[Written upside down at top of page:] Feb 25th As we were seating ourselves at the tea table we were alarmed by a very violent shock of an Earthquake. Dorothy D. called not long since, sends much love.W0651 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster
Mar 24 1833
To: Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Sandbornton Bridge,1 [New Hampshire, U.S.A.]
My Very Dear Sister,
Coming into the room one day last week where I left Mary Catharine alone, while sewing her steint [sic], she looked up and said "may I go with you mother," "go where," said I, she blush'd deeply at her abrupt speech & said "why, to Brockport to see Aunt Margarett." This was the commencement of a long dialogue between us respecting you, and the many things she said of you, convinced me in her, you had a dear friend. No higher reward do they either aim at, than to be called Aunt M. for their industry and close application to their studies. I have just finished a letter & sent by Palmer to sister Mary, he came over two weeks since, said Mary had another daughter, that mother wanted Charles to come over for Catharine, (as she was sick when I went for her) and that L. Stanwood had had a great party--gave out over 100 invitations. She lives in Mrs. Stanleys house with her--all newly papered, painted & repaired, this is all the news I have heard from Hopkinton since I was there in Feb. & this, by Moses D.
Returning home from H. husband was seized violently with the Cholic, just before reaching the street in Concord & for two or three hours was very sick indeed, had a Physician, a bed & fire, & three or four running to wait upon him, he made out to sit in the sleigh to come home, that night, & to guide the horse tolerable well, considering the Gin, opium &c which had been administered. But he was not well for several days. Jane said his face look'd white as clean snow. How much I thought of the Doctors aid advice & good nursing then, but had seen & heard so much of it that we did not send for any physician here, I was his Doctor.
Called upon Mrs. Nevins at Concord. (S.M. Giddings) her husband very young & handsome & a most perfect portrait painter. Sarah is perhaps by this time a mother she kept house when I saw her, they board at Mr. Lincoln's. Now for home news, about three weeks since Samuel McQuesten called with the pillow, did not stop long G. McQ was at the store waiting. That evening he called up to see A. Colman, but Mrs. Page did not know him, & Abigail was at a party at Mr. Crop's & his bashfulness prevented him staying, or making himself known. But a day or two after A. called, I said nothing, till she blushingly asked if my "pillow had got back yet." This unravelled who the mysterious stranger was, that rapt [sic] at Mr. Pages & "inquired for "Miss Colby." Abigail felt very bad, said she always thought before that Dr. was only in fun, & I believe she would give herself away willingly to so amiable a man if she could have the chance. Do brother send him along again, or tell him to write. Mrs. Perry A. also Mrs. Atkinson & many more here have daughters--great joy at the Judge's--Dr. Hoyt there. Dr. Carr at Tiltons. I did not inquire who attended at Arlings or Hennison's but Hill did at Goodhue Durgin's.
I had a party in Jan, had Mr. Cavender & wife & seven more from Franklin. Mr. Holmes & Wife then took tea here, in December they dined here. There has been a great many parties among the young people & I have made many visits with the old--visited last week at young Philbric's. He has a very smart and agreeable wife married her in Boscawen she was a Gerrish.
Your bed & bureau stand just as you left them, no use to me or any one here; do tell me if you do not intend sending for your bedstead, I must either use it this summer or take it down, as we intend the chamber for our sleeping room. I think it ought to be in Brockport. And pray dear Margarett what is going on in your region. I wish you had a store, house & so on, for us there, as I suppose Hugh will soon be turned out of the store & he knows not what course to take.2 I hope he will not build a store. G. McQuesten is going to trade in Haseltine's store, & live in the late house opposite. Haseltine moves to Hebron, & Dr. Hoyt in his house. Sanborn and Math. Molony quarreled, and have dissolved partnership, Clark & Sanborn going to fill our store, & but two chances here, either to build or to fill Molonys.
By the bye, Hugh has done selling rum! Now Calvin take a pinch extra for joy. Hus. has this moment come in & said, "better stop writing and read Margarette's letter, for here is one from her--so adieu for now.
Well dear Sister with weeping eyes, I again resume my pen to finish this letter which 20 minutes since was laid down to peruse your epistle. I have wept in sympathy with you dear sister & the afflicted Mrs. Palmer. What a trying scene it must have been, I thought instantly of my feelings at Concord when my dear husband looked so death like, & was truly very sick. But his good health since, with the uninterrupted health of myself & family has made me forgetful of the mercies I then experienced, and am still receiving from my Heavenly Parent.
