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W5769 TO MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN from her daughter Ruby
Jan 18 1907
To: Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario
From: Ottawa Ladies' College

My dearest Mitherkins,

It is Thursday but I'll start my epistle anyway. I have been thinking you'd imagine we were frozen here with the thermometer 30 degrees below as a Frenchman who came in said, "It is Oh vera cold when you count tirty marks below on dat ting." But we have not suffered--we couldn't want our sitting room warmer than it is now & I've been so comfortable myself that I actually haven't needed my hot water bag since I came. It certainly was cold out but then you don't suffer much of you're warm indoors.

Yesterday we went out down Albert, into the first store--Jarmann's on Bank St. & then up to Ross & then to see an Art Exhibit of Mrs. Reids--some beautiful pictures. We spent an hour there & reached home by going into Jarmann's again before making the final dash up Albert St.
Friday Morning

Here I am again. Yesterday & to-day were snaps for so many girls didn't come to school with the cold that I had ever so many spares. And now I'm having an unexpected spare. So you see [?] Jack Frost is not always an enemy.

Last night I bundled up with a cloak & went to the Robinson's. They have a Miss Leila Sampson staying with them who is to be married in the spring to the Rev. Mr. Mackay of Crescent St. Church, Montreal. She's a pretty dark eyed girl, not young I should say, that is out of her thirties considerably, I should think.

This morning Eleanor Ross & her mother start for Toronto. Eleanor is to stay at her uncle's & Mrs. Ross expects to be travelling around holding meetings etc. till about April when she will be in Toronto a couple of weeks before going West.1

Mille Vessot is back again after her sister's funeral.

Did I tell in the letter to Edna that we had a case of mumps but the girl was able to go home & no further cases have developed. The two young McCreas next to me groaned & moaned last night as if they would never see morning. So I made them have the doctor & he said there was nothing the world the matter--give them cascara or castor-oil & Boydie [Miss Boyd] says let it be castor-oil sure & see they get it. So they're in for it the young varmints.

Your fine letter came last Friday just after I had sent off mine but I don't think there was anything to answer.

This morning came a letter from Wade Alex replying to my Birthday letter & in it one of the postal card groups of the four generations. It is such a pretty little group it will be nice to keep. I've been trying to answer some long put off letters that came from girls in the fall and my letter rack looks much better.

Well dearest there is no special news. Isn't that a fearful catastrophe in Kingston? 2
3 p.m.

School is over but--I was just going to say your letter hadn't come but hurrah! it is here and one from Ted [Edna]. She is awfully good to write but tell her not to mind the handkerchief or the mauve soap box--I'll make her a present of the box, it is nice face soap. You are a busy family. Well dear I must just send this off. I'm not suffering with the cold dear.

With much love & love to all,

Your loving child,


1 For the Ross family, see W4651, W6135, W5630. This is likely the report of Mrs. Ross going West with her son David, who was intent on building a log cabin for his mother, his sister and another sister's children. He had proposed marriage to Ruby but Mary McQuesten, her mother, insisted that they wait for two years until David was "established" and she did not think that living in a log cabin was a suitable life for Ruby. Also, the family needed Ruby's salary for another two years in order to put Tom through University. For the story of the aborted engagement, see W6135, W5630, and for a biography of Ruby, click on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.

2 Kingston, Jamaica, Disaster--The Earthquake of 1907--MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 1907, 3:30 p.m. It was a regular day sunny and hot with a cloudless sky and what was said to be a faint breeze. At 3:32 p.m. the city of Kingston was busy enough, all was alive and well. Suddenly there came the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, followed by the sound of a train roaring in a tunnel and the violent shaking of the earth so that men and buildings were tossed about like puppets. Screams split the air. Within 10-20 seconds a town of 46,000 had been rendered immobile hundreds lay dead or dying buried beneath mounds of rubble and dust. By 3:33 p.m. three shocks had been felt and every building in Kingston sustained some damage; many in the lower part of the city were destroyed. . . . Days later Kingston resembled a ghost town empty, silent, dark and broken. 2,000,000 [Br. Lbs.]of damage was assessed and over 800 people lost their lives. The Gleaner and the Jamaica Daily Telegraph published death tolls which were scanned by thousands searching for news of loved ones. Only a few received proper burial. Some were buried in large trenches in the May Pen Cemetery and some were burnt without ceremony.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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