[This letter was sent c/o Dr. Calvin McQuesten.]W-MCP5-6.323 TO ESTIMATE RUTH ESTHER (ESTY) [BALDWIN] MCQUESTEN from her brother-in-law J.P. [or J.S.] Flanders
Jul 15 1846
To: Estimate Ruth Esther Baldwin McQuesten, Hamilton, Canada West,
From: Lawrenceville, Lawrence County, Illinois, [U.S.A.]
Our brother Wm. has given me the privilege of writing a few lines upon the wrapper he found necefsary1 to put upon his letter2 and painful as the subject is I gladly embrace it. He has already made you acquainted with the more of the particulars of the sicknefs and death of our dear Harriet3 than I could have given you in consequence of my own sicknefs. Little did I anticipate when we parted of addrefsing you under such deep affliction both bodily and mental before receiving any intelligence respecting your return to your home. Then I had firmly resolved you know to remove my family so some more healthfull county and was arrangeing my affairs as fast as pofsible. But alafs my resolution came too late to save my dear wife who had never been willing untill this summer to leave our brother Wm. & Family. A few days after you left I was taken sick under circumstances which induced me to believe that it was occasioned by the milk I had eaten and on recovering abandoned its use for a while & advised our family to do the same but as they continued to make use of it without injuring them I concluded I was mistaken and ventured to make use of butter & cream in my coffee but have used no milk since. The poison I think was taken into the system in such small quantities as not to produce any immediate effect upon it. But the fatigue occasioned by our attending the celebration which Wm. has alluded to developed the disease. This is the way the disease frequently makes its appearance. It has heretofore been the opinion of most people in this country that there was no danger to be apprehended from this disease untill after Frost occurs in Autumn. One other case has however occured near Mr. Blifs in Wabash County. My health is far from being good although it is improveing--the remainder of my family is well & have escaped this disease by not making as much use of milk &c. as Harriet & myself. I have often before witnefsed but never before felt or fully appreciated the depth of such an affliction.
Mrs. E.R.E. McQuesten [ink blot] Affectionately
J.P. [or J.S.] Flanders
1 We have retained the now archaic "fs" for "ss" construction, and the spelling errors, in this letter and its companion W-MCP5-6.324 which follows.
2 This letter is written on the page that is the envelope wrapper of W-MCP5-6.324 from William Baldwin to his sister Estimate (Baldwin) McQuesten. The news in both letters is of the death of Harriett (Baldwin) Flanders.
3 Flanders spells his deceased wife's name "Harriet" while the companion letter W-MCP5-6.324 from her brother William Baldwin spells it "Harriett."