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Thesis - essays on the McQuestens and lifewriting by Mary Anderson
Timelines - a chronological list of events in the McQuesten family and corresponding historical events

1861 - 1900

Left Decoration 1673-1860 1861-1900 1901-1914 1915-1991 Right Decoration

Date McQuesten Timeline Historical Events
1861   Sept. 19, The Wesleyan Ladies' College is opened on King St. East in the former Anglo-American Hotel. It is both a day and a boarding school, and offers courses in literature, music, art, and modern languages. Dr. Calvin McQuesten provides some funding and serves as the Vice-President (1861-1872) and President (1872-1885).
1863   Father Charles Chiniquy , former Roman Catholic priest, converts to Presbyterianism at Montreal, and becomes very effective in French-Canadian conversions to the faith. He had been a dynamic preacher and temperance worker since 1845.
1865 Mary Jane Baker, attends Newmarket County Grammar, 3 term report cards extant. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated at Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth, actor, son of Junius Brutus Booth, and brother of Edwin Thomas Booth, actor.
1867   The 1st steam-driven horseless carriage (automobile) is built by Henry Seth Taylor in Stanstead, Ont.

Emily Howard Stowe (1831-1903) graduates in medicine from the New York Medical Coll. for Women and sets up practice in Toronto.

July 1, The Dominion of Canada comes into existence. John A. Macdonald is sworn in as the 1st Prime Minister.

1868 Mary Jane Baker, attends Mrs. Dr. Burns' School, 1 report card extant.  
1869   Timothy Eaton opens a small dry goods store at Yonge & Queen Sts. in Toronto.
1871   April, Census gives Religion affiliation percentages in Canada: 42,8% Catholic, 16.3 % Methodist, 14.6 % Presbyterian, 14.2 % Anglican, also 1,333 Jews. The Work Force is comprised of 42% women & children in Montreal, and 34% in Toronto.
1872   Sir Oliver Mowat (1820-1903) Liberal, becomes Premier of Ontario. He is a devout Presbyterian but is equally supported by Protestant and Catholic, rural and urban. Under his leadership Ontario comes of age, economically, socially and politically; agriculture is modernized, importance of industry is recognized, educational, scientific areas cultivated, urban probleare addressed and trade unions accepted.

June 14, The C.P.R. General Charter is introduced, authorizing construction of a transcontinental line by a private firm.

Rev. Dr. Hugh Fletcher (1833-1912) is minister of MacNab St. Presbyterian Church from 1872-1905. He is elected moderator of the General Assembly and Queen's Univ. confers on him an honorary D.D. Mrs. Fletcher is president of the WFMS at MacNab from 1887-1893, at which time Mary B. McQ. assumes the office. Fletcher's brother Rev. Dr. Colin Fletcher (1847-1927) is pastor near Stratford, his wife Anna is active in the WFMS and attends conferences with Mary B. McQ.

1873 June 18, Mary J. Baker and Isaac B. McQuesten, married in Toronto, Ontario. John Wilson Bengough (1851-1923), political cartoonist, edits his own magazine Grip for 21 years and provides editorial cartoons for newspapers. He is a social radical and satirizes the social ideals of the day and is a popular lecturer. His papers are donated to McMaster University.
1874 Mar. 20, Born, Mary Baldwin McQ. (d.Sept. 17, 1964). ("Tiny"). Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) begins work on the Telephone in Brantford, Ont.

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is founded at Owen Sound, Ont. by Letitia Youmans (1827-1896).

Dr. T. Mack forms the first nurses training school at the General and Marine Hospital in St. Catharines, Ont. He is advised by Florence Nightingale. Formerly nursing was done by nursing sisters or nuns in religious orders.

Presbyterians protest organ playing during services. McGill principal Dr. Wm. Watson leads a protest of 50 worshipers who walk out of a service at Erskine Presbyterian Church in Montreal.

1875   June 1, The first sod is turned for the Canadian Pacific Railway at Fort William.

Thomas C, Mewburn, Hugh Baker, and Charles Cory, avid chess players organize the West Side Domestic Telegraph Co. and a telegraph line is strung between their houses, approx. 7 blocks apart, enabling each player to telegraph his moves. These are replaced by telephones in Oct. 1877, and are the 2nd telephones to be leased in Can., the 1st is to Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie in Sept. 1877.

