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W4367 TO HILDA MCQUESTEN from her mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Oct 13 1890
To: 6108 Walnut St. Hamilton Ontario
From: East Liberty, Pittsburgh, Penn.

My dearest Hilda,

Many, many happy returns of your birthday! I am sorry I cannot be there to do something to make the day happier, but I hope you will be able to do something, and if there is any one you would like for tea, if Lizzie has not made any thing1, you can go to Crawford's and treat yourselves 2. However cheer up and be as merry as you can, you are very quiet at home, but when I see the homes of so many children here in busy, dusty Pittsburgh, I feel we cannot thank God enough for such a beautiful home. Yesterday we went to church and Sabbath School, we took Edna with us up to the Bible class, they have a particularly fine teacher and it is quite wonderful to hear them recite all the books of the Bible; there are over 130 in the class. It poured when we came out of church, but Edna walked along under her umbrella. Miss Buchanan 3 wants us to stay for a meeting on Friday & we cannot start on Saturday, so if we hear no bad news from you children we will not start till Monday. Edna sends her love & I enclose a little present with my best love & kisses.

Your loving Mama,

M. B. McQuesten


1 Lizzie may have been a servant at Whitehern. For note on servants, see W4343.


2 Crawford's Confectionery Store was near Whitehern, on King St., between James and MacNab Sts. It was a restaurant and bake shop famous for wedding cakes and cream puffs, and had a tea room in the rear of the store where ladies held afternoon tea parties. It was owned by two brothers, William and George Crawford (HPL, King Street Scrapbook, Hamilton Spectator article by Fred Howe, February 10, 1962).


3 Miss H. Elsie J. Buchanan (??-1951) and Mary were attending a WFMS conference in Pittsburgh. Mary was secretary of the WFMS at this time. They may have been staying with Elsie's brother, James Isaac Buchanan, a successful Pittsburgh businessman and millionaire. Miss Elsie Buchanan was a charter member of the WFMS in 1876 and held the office of secretary for a number of years until 1884 and from 1893-95. In June 1890 she travelled to Washington for a WFMS meeting and delivered an account to her auxiliary in Hamilton (Latoszek 6, & notes). Her obituary states that she was a "woman of cultivated tastes and charm of manner." Her mother, Agnes, was also a member of the WFMS (Latoszek 4,11,25). Miss Elsie Buchanan was one of the eleven children of Agnes Robert (Jarvie) Buchanan (1826-96) and Hon. Isaac Buchanan (1810-83), an entrepreneur, industrialist, and "a merchant prince, politician and Hamilton promoter." He was a "pamphleteer," a prolific and influential writer of political tracts. The family business was Buchanan, Hope & Co. He was elected to represent Hamilton as an independent in the Assembly in the late 1850's and early 1860's. "Like many committed Protestants of that era, he was intensely anti-Roman Catholic . . . and anti-French Canadian" and had a distrust of the clergy (DHB1.31-DHB1.36). He and his family founded the "Hamilton Education Movement" (Johnston 220) and assisted in the formation of Knox College in 1858. He gave financial aid to Hamilton's MacNab St. Church and laid the cornerstone in 1856. An ardent supporter of the "Free Kirk," he announced that "he would contribute two hundred and fifty dollars to every congregation in Upper Canada that within a stated time would build a church and name it Knox," which was accepted by Dundas, Galt, Guelph, Acton, St. Catharines and Hamilton. His son, James Isaac Buchanan, also donated money for the choir-room addition and the vestry-study at MacNab Church (DHB2.49; Campbell 100; POH 77, POH 78, POH 137; Wee Kirks 67; W4367, W1251b, W4387, W4415, W4462, W4500, W4549, W5347, W5426, W5709, W6620, W7283, W7413).




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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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