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W1652 TO W.F. WALKER from Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten
Jun 21 1888
To: W.F. Walker
From: Dobbs Ferry, New York

W.F. Walker Esq.

Dear Sir,1

Your favor of the 18th inst. with your bill and check for balance of 30% dividend from Harvey & McQuesten's Assignee.2 I suppose your bill is all right, but am very much surprised at the amounts that were taken out before the dividend was paid.

Truly yours

C.B. McQuesten

[Included with the above letter:]


Will you please do up all my papers & send to Mr. Chisholm & forward to me by express or mail as may be cheaper.

Your letter with enclosing & Mr. Jones as solicitor for S.P. Sawyer arrived yesterday & I hasten to answer that I resign all claim to the Worsted Co.'s stock and hope it will turn out so as to pay S.P. Sawyer's claim without any trouble or time lost. Business is quiet but do not think it is as bad as last year.

I did express the desire to take the [Alexandra] Arcade & pay the Old Lady's annuity [Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten], but never agreed to pay the back taxes on the Arcade.3 You suggested that, but I went on the principle that as all the money Mary paid out to cancel debts was in reality making investments and no loss to her she could afford to get a good bill. All that I have done clear and bill [sic] by settling with the creditors of Isaac is clean mine, out of pocket, and put into her pocket.

Also it was half of my money that kept the Life Insurance policies going except a little from Mr. Baker. The six to eight thousand a year they were spending was half mine & was not a very honest way of treating the poor fool of a brother. But enough, I never intended to write thus, but as I want you to be fair & square it is as well to look on both sides--and at the same time keep your own counsel as one equally trusted by both parties.

You must do the best you can with Mr. Gallagher & if his lease is up this fall figure up just what the two rooms are worth & then make the best terms you can on a five year or three year lease--if not up this fall let the room go for $150 if he put the doors in.

[no signature]4

1 It is difficult to determine if this is one letter or two; however, we have determined that it is one draft of one letter. The final copy would have been sent to Walker. The Calendar states that this is one letter and the draft of another letter, but it is more likely that it is one letter. We have treated the second part as a P.S. The letter covers 4 pages, and the writer numbered the final two pages 3 & 4, so that would indicate that the first two pages are 1 & 2. The second part appears to be written in pencil, or a fainter ink than the letter itself, and it begins on the bottom of the first page of the letter.

2 John Harvey and Isaac McQuesten (Calvin Brooks' younger half-brother) were partners in operating the cotton and wool mill during the 1880's but the mill failed with $900,000 in liabilities, from which Calvin Brooks is seeking to absolve himself. See W2652 for more information. Also see his biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on his picture.

3 According to the Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 26, 1910, the Alexandra Arcade was built in 1853 and was located on the south side of King street, between James and MacNab Streets. [There is some dispute over the location of the Arcade, there is also evidence of an Alexandra Arcade on 33 James St. North, (with illustrations). It was variously used as the Mechanic's Institute and Library, the Academy of Music, the Liberal Club, a department store, business offices, The St. Andrew's Society, the Canada Business College, and the large hall on the top floor was used for large social functions, such as the Bachelor's Ball, and bazaars. The $30,000 mortgage on the building was held by Isaac B. McQuesten and went into his hands in 1880 when the Mechanic's Institute closed its doors, while the 14,000 library books were auctioned off in lots, bringing in enough funds to settle the various debts. (Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 26, 1910).
However, there is some dispute over the location of the Alexandra Arcade which was at 33 James St. North, with the name clearly inscribed at the top. It housed the Canada Business College, and several other business and enterprises. {See drawing of same in "Canada" volume in Special Collections).
The Hamilton Spectator, December 6, 1886, carries a report of a fire at the Alexandra Arcade but it does not note the address. (see Box 14-117)

After Isaac's death and bankruptcy in 1888, the building was saved from the creditors and his brother Dr. Calvin Brooks took over the property and rented it out to pay his step-mother's annuity (Elizabeth Fuller, Mrs. Dr. Calvin McQuesten). It also provided some income for himself. He sold the Arcade in 1910 (Box 12-316). When he died in 1912, he left an estate of $36,000 to his sister-in-law, Mary Baker McQuesten.

The tone of the letter is somewhat angry and likely justifies the fact that we have no record that the Uncle, Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten ever gave any money to the family except after his death when he left $36,000 to mother Mary. He was a bachelor, had a profession, and a steady income, and might have been able to assist the family when they were impoverished after is brother Isaac's death in 1888. We have absolutely no record that he ever helped Tom or Calvin with their education. Ruby sent her salary to Tom for his education and helped with other expenses at home--and Chisholm helped occasionally. Ruby died in April, 1911 of tuberculosis. For more about Ruby, see W6135 and see her biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.

4 For documents relating to Dr. Calvin brooks and the settlement of Isaac's estate, see: W1647, W1656, W1658, W1661, W1672, W1675, Box 12-316, W8721, Box 12-440, Box 12-069, Box 14-117. And see W6718fn for evidence of his wealth at the time of his death, when he left Mary $36,000--but over those many years of the family's impoverishment (1888-1912) he never once offered to help with Tom's or Calvin's education costs, or with Ruby's health costs, yet he must have been aware that Ruby was literally working herself to death to pay for Tom's education in law, so that Tom might finally restore the family. Ruby died in Apr. 1911 and Dr. Calvin Brooks died in Feb. 1912. It is difficult to account for this, especially since Dr. Calvin Brooks remained single, but he may have remained bitter about the settlement. It is clear that he was eccentric.

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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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