[This letter was completed by three different writers. The fist part is written by Catharine Lerned, the next part by John Fisher, and the last part by Catherine B. Fisher.]W-MCP4-6.236 TO DR. CALVIN AND MARGARETTE LERNED MCQUESTEN from her sister Catharine Lerned and her cousins John and Catherine Fisher
Mar 23 1838
To: Margarette Lerned McQuesten and Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, New York, U.S.A
From: Hamilton, U.C. [Upper Canada]
Dear sister Margarette,1, 2
I will give you a history of my journey here & what has since occurred before referring you to "business" of
more importance. Mr. Budlong left me at 1 o'clock at
Poverty Corners3 & returned home by way of Clarkson. I remained there till four when feeling hungry called for dinner, before it was ready however the stage drove up and I was off. Had for co. Esq. Silden, Isaac Elwood, Esq. Boss & others from Rochester bound to Court at Lockport. Esq. S. was very talkative & polite, was not
inquisitive said it was not so pleasant now as in June--
but that my going East in April was with the uncertainty
of my return sufficient reasons for laying aside bad
weather & bad roads &c. &c. Esq. E. W. Brother to Esq.
E. a wild fellow, very talented, & full of jokes,
extracts from Virgil, Shakespeare &Milton, &c. We had none but lawyers and judges & one lean lot of Her
Majesty's 24th Regt. Dragoons [?] on board. Traveling very bad. Took Tea at Inns. Sir George Arthur was only one day behind us, accompanied by son & one servant through the "Blood Thirsty District" as it is here termed by Royals in safety & with the utmost respect & attention
showed him. Public Dinner in New York & Albany &c. We
had to walk three miles before our entry into Lockport
knee deep in mud oh! horrid. The way was enlivened by jokes and storys [sic] in which Esq. S. bore a conspicuous part. Esq. S. and unit stopped Lower
Town--Dragoon & unit at Upper Town 5 o'clock mon. 45
miles in 11 hours. Dragoon & self took stage for
Lewiston with others at 4 o'clock. We proceeded in
safety till just before day light when we were upset off
a bridge down a steep bank into a large pool of dirty
water complete somerset [sic] wheels in air. I happened to be on top of the rest and got out first. Poor Bernard was under me & was completely soaked with mud & water. No one hurt, carriage not broke. Obtained yoke, oxen & righted coach & put on. Cloak was half full of water as it lay. I escaped with muddy clothes & wet feet.
Proceeded on three miles when our bolt broke and we were
left without horses & front wheels with the front part in
the mud. Got new bolt & onward. Passengers chose to
walk on & Pekin in the Indian Reservation. Took
breakfast & proceeded in safety to Lewiston. [B?] &
refreshed night in horse coat. Beautiful inn--Queenston Heights--Brock's Monument, the two towns within gate--the majestic river & its valley with the thousand birds that showed it and soon all tended to raise my thoughts to my heavenly father:
"And I said to myself if there's peace be found,
a heart that is humble might hope for it here"
Bernard and self parted, he to Toronto to receive his equipment &c & then for his station at Amherstburg & I on to H [Hamilton]. We were asked a few questions & suffered to pass it landing at 2, but his being a Dragoon & my being in his car were our passports. A noble and frank, a soul forever animated, mortal clay animated--Bernard.
So I changed all my money at B. in Canada bills was not able to pay bills along but B. paid them for me & when we parted at 2 took my money on L.C. Banks [Lower
Canada Banks?]. He had nothing but specie "Queen's
Currency." Started from 2. At 12 on Tuesday, arrived at
St. Catharines at tea time. Took tea & on to H.
[Hamilton], which place we reached in safety at 10
Wednesday morn. Now here I am in Hamilton.
Such horrid traveling--Oh. Davy Crocket with a
companion. H. is a very pretty place. I should like to live here much. Hem, hem, hem. Quite muddy walking in
town. Talk'd with druggists in town. Quite tired.
Thursday--saw them cast at Furnace--novelty. Had more talk druggists. Bichle--Leyton--Winer--Had a sing in eve hrs. & had F. [Fishers] & self--visited reading room. There are a guard of 25 soldiers here in different parts of town.
Friday--Saw the mount--Read several hours--played flute & sing &c. Rainy day & cold. Long talk with Mr. F.
about--["hatters"?] & "things."
Saturday--Read medicine several hours. Played flute & sing. Warm & pleasant day. Bay not open yet--Militia parade 40 horse 150 foot. Visited court house, jail &c.
Sunday--Attended Congregational Church with M. & Mr. F. in A.M. & the afternoon attended a read class in the Sabbath school which is yet kept in opperation [sic]--70
scholars--eve spirit in singing &c.
Monday--Long talk with Mr. Winer, wants to hire me
very much as his clerck's [sic] time is up. I shall stay for the present & maybe for a year--if you move here--he wants to sell out to Dr.--will sell cheap. He will send me east on business this spring & will spare me to make a visit home, so I think I shall omit lectures for present as the Dr. advised.--Board & $20. a month--worth twenty
thousand made all in druggist business--was not worth one
farthing when he came here--Will warrant you to make clear
of all expenses $2000. a year. Good business $10,000.
