W2416 TO DR. CALVIN BROOKS MCQUESTEN from his brother Isaac Baldwin McQuesten
Aug 20 1873
To: Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten, New York
From: Hamilton, Ontario
My dear Brother,
Your letter requires a speedy answer as to what relates to running the Rapids in going to Montreal by boat. It is extremely doubtful whether you would run the Lachine Rapid any time in September they do not get to it till quite 5.30 or 6.00 P.M. and they must have a strong, clear daylight; but most of the others you would run any time that the boat is running. Of course if there is a heavy fog that would interfere, and after August there is more liability of them than before. Still you can with a little caution about the state of the weather in starting succeed in seeing nearly all the St. Lawrence scenery. Try and arrange to stay as long as you can this time; for your own benefit as well as pleasure.
I want you if you should desire to entertain any of your friends in any way to use my house just as if it were your own. Mary will be delighted to do whatever she can to further your enjoyment. It seems Archie McKeand now comes every day to the house to dinner. I supposed it was occasionally only till I asked Christie, who told me it had been a regular thing ever since I left: I wonder if it will be dropped while you are here? It is one of those things a person can scarcely do anything about without it's appearing mean & stingy. It does no harm. Father scarcely ever seems to say a word to him and doesn't take dinner with them.1
I got in quite a stew yesterday while re-arranging papers in the vault, not to find father's will. However I spoke to Mr. Proudfoot2 about it, and he stated he had locked it up with his private papers apart, hinting at the same time that it was not such a difficult matter to take loose papers from the safe. He has his suspicions I think, as well as I have, that when the time came, no will might be able to be found. I have very little fear of being check-mated. I only wish that father might have a little more peace and happiness in his last years. Certainly if ever man deserved it, he does.
You're an unlucky beggar getting your drawers so gone through. If only clothing, you had better make up for it as far as you are able when you come home. You'll have a new suit for next summer besides what you get as usual. Don't come before the middle of Sept. without letting me know some time before. Mary wants to go to Toronto about a week at the beginning of the month. I would not be absent when you are here. She sends her love, as usual, to you. You must get well acquainted when you come. Will keep a cabinet photo for you till you come. As ever yours
I.B. McQuesten [Isaac Baldwin McQuesten]
1 The McKeands were related to Dr. Calvin McQuesten's third wife, Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten. According to Isaac, Elizabeth tried to "force Lizzie McKeand's family....on father" and coerce him into building a house in Hamilton for them but this was refused (W2348, W2368, W2372). In general, Elizabeth was a very manipulative and ill-tempered woman who tried to force Dr. McQuesten to change his will in her favour, see W-MCP5-6.351 for details.
2 Mr. William Proudfoot is Isaac's law partner, and he assisted Isaac in drawing up documents that made it virtually impossible for Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten to take control of her husband's estate. On October 3, 1873, Isaac and Calvin Brooks, their father Dr. Calvin McQuesten and William Proudfoot signed a deed of trust that required all four men to consent to changes in the distribution and investment of Dr. McQuesten's money and property (see copy of this document at W0234). This may have been a compromise of sorts since Isaac had previously tried to persuade his brother to move in with their father to check their stepmother's actions, but does not seem to discuss that possibility after the summer of 1873. See above footnote and links on Elizabeth Fuller McQuesten and W2328 for more information.