[Written at top:] Will you present our gratefully [sic] acknowledgment of all the articles received from different places around. Your every article was of value to the Infant School Mission children they were much needed. Please direct your letters to Chicago Illinois care of Capt. Wilcox.W0695 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her friend Eliza Chappel
Sep 2 1833
To: Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Chicago, Illinois, [U.S.A.]
Mrs. McQuestion [sic]
Dear Sister in Christ. Your kind epistle was most gratefully received. And with the box and articles for myself would have been immediately acknowledged with thanksgiving to our Father in heaven and deep felt gratitude to those whose hearts and hands have so kindly administered to our necessities. But as I had just given a slight account of our operations and the progress of the School at Mackinaw I have deferred writing until other schools have been establised [sic] that I might be able to present the [more?] to your view. The blessing of God had attended the feeble efforts which have been made for the instruction of the infants of this desert region. We hear the master say "go forward" and we do know that "he is faithful who has promised" and that help must come only from him who is the strength of our hearts" and may we not add our portion forever."
Immediately after Miss Owen's arrival into whose hands I assigned my dear charge at M. to attempt the opening of another at Point [sic] Ste Ignace about 4 miles across the straits from Mackinaw. This is a settlement consisting of about 180 inhabitants all catholics of the lowest order. Ignorance Sin and darkness reigns not a single ray from the son of righteousness every man in the settlement without an exception a confirmed drunkard and not more than two or three persons who are able to read.
Mr. Blanchard at whose house I called is a native of Vermont formerly a soldier in the United States army. After his discharge he married an Indian woman and appears to have given himself over into the hands of the enemy. They have five dear interesting children for whose improvement he manifested [solicitude?]. His conduct upon my arrival convinced me that debased as he had become he was not void of feeling or without natural affection. He said with tears "I am glad you have come. If I had found 1000 dollars I should not be so glad. My poor children! God only knows how much [?] for them I have long prayed that God would send them a teacher perhaps he has sent you for this purpose. I once knew the love of God myself but I came here have fallen into sin and know not how to get back. I think you will help me." Poor man! God has indeed done much for him he knows his masters [sic] will but "strong drink is [raging?]" and I do fear that he drinks at the expense of his precious soul.
Upon inquiry I found that but very few felt any interest in the establishment of a school their priest was absent and they feared to commit their children to a protestant. I looked upon the 50 filthy unclad children whose bright minds beamed through their sparkling eyes. My soul was moved within me while I cried is there no hope. The voice of the master I seemed to hear from himself go to every creature so I am with you. I felt that these dear children were [included?]
[Written up left side of page one:] All articles sent for my own use I value highly nothing could have been more acceptable than the double gown. I only feared that the articles were too expensive being of [such?] an excellent quality. I hope the master will enable me to use them ([?] other blessing with which he makes my cup abound) for his own glory I feel that my [?] in active labour is short this [?] is [?]. Had I room I should like to give something more particular to the children of [?]. At some other time will endeavour to do so if the Lord [permits?].
[Written up left side of page two:] You will please answer this immediately. Ask Brother King to write me immediately as I am anxious to learn what he designs to do in this region for the cause of Christ and also what are his plans with regard to the establishment of Infant Schools. I may if made immediately acquainted with his plans be able to render assistance in establishing.
[Written up right side of page two:] Remember me to your kind husband and let me entreat you to live wholly for God in this [?] commission that all his commands can be fulfilled. I had nothing to do but trust and "go forward". Selected a little hut which might be fitted. Mr. Blanchard gave me the promise of a home with this Indian family and said alsoe [sic] that in about one week the room would be ready. I returned to Mackinaw in a boat guided by Frenchmen not doubting but God would open an effectual door of labour among that people. When I arrived at M. I found an invitation from a larger settlement to come and labour among them. The query arose where can most be effected probably where the greatest number of children could be collected. But must the Pointe be given up. I could now rejoice that the work was not mine and that our Father had all hearts in his hands was enabled to cast all my care upon him and wait for his direction. While in this posture my heart was cheered and my hands strengthened by the arrival of Sisters King and Plimpton. Sister King I was expecting for St. Maries [sic] but Miss P's unexpected arrival I considered as a marked provision for the Pointe. She is a Methodist Sister whose heart the Lord had opened to come out at her own expense to offer her services in the Infant School cause in this region. Miss King went to the Sault of Ste. Marie where she is now engaged in a School and Miss Plimpton accompanied me to Pointe Ste. Ignace. The little house was ready the Lord had provided a teacher and still we had nothing to do but "go forward." Sabbath came and we proposed opening our school room for a meeting. Such a thing had never before been attempted here, 30 or 40 were present. Two pious Indians came in and we were made to feel that the Master himself was with us. M Blanchard read the word and a universalist present read a short sermon. Appointed a prayer meeting during the week in which our Indian friends took a part. Upon opening the School about 30 children came in all of whom attend on the Sabbath they speak the French and Indian language cannot understand each other at all but they will soon be able to read in English. The Master [evidently?] smiles upon our weak attempts and as we "go forward" Catholic prejudice does give way. A few weeks since I received an invitation to open a school at Chicago in Illinois about 300 miles from Mackinaw and as the schools established were all in beautiful operation I felt that the Master had [thus?] found a door and accordingly left Mackinaw about the 15 of August for this place there are [here?] many children but every house is occupied and a room has not yet been obtained and I am now waiting to know what the Lord would have me do.
My dear Sisters of F. there is much [land?] to be [possessed?] will you not for the Masters sake "devise [liberal?] things" knowing that what you "give to the poor you lend to the Lord. The heathen too are His. The purchase of Immanuels [sic] blood given to Jesus for [?] with the promise that every knee shall bow and out of the mouths of babes praise shall be perfected. Have we not enough to induce us to labour and not fail in our attempts to bring children to the Saviour? Who where is the Lord imbued with love to Jesus but will move when from every part of our earth the cry comes as if borne upon the four winds of heaven "Who will show us any good". "Come over to Macedonia and [help?]." When the sound falls upon the ears of those whose hearts like the Apostle of the Gentiles is moved within them then we expect to [?] the servants of the Lord Jesus "grieving when preaching the gospel of the kingdom."
Tell the dear little Misses of Brockport that the work of their hands has contributed much to the comfort and decency of the little copper coloured children in this region. Tell them to go and do much more for the heathen who shall in the [latter?] day rise up and call them blessed! The contents of the box were gratefully received and highly valued about one half of the contents are now far in the interior comforting those dear Missionaries 6 in number who left in July. My heart went with them but friends so strongly objected on account of my health which is very poor that I concluded that God would have me labour in the land of civilization. Sent my native assistant to open an Infant School among them.
Yours Eliza Chappel
[P.S. written up left side of page:] A poor Indian woman at Mackinaw a short time since died of consumption. She had 3 little children who were very destitute I took several articles from the box you sent and gave them a [little?] [frock?] for the [ill?] girl who attended Infant School. An Indian [woman?] who attended the sick [woman?] [stole?] this from her and [?] to the house [?] [white?] woman who kept it believing she had [stolen?] [?] story of the frock was soon told to me no [?] to whom it [?] I recognized it and it was given again to the [?] girl [?] for the children.
You will pray much for us. Much love to all the dear Sisters who felt an interest in our work. [?] [?] [?] and family
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuestion [sic]
Care of Doct. McQuestion [sic]
1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.