W-MCP6-1.424 TO RUBY MCQUESTEN from her brother Rev. Calvin McQuesten
Sep 23 1910
To: Ruby B. McQuesten [Gravenhurst, Ontario]
From: Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
My dearest Ruby,1
At present I am engaged in planning all kinds of pleasant things in case I can manage to get Chalmers Church on the Mountain. It will certainly be very enjoyable for us all to be together again; and I will be able to keep you in order by practising my sermons on you if you seem unruly. This week I have been having quite a giddy time. Presbytery met in Saskatoon on Tuesday afternoon. So I thought I would take the chance to run up to Prince Albert, as I wanted to see that part of the country. It is not prairie there, but has a good deal of bush, mostly poplar, but with some pine also. I thought it quite pretty, and they told me that they did not have the prairie winds. The Presbyterians have much the finest church there, the minister being a brother of Rev. Mr. Young of St. John's Church Hamilton. I called on him & he seemed quite a fair fellow. I also looked up Gourlay Colquhoun, who seemed so delighted to see me that I was sorry I could not stay longer, as he wanted to take me out for a drive.
The meeting of Presbytery was also quite enjoyable. Some of us rebelled against the custom of having the meeting consist exclusively of business which is usually rushed through in three or four hours. We thought it was scarcely worth the time & expense it took to get there. Some arranged to have devotional conference in connection with each meeting, and commenced on Wednesday morning by having each member tell in a few words what was the greatest service of inspiration in the work. This proved most helpful & enjoyable. We then discussed the Union question, and it turned out that every one there was in favor of it.2
We also ordained Harry Davidson, the boy who was going to take you out for a drive in Winnipeg if you had been able. I had not seen him since and it was quite pleasant to meet him again. I called on Mrs. [McCranny?] & found her making fudge, so she presented me with a box. I stayed with Rev. Mr. [Murrand?], who "baches" & had a part the day before doing up fruit.
To-day I am acting as deputy returning officer in connection with the voting for a municipal by-law. For this I receive $5.00 for the day for my services, & $3.00 rent for my shack. The poll opened at nine & closes at four; but nobody has come yet & it is now 12:30, so it looks like easy money. Don't tell Edna or her eyes will pop out of her head at the thought of it.
Mama's letter of September 10 reached me on Saturday and I was glad to hear that you were all so well.3
I will see if I still have the copies of the British Weekly which she mentions. I had already written to Mr. Ketchen to get me hearings at Chalmer's & Beamsville when her letter came.4
Must close now, with much love,
Your affectionate brother,
1 This is the only surviving letter in the Whitehern archives that was written to Ruby. It is assumed that she kept most of the letters with her until her death in April of 1911, after which they may have been destroyed. In a letter to Calvin in 1909 Ruby commented on her relationships with her family, experienced through writing and receiving letters. See W6555 for this reference, and W4451 for an earlier letter written to her by her uncle Calvin Brooks McQuesten. Ruby passed this letter on to her brother Calvin at W4454, and she comments on how she wants to keep it for her amusement.
2 The Union question refers to the Union of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalists into the United Church which did not take place until 1925. The West supported it because they had so many small churches which were all spread out, but many churches in the East did not. For more on Union see W0127a W5283.
3 For more information on Ruby's illness, Consumption (tuberculosis), see W6135, and for Ruby's biographical sketch, click on "Family" on the Home Page, and then on her picture.
4 Rev. Calvin did not get the position at Chalmers Church.
For a note on Dr. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) and his influence on the origins of the Presbyterian Church structure, see W5283.