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[written upside down at top of letter:]
I attended church all day. Mr. Chase preached two excellent sermons Gen. 28.15, James 4.4. Mr. E. Colby has been in a very low state of mind he thought he had committed the unpardonable Sin. I do not expect to hear from you, if you come over Saturday.

[envelope wrapper:]
Mrs. Margarette L McQuesten, Sandbornton Bridge, N.H., December 19.

W0495 MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Mary [Lerned] Flanders
Dec 18 1831 [estimated date]1
To: Margarette B. McQuesten Sandbornton Bridge, New Hampshire
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire

Dear sister Margarette,

I did not receive your letter till Friday, it was delayed somewhere. I had been [page torn] one for some weeks, and as Louisa's name is not mentioned in it, I rather mistrust that the disappointment she received at Thanksgiving has resumed an aspect of resentment. I hope that is not the case tho I thought it a little singular that her name was not hardly mentioned in the letter.

Now we will make a request for you all to come over to Christmas Services to commence at 1/2 past 6, Saturday evening. You must be here at [early?] tea. The advertisements are put up for the sale to commence on Wednesday. Hugh can be looking about and [managing?] his affairs on Monday, attend Probate court on Tuesday &c. He will find employment for the whole of his time I dare say. Mr. Flanders wants to see him very much. If the Dr. thinks he cant leave home so long--let Hugh bring you and Louisa and her babe, and when the Dr. comes he can carry you back tho' we should be very happy to see all four of you at Christmas. I assure you you will meet with a cordial reception by us. If Father's Barn can supply the horses, I will, the persons. Daniel wants to have you come, Minister Chase wants to have you come over and so do I.

I depend on it, you recollect where we were last Christmas how Father played Checkers. Mother pleads poverty and says she has nothing for you to eat if you come. I will warrant you diet enough at either place. She says she shall be glad to see you. You can divide your time and stay part of the time with me and part with her. If your husbands cant come then you and Louisa come in the stage, and they come in a double sleigh from Concord Tuesday. You see how much I am as Father used to be about planning for you. You must lay your own plans and bring them into execution, only be sure and come.

I am sorry Hugh made mam2 any offer as I hardly think you will have the consent of all parties. She says 500 dollars is no temptation and her mind is made not to accept the provision. And let her choose for herself and then she will be satisfied. I have no presents to make. Sometimes she is pretty plausible, and at others pretty unreasonable and severe. There are so many stories in circulation we are unable to form an opinion. Daniel says it will be of no use for him to talk. Hugh better see to it himself. I plainly see what they are after, it is a greater sum of money. I could never bear to see Mam or one of her children in a suffering condition, while I was in a situation to assist or relieve them. But as for hiring her to do so and so and taking it from myself and a young family of children to feed their pride and extravagance, I dont think I can do it. By being prudent they are better off than one half the world now are. If she wants her thirds let her have them. She refuses the offer with disdain. And it might have been so if it had been twice that sum.

I wish you would bring me over ribbon enough to trim one or two caps. Amanda Colby was published today. Mrs. Greeley and Naomie are both sick enough to have watchers--have had a touch of fever but not dangerous, both confined to their bed when Miranda was buried. Rodney Towne had been sick he attended the funeral, but was not able to follow his beloved to the grave. I have heard that they all were very much resigned, and Miranda said "it was immaterial with her, what was God's will was hers. It would be but a few years at most before she must pass the gates of death, and she did not know but she was as willing to go now as she ever would be." What an example for us to be ready, to have our lamps trimmed and burning. What is of so much consequence as the worth of the soul? Nothing can buy it, in this world. I understand E. Little and P. Chadwick have obtained a hope.

Eliza is very unwell, very much like you, a hacking cough, pain in her limbs &c &c. Miss [Joiner?] said they were up with her all one night last week. I dont know as the good work decreases any. There are meetings about every evening. The prayer meeting will be here on Thursday eve. Every Tuesday eve an enquiry meeting at Mr. Chases and Wednesday eve, a publick [sic] lecture in Mr. Ballard's school room. I consider Religion of the first importance, and it is my earnest desire to obtain it. I feel as though the Saviour was very kind and long suffering to permit me so long to rebel against him. I think I can never live in such a state of sin and stupidity again. I feel that I have a very hard heart to encounter with, and nothing but the grace of God can soften it, and with out that grace I must perish. I am dependent on God for a change of heart. I hope and trust he will in his own good time grant it. And it is my earnest prayer that I may renounce the evil of this world, and become a follower of Jesus.

A.M. Colby has come forward to the Communion. Elisa Hamis has been very unwell for a number of weeks not able to be out with a cough and cold. The singers meet [?] at Mr. Gillian's. I did not go it has been a very [co?]. Thermometer stood 7 below zero in the morning. I did not bring Mrs. Whipple any cake. You must bring her over some. She has a young daughter 2 weeks old. (L. Stanwoods health is good since that fever she had in the fall, I have understood.) Charlotte has not returned from Boston. Our families are all well. We shall expect you all at Christmas.

I always have an excuse for bad writing, the one which I will make now is that it is Sabbath evening and I feel as tho' my time ought to be better employed but I cant write tomorrow when the children are training. 7 weeks tonight since Ebenezer died! Never shall I forget my dear Son.3 Night and day my thoughts are on those who are in Eternity. And my great concern should be to prepare to follow them. Heavenly Father wilt thou grant me true repentance, and teach me the way in which I should go!...........Catharine wants to see you very much. She says if Mam cant find enough for you to eat she will. Mam let the horse & sleigh to go to Henniker, and expects the money for it to buy some meat for Christmas pies. I told her I would give her some milk for squash pies they dont have but a pint a day.

I am in great haste to finish, therefore excuse all errors. I think you had better all come over Saturday I think we ought to be together when the [vendue?] is. This letter is to you and Louisa. I think Hugh ought to be here to know how things are going on. Miss Joynes spent last Friday night with me.

Your sister, Mary.

[P.S.] Colon Stark was at Church to day.

[written upside down in corner] Mrs. Robert Crowell who attends Church has had a shock of Numb Palsy on her right side. This paper is so tender I can hardly do up my letter.


1 We have estimated the date by the context. The writer states that she has been in church "all day" so we assume that it was written on a Sunday. It is dated December 18 and postmarked December 19, and December 18 occurs on a Sunday in 1831. Also the date has been estimated by the fact that Dr. Calvin McQuesten and Margarette lived in Sanbornton Bridge after their marriage in November 1831 and then moved to Brockport, New York sometime in 1832 (Minnes 6).


2 Possibly Mrs. Catharine Lerned, the mother of Catherine C.P., Edward, Hannah, Lucy and Elizabeth Lerned and the step-mother of Mary (Lerned) Flanders, Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten and Louisa (Lerned) McAllister.


3 Ebenezer was the name of Mary's father. Dr. Ebenezer Lerned, husband of Catharine, likely died in the Fall of 1831. To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.




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