have answered his letter, had he paid the postage, but he thought it would be more likely to go. Mother told him he ought to have paid it. Martha and Rhoda have been in this evening. Thus I am interrupted. I do not get along with my letter and now it is late and pen poor. I must finish tomorrow--and write to L--as Mr. Palmer is going to Sandbornton again tomorrow night--Catharine's health is not very good this winter. Mother has no family except herself and children, only Judith staying 2 weeks. They all speak of sister Margarette with great affection. Aunt Jane says I must come down some evening and bring your letters. Mrs. Stanley says they are most tired waiting for me.
Monday Eve 1/2 past 8. I have just been making a batch of flour bread, I thought of the Doct. while kneading it, finished a letter for Louisa, to night invited her to make us a visit the next moon and good sleighing. Do you wonder I cannot write better, have to leave off so often, and most always some one jabbering. Mrs. Jeremiah Russel has an heir. Widow Lyman lives in the west part of the three story house. Charlotte Swasey is coming over, to attend the Winter term at the Academy, and board with Miss Judkins. Judge Green's family still board there. Mr. Berry and Moulton live in the Kemp house. Mrs. Moulton has a young babe. Mr. Darling has moved in his new house opposite Mrs. Stanleys. He is fixing the westerly part for a store. Doct. Tylers child has been dangerously sick with the croup but is now well. Now my dear Sister if I have not been faithful in telling news let me know it. You cannot expect eloquence from my pen, but the simple language of the heart. I want you to be more prompt in answering this than I have been. I shall endeavour to do better next time. Louisa sent for the letter you wrote to Mother and I--we sent them by Palmer. He is travelling to and from Sandbornton every little while, we had the reading of her letter. There is a Minister by the name of Foss living in the house with Widow Brown and preaching at the Baptist meeting house this winter. Mr. Josiah Knowlton lives in Mr. Carleton's house. Now I believe my fund of news is almost exhausted and you may well say "I wonder Mary don't take more pains in writing to Brockport." But you can see I began with a grand resolution to write pretty decent but soon got into the old scribble. However you can hear what we are about and then burn it. I shall expect an answer to this letter soon--don't wait so long as I have--but write again soon, before Mother answers hers. You can check it all with red ink. I would mine if I had not had such bad luck in writing with black. Kiss Brother for me, and believe me your affectionate,
[P.S.] Mrs. Stanley's family all send love. I have not seen Mrs. Towne to speak to her since you went away. She has called on Mother once this winter. I would not have you understand that I am serious about leaving Hopkinton. We only speak of it once in a while after hearing from you but still should like to know all your news about the place.
[Envelope wrapper:] Hopkinton, N.H., Jan. 11
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten
Brockport, New York
1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.