W5709 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Nov 5 1906
To: Calvin McQuesten MacLeod, Alberta
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton, Ontario
My dear Calvin,
I have been quite worried ever since I last wrote you, that I had ever said a word to you about that account with Methodist Book-room: I am afraid you will be worrying, that I know it. I had quite a nice note from Dr. Briggs, saying he had heard from A.C. Cameron who had said you had not been able to push the sale of books but would see to it when you returned this fall. Then he had seen Mr. McKay of Univ. Y.M.C.A. and he would be able to reduce amount shortly. In the meantime I was not to trouble about it. But what does trouble me is that when you come back to Varsity, instead of having nothing on your mind but studies, you will be trying to get rid of these books. Would Dr. Briggs not take any of them back? Or is there any one there who would take your place in the Bible Study department and try to dispose of the books1?
Had a letter from Tom to-day. His visit to St. Mary's was very unfortunate as to weather, it rained so heavily on the Saturday could not go out at all and there was a blizzard on Sabbath. He saw Mrs. Irving and Katie, they are in a comfortable little cottage2. This is foot-ball season. A great match on Saturday in Toronto between Tigers and Argonauts. Tigers winning. Stuart Macdonald was down and saw Tom there. I see the Ottawa beat Varsity by one Too bad.
Ruby is to give the Bible Reading at the Ottawa Presbyterial to-morrow. She is a brave one. We were at a grand "Tea" at Mrs. Gordon Henderson's on Saturday3. She bought "Idylwild" and it has been entirely redecorated under the Superintendence of Miss Evans4. It is very artistic and in the drawing room the lighting is entirely hidden but somehow there is no house I think looks finer than our own when it is in order unless Mrs. Thomson's5. We have been having Miss Honeycomb and had to make up my mind to treat Hilda in particular and all of them to a new machine, the old one had been quite trying for sometime though we are sorry to give it up6.
To-morrow we are having a small "Tea" for Mrs. Buchanan, it is somewhat of a trouble but last time she was here, I was invited to Auchmar to a nice little tea and we do not like to live always to ourselves7.
Edna is so much better in every way, though she gets very easily tired and I feel as if I could not worry much about anything after what we went through last winter. Her recovery was such a great mercy, so be sure and not worry. Another good thing interest on money rising. Quite a large mortgage is just due and it is being re-invested at once at a higher rate. We are having quite mild weather again. Yesterday in the morning we were addressed by Rev. Mr. Dulcos on behalf of French Canadian Mission. Do think it a shame that the Point aux Trembles School has been so neglected; it could have been such a power for good8. So much has been laid out on Queen's.
Last Wednesday night I gave an address at Knox and as they have no minister Dr. Fletcher presided, there were not a great many out, doubtless they would not think me worth listening to, at the same time I have a feeling there are very few men there, who are of much value and it is left entirely on the minister to attract a crowd9. There seem to be no elders worth any thing. Poor little Prof. Johnson thought my address ought to be published for the information of the church.
The Bells for St. Paul's church have arrived, eleven in number. Each one has been presented. One by the Ladies' Aid, another by S.S. The largest given by James R. Moodie in memory of his father, another in memory of his little girl. One by Wm. Vallance, one by Jas. Thomson one by David Kidd in memory of his father, one by the choir. Cannot remember the others; they are all sitting in a row at the church door and are quite the object of interest to the passers by10.
On Saturday night the street car men went on strike, so no cars are running. The Company never kept its word to the men, so we do not blame them. Mary and I were thinking of going to Toronto some day but must wait, we could not walk to the wharf. The Spectator had on its bulletin, "Every body walks including father11."
There are a great many weddings this month. Mr. Eastwood to a daughter of Senator (Willie) Gibson12. Roy Moodie to a Miss Farmer, and Eleanor Malloch on the 15th to Mr. Calvin of Kingston13. Hilda and Edna have gone to a social evening at the church, they are having one every two weeks.
Century has commenced a ten cent show every Saturday night just to attract the crowds off the street. Last night had Frank Yeigh, next time Jim Fax. It is a good idea I think. Well, Cal dear must close. Glad to hear you were visiting some of your old friends. With much love from all.
Your loving mother
1 Mary had written to Calvin on October 30, 1906:
So I want you to tell me all about it and not to feel badly or worried about it, for we will manage it somehow and make it up again. I have the idea that in connection with the Bible Study classes, you ordered books largely and the students did not pay you. Well you did it with the best intention and we all make mistakes. . . . You see you were just in such an excited state at that time, that I can quite understand you may not have kept a correct account of anything. So in that case we had better just pay the bill and say nothing more. Do not fret about it, I am not, for it was not your fault, your health gave out and it is just like paying a doctor's bill. Were any of the books returned? Could they be returned? Is there any one of the students I could write to see about them? (W5701). In July 1907, Mary wrote: "I was very glad to know the bill was paid at Methodist Book-room no wonder it was a large one when they charged for what you had not got" (W5912).
