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W0833 TO DR. CALVIN AND MARGARETTE MCQUESTEN AND EDWARD LERNED from Mrs. Catharine Lerned and from Louisa Lerned McAllaster and Hannah Lerned
Jan 18 1836
To: Dr. Calvin and Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten, and Edward Lerned, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]

[The first part of the letter is written to Dr. Calvin McQuesten from his mother-in-law Mrs. Catharine Lerned.]

My dear Son Calvin, As it has been a day of business with me business shall be the first subject in this letter although not the one nearest my heart. After the reciept [sic]1 of yours I first sent for Judge Harvey and consulted him found that you could be appointed Guardian for E. [Edward] without coming here &c.2 I then sent for Mr. Dustin, told him that it was my wish and Edwards that the one thousand dollars should be sent on, and that Hannah was willing and desirous that her part should be placed in your hands for E. benifit [sic]. The Maj. [McAllaster] was here &c. It is all now settled and I hope to your satisfaction. The one thousand is to be ready when a note comes from you signd [sic] by your Brother Samuel. Mr. D. says he wishes no other security the Maj. thought it a good way so it can then be transmitted to you in the way and manner that you may think best. Mr. D. says he will pay all E.s expences [sic] up to the time that you shall receive the money including the twenty four that E. had on his arrival at B.[Brockport]. He further says that awriting [sic] from you to him will be necessary stating the same that your letter to me in Sept. last did--that is the interest of said money shall defray all E. necssary [sic] expences [sic]. Sickness or any other extra that may take place is not to be included. This statement he says will be needful for him at the close of his and E. settlement. Mr. D. has not a thousand of E. property in his hand but you know how things are without my entering into particulars. Should I be spared untill [sic] Catharine is of age every thing shall as it respect [sic] my children [sic] property be in a different train from what it is now.

And now my Son what shall I say to you and dear Margaret [sic] for your kindness to a poor fatherless child, plase [sic] to receive my thanks the thanks of aheart [sic] overflowing with gratitude to you both and not only to you but to the God of all mercies whom it seems has had compassions on my Son, my only Son, and is he, will he, be a chosen vessel; if so I can feel to say bless the Lord, Oh my soul and all that is within me bless his Holy name and to him be all the praise. I tremble and well I may, Oh how my poor heart sinks within me to think that I have done no more for my child in spiritual welfare, sometimes I feel that I never never can be forgiven at other times I hope but its [sic] so feeble ahope [sic] that I almost despair of forgiveness.

My much beloved Son, we had all been planning to do something great on the 27 of Febuay [sic] your birthday but my Son the day that I recieved [sic] your letter will ever be a day of greater rejoicing to me than the day of your birth, and has my Son experienced that new birth, happy happy thought, blessed news and does the blessed Saviour now appear glorious in your sight, yes you say that he does, do be constant in prayer my Son to God that you may be kept in the strait [sic] and narrow path that leads to life eternal, and now let me ask you how the blessed volume looks and appears to you! You will recollect what sentiment you dared to advance one Eve last Winter respecting it, do you feel that you are forgiven, if so you must have aforgiving [sic] spirit, you must love even your enimes [sic], yes you must pray for them.

Your Sisters love you much and your letter has made adeep [sic] impression on their mind. I find that they think much about you. You must pray for them all and your Mother must not be forgotten by her Son. My love and forgiveness you shall have, and her prayer that you may be kept from evil that you may walk in wisdom ways which are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace--read attentively the twentieth Chap. of Luke you will there find how incomparably more the life of soul is to be valued than the life of the body, the treasure of Heaven to the goods of this world yet I need not name one Chaptr [sic] alone if any scripture abounds with instruction. You my Son can never know a mothers feeling nor by what tender ties her children are wound around her heart death alone can dissolve the two. Oh how much I should like to see you dear M. & the Dr. You are all dear to me and should I never have the happiness of seeing you here on earth God grant that we may meet in heaven.

Mr. Leach family are still in affliction, Claras little daughter lays at the point of death she was baptised yesterday morn. I have not seen any of the family as it is five weeks today since I have been confined wholly to my room with the rheumatism in my back and left hip I am taking [?] it pricks like pins in my throat. I am some better though not able to go out or to [lift?] [apound?], your Sisters are all kindness and the Maj. brings us apail [sic] of water now and then but I miss Edward & Catharine H. & [Lucy?] have baked apple pies and [mince?] made bread so we are very happy. Your things shall be sent in the spring some of them Mr. Wheeler will then go next and Mrs. Herrick be careful of your health

Your Mother, [Mrs.Catharine Lerned]

[The letter contiues to Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten and to her brother Edward Lerned from their sister Louisa Lerned McAllaster.]

January 18, 1836

My Dear Sister Margarette,

Husband has swept a path from Mr. Flanders down to mothers that I might write a line in her letter to Bpt. [Brockport]. 5 years this day my dear since Sarah P. was introduced to you as a new relative. I well remember your sisterly care & kindness during my indisposition & confinement. I hope & trust that I may requite it by taking care of you & yours. We have two rooms & keep house, my girl 11 years old I find enough to employ me every moment of time till midnight & by light again the same round.

