W1042 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his aunt Mary [Lerned] Flanders
Apr 19 1874 Sunday PM
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire
My dear nephew
I will commence my letter as you did yours by "begging ten thousand pardons" for my neglect in not writing you before now. It does really need an apology--but I have avoided writing many times on account of my head and eyes troubling me the past winter I think it must have been Neuralgia, then I have had many family cares which have prevented when I would have been glad to have taken pen instead of needle and thimble, but now I have commenced I will waive all compliments and tell you how glad I was to get your letter and feel afsured [sic] I am not forgotten by my dead sister Margarette's only son; Calvin you are very dear to me--my own brothers and sisters are all dead--there were six of us1--I love my sister's children, although I can not see them as I could wish, and it will always be a source of gratification to think and know they remember me. Your uncle McAllaster2 died in Chicago of Heart disease April 6th very suddenly, you have four cousins there, Alfred, Howard, Louisa and Lucy--and they are orphans. They feel their lonelinefs [sic] very much, I wish I could run in and give them a helping hand and a sympathizing word, their mother was a dear and good sister and so was yours,3 a lovely, amiable christian woman. I trust they are happy in each other's society with Christ and his redeemed. Please inform your father when you write of Major McAllaster's death, although he may have received intelligence from Chicago--
I would like very much a photograph of your father if not asking too much I would like one to hang in a frame. It would be next to having one of Margarette, I have no picture of her as Daguerrotypes [sic] were not known then, I am equally as desirous to have one of yourself and do send one when convenient, or bring it, I wish you would try and visit me the coming summer. Why won't you when you have your vacation? We would be so glad to see you. Our family are well or were when I last heard from them. Louisa & Frank are the only two at home, Alice and Jenny are in Holyoke4 with their brother's Tim, and Charles, Margarette and Charlotte are married living in Cambridge their husbands are in businefs [sic] in Boston You know where Mr. Langford is and Matthew is with Mr. Langford 167 Broadway wish you could call him and see him, so you see you have ten cousins who would like very much to see you. When you write or see your father please give him my kind remembrance, and tell him my request for his picture--Aunt Catherine has one and I feel equally entitled to one. I wrote him a long letter after Mother Lerned died, and think he never received it as he never replied to it. It was something particular and would have liked an answer. Catherine has had papers announcing the death of Hon. Mr. Mills. She and her sisters are well you wrote in your last "you would try to improve in punctuality" now I will take you at your word at hope to hear from you soon--
In much love
your aunt Mary
1 This is a rather cryptic remark. Mary (Lerned) Flanders was sister to Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten and Louisa (Lerned) McAllaster and half-sister to Catharine, Edward, Elizabeth, Hannah and Lucy Lerned. If we count all of them, then Mary has seven siblings; if we consider only her "full" sisters, she has but two siblings. (Keep in mind that neither set of Lerned children made any distinction between full siblings and half siblings.) Most likely the "six" are herself, Margarette, Louisa and their husbands, although if this is the case then it is not true that all of her brothers and sisters are dead, since at this time her brother [in-law] and Calvin Brooks' father, Dr. Calvin McQuesten, is still alive and residing at Whitehern with his third wife, Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten.
2 Major Hugh McAllaster, Louisa (Lerned) McAllaster's husband. He was not a man with much business-sense and after he quit selling rum in 1832, his business became shaky. Shortly afterwards, the lease ran out on his store and, without a stable income he began to move his family from place to place in search of financial gain. However, he made many bad choices and the family spent most of their lives struggling and impoverished. For more details and links see W0889.
3 Calvin Brooks' mother was Margarette (Lerned) McQuesten.
4 Likely Holyoke, Massachussetts.