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[This letter bears the postmark date of July 14, 1841.]

W-MCP5-6.379 TO MARGARETTE BARKER [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sisters Lucy Lerned and Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster
Jun 27 1841
To: Margarette Lerned McQuesten, Hamilton, Upper Canada
From: Concord, New Hampshire, [U.S.A]

My very dear Sister,

You will see Lucy has commenced this & I will fill the blank, she sent it for me from last week.1 Mother left yesterday she has done 3 weeks sewing for me, I was really in need. So much has been said about you that I cannot realize we are at so great a distance from each other and so long a time has elapsed since I wrote you last that unless you get this soon a year will have passed without any communication except papers--yet dear M. how often have I mentally prepared a letter but when the time arrived to put my thoughts in black & white, such headache with its gloomy horrors or a crying babe must be attended to or may haps a few callers, thus passes my time & I must say never so much worldly mindedness mixed with my life as now.

I thank you & sister C. for your letters and "New Year's present" and a precious one it was. I have frequently sent papers since but have had no returns since the mourning and came just day [?]. I was then quite unwell with Influenza & Howard with Canker, kept house about a month, thought much of you then, as you was at B. [Brockport] & your dear husband, when I was sick with Influenza then.

I think you or both may have as much as you can attend to, so much visiting & company eats up all the best of our time, but I must say you need a Temperance agent on there to break up your whiskey drinking. I go so far as to say wine is as bad as Brandy. I would rather stay from or leave any time than attend if they have wine it is almost banished from our parties here, some have hot coffee after the dessert, others water or Lemonade.

Mr. Hawkins the Reformed Drunkard from Baltimore was here last week, lectured 4 times, told his experience after being a drunkard 20 years. He formed a "cold water army" of children here 400 juniors & A.A.2 marches in procession through the centre town, have badges to wear in public &c. Son & mother went next time to hear [?] [?]. What should you say when you learn that your mother so feeble that she could not walk when she first came up to St. Paul's Church, should walk up to the North Church over a mile after attending meeting at South, yes & even mother back after quite a shower & bright as a button after it. This was the way sister Margarette used to fly around when she was here. We went one P.M. to State House, legislature in session, one to Ewing Circle while she was here & I thought we both enjoyed it much. Last eve C. & L [?] Brock called to tell me Mr. Butler was in town and would preach today's. Also C. wished me to call upon her as [?] [?] she was an intimate acquaintance of mine her name was Elizabeth Gardner to Miss Van Brooch, it was my sister M. she was acquainted with &c. sister & him preach this eve & shall call & see her for your sake.

I cannot write you any thing new Mr. D. Davis boards with us. We have a very pleasant kitchen to work in, back of sitting room & I must say the best babe I ever saw to take care, he has always been a pleasant quiet babe & my health has been very good since the 7th morning of Oct. Dr. [Chadbourne?] is our attending physician & think he is first rate. Nothing new here except new children, Mr. Currier has a babe a son about two months old. Mrs. Dearborn her first & so on.

We have had three new buildings put up on this street, one close by the North part of this house a fine looking one, two tenements, the old house (Manor house) at corner is fitted up for two families very fine building. Mrs. Estabrooks brother G. Damon is to occupy one part. Uncle Woods has buried his second daughter Lydia, he has twice been here & wishes me to say to you he had written you & you had not answered it. He wishes you to write as soon as you hear from me. I hope you will not neglect dear M. to gratify the dear old broken down man--he has seen deep afflictions & has borne with honorable submission the chastening void.

Charles & wife called here on their way to B. & she is very happy there. Jonas's wife at Bristol, Shiela, was very sick will not live they fear till Jonas reaches here.

Wednesday, July 7th. Well sister, this letter shall now be finished. Lucy is still here & L. Jane though they intended to have gone home yesterday morning. Lucy attended a large party last eve at Dr. John Brock & tomorrow morning will probably return home. She talks as fast as ever, has passed a very pleasant winter & I hope one she will never have cause to repent.

I think I should like much to go to Canada & good business for husband would make me say should like to live there. Lucy tells me if you should like to have me for a neighbour. Uncle McAllaster was here yesterday gave me nothing new from Bedford. He is very low spirits since the death of [?]. She had a very happy death leaving two children. Mrs. Chandler buried her only daughter the same time & Mr. McAllaster his only one, & intelligence came that Gilman latest son was dead. Mrs. Chandler appears very serious she was here not long since.

Now dear M. much love from us all to yourself & husband & family even to "Tiny man 2" kiss the dear boy for his Aunt Louisa. I wish he could [?] visit New Hampshire. I have a pretty little boy to show him by the name of Howard, 9 months old today, we think him a none such. I have requested Mary to name hers for me. Your friends all send love Mrs. Gaye & Kimball in particular. How is brother Doct? We hear often from Canada but seldom a line from him.

Do say if you receive papers if so always return one with yr. on it--if none you may put your down your N. Our street improves finally some very pretty cottages & new buildings since you left. Hope to know of your health & happiness. I know you will excuse this hasty scrawl.

From your affectionate Sister,

Louisa McAllaster.

[Written on envelope wrapper:] I had a letter L. made home brought to stove where I now for husband to fold in letter, it was rather stiff, I have put it that I dare not now send it. If I can send on in newspaper send one along soon with a great S for sign & she will make you another. Good night must time busy getting to sleep & I down to W.O. & Lo.

[Written on envelope wrapper:] July 6th, 1841, My dear sister, I am at Concord with Jane. Came last Sat [?] to pass 4th & expected to have returned this morn, but Louisa's word must be obeyed & so we stay nice to woman. Saw this letter lying on the mantle piece unfinished & thought I would write a word on [?] [?] apology for my [several lines illegible] [signed] Good Bye, Lucy.


1 This envelope wrapper contains two letters, the letters are from Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten's sisters; first, Lucy Lerned whose letter bears a Hopkinton, N.H. address and is heavily overwritten and illegible; the second letter bears a Concord N.H. address and is from Louisa (Lerned) McAllaster and is partially legible. There are several dates on these combined letters, June 20, June 27, and July 6, 1841. The postmark on the envelope wrapper is July 14, 1841. However, Margarette Barker (Lerned) McQuesten, wife of Dr. Calvin McQuesten, died on July 13, 1841 after the birth of their third son, James Barker, who lived for 6 days after his mother died. Their firstborn Calvin Jr., born in 1834, lived only 10 days. Their second son, Calvin Brooks McQuesten (1837-1912) became a doctor and practised in the U.S.


2 John Hawkins early became a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous, West Baltimore Group, but was not one of the original six. These meetings were held almost nightly, at which each man related his own experience at the court of death. As might be expected, the meetings soon began to attract public attention. These reformed men were soon invited to visit other cities and towns; and who of our older citizens has not listened to the thrilling and simple experience of John Hawkins as he portrayed the misery of the drunkard, and told the touching story of his little daughter, Hannah, persuading him to reform? This new movement spread from city to city, and from town to town, until there was scarcely a place in the United States that did not have its Washingtonian Total Abstinence Society. Men who had been drunkards for years burst the bonds that had so long bound them, and became temperance reformers. The name being quite long, it soon became shortened by daily use, and these organizations became known throughout the country as "Washingtonians." This was a rebellion of the subjects of King Alcohol against his tyranny, and as such it immediately became famous. "Hawkins Alcoholics Anonymous." Excerpted from, The Temperance Reform and its Great Reformers by Rev. W. H. Daniels, A.M., published 1878. November 15, 2003. www.a-1associates.com/AA/Washingtonians.htm - 28k.




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