Oldest shop in town. Good set of customers--six month's
pay--about $3000. Stock--at cost--good time--Wants to sell
building $4000, in two years worth 6000. Was offered it
three years since--hard times--more proffit [sic] on goods here than in B.--& talk of going down the lake on business for Mr. F. soon to collect--some a/c--health
good--contented--like here--VERRY MUCH!! All send
love--write soon & inform me of affairs in B.--How is
Have just been up to Court to the trial of REBELS4--court adjourned till tomorrow--at 10--they have an
exprefs [sic] line from Quebeck [sic] to Amherstburg every ten miles, two riders to courier intelligence to head quarters. Mr. & Mrs. Fisher will fill out this
sheet therefore shall not attend much to "businefs"
[sic]. Yours &c.
TO DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin John Fisher
I rec'd your letter by Mr. Samuel and a day before
he reached--I have arrangements on the 5th of this month
for the money and such arrangements as I doubted not
would enable me to send you the sum you expected--I have
likewise a note due at the Bank at Toronto of $240 due
the 3rd of the present month and a note of $448 due the 9th [of the present month] at the Gore Bank for the 10
Tons of Scotch Iron bought last fall--I went to our bank
on the first of the month to purchase a Draft for you--
having paid Note at Toronto--but the Bank would not sell
me a Draft--I then mentioned the Note of $448 due [the]
9th and asked how much they would require of us to renew it--I had before writ one of the old Directors and he had informed me that I would be under the necessity of paying but the interest and a very small part of the note $50 at most. They never require but one half--But I was now informed that Jason the person of whom I had bought the Iron had taken it to Brockville when it was disposed of and endorsed by a third party and then sold at the Brockville Bank--by then it was sent to the Upper C. Bank and by then to the Gore Bank. It had to be paid on the 9 or at least $60 cost made--The note was payable at our bank and was to have been discounted there--I say nothing in relation to the [?] of Jason who never intimated it to me. Hill should have assisted you could. I have bought
a draft but I could not then raise the money for the note
and obtain other means that would answer your purpose. I
had seen Davis & Ford and they thought they would pay me
$400 by the 6th. I waited for that, about the 10th they
wrote that they could [written crosswise over the
previous section of the letter] pay me till the 10 or 16--and now they say we must wait 14 days longer, when we
may depend on it--but then I know not in what shape you
can obtain it--there is no space to be had.
You mention coming out in to [sic] weeks if so you can make such arrangements as you think best. I want very much to see you--Wilson is a Radical as a pollitician [sic] and of course is not the man to attend to his business. There is now here a man with some cash say $1000 and other property which he thinks he can turn to cash who would try to make some arrangements with us in reference to making some arrangements to making stoves--and will wait till you come out--When I see you I think you will be satisfied with the bargain I have made with Janes yet I should not have concluded it had I rec'd your letter before. Business at present looks more promising than it has since last fall--I have settled with Janes for the past year and have security for all he owes us.5 I
hope he will be able to Back up and pay [?] the [?].
I am yours respecfully
TO MARGARETTE LERNED MCQUESTEN from Catherine W. (Blanchard) Fisher
Dear Cousin Margarette,
My only apology for not writing you before this is
waiting for my Husband for I feared that what I had to
say would not be worth 10 pence. I started from Hamilton the next Monday after I left Brockport. I left little John at Warsaw on account of new rumours of war which reached us the day we left. I now regret that I did not bring him with me, should be glad if I could get some opportunity for him to come home. I had a very pleasant journey and was very glad to get home once more. It is very peaceable here at present and the prospect is that it will remain so. It is expected that the prisoners
will all be set at liberty.6 We hope soon to see Mr. Parker7 restored to family and friends. I think if we could have a Minister once more it would seem like home again. I often think of my pleasant visit to Brockport and my visit to Holley. Hope you and your little one and Husband are all well and shall have the pleasure of seeing you all in Hamilton before long.
Yours very affectionately,
C.W. Fisher [Catherine W. (Blanchard)Fisher]8
1 The Index for the Microfilm is in error here. It states
that this letter is from Catherine Fisher in Hamilton,
Ont. to Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten in Brockport.
However, the first part of the letter is from Catharine Lerned, who is
visiting in Hamilton, Upper Canada, to her sister
Margarette McQuesten in Brockport, and it describes her trip to Hamilton from the USA. The second part of the
letter is from John Fisher in Hamilton to his cousin Dr.
Calvin McQuesten in Brockport.
The last part of the letter is from Catherine Blanchard Fisher.
2 This letter was very faint and difficult to transcribe.
There will be errors in transcription, but we have done the best we can. There is much interesting information about a long and arduous trip from the USA to Hamilton, Upper Canada, and news about Hamilton in 1838.
3 Poverty Lane is near Lebanon in New Hampshire, which would
coincide with Catherine's journey east from her home in
4 The rebels are the prisoners taken at William Lyon
Mackenzie's rebellion of 1837. See W-MCP4-6.193.
5 Mr. [Joseph] Janes was a business partner in the foundry. Apparently, he and Fisher had some difficulties working together and eventually Janes ran off, leaving his wife and numerous debts behind. For more details and links, see W-MCP4-6.237. For Fisher, see W-MCP5-6.240.
6 These are the Mackenzie's Rebels taken prisoner during the Rebellion of 1837.
7 For more about Parker, see W-MCP4-6.193.
8 It is not quite clear whether the name Catherine should be spelled Catharine, both for Lerned and Blanchard Fisher. The Calendar lists Catharine Lerned, mother and daughter. Mrs. Blanchard Fisher signs herself Catherine. John Fisher also writes Catherine. Minnes, however, uses the spelling Catharine in her biographical information on John Fisher.