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W0486 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Mrs. Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster.
May 10 1839 [estimated year]1 Friday Eve.
To: Margarette Lerned McQuesten [Brockport, New York]
From: Concord, New Hampshire

My Dear Sister,

At 1 hr. past 9 this morn I was listening to your letter which Cath received in mothers kitchen, and now at home disappointed and lonely Tuesday, shut up the house, Hugh started for Boston in stage & Alfred & myself for Hop. [Hopkinton]--girls boarded out--returned since tea expecting husband back tonight but "he's far awa."

Oh my sister after so long an absence we are delighted with the prospect we now have of seeing you and that darling boy--Charles made us a call Tuesday and said you were coming on with Mrs. Minot--he gave me much information respecting you and family & this morning your long talked of visit was confirmed by Cath.'s letter--I wish Concord was first on the list of your stopping places, but I suppose Mothers will be first though Mary does wish you would make her house your home--I do hope you will make it so a good part of the time, she is a most excellent good woman & is universally beloved, it is not just so with mothers family, though mother is very different from what you once knew her. Mary does talk much & think much of you, she cannot shew [sic] as fine a house or be so fashionable, but "Mary has chosen that good part."2

I did not stop at mothers any, but called two or three times a day to wait upon her, & see her, she had quite an ill turn of thought no one could fix her medicine but then Cath was little vexed and gave a few of her quick words which with all others from her pass unheeded as the wind. My thoughts now are much on your visit here--you must spend Election with me, I should like to find a girl to do my work this summer that I may be with you, I have done alone 8 months--I shall fix your chamber room which looks into Hubbard [?] & William Estabrooks & is now my sitting room--yes I can even now imagine where you will sit, shall have the great rocking stuffed ready to support your back & hope you will have a pleasant journey.

Tell Doc, he used to talk to me about feeling bad to leave my children & so on now as he once wrote to me he "prick up his ears like a young colt" & set his face like a flint, for I understood that you come without him.3 Well we will promise to take good care of you & tot both. Let son wear flannel on his journey nights I would in midsummer--take your own sheet or you may have wet ones on the waters. I took mine off the [?] though I was in [Pocket?], not so particular perhaps.

Monday Eve [9?] o'clock Well my dear Sister Charles is expected in every moment for this letter & I will finish though I am as tired as a dog. Hugh has not seen Charles yet he has been to [Gilmanton?] with L Jane & Mary Cath--they are all life telling [their?] good visit eating their Luncheon in the woods picking May flowers plums &c. They send much love to you--you will see in Mary Cath one that acts precisely like my sister Margarette--I am teasing husband now to go to [Bfst?]. Charles gives such a good account of your village--Well Charles and Hugh are just shaking hands down stairs & I must go down to see him--with the expectation of soon seeing you my sister--I hope you will not stay long at Hopkinton for I shall be very anxious to see you--hope if I have no girl that I shall not hear you are at Hop for I shall be so loath to stay at home but do come see me--make no promise to Mother nor Cath for they will not wish you to tell the truth about Edward4 & it is now leaked out in every corner--Love to Dr. has he any encouraging prospects to offer Hugh [?]. Good Night, dear Sis, from your loving sister Louisa.

[on back of letter:] Mrs. Margarett B. McQuesten, Brockport, N. York, Per Mr. Minot


1 Friday, May 10, occurs in 1839, and this coincides with the statement in paragraph two about seeing the "darling boy" who would be Calvin Brooks McQuesten, born October 27, 1837. Their first child Calvin Jr. was born August 15, 1834 and lived only ten days. See also W0137 for Margarette's visit to Hopkinton, N.H. in June 14, 1839 with "baby Calvin Brooks McQuesten."


2 In Jesus' words at the end of Luke 10:42, "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her"; this is from the story of the two sisters Mary and Martha, who lived with their brother Lazarus near Jerusalem. Martha works herself to distraction preparing an elaborate meal, while Mary sits at Jesus's feet and listens to his message. The passage suggests that Martha would have done better to simplify and leave time to listen to Jesus."

"Mary has chosen the good part." December 27, 2003. http://www.saint-mark.org/maryhcword.htm.


3 Around this time, Dr. Calvin McQuesten was planning to move his family to Hamilton and this may have been Margarette's "parting visit" to her mother and sisters. See W0144 and W0978. To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.


4 There is some scattered evidence indicating that Edward's character was rather flawed and quite possibly unscrupulous as well. In the 1830's, Dr. McQuesten took Edward into his home to supervise his education, but Edward later threatened to sue him over money he claimed he had not been paid for working at the pharmacy of Budlong & McQuesten. He had also acted as a witness against Dr. McQuesten in a defamation suit launched by Mrs. Jones at the same time. Edward's sisters, particularly his half-sisters Louisa (Lerned) McAllaster and Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten appear to be displeased with him, see W0144fn.

In a letter to Dr. Calvin McQuesten in 1874, Lucy Lerned writes

In ''69 we lost our dear Mother who had [grown??] more & more dear to us--At the same time Edward came in, only to disgrace his home. We had done much for him & much for his children--Edward had never done one favor for his Mother or sisters... We know Edward had [since] reformed & was doing well(...) (W1058)




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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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