W0675 TO DR. CALVIN AND MARGARETTE MCQUESTEN from Hugh and Louisa McAllaster
Jun 10 1833
To: Dr. Calvin and Margarette McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Sandbornton Bridge, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
Brother C. [Calvin]
Yours of the 31 ultime I received in just one week from the day it was mailed and agreeable to your request to hasten to answer it. Business with me is rather dull this season and I feel quite unsettled, my lease at the store has expired and should I continue here much longer I must either buy this, build, or hire another store. My annual income since I came here has everaged [sic] from 7 to 8 hundred dollars besides all my expenses however nearly one half of this sum I have made on the article of lt. Rum which I have lately banished from my store, but in so doing I am making a great sacrifice.1
The Temperance cause has not progressed far enough here yet to enable a trader to get a comfortable living without keeping the poison. The rum dealer can support his family on the profits of this article alone, which will enable him to sell other articles lower than his neighbor who does not keep it. And even temperance people are diehard to buy where they can buy cheapest and of course the temperance store must continually fail. I am rather digressing here from my subject. I did not think of visiting the west until another year, but you have given me quite a western fever--your [sic] suggest that Brockport is a fine opening for another store at this time and that a merchant of respectable character and handsome capital is about commencing and wants a partner--I have thought seriously of writing you soon to make the preposed [sic] exchange. I shall have to sacrifice on my home, goods collection of debts & [?] money, say $1000.
I should not realize this sacrifice could I be placed in another pleasant village where I could vend as many goods at the same advance as I have done here, and have better presenting for meeting-school. School, good society, good neighbours &c &c. I have hardly had time to think sufficiently upon this subject to give you a decisive answer whether to visit you immediately or not. You will have time to answer this before it would be possible.
You may have the goodness to answer the following queries--Do you consider yourself permintly [sic] settled? Is it as healthy at Brockport as it is here? Are you personally acquainted with Mr. Martin and if so, is he such a man as you would like as a partner in business? and can he advance an equal capital with me? Are there stores & houses to rent? Do you think my family would be benefitted by the exchange? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative and think it advisable for me to make the trip, I will see you as soon as convenient. It would not be possible for me to close my business here before next spring & I should not be able to advance much before then--I have thought that I should never enter into Co. with any one but if business could be done profitably with a large capital I do not now [sic] that I should object, especially commencing in a new place when my partner would know more about the place & business than I should. Have the goodness to answer this as soon as convenient & write me particularly about Mr. Martin & his ability, etc.
I have nothing new to write save a sudden death that took place here week before last. Mr. John Clark brother to Satchel W. while getting logs over Judge Atkinson dam at Thorn Mills was pushed into the water above the dam & drawn under were [sic] he remained [?] by and by 5 days before he could be found & extricated. Mr. Land sent ours at the same time but came out below the gate about 3 [?] and was saved with little injury.
Please to excuse the [?] the store [?] before I had half done writing. Remember me to your lady & [?].
Your affectionate brother
[P.S. by Mrs. Louisa Lerned McAllaster]
My dear Margarett [sic]
I am now bolstered up in bed where I have laid twelve days, by my side lays the little sleeping Ellen who was born the 29 morning of May after a night of the most excruciating suffering I ever experienced.2 Brother Kimball was reading & praying here at 10 Tuesday eve I was taken sick then. But the birth of my little 5 & 3/4 lb daughter was nothing to the pains I afterward experienced the afterbirth had to be taken by force. Oh! M. I hope you will never experience what I did then. I was fainting a good part of the day Mrs. Fulton Swasy & [?] stood & fanned & rubbed me while I was almost insensible--I was quite wandering--I heard Mrs. S. say "does she breathe." I was dear sister then to all appearance near Eternity but God has spared my life and offspring, I pray that it may be elevated to him & that I may be spared to take care of these 4 daughters. As soon as Jane saw me she whispered will you write Aunt M another letter & tell her you have got another daughter. I expect Mother & Mary this week. Mother has written me a very affectionate letter. I hope I shall be able to bear my weight by then. Husband is nurse--lifts me like a child he has sat all the forenoon wondering what to write--at last I said give the pen & ink & I will write a line. I hope Providence will make the way clear if best we should go to B.--I should like it much but poor Mary will feel bad for she thinks we are too far apart now. I hear from you twice where I do from Hop. once & I think we better go.
Don't answer a letter Mary says that Wilkins sent you. It is my wish you should not--I hope you will not get too much for Berrys folks. Do write again when the Dr. does--tell him Dr. Hoyt was my physician. He done well staid most a day and night--& in time.
Your very weak but loving Sister Louisa
[P.S.] Monday Morn., My kind nurse has gone to change the mail after putting me in bed & I have called her to hand me the paper to write a line more. I have set up an hour this morn--it is Monday hus. is coming in to copy off his letter. I think you'll see us yet at B. Pray Dr. will it not be for my health to come this summer? I stood alone this morn 13th day since my confinement am very weak & nervous--husband has been the kindest creature I ever saw--my every wish is gratified. I do think God will reward him for his kindness & for the sacrifice he has made in giving up the sale of rum. M., I wish you was now in your chamber with me & could see our little E. Lerned she is a good babe. Hus. has come says I may copy his letter in love, Louisa
M. June 10
Doct. Calvin McQuesten
Brockport, Monroe Co.,
1 Hugh McAllaster had little money- or business-sense and, as a result, he and his family spent much of their lives struggling financially. For more details and links, see W0889. For a comment on the McAllaster family by Mary Farmer, see footnote 1 of W0175.
2 In W0679, July 22, 1833, the baby, Ellen Margarett, is "to all appearance near her end," and died approx. July 31, 1833. See also W0680 & W0687, W0701, W0735.
3 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.