W0925 TO MARGARETTE B. LERNED MCQUESTEN From Harriet H. McClure
Feb 22 1838
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten Brockport New York
From: Harriet H. McClure Jacksonville Illinois
February 22nd 1838
Now am not I truly patriotic my little friend to devote this morning of the anniversary of Washington's birth to you, yet how can I do otherwise when you are so kind, write to promptly such long and interesting letters? They are indeed great comforts to me, to hear to particularly of old friends and acquaintances, is almost like being in their midst and partaking with them of their sorrows and pleasures: yet they being tidings of sadness which I grieve to hear. The death of poor Mrs. Bennett did not surprise me, she always appeared to me so frail and delicate to sojourn long among us. I always admired her simplicity and amiable character, as well as her sweet and lovely face. I doubt not she is sincerely mourned by those to whom she was most dear, yet trust her exchange has been a happy one, and hope it may be so sanctified to them, as to [?] their gain also. Mrs. Coggnell is I suppose left with very little for her support. What will they do with her young family? Henry thought much of Mr. Coggnell for his great kindness of feeling, and readiness to give to all who were in went. But on I proceed farther in this strain of sadness my dear friend, let me congratulate you upon your newly acquired happiness, your long deserved treasure of the heart and affections, your fair, blue-eyed, tiny boy: to you he must be a treasure indeed, and I doubt not you cherish him with all a mother's tenderness and love. How your good husband does not flatter himself at all my friend, when he says I "would rather see the little stranger then any caravan" present to him our congratulations and good wishes. To gentlemen even such little creatures are not without interest, Gudge so beautifully expresses the fondness of the Father.
So for the Mothers sake, the child is dear.
And dear is the Mother for the child.
Oh I should like so much to see the little fellow, and press my lips upon his soft fat check. But I trust he may be spared to you plump and rosy for many a long year, and within that time I hope to visit Brockport and see you all. As for Henry's visit there during the coming season tis a matter of great uncertainty, I doubt very much whether he will go at all: at all events he cannot say any thing decided about it at present. I hope it will not interfere with any arrangements of Father's. Does he think of moving with his family to this country? You speak as if she had become more reconciled to the idea, tell her we "Seeckers" get along very comfortably and happily, not withstanding our ten shoes and inconveniences. I am very glad they are at housekeeping they must find it much more pleasant. Do they see much company? When do they attend church since they have a Baptist preacher? Do you continue pleased with your Pastor? I suppose your church must be quite full now the other is closed. Brockport must really be a changed place since we left. I cannot bear to think of its serious misfortunes and losses by fires, failures and that [?], yet sure destroyed Death! Oh how many he has removed from among you, in one little year, some of the most robust, active and apparently least prepared for him, what warnings does it bring to us, yea what remorse shall we bring upon ourselves if we do not treasure them in our hearts, for reflection and improvement. Does Mrs. Louisa Sadler still live in the Yellow house formally occupied by Mr. Jones? Tell her if she doesn't answer my letters soon I shall send her one leaf of my old copy book, which reads nearly thus-"Do write to day- tis madness to defer." Oh no I retract, just give her my love she may do as she pleases about writing. And so Mrs. J Heath has entered in disgust, and lives quite within herself "down North," how much she punishes herself for her husband's misfortune, I suppose she feels it was on Angeline's account, she was so anxious to make 'the fine lady' of her. You do not speak of Mrs. Haller. How is she? Do she, and Hub, and Chloe, still joy on as in days of you? I am glad to hear of Mrs. Burroughs. How does her husband carry sail nowadays? Has Mr. King sold his brick house and how do he and Miss Dowkes come on? You tell a strange tale of Mrs. Minch and I am half disposed to doubt you- but- shame!! I wonder whose turn in will be next! and Mrs. King such a tiny lady as she is, is that really true? You mention the death of Mrs Castle's sister: while in Alton last fall I heard of the death of Mrs Castle. Is there not some mistake with regard to it? I cannot think that one has so soon followed she other. Our Clergyman Mr. Batchelder has recently resigned his charge over our church, and will leave in a few weeks, so we are now in suspense and ignorance as to who will be our spiritual guide and counselor. Our church has been in a sad state for a long time yet I can't but think better times await us, and trust that our future Pastor will be more popular, an efficient and holy man. I would not have a Clergyman seek popularity, yet I believe some portion of it necessary for his usefulness. There has been an unusual degree of seriousness in the other Churches, more than a hundred added to the Methodist, and many to the Presbyterian Congregational and Campbellite. The weather for the last two weeks has been intensely cold thermometer some days 12 & 14 degrees below zero, it is now more moderate and I hope spring will soon open. Has Mrs. Williams recovered her health? How are the Fries? Has P Sweats given up his intention of coming to Illinois? We have had fun sleighing since the cold weather came on, and a few short rides. My sister Mrs. Platt is passing the winter with us and we enjoy her society more than you can imagine. Jacksonville has been extremely gay this winter large parties have been very frequent. One of our young ladies is to be married this evening to Mr. Chin not a very romantic name, and a party of a hundred and fifty is to be given to her tomorrow night. Henry joins me in affectionate remembrance to Father, Mother, yourself, husband, baby and all who may enquire. Henry has been uncommonly well for him all winter. God bless you- write soon again to your friend.
Harriet H. McClure
[Address on Cover]
Mrs Calvin McQuesten
Brockport, New York
[Written sideways on the front of the letter]
Have you seen any new Annuals for this year and what do you find & read that is interesting? New publications are a long time in reaching us. Yet this is a foolish question for me to ask. I suppose you find books, new and old, sacred and profane, eating, drinking, company, visiting and all comprised, in that "winsome one, that gallant one, that darling little boy." Do write soon (between you and I) whether Mrs. D.G. McC is expecting an addition.
1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.