Grace Annie Lockhart is the first woman to receive a university degree, a Bachelor of Sc. from Mount Allison Univ., N.B., which is the first university in the Br. Empire to grant degrees to women.

Central Presbyterian Church installs an organ "the largest in Hamilton. The church and organ are destroyed by fire in 1906 and it is rebuilt in 1908 and the organ is replaced by a Casavant organ "one of the most magnificent in Canada."

1876 Mary B. McQ. attends first meeting to form the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS). Approx. 50 women meet at Knox Church in Toronto to form the new auxiliary. Mary serves on the executive for more than 50 yrs.

May 1, Born, Calvin McQ. (d.Aug. 2, 1968).

The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS) (Presbyterian) hold their first meeting in Toronto. It is the auxiliary to the Foreign Missionary Committee (FMC) The first president is Marjorie McLaren, wife of Wm. McLaren the FMC's first convenor.

The Asylum for the Insane, Hamilton, is established with Dr. Maurice Bucke as Supt. Isaac Buchanan sold the property to the Govt. for the hospital. It was known as an Asylum for Inebriates. A year later Bucke becomes Supt. of the asylum in London, Ont. He writes Cosmic Consciousness and is a friend of Alexander Graham Bell and Walt Whitman. From 1877-1887 Dr. James Wallace is Supt. In 1887, Dr. Charles Clarke, Asst. Supt. begins advocating that the term "asylum" be dropped, and in 1907 the name is changed to Hospital for the Insane, Hamilton. In 1919 it is changed to the Ontario Hospital, Hamilton (OH) and in 1968 to Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital (HPH). It is now affiliated with St. Joseph's Hospital Health Care.

1877 Oct. 15, Born, Hilda-Belle McQ. (d.Nov. 15, 1976). ("Hilda" "Tousie" "Tonser" "Gousie") June 20, The 1st commercial telephone in Canada is installed at Hamilton.

Sept. The 1st telephone to be leased in Canada is for Prime Min. Alexander Mackenzie.

Oct. The 2nd lease of the telephone in Canada is in Hamilton to Thomas C, Mewburn, Hugh Baker, and Charles Cory, to replace the telegraph lines set up in 1875 to telegraph their chess moves to one another.

An organ is installed at MacNab St. Presbyterian Church.

1878   July 15, The 1st telephone exchange in the Br. Empire is opened at Hamilton by the Hamilton District Co.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Lyle (1841-1919) is the minister of Central Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, from 1878-1910, and a leading figure in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He and his wife are also leaders in intellectual, cultural and social development. Their son John (Jack) becomes a prominent Canadian architect and works with Thomas B. McQ. in many of his building projects.

1879 May 3, Born, Ruby Baker McQ. (d.Apr. 9, 1911).  
1880 Nov. 11, Born, Muriel Fletcher McQ. (d.Aug. 27, 1882). July, Emily Howard Stowe (1831-1903), is the 1st woman admitted (licensed) as member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario. She graduated from the New York Medical Coll. for women and set up practice in Toronto in 1867.

Dr. Archibald Edward Malloch (1844-1919) is the family physician for the Rev. Thomas Baker family in Hamilton, and a medical, surgical pioneer in Hamilton. He is a trustee of Queen's Univ., and member of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church.

A new pipe organ is installed in St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, where Rev. Laidlawis an "initiator and reformer." Music is very important at St. Paul's.

1881   Catherine Ewart becomes president of the WFMS. She is a widow, and sister-in-law of Ont. Premier Oliver Mowat.
1882 Jun. 30, Born, Thomas Baker McQ. (d.Jan. 13, 1948). ("Tom" "Tim" "Tomity" "Tomsie").

Aug. 12, Mary-Jane (McIlwaine) Baker dies of diabetes, a newly-diagnosed disease.

Aug. 27, Dies Muriel Fletcher McQ., age 21 mos.

Mary B. McQ. is elected to Board of Management of WFMS to form new missionary society groups and to collect funds.

The Crystal Palace is visited by Isaac and two children, Mary and Hilda. It stood on 22 acres in what is now Victoria Park, Hamilton and was opened in 1860.

1883 June, Mary B. McQ. is physically and emotionally fatigued and goes to Asbury Park with her friend Mrs. MacKay for a rest. 1882 had been a difficult year, with the birth of her son Thomas in June and the death of her mother and child Muriel in Aug. Also Mary gave birth to six children in 10 years. Homewood Retreat in Guelph Ont. is named Dr. Stephen Lett, as its first Superintendent. Lett specializes in the gradual withdrawal treatment of addiction such as alcoholism and opium neurosis. Isaac McQuesten is treated by Lett in 1887. It is now the Homewood Health Centre and is affiliated with McMaster Univ.

