W0967 TO MARGARETTE [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster
Feb 17 1839
To: Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, Monroe County, New York
From: Concord, New Hampshire
My very dear Sister,
Can you believe it pofsible [sic]1 that I have tried to banish from my thoughts the idea that I have a dear, dear sister Margarette & this has been the case; it has pained my heart so much that you have not visited your home of childhood, your sisters & friends, that I would willingly turn my attention to some nearer object--But my red eyes & heaving heart now speak volumes of thoughts--When I returned home after hearing my clafs [sic] in the Sabbath school & found husband had been to my drawer & was perusing your letters, I merely looked at them then, but since tea, have read some of them--Oh! my dear sis your dreams of home! especially where you could see our dear father with his head reclining on the table when you broke your pitcher's tumblers!!--The dream of kifsing my little ones &c have caused the tears to flow & the reiterated sobs to proclaim the joy we should experience in again folding you to our throbbing hearts--In your last letter, you gave us much encouragement that we should see you the coming spring. Do not--oh! I beg you not to disappoint us as you did last spring, but come once more to your "own native land" & if expedient, leave the west forever--give me my own New Hampshire for all the West--Dr. Gage who married Nancy Sibley has left Cincinnati & has settled here. Dr. Colby has left also & [Morse?] Stanley is at Hopkinton in Ariel Currier's shop & he has moved to Salem. Truly this is a world of change [??] husband says he would like the Dr. to send on a receipt of the $[100?] he had more than a year ago, he wrote after the birth of your babe & said then he would soon send one in the due form but he has not written since--He wishes you both to sign--Good wishes
March 5th Well Sis I had written thus far when Louisa Jane returned from Hop. [Hopkinton] Sabbath eve after two weeks absence with Mr. Kimball of this place who preaches at Contoocook--the day after, I went to Hop. Mother had a small party, [??] this [sheet?] giving sister M,2 [or leave?] to use one side of it, but she has been very lavish of paper, she felt she was writing to our Margarette--she was down with [husband?] 1st day of March [spent?] the [night?] I expect them this week again, Daniel3 is about transferring his bank shares to [Hugh?]-- Hus. dislikes that idea but Daniel cannot pay husband, as he can collect no debts--he is very prudent & tries to do well. His object now, seems to be a time to be set when with leave of Providence we may see you your dear boy & your husband--if he cannot come you must come with boy, & let the cousins see a [N. Yorker?] you disappointed us last Spring do not this--you must stay all summer & always, or else get a place for us to go [back?] with you--You can come to Boston by water, then to Nashua by Railroad, then to Concord or Hop. as you see best--[any course?]--I have done without a girl since the first of Sept. am smart, but dear me such nervous headaches, nothing but a thorough Graham style of starvation can cure--As to Mary, she is plump & hearty--perhaps your birth day or "[win?] where abouts" the Dr. can lend a helping hand, if he will be ready on hand in Hop.--Not so with me, & pray look out that you do not have to stay away--Husband is in a [grocery?] a Temperance one, but businefs without Rum is poor, he is sometimes discouraged--We have every privilege heart can wish for in Concord, perfectly contented, the very best of ministers--a lovely wife been married a few months only. Your old acquaintances here all well, inquire for you--Margarette, I have much to say, many inquiries to make, much that now seems dark cleared up, many reports which I wish to know the truth of [?], [?] all things frankly told which has been long concealed--Be it these things we rather hear verbally than black & white--There is there has been a something as yet untold, though you know the birds of the air will carry the news--In mothers family there is nothing open, all suspicion, no candour and Edward makes this worse I think than before his return--I fear he will spend all his property before he is 21. But no advice is kindly taken, however kindly given, they are offended--you will know all when you come--Edward visits me often, Cath. [Catharine] does all the shopping here, down every few weeks, her health is not good, very imprudent--Elizabeth is tall as Cath--My three daughters still attend Mifs Kirkwood's school a most excellent school--Louisa Jane for 3 months last fall confined from a wound on the head by a boy throwing a stone in the street to another boy, but took the back of her head, we had a serious time for several weeks-- Doct Gage who married Nancy Sibley our Physician very kind and attentive, & we think well qualified. Dr. Kitteridge thinks of going to Nashua but he is so [?] that it will not be known till he starts--Dr. McQuesten 2 [sic], better come live here a fine society--Just interrupted by a call from [Lucretius?] Green who lives here with Wentworth & wife--First Sabbath in January I [united?] with Church here the next Sabbath we had our children baptised--A solemn day to me--& very interesting. Hugh Alfred4 behaved like a man, he is a fine boy a thoughtful boy & I do hope will be brought up like Samuel of [old?]--Mr. Noyes loves him & Mrs. Noyes says "other children attract attention by their bad behavior but he does [?] he is so very good!"