We are all happy & were it not for my bad heart & ungrateful disposition might be called a pleasant family, but this vile temper will rise & like Mary Cate's laughing "will come out of my throat" in spite of my better judgment & the remorse of conscience. Uncle Woods wrote to me that Grandpa Hall was dead & that Aunt Susan had been greatly afflicted that she had buried three children with the the [sic] Scarlet Fever that her husband & two other children were sick at the same time. Uncle Ebenezer H & wife & daughter were converted at a [?] meeting--made light of them, as they were before infidels.
As soon as I read your letter I said Let us go and keep the boarding house at B. I wish we were away from S. & doing well some where else, where there is a good society, meeting school &c. Mr. Swazey wishes me to write for you to send an account of the weather at Brockport for a month or two the coldest [?] & how the thermometer stood during the time, if you have any one there who has kept the observations. I have kept an exact account. The coldest weather was the 3rd, 4th & 5th of Feb., 19 of Jan., 16 below, 13 at 1, 2 below 0 at 9. We have had the most violent drifting snow storms I ever witnessed, but now the snow is going rapidly & the weather is mild. March the first & second week was very boisterous, the first of days below 0--now nearly 60--the birds are singing & mild weather is truly grateful. I believe you know more about Hopkinton now than I do or as much; as I have not heard directly since I was there. Moses D. left his wood at the store. Platt is backward as ever, Mary a very bright scholar, can read well, beats Jane spelling & has been in her class this winter--covered her face when I was reading your letter aloud to hus.--where you mentioned the children. L. Jane has completed every stitch of a fine Shirt except the button holes for her father, beside attending school, done their steints [sic], every morning. Mary comes on bravely with her quilt. To pay for making the shirt their father gave each a gown "like Aunt Margarett." June is making them (your purple calico).
A Mr. Sanborn who formerly taught the Academy here commences again in April. C. Holmes & Abigail will attend. Abigail has regained her hea lth though the first of the winter was thought to be in a decline. Mrs. M & Mrs. Bill Dungin are both very low. Dismissed Abigail three weeks since on account of improper behaviour!! Have no girl, am tough as ever you knew me to be; rise early, sit up late & truly eat my bread with carefulness. Medicamentum Cigars3 & I agree well together, meat potatoes &c will mix with them. Have not had a sick headache since I was at Hop. last October but once. A. Swazey is at Keene as formal as ever. Mrs. Haseltine very kind she has a cow supplies us with that necessary article milk. Husband sends much love, will go to [?] in April will attend to the business mentioned--has 100 dollars now for a Doctor that Brown [?] Daniel soon after the Dr. left.
A Colman sends her very best love to you, calls often--has been invited to the young parties this winter--said in her sleep the other night "now Mrs. McQuesten was gone, we had lost the cream of Sandbornton" very well, I am willing to belong to the skim milk for I am not worthy to be called the cream. The young gentlemen had an Exhibition two weeks since, will have another this week, one character Charles was an old woman he was complete--the Academy was crowded. Had a letter from sister Preston last week, said she had written you to thank you for your note last fall. Have not heard since the Dr. was there till now, or rather had a letter in Oct. from Mrs. Platt she was then expecting you. I am glad your health is so good, I often think how happy I should be to fold so dear, so very dear, so truly good a Sister to my heart, I do hope yet we may meet many times on this side the grave, do dear M. pray earnestly for your unworthy sister here, that she may be as good as she knows you to be, is her greatest desire. Now Dr. the love you sent I shall keep for the xxx till such a time as I think proper to give it. But no hurry. Ever your loving sister Louisa. I have not left writing this once since 1 oclock it is now past four.
[Envelope wrapper address:]
Sandbornton Bridge, March 25
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten
Brockport, Monroe County, New York
1 See W0609 for Sandbornton Bridge, N.H., which is now named Tilton. It is very near Sanbornton.
2 Hugh McAllaster was not particularly sensible in business and financial matters and his family spent most of their lives struggling. For more details and links, see W0889, and for a comment on the McAllaster family by Mary Farmer, see footnote 1 in W0175.
3 Medicamentum was one of the medications being used in the 1860's by a Dr. J.W. Parrish, Shelbyville, Indiana, and it had been used for many years previously. It was a remedy for all kinds of bowel complaints. Other medications described are Wine of Pepsine, an invigorating tonic and corrective, Pulmonary Balsam, a cure for all forms of lung diseases and incipient consumption, and many other remedies. Dr. Parrish also started a cigar factory. It is not known if Louisa used the medication in the form of a cigar or if she smoked the cigars.
"Medicamentum." December 29, 2003. http://www.rootsweb.com/~inshelby/biographies/bio_j_w_parrish.htm
4 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.