Emily Howard Stowe founds The Toronto 's Suffrage Association and she is the principal founder of the Dominion Woman's Enfranchisement Assn. (1889).

Ann Augusta Stowe-Gullen (1857-1943) daughter of Emily Stowe is the 1st woman to graduate in medicine from a Canadian university, Victoria College in Toronto. Dr. John B. Gullen, her husband, founds Toronto Western Hospital in 1896, and she practices there, teaches at Ontario Medical Coll. for Women, and is a leading figure in the suffrage movement.

1884   The Vote is granted to Widows and Spinsters in Ontario Municipal elections.
1885 Oct. 20, Dr. Calvin McQ. dies.

Oct. 23, born, Margaret Edna McQ. (d.Nov. 10, 1935). ("Edna" "Ted" "Teddy" "Oddy").

Sept. 18 Vaccination is made compulsory and causes riots in Montreal. In Oct. a Smallpox epidemic in Montreal kills 1,391, of which 1,286 were French.

Nov. 7, The Last Spike of the C.P.R. is driven by Donal Smith. The completed Railway is 4,653 km (2,891mi.) Stretching from Montreal to Port Moody, B.C.

Civic resistance is demonstrated to the formation of a Free Library when it is feared that domestic disruption would result if women read novels.

1886   Dr. Marion Oliver (1855-1913) graduates from the Women's Medical College at Kingston (est, 1883) and is one of the first women to go to India as a medical missionary and teacher. She is involved in the "gender conflict" with John Wilkie.
1887 Sept. Oct. Isaac McQuesten seeks medical treatment from Dr. Lett at Homewood Retreat in Guelph, Ont. Dr. Lett specializes in treating alcoholism and other addictions.

Mar. 29, dies, Rev. Thomas Baker in Hamilton at Whitehern, age 90/91.

1888 Mar. 7, 1888, Isaac McQ. dies suddenly at home. The McQuesten estate is bankrupt and Mary McQ, is widowed with 6 children.

Dr. John Alexander Mullin (1835-99) is a prominent physician a health care pioneer in Hamilton, and the McQuesten's personal doctor. He is in attendance at the birth of their children and at Isaac's death. His and his wife Sarah Ann are members of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church and she is a good friend of Mary B. McQ.'s.

1889 Mary B. McQ. proposes Hamilton set up a YWCA. Hamilton establishes its first Free Library. The first library in Hamilton is the Mercantile Library in 1854, then the Mechanic's Institute, and a lending library in 1883. In 1909 Carnegie offers $75,000 for a new Public Library. Richard Thomas Lancefield is the first librarian from 1889 to Feb. He lays the foundation for the library system in Hamilton, and is active for women's rights. He is also an amateur actor and a writer. However, in 1902, his addiction to gambling causes him to defraud the library and he disappears.
1892   The incline railway at James St. begins to operate. It is the Hamilton and Barton Incline Railway project. It ceases to operate in 1931. The Wentworth St. Incline ceases in 1936.
1893 Jan. 10, Mary McQ. is elected President of the WFMS at the MacNab St. Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, and in the minutes of the meeting she signs as both President and Secretary. She serves as president or vice-president, throughout several changes in the auxiliary, for more than 50 yrs. Dec. 5, the 1st Electric car appears in Toronto, built by Dickson Carriage Works for F.B. Featherstonhaugh.
1895 Calvin McQ. joined John Alexander Dowie and the "Zion" Divine Healing Mission in Chicago. His mother ordered him home.  
1896   John Alexander Dowie's (1847-1907) "Zion" Healing Mission headquarters is a 7-storey bldg. on a city block in Chicago, and by 1901 he owns 6000 acres of land near Chicago where he builds his "Zion City." He declares he is "Elijah the Restorer," wears priestly robes, and falls into financial ruin when he begins personal mansion building and Paris vacations. He is deposed in 1906 and dies almost bankrupt in 1907.
1897 Mary McQ. sufferes a breakdown and goes to "The Sanitarium [sic] Co." at Clifton Springs, N.Y. with her friend Mrs. MacKay for recuperation Oct. The Ewart Missionary Training Home for Presbyterian women missionaries is officially opened in Toronto. It is named after the society's late president Catherine Ewart. The board consists of 3 men Foreign Missionary Council members (FMC), and 4 Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS) members. Its first Supt. is Mrs. Anna (Annie) Ross.