--He visited Sandbornton in August, they have alterered so that I should hardly know the place--a sad fire had laid many buildings in ashes--Opposite the tavern is a fine house & store occupied by Esqr. Clement (where Jim Tilton used to live) [string of upper-case letters: H ? N E, C E L L A R?] &c. there will need to be a factory with a bell and the East side of Alvah Durgin's shop a very fine meeting house & good bell--it is amost close by our garden--Quite a revival there last summer5 [page torn] acquaintance--Still I would not go back for the whole town--Judge A. is [page torn] the tavern & morning light has found him there & some kind companion has then [led?] [page torn] Esqr. Tilton, same as ever--Mr. Paye very poor indeed, have almost suffered for [page torn] is of life--Dr. & Mrs. [Hoyt?] dined with me in Dec. I was sick with headache & [?] [page torn] a party that eve--I did not enjoy the visit as I should on some other day--[page torn] pleasant party, but was sick vomiting,6 no girl but an old woman to help me, next time [page torn] you will be here & lend me your help--I have attended several parties this winter very kind people, very attentive to strangers, & pious village--Mr. [Bonton?] lost his wife two weeks since, left an infant a few weeks old--she died of consumption--the babe is not expected to live--his first wife left an infant--2 hours has now pafsed with receiving calls quite an interruption to receive 5 calls one, at a time, when you are busy, it keeps the bell jingling--one was Mrs. [?] (Mifs [?] that was)--We have had a very cold snap the three past days, many are sick with influenza, Alfred has been quite ill does not leave the room. Tell Dr. we have some of old Sandbornton people for neighbors in the stone building--[Haver Evans?] Bill Kennison & [Kunnels?] put in prison for stealing--Mr. Jerry Tilton's little Sophia (that was) has married a fine young man here a mercharnt, Mr. [Lany?]--it seems there has been no sleighing since December then only for a short time very open & very pleasant like a dream--Mrs. G. Hutchins has been ill for some time, Lung complaint somewhat alarmed about her. You enquired about Molly--we sold her, to Mr. Tilton--have not had a cow since, we mifs her much--Our Maine land just the same, no calls for pay & no calls for Land--Sister Mary brought this letter down in her hand & the mud bespattered it, but you will excuse it--you see I selected a noble sheet of paper & that it is well filled--Now my dear, dear sister I do count the weeks till May when we do depend upon seeing you here & wish you to write Mary & myself immediately. Say when we shall see you--Do not disappoint us--kifs the dear boy7 for his Aunt & cousins tell him he little knows what pretty folks there are "down east" especially in N. Hampshire--Has Alcott's work reached yourself young mother wife housekeeper & so on I have read them & now reading Young [husband?]--Have also lying by me to read the Last numbers of Sargeant's Temperance Tales--"As a Medicine" & "Life Preserver" the incidents in the Stage coach were communicated by Uncle & Aunt Woods--to Mr. Sargeant when on their way to Philadelphia--Mrs. William Kent has [to?] appearance been in a dying state since Sabbath evening now Thursday--she was bad the week before ate a dinner of apple dumpling did not digest for several days brought on inflammation yesterday took leave of all her friends & appears very happy & reconciled--She is a member of Mr. Thomas's Church. Dr. Gage still thinks she may recover though all others have given her up--Say nothing to Charles about Judge A. Abby Holmes says Charles & Sally's correspondence rather drags--Tell him she is true to him--I think & hope he will be to her--give love to Jones & wife & Charles--Mary Catharine is often called Margarett [sic] by me without knowing it till spoken, she acts precisely like you & her laugh is the "facsimile" of yours, she has said to me this morning "Mother if you dont [sic] send Aunt M. a letter she wont come on this spring"--sure enough I have been [dictating?] but I find as much as I can turn my hand to in my family--Last summer was fine for blueberries I went six times with husband [?] come be with a [berrying?] time & you can then be Margarette Lerned once more in [?] not our fond hopes be realized--We hope so--8
Thursday Eve--March 7th, Hugh is now waiting to take this letter at the Office--Great excitement prevails here on account of fraud in Post Office--much money of late has been lost & an Agent has been here to find the [rogue?]--He went to London & [met?] stage then unlocked mail put two letters in--then in evening after mail was closed & ready for stage next morning took another peep but letters were mifsing--The young man at Post Office was charged, searched & evidence sufficient to have him bound over--as soon as particulars appear in print & will send you paper Love to your husband from us all & your little tot that we all wish to see--please write us immediately--It is a real spring night & before ten weeks let us see the McQuestens from Brockport--I know nothing about Bedford people--
From your affectionate Sister Louisa--
[P.S.] Mrs. Kent is living & her friends have some hope she will recover--Goodnight my dear dear friends--
1 Louisa typically uses "fs" in place of "ss."
2 This likely refers to Louisa and Margarette's sister Mary (Lerned) Flanders. After their mother died their father remarried and had five more children by his second wife. They are, in no particular order, Catharine C.P. (named after her mother), Elizabeth, Hannah, Edward and Lucy. Their father died in the early 1830's. To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.
3 Daniel Flanders, Mary's husband.
4 Hugh and Louisa McAllaster's son.
5 A corner of the page has been torn off on the page following and many sentences are left incomplete as a result.
6 Louisa's "nervous headaches" may have in fact been migraine headaches which are often accompanied by nausea, sometimes to the point of vomiting, and visual aura as well as sensitivities to light, smells, sounds, temperature and motion.
7 Calvin Brooks McQuesten, Dr. Calvin and Margarettes only surviving child, born on October 27, 1837. Calvin and Margarette had two other sons, neither of whom survived more than a few weeks. Calvin Jr. was born on August 15, 1834 and lived only ten days; James Barker was born on July 10 1841 but died 19 days later.
8 The remainder of the letter is written upside down on the top of the first page.