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W6256 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Mary Baldwin McQuesten
Aug 31 1908
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario

My dear Calvin,

It really is a shame the way I have neglected you but I am afraid there is too much of Uncle Calvin's fondness? [sic] for letter writing in one to do better.1 Mamma was going to write you to-day but as she is not able, will try to tell you all the news.

You knew about Mamma going to Sparrow Lake? Well she came home last Wednesday with a terrible attack of neuralgia and tooth-ache. Her jaw gradually swelled to an immense size, and the agony was so unbearable she has not had a good night's sleep since last Monday. She finally took morphine and chloroform which partly deadened the pain and enabled her to doze all night but of course she feels wretched this morning. Still her appetite has been better so we are hoping the worst is over. There has been quite an epidemic here of neuralgia, Mrs. Weir, Myrnie Weir Thomson & Mr. Stele of Dundas have all been sufferers.

We have had quite a peaceful summer here and August has been lovely so cool and fresh.

Mamma was so pleased to hear that the stove was so satisfactory and that all reached you safely. We have done and extra amount of tomatoes this year so you will be able to have plenty. I do wish you were here for the fruit. I never tasted such delicious melons in my life & so plentiful.

Mrs. Colquhoun and Broderick have returned but I have not seen them yet they got back Saturday. Had a letter from little Mary Taylor from England and she seems to be having a very good time. Am enclosing a card from Kate Mackenzie.

None of the relatives went up to Muskoka this year. The Van Nostrands have bought Kate's old house. Katie Irving is staying with her uncle in Toronto; Mrs. Fletcher has not yet returned but the good old doctor does not seem to mind. Of course the infant is the most wonderful child that ever lived.

We had a splendid sermon from Mr. Ketchen on Practical and Responsible Religion and in the course of his remarks when mentioning Dr. Wilbur Chapman's visit here this fall, he said, "Just to think that fifty American people have to come to Canada to evangelize it!! Seems to me like foreign missions over again doesn't it? What a shame to think that we have let our Christianity come to such a pass that some earnest Christian citizens think it necessary to invite foreigners to convert Hamilton!!" The words seem tame but I do wish you could have heard and felt the scorn in Mr. Ketchen's voice when he said it. He also scored them on several other points. If McNab Street Church does not become a power for good in the community, then members cannot blame Mr. Ketchen. He has delivered his soul often enough I can assure you. It was quite nice having St Paul's join with us. I am glad they heard Mr. Ketchen four times I intend to ask "George" and "Eliza" (Young) what they think of him.

The Ketchen baby has been quite ill and Mr. Ketchen has not been well either, a Mr. R. [Locke?] far from well. If he only had more strength. That young Wilson who has st Andrew's church in Guelph is engaged to the daughter of the Lieutenant Governor, I think, and is to be married shortly, at least so Grace Davidson said. She and Roy were down here for two weeks while Mattie was away. They went home last Friday with Roy in deep disgrace. It seems that on Thursday morning without saying a word to his mother he started off to walk to Dundas and never came back till after ten o'clock. The family were nearly distracted and poor old Mrs. Davidson was so upset that she never slept all that night. It seems that Master Roy imagines that if he keeps on walking he may become a runner equal to Bobby Kerr. All the small boys are "Kerr Mad" even our baker boy is striving to emulate him. We had a great time at Kerr's reception all the bands and small boys for miles around took part. Edna remarked that a good pair of legs gained one more renown than any amount of brains! and then proceeded to quote the passage from proverbs referring to legs of a man, she is really most comical. 2

Lorna Culham came to see us to announce her engagement to Jimmie Slater. We had our own suspicions for the last year. Olive is to go to Philadelphia for four months Hubert is out in Manitoba. Poor Carrie Barclay's man is going to marry some one else. Perhaps she has had a fortunate escape.

Edna came down from Sparrow lake with the Asmans and heard all about Ken Trigge's affair. The woman he married was a real widow with one little boy. She was married the first time when she was seventeen so is not so very old. She has quite reformed Ken. She seems very nice but rather childish for her age. Mrs. Asman said she didn't suppose she would have heard of it only Mrs. Trigge has to confide in someone. The Trigges are thinking of returning to Hamilton.3

Tom attended Baird's wedding but you will have to ask him about his experiences in connection with it; he certainly was let in for a good penny before it was over.

We were so pleased to hear about your new congregation; such news is certainly encouraging.

Had a card from Mrs. Thompson from Scotland saying she was feeling much better. Mrs. Bell is not home yet and we have not heard from her for sometime. Mrs. Mullin is still in the White Mountains. Lizzie Dunlop has at last caught Billy Marshall and they are to be married this fall. Mrs. Leitch was in to-day and wished to be remembered to you.

Bill Murray came in last evening and stayed an atrocious time. Emily Colquhoun is sick and tired of him for he lands up there every afternoon; in fact she lets the children entertain him. Hilda was so annoyed last Thursday she went up especially to see Emily and have a long talk together; but she hadn't been there five minutes before in landed the Bard and stayed all afternoon. Hilda hears quite a lot of the Colquhouns' goings on when she has Emily to herself.

Well my dear boy as my paper is covered will have it's close with much love.

Your affectionate sister,


1 Dr. Calvin Brooks did not write many letters to the family and in a letter to Ruby, it seems that his writing was forced, as if her felt obligated to write but didn't really have anything to say--it was quite comical. See W4451.

2 Bobby Kerr (1882-1963) of Hamilton, Ontario. A Hamilton park honours Robert (Bobby) Kerr, a world class sprinter. Although he was born in Enniskillen, Ireland, he immigrated to Canada at a very young age, and received his education in the Hamilton school system. In 1904, in St. Louis, he became the first Canadian ever to compete in an Olympic Games. In 1908 he won gold in the 200m sprint, and bronze in the 100m sprint, at the IV Olympics in London, England. These and many other victories let him hold the title, "world's greatest sprinter" for 15 years. Some of his records even went undefeated for 50 years. A member of the Canadian Hall of Fame, Bobby stayed active in Hamilton sport after his sprinting days. He was the president of the Hamilton Olympic Club, and helped organize one of Hamilton's biggest sports events, the 1930 British Empire Games. Some of the many athletic organizations in which he has played a part are the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada, the Canadian Olympic Association, the Ontario Athletic Association, the 91st Highlanders' Athletic Association. Mr. Kerr was also active in the Rotary Club, the Hamilton Sales and Advertising Club, the Masonic Order, and the First United Church. The Board of Education gave the City the land for Bobby Kerr Park. This property was later transferred to the Parks Board on November 12, 1968. A monument stands in the park to honour Bobby Kerr. ( - 5k - Cached - Similar page)

Edna was quoting Proverbs 26:23. "Like a lame man's legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool." ( - 61k - Cached - Similar pages)

3 Ken Trigge had been engaged to Hilda McQuesten a few years earlier, but she had rejected him because his job as a salesman encouraged him to drink and to treat others to liquor. The McQuestens believed in temperance, although there is some evidence that they considered wine to be acceptable, at least in moderation.

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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.
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