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Mary and Isaac on their wedding day, June 18, 1873.W1380 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his sister-in-law Mary Baker McQuesten
Jun 8 1873
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten 213 East 53rd St. New York
From: 34 Gloucester Street Toronto

My dear Calvin

You will, I trust, question this rather familiar manner of addressing you, but I didn't like the idea of treating as a stranger one who is soon to be my 'big brother' too, and with whom I hope, to be ever on terms of warmest friendship.1

But I have not time to write a lengthy epistle and therefore I must come at once to the point, which is to invite you to my wedding. We shall all be very glad to see you and in fact will be very disappointed if Isaac's only brother is absent. It is to be a quiet affair, and therefore not very much inducement to come so far, and I know, it must be difficult for you to get away from your engagements, but still, if you can come I shall take it as quite a favour to myself, and Isaac is very anxious to have you.

Believe me, yours very sincerely

Mary Baker

1 Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten (1837-1912), Isaac Baldwin McQuesten's half-brother was practicing medicine in New York and despite of Mary's special pleading Calvin Brooks did not attend the wedding (see also W2408). In W2405, written six days before the wedding, Isaac writes to Calvin Brooks that his presence is desired and that if it is needed that Isaac will send him money from their father's account so that it would go to them and not their demanding stepmother, Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten, (see W-MCP5-6.351). It is possible, however, that Calvin Brooks felt that Isaac was taking more than his fair share. Isaac even admits guiltily that "I have had more than my share of money; and I do not want to be on one whit better footing than you are; and if you simply hinted to one that you were hard up, I should have sent you more funds at once" (W2405). On January 6, 1873, Isaac writes that he has convinced their father to allow him to have a fob chain made and inscribed for Calvin Brooks instead of sending him money (W2311). Calvin Brooks may have needed the money although it is not certain whether or not he was in fact in financial need; it may simply have been the case that he resented his brother's control and distribution of their father's finances.

Furthermore, it is also possible that Calvin Brooks did not want to be pressured into staying in Hamilton once he was there. Isaac had frequently reminded his brother that once he and Mary were married and had a home of their own that their father would be left alone with Elizabeth and repeatedly suggested that Calvin Brooks move to Hamilton to stay at "Whitehern" to defend their aging father against his shrewish wife. However, despite his repeated discussion of the issue, Isaac did acknowledge that such a move may be disadvantageous for his brother (W2328).

Dr. Calvin Brooks lived in New York until 1908 when he moved to Hamilton, 49 Main St., near Whitehern (W2511, W3854, W4283, W4327, W4462, W5691, W5812, W6090, W6173, W6188, W6409, W8239).

As for Mary and Isaac's courtship, the engagement was broken by Mary in 1870 due to Isaac's excessive drinking. She asked him to swear to give up his alcoholism, and determined to wait a year before resuming the engagement. Mary H. Farmer states that "Isaac became an alcoholic early in life" and that "alcoholism may have been the cause" that led to his death in 1888 (CMQPW 8; W2520). The engagement was broken more than once: See W-MCP5-6.257, October 1871, in which the engagement is on again. In W2339 March 1873, Mary renews a broken engagement just three months before their marriage.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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