2 For Irving family, see W4803.
3 Mrs. Gordon Henderson (nee Muriel Sanford) was a member of the WFMS in Hamilton. "Idylwild" was located near the mountain brow. It later became a nursing home (DHB1.177). For more on Gordon Henderson and Muriel Sanford, and a description of their wedding in 1904, etc., see W4771. See also, W-MCP3-5.015, W6769, W7095, W6738, W6780, W-MCP1-3a.020, W5172, W5233, W5283, W6975, W7095.
4 I have been unable to identify Miss Evans.
5 Mrs. Robert Thomson and Mrs. and Mrs. Joseph Thomson lived at "Amisfield," see W4415.
6 Miss Honeycomb was a seamstress. She often stayed with the family several days while sewing (W5709, W6683, W6820, W8836, W8787, W8848,).
7 Auchmar was the family home of the Buchanans. The tea was likely for the wife of James Isaac Buchanan, son of Isaac Buchanan and a Pittsburgh millionaire (W4367, W4500).
8 I have found no record for Mr. Dulcos, but Moir notes that "by 1904 French Evangelization had been placed under Home Mission Board control" (Moir Enduring 154). The Point-aux-Trembles School was taken over by the Presbyterian Church in 1880 and was influential until about 1900, largely through the efforts of Charles Chiniquy, formerly a prominent Quebec Catholic priest. He "detached himself from Romanism, and with many of his people entered the American Presbyterian Church." In 1876 he was transferred to Montreal. "He was greatly in demand as a speaker. . . His fearless exposure of the evils he had witnessed in Romanism, his extraordinary eloquence and ready pen, made him a notable force in the life of Quebec, and for a time it appeared that a mass movement into Protestantism was to sweep the French population." Chiniquy died in January 1899 and "in 1902 the number of French-Canadian converts in all evangelical churches in Quebec was estimated at between 30,000 and 40,000." Since then there has been "less antagonism" and McNeill speculates that "recent notable advances in education among Roman Catholics" may have been due to the influence of Presbyterian schools (McNeill 99-100).
9 For Fletcher, see W4479.
10 The Hamilton Spectator, November 12, 1906, reported on "THE NEW CHIMES":
Dedicatory Sermons Preached . . . For a week past workmen have been busy installing the chime of eleven bells recently purchased for St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, and on Saturday night the first concert was rung on them for the public. The bells were given to the church by those who were or had been members of the church except one donated by Hon. Senator Gibson . . . and on the occasion of Saturday night's concert the streets were lined by hundreds who enjoyed their sweet tones and were not slow to express their appreciation of the music pealed forth.
The chimes played ten hymns preceding the Sunday morning service. The DHB notes that the chimes were designed "to reproduce that at St. Giles, Edinburgh" (DHB2.85). For Mary's disapproval of the chimes, see W-MCP2-4.034.
11 For the strike, see W-MCP2-4.034.
12 Likely, Senator William Gibson, banker, politician (b. Aug. 17, 1849 in Peterhead Scotland-1914) married Jane Hill (Jeannie) Davidson (b. Apr. 14, 1857 in Hamilton, Ont.) in 1876, and they produced the following children: John Gibson, Frances Isabel Gibson (b. Jan.13, 1882 in Beamsville, Ont. m. John Jennings), Lila Wylie Neilson Gibson (b. 1884, m. C. Warren Darling) Jean Lucretia Gibson (b.1886, m. David N. Finney), Florence Mary Gibson (b.1887, m. Gibson Eastwood, and later m. Frank Merrick), William Davidson Gibson, Edna Agnes Jeannie Gibson (b. Mar. 27, 1889, d. Jan. 27, 1893), and Evelyn Hannah Gibson (b. Jan. 13, 1890, m. Armand A. Smith, son of E.D. Smith). Upon Sen. Gibson's first wife's death Feb. 4, 1902 in Beamsville, he later married Margaret "Maggie" Ellen Mackie on Aug. 4, 1904.
Although, the DHB states that Senator William Gibson was married twice but had no children (DHB2.59), this information from his great granddaughter (Leslie Jennings) shows that he had 2 sons and 6 daughters. Leslie Jennings also states that it was William Gibson who supplied much of the stone for the building of the Welland Canal and it was for this reason that he was made a senator. Much of the information about the Gibsons and the Welland Canal is contained in a book "Stone from the Mountain" (Leslie Jennings, E-Mails to Mary Anderson, May 28 & 31, 2003).
The wedding mentioned in the above letter is that of Florence Mary Gibson (b. 1887) to Gibson Eastwood on November 11, 1906. Eastwood (1864-1927) was son of the proprietor of John Eastwood and Co., Liberal, alderman 1903-06, associated with the Times Printing Co., a director of the Yacht Club and Incline Railway and of several large industries. Eastwood was a trustee of Central Presbyterian Church. (DHB3.45) See also W-MCP1-3a.020.
(For Sir John Morrison Gibson, see W4436, and DHB3.66)
13 For Malloch family, and Dr. Archibale Edward Malloch and his role as the pioneer of the "Germ Theory" in Hamilton and in North America, see W4582.