W3074 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his sister Sarah Pike
Nov 10 1876
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, [Hamilton, Ontario]
From: 5 Clinger Street, High Street, Hoxton, London, England
My very dear Brother,
The sad intelligence contained in your last letter of the demise of poor dear Alfred, did not surprise me I had long expected it as he had been suffering such a long time. Most deeply do I sympathize with you in this great trouble it is indeed a great trial at your advanced age, but what a mercy and consolation it must be to you that you were able to be with him so much and to witness what the grace of God had done for him, and to think that you his dear Father should be the happy instrument of bringing about this change, how many prayers we had presented for the salvation of the souls of your sons and now the Lord has begun to answer our prayers. Let us continue to pray for the others, and Alfred's dear children, they will all be answered in the Lords own time. I pray God that your life may be furthered to see them provided for. How nice for you to see him the affectionate son that he was when a child, so many of his loving little ways have come to my mind recently, it was kind of him to wish the children to be kept together. I think his wife must be a nice woman. May the Widows God open up doors in his Providence for the children and herself too.1
I hope long before this you have recovered from your fatigue and great anxiety and regained your health and strength, I hope you have not thought me [?] in not writing earlier, but I had left home for a trip to Portsmouth only a day before your letter came to hand so that it was more than three Weeks before I could get to read it, and then the friend who went with me, for I was, and still am, too [?] to go by myself. [?] asked me to oblige her by letting her remain with me for a little time she paying for her Board, so that until she went home I could not get composed to write you for writing is quite an effort now, perhaps it is because I have so very few correspondents now, they are all dead.
Well my dear Brother, the handsome present you made me when I obtained the Key which I am glad you approve of, enabled me to take a trip to the seaside, my Doctor had assured me it would do me more good than all the medicine in his shop, and in the summer season there are so many Excursion Trains, that travelling does not use much, we went by the Southcoast line passed through Letherhead, I could remember some of the places, we got a comfortable Lodging near Fratton, the Dr. having said that the air of Southsea was too strong for me, we had a very neatly furnished front parlour and back chamber with partial attendance, for six shillings per Week, it seemed a marvel of cheapness. Our Landlady was a North country woman remarkably clean, but a bad cook. The other Lodgers was [sic] an officer of the coast guard and his wife, very pleasant Irish people, they had come from Dublin, for him to practice Gunnery. He is termed, a chief Officer, and his pay is Nine and sixpence per day.
Our cousins William and Louisa Strickland are living, but I could not talk about a sermon, he would not hear it. Louisa is so deaf that it is painful to talk to her, they seem just like two old Hermits very much afraid of any one wanting any thing of them, he has accumulated money, and he talks much about it, he has 4 holes in one of his legs but he is able to walk out now, which he could not do for 3 years before.
My first visit was to the Cemetery, found the graves in good condition, saw Mrs. [Hobts?] name on the Tomb, she died in April 1875, at the extreme 90 years. The doctor told me there had been a dreadful row in the family about her Money. He believed Ellis had got it, that is Elizabeth Garnets [sic] children, I called at Mr. Ellis, he was out, saw his youngest daughter, she told me that aunt Betsey had good health till about 3 weeks before her death, she caught cold was only very ill 4 days. Conscious to the last, she said she thought that she did not think she was so near her end. She died sitting up in bed eating an Apple, she was 91 years of age. I enquired about her property, she said that she had given a part of it during her life to the Chapel where her husband preached, I then asked who had the remainder, she was silent. I repeated the question, but she was silent still, so I did not enquire further, she apologized for neglecting to send me a funeral card, and she did not know any address, but that her Aunt had been talking about me a short time before her death, spoke very affectionately about me. I enquired of several persons how John's will affairs were settled, they smiled and spoke gestingly about it, said he thought himself richer than he was, etc. etc. but I could not hear any particulars, so at last I found out young Marshal, I think I told you of his Fathers death sometime ago, he is in partnership with Mr. Sawyer Drummond who has an Office in St. Marys street, Portsmouth. He did not know us, but when I told him who I was he was immediately kind, said he was glad I had called, told me all particulars. I told him I wished to tell you, you had wondered how it was settled, he said that his father wished, and did all in his power to persuade them to file a Petition in chancery for the settlement of it, but they must all sign it, at length finding they would not sign it, Joseph [?] Davids Son, said it should go right in chancery, but if they had acted on the advice of Marshall it would have cost much life money, it was divided into 5 Shares, namely, Joseph Orange, Mr. Ellis, George & Will Garnett, and Marshall. I asked about the money for the Coronation he said the Money was not bound to any yet but every thing was sold. And the amount divided but it was very much less than was expected instead of the Coronation having 1000 pounds they would only get ninety, and the chapel would only get forty for their 400. He told me he had seen a gentlemen who knows your Son John and he told him what a remarkably clever man he is, he said there was not any thing more for your sons, either from John or Betsey, he said, that the Ellis's and the Chapel had her money, and the Garnett family had been quarrelling ever since when Betsey went to live with John after he had disposed of his business, he persuaded her to sell her household Furniture and also her Plate, she told me she did so, believing that she was to have his but when he died Joseph Orange would not let her have anything and she left her brother's house without anything but her clothes. Mr. Ellis and his wife took her to live with them, Mrs. Ellis mentioned it to me, said she thought that as she used their furniture and had the attendance of their servants without charge, they ought to have what she had at her disposal, according to Johns Will she was to have sixty pounds a year for her life but she assured me she never had a fraction of it, and what became of his money she could not tell. I heard that William Garnett had thrown aside religion, and is now cultivating a small Farm, near Waterloo Ports-down Hill. He is not spoken well of at Portsea.
