W2413 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac Baldwin McQuesten
Aug 13 1873
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten, New York
From: Hamilton, OntarioPROUDFOOT, JONES & McQUESTEN,
SOLICITORS IN CHANCERY, &c.,
OFFICE, No. 11 Main Street East.
WILLIAM PROUDFOOT, Q.C., JOHN W. JONES
I.B. MCQUESTEN, M.A.
My dear Brother,
No doubt you began to apply rather severe epithets to me seeing that our letters have not crossed one another. Well, the fact is: father had over a certain amount on deposit, in order that he could draw. I had to tell him how much I would reduce that deposit, and he thought $80.00 was enough to send you, so I simply waited for our half year's business to be closed so as to send the $20 of last month & the $20 of this out of it. I only hope you have not been seriously inconvenienced by the delay. I would have written you, but did not want to [?] only a few lines, and a good many things have been bothering me.
I did what I could to entertain Mr. Ackerman when he was here. Unfortunately The Hespeler Sewing Machine Co. was changing hands just then and I had the matter on my shoulders, so it was impossible for me to leave the office much.
As to what you ask me about matters at home. I do not think it is possible that any thing can be done or any change take place without my knowing it. What Mr. Ackerman told you was true. Luckily, Christie, our old girl, has come to live with me. And she persists in telling Mary about affairs at home. What I did not know is that all these girls hate Mrs. McQ. & stay there on account of 'the old Doctor.' These McKeand1 children are a "perfect nuisance to the servants," so Christie said. I expanded on this to father, as well as telling him I was compelled to order Peter & make him promise to cuff their ears if they entered the stable. This he willingly consented to do; said he only wanted to be ordered, as they were in the habit of poking the horses with a long stick & making them kick. All this went to Father; & he said that that ended the matter: They should not stay around the premises at all.
I am glad the time is coming near for you to come over. It is impossible to write all I should like to speak about. Father does not keep a single private paper at the house. His will is here in the office. He would not attempt to make one after the mess he found everything would have been left in by the one he last made himself. If the O.L. torments him he has said he would come up to our house. The only danger is sudden sickness, and of that I have got means to be informed of.2
Father does not know about Henderson's family; except of a son who was years ago in the Gore Bank, went to the bad, was dismissed, imprisoned for forgery in Chicago; and two or three years ago was drowned while drunk in bathing. Henderson is dead some time. Will enquire. At what time will you be home this fall? I want to know. Am going to have Margaret Hefferin make some mince pies especially for you. Have also a cheese soaking in brandy for your benefit. Mrs. McQ. is firmly convinced that I am constantly in communication with Margaret to inform her (Mrs. McQ.), so Father tells me. Write me soon & tell me when to expect you.
As ever yours
I.B. McQ. [Isaac Baldwin McQuesten]
1 The McKeands (W4535) were likely relatives of Mrs. Elizabeth (Fuller) McQuesten's, Dr. Calvin McQuesten's third wife. She had tried to pressure her husband to "buy a lot and build a house for them [McKeands] in Hamilton so that she could get them back near her" but he refused (W2348, W2368, W2372). Nellie McKeand came to stay with Mrs. Elizabeth (Fuller) McQuesten when she and Isaac were in conflict over Dr. McQuesten's estate. Mrs. McKeand and Archie and Clarence were living at Wellington Square in Hamilton in April 1873 (W2354, W4323). It is likely that they returned to the United States when Elizabeth (Fuller) McQuesten retired there after Dr. McQuesten's death in 1885. For more on Dr. Calvin and Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten, see W-MCP5-6.351. See also Dr. McQuesten's Deed of Trust, providing a Dower for Elizabeth, W0234 to W0252.
2 This is the term the brothers use for their stepmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten--the "Old Lady." She would harass her husband to give her money and to leave her most of his assets in his will, and here Isaac is obviously concerned that she may try to poison him. In W2423 he worries about his misplaced revolver for similar reasons. See W-MCP5-6.351 for more on Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten.