W4387 TO HILDA MCQUESTEN from her mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Aug 17 1892
To: Hespeler Ontario
From: Hamilton Ontario
My dear Hilda,
It was very thoughtful and kind of you to send me the postal card and the letter. I thought my eldest daughter [Mary] would have done so, not even a message has she sent me, since she left, but I trust she does not entirely forget her mother, though she shows so little attention.
I would have written before but have been busy every hour. Ruby told you we had a little tea party for Elsie Buchanan Monday--very busy all day mending & going over Alice's [illegible] & my own. Yesterday, we sent Tom off to the Brant House in the morning, and Ruby went in the afternoon taking their tea with them; Edna did not wish to go, so I asked Mrs. Fletcher1 to let her stay there, as I was going to Dundas. Mrs. Steele 2 had invited Mrs. Grant & me to an "At Home" at her house and to speak about mission work3. All the articles given for the box to India were laid out on the piano, and those from the Mission B.[Band] on a table. There were quite a number of ladies and we had tea etc! Mrs. Grant and I stayed till the evening.
This morning I have been very busy sweeping & dusting getting ready for Miss Fisher, who is coming to stay a few days, then I may go at the dolls in earnest, for I have never touched them since.4 Mrs. G. took home clothes to alter & Mrs. F. [Fletcher] is making chemises. Little Annie Young brought 3 dressed dolls & a box of little looking glasses have come. The person where Christie M. boarded came yesterday morning to tell me Katie M. was dead, she had lingered for six weeks & died after great suffering, on the 10th. Poor thing! Cally went off on Monday morning.
Am glad we are having such fine weather & trust Mrs. Haigh is not going to any more trouble than she can help.5 We will expect you Saturday, & you can send your baggage up by Express man. I can pay him at the house. Did I give you those car tickets to bring you home let me know? Give my kindest love to Mrs. Haigh & all the others and I trust both my daughters are not forgetting to love and serve their saviour. With much love earnest prayer that God may keep you both in His care.
Ever your loving mother
M. B. McQuesten
1 For Fletcher family, see W4479.
2 In 1896, Mrs. J.Emily Steele of Dundas was elected president of the presbyterial for the Hamilton and district auxiliaries to the WFMS. She was the daughter of Catherine Ewart who had inspired the Ewart Missionary Training Home for women missionaries and deaconesses. She attended the Winnipeg conference with Mary in 1906. In 1911 she was elected president of the national body of the WFMS and moved to Toronto to facilitate the work of attempting to get women's formal representation at the Board and conference level, but the men resisted (Brouwer 40-41). In these "gender wars" Mrs. Steele and Mary worked closely together and in 1912 they attended the Vancouver Assembly together. During the assemblies of 1914 the WFMS was coerced into joining with the home missions to form the Women's Missionary Society (WMS). Their spirit had been broken and they felt that they had become just a "fund raising arm" of the church, but they continued in an auxiliary relationship with the Home and Foreign boards (Brouwer 51). Emily Steele continued as president and many other members of the executive joined her (Brouwer 27,40,41,50-2, 87; W5172, W5470, W5487, W6351, W6769, W6746, W9180).
3 Mrs. Robert Grant was elected second vice-president at the formation of the MacNab Street Church auxiliary in 1887 (Latoszek 25). Mary was secretary at that time and became president in 1893, the office she held until 1914 (Buttrum 4, 6).
4 For Miss Fisher, see W4315.
5 Mrs. Haigh was likely the wife of Rev. George Haigh in Hespeler, a friend of Rev. Thomas Baker (W3812, W5477).