I called at the old Shop, it has again changed hands, the young man who bought it off John, died in a Lunatic Asylum, the present occupier bought the house he told me that with the exception of it and the next door, Mr. Oranges property was of little value, that the family were wonderfully disappointed, the Shop appeared just as it did, excepting a large Bill stating that The Cough Drops Pills, and [Arate?] were still made there.
I thank you much for the likeness of dear Mary's Son, what a beautiful great boy, but why did they give him such an ancient peculiar name, I have kissed his beautiful carte [picture] many times, he looks as if he belonged to the race of giants. I hope the dreadful cough has left him, I fear his little sister will catch it, his poor Mamma must be greatly disturbed, but how nice to have her own Mamma to come in and assist her but it is just as our beloved Mother would have done.2
And now my dear Brother, I suppose I ought to say a little about myself. I think my seaside trip improved my health, and increased my appetite but I did not get so strong as I expected to do I am so feeble, I am feeling the November Fogs and can get out but very little, for I can scarcely breathe, cough very troublesome, Weather cold, and very foggy. I think I may say I am shut in for the Winter, but what a mercy it is to have all my wants so well supplied, a good fire, and good stock of coals, and a kind next door neighbour who attends to domestic concerns, of course I have to pay her, but she is very moderate in her charges. My poor arm that was so injured by my falling down feels every change of the weather, is very painful at times, and prevents me doing much, but I have so many mercies, as soon as I returned home my first floor Lodgers gave notice, they were going to join a party in business, I was sorry to lose them but it is let again last week, so that is another mercy. I had almost forgotten to tell you I went to Buckland Chapel, it is a very nice now, larger pretty place, a short distance from the old place of worship, heard Mr. Andover of [?], the Minister was from home, a very respectable congregation, Mr. Malpas who married Miss Horn, is the Principal Deacon, he gave out the Hymns. He looks very aged but is still very zealous in the good cause. The old Chapel where I first heard you preach, is used as a school house. The Village is quite a Town, it is greatly improved, and respectably populated, there is a new Wesleyan Chapel, and a Roman Catholic Chapel. I thought of old Mr. Mortimer and Porter, who introduced the Gospel there.
I spent a Sabbath with our Cousins, at Portsea went to King Street, it is sadly fallen off, very small attendance, I knew but three persons there, the Minister was from home, the Town is very dull, they say the principal part of the Track is done at Landport and Southsea both those places appear very flourishing. The Ramparts being round Portsea and Portsmouth seem so strange to me, the Mill Pond is dried up and built over a fine large Gymnasium is errected [sic] on a part of it for Soldiers to exercise in, a new Presbyterian Chapel is being built at Landport. Government gave the ground. It is for the use of Scotch Regiments when they are in town.
Nov. 13. Yesterday our Chapel was reopened it has been closed more than 2 Months for repair and renovation, I am sorry to say it was a very wet day and extremely foggy. I fear it was a very small collection, to-morrow evening Mr. C. Fleming Williams is to be ordained as our Pastor. I fear I shall not be able to go on account of the Weather and my breath. Dr. Parker, of the City Temple is expected, and several other Notable Ministers, I should so much like to go, but the Lords Will be done
My dear Brother, when you write again please tell me Dear Alfreds Age also the age of his youngest child. I think much about, poor dears, hope you have had good news from John. With love to Mrs. Baker yourself and all your dear family. May the Lord bless and comfort you all.
Kiss the 2 dear little pets for me
I remain, your ever affectionate sister,
1 James Alfred's widow is Maria Mudge.
2 Sarah Pike is referring to Mary Baker McQuesten's two children, Mary Baldwin (2) and Calvin (7 mos.).