The Victorian Order of Nurses is founded in Ottawa by Lady Aberdeen.

Mrs. Adelaide Hunter Hoodless founds the Federation of Women's Institutes of Canada at Stoney Creek, Ont. She also helps found the YWCA and the VON. She never supports the suffragette cause.

Hamilton's first Conservatory of Music is opened in the home of Dr. C.L.M. Harris at Hunter & MacNab Sts. He is director and makes an outstanding contribution to music in Hamilton.

George Foote Foss builds Canada's 1st gasoline-driven car. He is a bicycle repairman in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

5000 gold-seekers attempt to travel 72 km through White Pass to the goldfields-the treacherous route claims many lives.

1898 Mary B. McQ. helps form the Woman's Home Missionary Society (WHMS) to bring aid and evangelism to the people in the Gold rush in the North and the West., and to immigrants. She is their first secretary.

Calvin McQ. is a journalist/reporter. He is with the Copp Clark Publishing Co. at the Toronto News, where he does general reporting and writes a women's column under the pseudonym "Nina Vivian" from Nov. 1898-July 1901. In Jan. 1902-Sept. 1903, he joins The Montreal Herald and writes the "Tatler" and many other articles. He becomes emotionally exhausted while reporting on the railway workers' strike in Sept. 1903 and tenders his resignation.

The Prohibition plebiscite vote is 278,380 for prohibition and 264,693 against. No action is taken by Parliament.

Sir William Christopher Macdonald is knighted for his philanthropy as the greatest educational benefactor of his generation. He amasses a large fortune in tobacco mfg., is a benefactor and chancellor of McGill, and founds the Ontario Agricultural Coll., Macdonald Hall and Macdonald Institute (1903) at Guelph, and many others.

John Moodie, a Hamilton textile manufacturer imports Hamilton's first motor car, a one-cylinder Winton, from Cleveland Ohio.

1899 Ruby teaches at the Ottawa Ladies' College (Presbyterian Ladies' College) until 1907 and sends her salary home for Tom's education and household expenses.

Jan., Mary B. McQ. is collecting rent from the two attached houses at 1 & 3 Bold St. after making some repairs. She and Isaac had shared these houses with her parents.

Jan 1, Two-Cent postage is announced for a letter delivered anywhere within the British Empire.

Sir John Morrison Gibson (1842-1929) is prominent in Hamilton development, a Presbyterian, an MPP, and Hamilton's foremost Liberal. He is Attorney General (1899-1904), Lieutenant-Governor (1908-14) and is knighted in 1914 for his work in the Red Cross. He and his wife are active in philanthropic and community causes.

Mrs. Anna (Annie) Ross is principal of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, or Ottawa Ladies' College, where Ruby McQ. is a teacher. Mrs. Ross's daughters, Eleanor and Jean, are teachers there also. Her son, David proposes to Ruby McQ. in 1906.

Dr. John Pringle is a missionary to the Klondike. In 1899 he arranges to send nurses to the miners and organized the building of St. Andrew's hospital the first Presbyterian hospital in Canada.

Mrs. Mary Shortreed is president of the WFMS senior executive board in Toronto until 1911. She presides over the gender struggle with the all-male FMC, over the formation of the WHMS and later the negotiations to form the WMS, which finally occurr in 1912. She then resigns.

Charles William Gordon (pseudonym Ralph Connor) (1860-1937) publishes Black Rock, The Sky Pilot, The Man from Glengarry (1901), Glengarry School Days (1902), and many others. He is a Presbyterian missionary preacher to the miners and lumbermen in the West. He is also an articulate speaker on the "Social Gospel," giving lectures and tours. His speeches are often quoted in the news. Several biographies have been written about him.

1900 Thomas McQ. enrolls at University of Toronto. The population of Hamilton more than doubled from 1870 to 1900, from 25,000 to 52,000.

William Lyon Mackenzie King, a Presbyterian social activist, becomes deputy minister of labour in 1900, and gives speeches on the "Social Gospel." Ruby McQ. hears him speak in 1903. He writes Industry and Humanity (1921) and becomes prime minister in 1921.

Left Decoration 1673-1860 1861-1900 1901-1914 1915-1991 Right Decoration

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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.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.