I do not know where we shall go, we want for the moving of the waters. I think husband would like to go to Illinois and so should I to have you go with us.3 Say will not brother set off with us? Do send again for great coat I have worried about it much. Write my dear sis soon a long letter to me & tell me if you thought proper to give that paper to Mrs. Sweat. Mary wrote hers upside down. I sent a paper last week to you & shall send another if [?] Green will give it me. My dear brother Edward, Your kind mother has indeed suffered days of anxiety respecting you & sleepless nights, but never till last Wednesday did sleep forsake her eyelids for joy, that night she could not sleep, her gratitude & joy was [sic] too much for her weak nerves to bear. It was indeed a consolation to all your friends & Oh! do not give up, but persevere, persevere, persevere, & you will come off conqueror at last through that Savior your profess to love. You will soon lose these new & happy feelings unless you watch, pray [?] watch, you will meet with many discouragements, but the [?] life bears a remedy for every disease, it bears both fruit & leaves at all seasons & there is the Great Physician ready to administer the healing balm. Will you brother read the Pilgrims Progress & Dadridge Rise & Progress & write with sister M. your feelings with regard to them. Try to be as upright as sincere & faithful as your father, brother & friend Calvin is (if I may be allowed to give you a human being to compare yourself with). Edward for the sake of Calvin & wife, for the sake of your widowed mother & sisters & all your friends, but more especially for the sake of your own dear immortal soul I do entreat you never to [?] back to this vain world--for you know that no man after putting his hand to the plough & [?] bush is fit for the kingdom of Heaven. Remember Lot's wife.

Sister Louisa

[The next part of the letter is written to Margarette from her step-mother Mrs. Catharine Lerned.]

Dear Margart [sic],

L [Louisa] & the Mjr. have gone and I must say one word more to [sic]. Mrs. Wells called on me friday [says?] that she shall write you soon send much love leaves tomorrow M. & Mrs. Towne were down yesterday wish me to love to all, Harriet in particular to Ed. he will have her prayers. Wiggin and wife are not going West as aletter [sic] from Mr. Greenleaf has gratly [sic] disappointed them. I much regret the E [?] cannot at present be sent as he needs them. Oh how much I do think of you, do write every opportunity I should pay the [?] of this letter but my last cent went saturday for brother,

Your Mother in Love [Mrs. Catharine Lerned]

[Written up left side of page] Do M. send your black silk apron by someone and I will fix it neat for you. Do [?] out the [?] I put on for you as I can do nicer. I thought Mrs. [?] looked like [?].

[Dear Calvin and Margarette:]

The Maj bid me say that Mr. Pieret will give a check on the Boston bank and that he can have the business done without much expence [sic] and as your Brother must come here for the money it can be adjusted in that way if it is your wish & [?].

[The last part of the letter is written to Edward Lerned from his sister Hannah Lerned.]

Dear brother Edward,

I think a few lines will be acceptable to you. I wish you would send me some popcorn. I recollect when we used to pop it on Margarets stove in [sic] and embrace the opportunity. That day your letter came Mary spent the afternoon with us, we had a long talk about you and Brooks about old times. Mrs. Flanders went down cellar and told us how it used to be loaded up with provisions and where every thing used to be kept. The Major brought your letter in about 9. Glad were we to hear from you. It contained very good news. May it be lasting and may your Sisters profit by it. Your advice to us was very good and irrefutable. Last week the bible class was at Mrs. Harveys, the prayer meeting at Marys. It is at our house this week. We have been through Isaiah are now in Luke. They are very interesting. It is at Mrs. Gilmours this week of the [?] [?].

The Sunday school is much more interesting now. Mr. Chase reads to us now Sunday he reads a very affecting story. Our Society is altered into a Missionary society. We meet once a fortnight. We have 16 dollars in the bank which will go to the church. The money that we get now will go to the Missionarys [sic].

It is very lonesome here though we live happy and get along very well. Lucy & I get the water we taken turns about our other work. Our milk we have at Mr. Daniel Chase's. Our well is dried up I have not written to you since you have been at Brockport. We all have written and they lay in the draw [sic] waiting for an opportunity. Louisa Joynes & Juliann spent the afternoon with us Friday had a good time. [?] spent the afternoon, eve, and night Christmas day. Jane Buswell made me a visit & Mary Ann Curtis. So I have one at a time. Lucy and I sleep in room. Mother and Elisabeth in [?] room. Mr. McAllaster brings us water once in a while, and shovels our paths. It snows to day, and it did yesterday. Do write me a long letter.

Your ever loving Sister,


[?] room at Louisa. Give a great deal of love to Sister M. brother C. and keep some for yourself.

1 The letter contains very little punctuation and many errors in spelling. We have made minor alterations to aid the reader.

2 In 1835, Dr. Calvin McQuesten had agreed to supervise the education of Edward Lerned (the half-brother of his wife Margarette). Dr. McQuesten's brother-in-law, Hugh McAllaster, wrote to say that Mr. Dustin would be willing to pay for some of Edward's expenses but, instead of sending $1000 as previously agreed, he would give up guardianship to the McQuestens, which was apparently turned down (W0810).

By the summer of 1838, however, Mr. Dustin was threatening legal action against Dr. McQuesten for money that he claimed was owed to Edward, which all parties hoped to settle outside of court. For details and links, see W-MCP4-6.233.

3 Hugh McAllaster was unsuccessful in financial matters and had moved his family numerous times in search of his fortune. For more details and links, see W0889.

4 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.

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