W5359 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jul 17 1905
To: Calvin McQuesten Staney Brae Lake Joseph, Muskoka
My dearest Calvin,
Your enclosure reached me on Saturday and I was delighted to go out and pay some bills. It enabled me amongst other things to pay for the gas grate which was put in before Xmas which was quite a relief. It does seem perfectly astonishing where money goes. We have all just been trying to count it, what becomes of it, for sometimes it seems as if we should not be so close run and I should have plenty to help you boys, without your feeling troubled. Last year we had $1500 (besides my Montreal stock), as my Bold St. house needed no repair, and yet we were never closer run, and tried to be most economical. Yet when one compares the incomes of others, some require twice as much to live as well, and some have only half of it. We can only be deeply grateful for what we have, when we realize how much it takes to live.
On Saturday Tom brought Dr. Hutchison with him, I do not know if you have met him, a very nice pleasant little man, they went off this morning, the girls had to be up at five as the Turbinia leaves at 7. I am so thankful that you are in Muskoka this year, the warmest summer for many years, but fortunately the nights have been cool enough to be comfortable and our house is cool. To-day it is like a furnace outside. Mr. Ketchen is doing so well, he really preaches remarkably fine sermons, no mincing matters and so to the point1. I think that book of Gordon's is admirable. I found it very helpful2.
Nellie Mullin is here but have not seen much of her, she was here to tea one evening3. Last week we picked our gooseberries and preserved and also the cherries, had great difficulty in getting them picked and they were not very good, a great many spoiled. On Saturday the Commercial Travellers were having a great celebration, and they had a procession, really a most clever and amusing affair. Cages of wild beasts I cannot write it. Must wait till we see you. Have not sufficient energy left in me to describe it. It was indeed a good thing Jamieson left Christian work as soon as he did, before he disgraced it4. He may be sadly lacking in common sense.
Well, excuse this apology for a letter, and hope to be more interesting next time. With much love from all.
Your loving mother
1 Rev. Dr. Hugh Beverly Alexander Ketchen (1872-1961) Knox College 1901-04, ordained Hamilton, MacNab Church on May 5, 1905-46, D.D. Knox, 1928, moderator, 1943. Married Maude McAlpine McMahen of London, in 1905 and they had one son and two daughters. "He was considered an outstanding expository preacher, strong on poetic quotation and choice of language. He wrote two books: Sons of Martha (1938) which is in the Whitehern library, and The Harper of the Hills. More than four thousand sermons came from his pen and reprints regularly appeared in The Presbyterian Record. He had a "sparkling wit" and was in great demand as a speaker on Charles Dickens and Robert Burns. (BDKC 115; DHB3.103) Mary had been very critical of many of the aspiring ministers who were tested as replacements for Dr. Fletcher, but she strongly endorsed Ketchen, although she also criticized him if she felt his sermons were unsuitable (see Box 12-631, Box 12-145, Box 12-112, Box 12-119). See also, W5359, W5351, W5382, W5392, W5398, W5406, W5418, W5516, W5524, W5654, W5665, W5744, W5772, W5800, W6028, W6063, W6186, W6256, W6336, W6374, W6813, W6460, W6630, W6813, W9153, W6820, W6983, W9180).
2 Rev. Dr. Charles William Gordon (Ralph Connor) (1860-1937) was born at Indian Lands, Glengarry, Ontario, son of Rev. Daniel Gordon and Mary R. (Robertson) Gordon, married Helen Skinner King in 1899, daughter of Rev. John M. King, and had one son and six daughters. B.A. University of Toronto 1883, Knox College 1884-87, professor, ordained missionary to miners in Alberta, and lumbermen in North West Territories, pastor, Winnipeg 1894-1937, chaplain E.E.F. 1914-18, moderator 1921, F.R.S.C, D.D. Knox College 1906, Glasgow 1919, Edinburgh, L.L.D. Queen's. Gordon was an articulate speaker on the "Social Gospel" and wrote books and many articles for the Presbyterian Church. The Toronto News of May 15, 1905 reports a speech/sermon by Ralph Connor with the triple headlines: "Attacks Evils of Society," "He Is Sick At Heart," "Revelations Which Have Come to Him Have Filled Him With Sorrow and Shame." Gordon was on the "delaying" or "gradualist" side of the "Union" debate: "the proposal for union meant three things: first, halt; second, confer; third, report" (The Hamilton Spectator June 9, 1923; see W5283, W127-April 24, 1924).
Gordon, under the pseudonym of Ralph Connor wrote at least twenty-eight works of fiction. His first three books sold five million copies: Black Rock (1898), The Man from Glengarry (1901), and Glengarry School Days (1902). The latter became a minor classic in the United States and Britain. He wrote Postscript to Adventure: The Autobiography of Ralph Connor (1938). Several of his works are in the Whitehern library: The Life of James Robertson: Missionary Superintendent of Western Canada (1908), Beyond the Marshes (1900), Christian Hope (n.d.) and The Dawn of Galilee (n.d). His fiction combines the "didacticism of moral and social reform with adventure, frontier stories and lively characters." His mother was the inspiration for the "saintly Mrs. Murray" and was "the informing spirit behind many other idealized women" in his books. In 1889, he credited "women's missionary societies as the most important agents in the missionary movement in the preceding half-century" and commended their "almost perfect organization" (Brouwer 31). His work has attracted critical interest in cultural studies in "efforts to define English Canada's identity," and in studies of "religion, imperialism, women, labour and Canada's native peoples." Several biographies have been written about him and his works (OCCL 474-76; Moir Enduring 188, 193-99; BDKC 86; MDCB 303; McNeill 184, 195-96, 240). I have found no evidence that Charles Gordon was related to Dr. David Miner Gordon of Queen's (W4535), or to the "old Mr. Gordon" in the letters (W6347). While in Winnipeg in 1903, Gordon invited Calvin to do missionary work in the West, which Calvin did, see W5105n. (Best 18; W5359, W5105n, W5351, W5464, W5470, W5736, W5868, W6363, W6446, W6537, W7439, W6983, W7439).
The Gordons/Clarks/MacKays were interrelated: Mrs. Mortimer Clark (nee Gordon) and Mrs. Donald MacKay (nee Gordon) were related and Mary wrote condolences to both at the time of Gordon Clark's death (W4521; for MacKay, see W4297, W5868n; for Clark, see W4902; Tyrell 39). Charles Gordon's mother, Mary R. (Robertson) Gordon, gave an address to the MacNab WFMS in 1885 (Buttrum 3) and wrote articles for the Knox College Monthly, (1885 & 89).
3 For Mullin family, see W4521.
4 Possibly, Adam Jamieson, ordained 1896 but the record shows no pastorage or missionary postings (BDKC 107).