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[This letter was sent care of Dr. C. McQuesten, via Lewiston, N.Y.]

W-MCP5-6.294 TO MRS. MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her uncle John Woods
Sep 28 1840
To: Margarette Lerned McQuesten, Hamilton, Upper Canada
From: Newport, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]

My very dear niece,1

Your sympathetic and highly esteemed letter of last April has lain upon my table unanswered until now. I might fill a page with apologies but I have other matters that may be more interesting. It is truly, as you have heard, I am again a widower and my child motherless. Mrs. Woods closed her eyes on all earthly scenes on the morning of the 2nd Sab. of last Oct. and her immortal spirit has I trust, went to join the praises of heaven and to spend an eternal Sabbath with the [?] above. Her voice and anticipations of future blessed sleep seemed to be forgotten as she approached the closing scene.

Thro' a kind Providence I have a very good house keeper. Mrs. [P?] Colby of Warner a daughter of Capt. Clement and sister of Doct. Clement who many years ago, I believe, studied with your Father. She came to live with us about a month before Mrs. W. died and has been with us ever since, and hope she will stay as long as I may need. She has just taken care of everything and is all but a mother to the children.

Soon after your aunt's death I found that my second daughter Lydia feverish, Physicians couldn't [?] her disease by stethoscope [?] & pronounced it a fatal case and Dr.'s do not expect her to live beyond the winter, lest there Divine [?] may yet live. [?] much more comfortable and to all appearances she attends. Yesterday she walked to meeting attended all day. During the winter lasted her Dropsical affection. She had the scarlet fever which brot [sic] her very low.

The rest of my children are in usual health. John is now in Milford, [?] N.Y. teaching & [?][?]. My sister Lydia is in the same county N.Y. and is now a widow. Her husband (C. Day Esq.) died last March. How uncertain is life How changed her condition! I have just returned from a visiting tour in New York & Mass. A week ago last Sabbath I was with your aunt Jamima (Mrs. Haynes) in [Rowe?]. Eight days before I was with our friends in Preston, N.Y., saw your uncle John Hall, Aunt Susan--visited the graves of your grandfather and grandmother, and saw a large number of their grandchildren. Your aunt Alice I suppose you know died a year or two since in Michigan. She had married a Mr. Wood who had farmed & I think was not so kind to her as he should have been. Your uncle Dr. [?] Hall is in Mount Clement, Michigan, near where Alice died, and not very far from Detroit. I understand she has a glass factory and is engaged in the manufacture of glass. It would afford me great pleasure to see them. He and his wife when I hied with them then in Mariotte, Mass, used to advocate Universalism or an infidelity, now I understand they are both members of an orthodox church--maintain [?] family prayer and appear like constant and devoted Christians.

In July last I was at Hopkinton and [?]–saw your mother and sister who were in usual health. Edward I understand is in Drug Shop at Nashua. Esqr. Breck's family started this morning for Rochester.

It was a sore disappointment to me that I did not see you or your husband at my house last fall. It would have afforded great pleasure--and that little boy too. He must be now nearly three years old--You think him, I suppose, the pleasantest & prettiest little fellow that ever was. I think the same of my Charley, hope you will bring him up for God & not for yourself & that he will live to do good, & rejoice your heart by being useful in the world. It is the greatest comfort which parents can have in their children to know that they are "walking in truth."

I am very thankful to you for your kind & affectionate letter. Should be happy to return such favors much oftener than I do. So pressing have been my cares & call of duty in years past that I know I have become a rather an uncertain correspondent. Be assured no letters of friendship merely will claim my attention before yours.

My health at present is pretty good but I am sensible that old age is coming upon me sooner than usual. I do not think it probable I shall ever undertake another such journey as that from which I have just returned. Besides a family I have a large congregation to watch over, and feed with spiritual food. It would not be very agreeable to me to travel west had I the time and means necessary, and for your sake & your family's should be very willing to act best in her Majesty's Dominions. But my attachments to my country & her situation are such as I should hardly be willing to exchange them for any other except in the obedience to an evident call of duty. Please give my very affectionate respects to your Doctor Husband & your darling boy [?] & notice me to be sincerely yours,

John Woods.

[P.S.] Since my return from New York I have written to Dr. Hall and among other things, have given him your plan of visits [?] thinking it possible he may some time call on you. Think you ever to come [?] to New England again while I live I hope you will not fail to spend some time at my house. If we meet not in this world, I hope we still meet in a better to post no cares. May you enjoy the presence & love of God and know the Blessings of the poor in spirt and the pure in heart.


But after the foregoing was written I became quite unwell with a cold & feverish symptoms & that as [?] was raining, I kept to house & your letter remained out of the mail. I am better today, and hope in a day or two to be as usual.

1 The postmark reads October 7th, 1840. See the writer's comment about the letter not being mailed immediately due to his poor health.

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