[This entry consists of two letters. The first is from Louisa to Margarette, and the second is from Mary.]W0857 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] from her sisters Mrs. Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster and Mrs. Mary [Lerned] Flanders
Aug 28 1836
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A]
My Very Dear Sister,
I have been watching the people at the sound of the church going bell assembling to their respective places of worship--the aged, middle aged, youth, & children all in company, going to the house of God. Darwin Currier a few weeks since from Africa brought with him the son of the chief of the Island a black boy ten years old--he has gone to church with him a bright boy. I hope they will learn him that he may return home & be a blessing among his kindred & nation. I have a bad headache which prevents my attending meeting. Husband with his three daughters dress'd alike have gone to hear Mr. Kimball (we attend there altogether). Mr. Flanders & his four children at Church, Mary with her little son 3 weeks old yesterday, down in the parlour. Mary's girl abed, Alfred asleep & I my dear sis seated in my chamber to write not to edify but say we have not forgotten our dear Margarette. You have undoubtedly heard from us by Catharine though we knew not she had written you she likes to be a little odd.
By a paper you sent me last week I learn you are better "had I the pinions of a dove" I would see you ere I slept, I would shew you by my attention that I had not forgotten your past kindness to me--but oh! M. here we are unhappy, discontented, keeping house with two rooms, very inconvenient, mortifying & humbling to me. I wish it might prove for my good. Maine land is not sold yet, we shall probably lose, but I had rather be poor than live longer in this suspence [sic]1. I long to be at Brockport. But husband says it is no place for him, he wishes when his business is [?] he can leave to go to Illinois. Do say brother if you would go with us. I know I should sigh for my own native state. However I think it would be preferable to be off, than stay here without home or furniture. Three weeks since I visited Sanbornton [sic], it has improved very much, a very handsome street where we used to live no old barns but handsome dwelling houses--our dear house the same as ever but a nice yard, garden & so on. I long'd to be mistress of the mansion. I know I murmur at my lot so different from what we ere anticipated.
Catharine plays much on the piano she has a house full of company all the time to see her & hear her play. Every thing is in style & I believe they are at Mothers very happy. Now for us. I do all my work washing, baking, ironing & so on & husband takes care of our great boy. I wash with soda & it is nothing to do my wash large as it is. Hugh Alfred runs round every where full of bumps & falls into every piece of mischief. He rides a stick, has a dog, takes [?] with mother, mimicks everyone he sees & in fact is a smart fellow. I often wish you could see him--he eats more than the other children & has not their sickly look.
Mary is very well about house & better than 4 weeks ago has a healthy babe sends much love & will write you next. Mr. Harvey & Elisabeth have been confined since the first week in June. Elisabeth is a mere child cannot stand, allows no one to see her, has her father to sit up part of the night, then Frederic the next--sent last week for Dr. Benton he made her be dress'd wash'd her clothes changed (she had laid so a week) & though she thought it would kill her drove down street on a fast trot with her she is now [?]. As to news there is none & I presume Catharine told you all that would interest you.
Monday PM 6 o'clock. After the care and anxiety & work of the day, I do find it a treat to sit down to finish this hasty scrawl to you sis. I have done a very large wash, husband machines the clothes & the soda does the rest towards taking out the dirt.
Now sis, I do want Hugh to go to B. [Brockport], & go into some kind of business, he has paid $5,000 away & if he can [get rid?] of paying $15,000 more we shall think ourselves well off by losing the 5,000 & getting the notes as husband soon expects will be the case--we do hope for the best. Last week Joseph Estabrook left with his young wife for Alabama, he married a Miss Porter--he has been in business there 2 years. C. Eaton has just returned from Boston, has a suitor Rufus Clement, used to live at Dr. Starks, a merchant now in Boston. Have you ever seen Dr. Longs family at Rochester? Mary has written for you to come & see us & let me say, we do think hard of you--yes look at my perseverance--yea even presumption getting out with an infant so late in the season to see you & can you not forego a little sleep & fatigue for the sake of once more seeing your dear native home, the home you dreampt [sic] of seeing, the old Building, the Academy the people. Oh! do come, do, do, do come mail another Moral Reform & say you will come if your health is decent. I am an "advocate" for that paper--do send one every week & dot it.
Do you read the Mothers Magazine if not I can exchange with you. I do hope sometime or other to see you. All send love, Jane says she wants to write but it is so dark I can scarcely see & the children need my help & I must close to have it sent to the Office. Give love, love, to Mrs. Sweats, Jonas & baby Charles Mrs. Sand (has she a baby?) & so on. Am glad you have so good a boarding place--do you have blueberries, I have a few drying for you if you would like. Some hus. picked at Smith Pond--this night ate the last of your dried plum preserved last winter, we thought & talked of you. I have often said I should like Jane to visit you this fall if an opportunity presented love & see us write immediately or send a paper. Good night.
[P.S.] Love to brother
[Letter continues from Mary Lerned Flanders:]
August 29, 1836, Monday PM
If you will just step into my parlour now you will find Louisa in a rocking chair sewing, Alfred on the floor amusing himself with playthings, my little son asleep on the bed, and myself seated by the table writing. The children all healthy and at school. I wish very much you was here. Is there any prospect of your visiting us this fall? We wish very much to see you. What is the reason you cannot come in Sept. It is a delightful month to journey and we should be delighted to see you and have you stay as long as you please if all winter. Now Louisa's family are here you can see us all together. Now think a moment,--What if you should set right about it in earnest and say I will go to New Hampshire this fall--nothing to hinder except your health and how is that--as good as usual? Let us know soon as you receive this--all about you--whether you will not take a trip to the east &c &c. I dare not think much about it, for fear of disappointment. But let us know why you cannot come. My health is very good. My babe was born the 6th of August Saturday morn 10 min past 6. Very comfortable, and got along nicely. Mina Chadwick nursed me. I have a good smart girl. When you come I will give you a lot of boxes to put your sugar in. Louisa says you need some more--only say I want to see you very much--write soon. Love to my two brothers. I long to see you all--when deeply engaged in thinking of you all I look around to find something to divert my attention. It is a subject that will not bear dwelling on--just interrupted by Mister Chase, about an hour or two with me alone. They have a little daughter--7 weeks old--Sarah Joynes. Amelia Colby was married last week to a Mr. Fenno of Boston. Amanda is in town this summer with her children. Capt Hall has returned from Mexico. Emily has a daughter. They board at Mr. Gilmans. Louisa is waiting to finish.
Mary [Lerned, Flanders]
[Envelope wrapper:] Hopkinton NH
[to] Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten, Brockport, Monroe Co., N. York
1 Louisa's husband, Hugh McAllaster, had been speculating on some land in Maine but lost $20 000 on it (W0869, W0897). Hugh made a number of bad financial decisions and the family often struggled. See W0889 for more links and details.
2 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.