W1009 DR. CALVIN AND MARGARETTE MCQUESTEN from Hugh and Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster.
Mar 5 1840
To: Margarette Lerned McQuesten, Hamilton, Upper Canada
From: Concord, [likely New Hampshire]
My Dear Sister Margarette,
Tuesday night's returned from Hopkinton with husband and Alfred for the first time, last mentioned has been out to take an airing since last Sept. at Bedford--Edward wrote for husband to go up and have a settlement, he will give you particulars as I may not there-- no invitation for me at mother's but an apology as always is the case nothing to eat, no flour however there was on hand all heart could wish for but a motherly affection-- Mary felt so bad she would not ask mother up there but 10 min. before 12 she came up in rain for pattern & staid & had a fine dinner with us--Margarette I do feel the lofs [sic] of our dear, dear Mother & father--Cath. [Catharine] is at Woburn with the Perkins you know something about them--she does nothing but ride about, visit sit at the whist table & so on-- Oh! my heart aches, she never attended church except New Years eve after you left them with the Woburn relatives, great parade 4 kinds of meat for dinner & so on-- Query. Had she any flour? I think now for Cath. to dip in such scenes of difsipation [sic] her health so delicate, is trying to one who loves her ardently notwithstanding her many failings-- Edward thinks of going off soon but not very well reconciled to your husband1 as you will learn by Hughs [sic] letter-- Mary says Mother is very bitter towards you or your husband more properly speaking-- Did not wish to send any word could do her own businefs [sic]--
I have attended the funeral of Mrs. Grover (lived opposite Mifses [sic] Kirkwood) sister of Mrs. Palmers-- she had a babe a few weeks old when she was very nervous, could not sleep & finally became deranged, wanted to kill herself made several attempts but was strictly watched & found out before she accomplished what she meditated2-- The Wallace girl that lived with Mrs. W. Green had a babe, G. Estabrooks the father, she took Mrs. Grover to nurse as hers died Mrs. Grover thought it was time for her babe as well as self to go Tuesday morn 3rd inst she was left in bed by her husband who was preparing his partner from Boston for more than 1/2 hour she rose took her garters tied them together laid down in bed drew them tight as pofsible [sic] round her neck & tied them in two knots when the girl went to call her to breakfast she looked as if asleep, but the immortal spirit had taken its flight-- She was called a very exemplary woman and a very devoted Christian a member of the Unitarian Church-- It has cast a gloom on all around us, she was beloved by all: but God has "now moved in a mysterious way" when Reason is shattered & the
mind loses its balance what feeble creations we become--"Strange that a harp of [a] thousand strings should keep in tune so long." Did you receive the paper with the death Esqr. Holmes, dropped dead in Somerworth, Mrs. Clement always speaks of you with great affection & your husband she does not go out at all & will not before June. She appears very happy notwithstanding their affliction--I am very well except a weak back, I guefs [sic] for once the Dr. was mistaken-- I see nothing to make me think any otherwise-- Hope you & your dear family are well Do tell Dr. not to kill his boy by stuffing him, he is not, I fear the same in practice as in theory-- Mrs. Noyes has a son very happy I wish I was in Canada a neighbor of yours, with as pretty a house & convenient I guefs [sic] you have to work to eat up your meat this warm weather. Send a paper as soon as you receive this if you received mine put a Y. on yours if not, N. We received yours--send one often--Wishing you health & happinefs [sic] I am still your very affectionate Sister Louisa-- Did Cath. pay 25 cts. on her letter or you all the postage? Love to brother and one of my heart kifses [sic] for the dear pet--Husband has filled the other page with businefs [sic], we were perfectly ignorant of the steps Edward had taken & so was Mary-- I am very sorry he has done things I have not seen a Panoply--
Mr & Mrs. Sargent have made a half [???] left a page for me to fill, I shall occupy on businefs having the news of the day love compliments &c for the pen I was at A. this week and learnt [sic] that you had been sued last Sept. by Edward & notice given by order of court in the Panoply which I will send you if I can procure a copy. Mr. Dustin appeared surprised that I had not heard of it & that you had no notice. I asked the best terms of settlement. He replied that the money advanced to you [??] must be refunded or one half the profit of the drug shop if you would place them in a situation that they could command them-- I told him I thought you had complied with the last proposition by you bond but he said you had the banks & the [??] had been settled long since & [?] had gone West &c &c &c--
I then went judge Hassel to consult him on the subject he thought they had taken a singular course & he [could not] conceive their object he said the judgment [would] be of no use to them without [they connected?] property to attach-- Mr. Dustin was anxious for me to write you & said he would request Perkins to have judgment stayed till the last day of court which sits one week from next Tuesday but I told him I thought it would not be of any use as you would not acceed [sic] to their propositions-- Edward is making arrangements to go west as soon as navigation opens-- He is expecting to go by way of hatten & purchase Drugs & medicine but the place of destination is not fixed-- I have paid the yearly stipend in our hand to Mrs. Lind to present time. We have also sold to her the plot of land in which the [New barn??] stood for $20--& forwarded a deed for Janet to sign--
[P.S.] my confefsion [sic] to the total abstinence society said she now her mother did not mistrust it till [??] 3 weeks--Strange indeed she says she has tried to see Mrs. F. but she would not visit &c. Do write & tell us about what Dr. thinks now of his kindnefs [sic] to Edward Mother says she don't know but Cath. will stay all summer at Woburn-- I wish I was near you hope you will happy & prosper with your threshing machines stove foundry & all disagreeable law suits-- Mrs. Ferns died a few weeks ago-- [Amelia?] Colby--Do write soon do [sic] to your anxious sister L-
1 In 1835, Dr. Calvin McQuesten had agreed to supervise the education of Edward Lerned (the half-brother of his wife Margarette) and had made financial arrangements with Edward's legal guardian, Mr. Dustin. By the summer of 1838, however, Mr. Dustin was threatening legal action against Dr. McQuesten for money that he claimed was owed to Edward, which all parties hoped to settle outside of court. For details and links, see W-MCP4-6.233.
2 Mrs. Grover's suicide attempts were likely the result of a severe case of postpartum depression.
3 Earlier in the letter is the statement "I am still your very affectionate sister Louisa" although here the letter is signed "Hugh" at this point and there is virtually no change in the handwriting throughout this letter except for the fact that it becomes somewhat larger and slightly messier than Louisa's typically tidy script at "Mr. & Mrs. Sargent have made (...)." It is possibly that at this point, Louisa may have been taking dictation for her husband although there is no clear 'cut-off' to delineate where her letter ends and his begins.
4 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.