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W4500 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jul 13 1901
In care of (c/o)
To: Calvin McQuesten Copp Clark Publishing Co. Toronto, Ontario
From: Whitehern Hamilton

My dear dear boy,

We received our weekly letter from Tom yesterday, so will enclose it, but I want you to return it, I suppose you received the last one, but I know you are always busy; I hope you are feeling rested after all the fatigue of Niagara and the Pan.1

We have been busy all week entertaining various people. Thursday Mrs. Davidson from Guelph, Mattie, and Miss MacKay, then the Lockes & Ken came up in the evening to have the long promised ice-cream which was to celebrate Edna's getting through with exams. Then last night Florrie Bell came to tea and in the evening Mrs. Gilbert and Bessie, Blanche and Maddie MacKay. Florrie Bell brought Mary a beautiful little brooch in form of a bird, but she does not look at all well. In the morning Ina and Muriel Hills suddenly appeared. The day before Jessie Brown, chattering as ever! Full of her experience at Philadelphia, so I have a feeling that we must always be ready, not knowing who may descend upon us.2

By the way, telephone Mrs. MacKay and find out if she received a letter from me enclosing five dollars. She may have gone to B.C. Would you like me to send you some money now toward the present for Mrs. Buchanan or later?3 I can send it now if you like.

The garden is quite a show now with hollyhocks in all types and shades they are so beautiful beside the orange lilies and larkspurs, poppies, and the Yucca is most lovely. But sad to say the cherries are all worm eaten, it is so trying. Poor Tom misses the fruit. In a letter from him to Ruby, he says the food was abominable and just the two

[part of the letter is missing].

Have just received your letter.4 I'm glad to know you are having such satisfaction in your bicycle, do hope no one will steal it. Poor Tom, I will be glad when exams are over. Whilst writing your letter Hilda went out and when she came back announced she had just had a tooth out. It had been talked of for some time and at last poor child, she went off quietly and got it over, the whole top had broken off, so Dr. Clark had to lance it right down to get hold of roots and took them out in three pieces, he lanced four times and put instruments away down, just think of it and she took no gas. Dr. Clark thought her courage wonderful.5 She never screamed or made any fuss. Well, good-bye once more,

M.B. McQ.


1 "The Pan-American Exposition was held in 1901 in Buffalo, New York, May 1 to November 2, 1901 on a 342 acre site. . . . The fair featured the latest technologies, including electricity, and attracted nearly 8 million people. . . . The Electric Tower was illuminated nightly by thousands of coloured bulbs and floodlights." ("Pan-American Exposition, 1901, Buffalo, New York": 1 p.. Online FREENET. November 29, 1998). In The Evening News, Toronto, January 22, 1901, Calvin wrote "The Dominion at the Pan-Am," and reported on the visit of a Canadian delegation led by William Hutchinson of Ottawa to inspect the site of the Exposition grounds. Representatives were from colonization, forestry, mines, agriculture, and archeology. The Exposition has entered American mythology with the fictionalized account by first-time author, Lauren Belfer: City of Light (New York, Dial Press, 1999).


2 This letter gives an indication of the volume of social life that the McQuestens enjoyed (or endured). At times Mary complained that her children did not have enough social life, and at other times she was "simply tired to death of transients" (W5392, W5665, W4605). Because it was summer, many of the visitors were from out of town: Mrs. Davidson from Guelph ("Gracie," see W4902), Mrs. MacKay, Blanche and Maddie from Toronto (W4297), Ina and Muriel Hills from Toronto, possibly related to the Hills of Hamilton (W4297 DHB1.103)), Gilberts from Walkerton (W5524, W5606). Mattie Davidson (W4544), Jessie Brown, the Lockes and Ken [Trigge] (W5382, W4635) and the Bells (W4531) all from Hamilton.


3 The gift is likely a wedding gift for Eliza MacFarlane's marriage to James Isaac Buchanan in Pittsburgh, which was her home and his place of business. The Wedding took place on July 11, 1901 (W1251b). James was a Pittsburgh millionaire and son of Hon. Isaac Buchanan (see W4367).


4 This final paragraph of the letter is obviously not the original extension of the above letter dated July 13, 1901. The ending of "goodbye once more" suggests a postscript, possibly to W4479 written on May 1, 1901. The references to Calvin's bicycle and Tom's "exams" were both subjects of family letters in late April and early May (W4467). On June 16, 1901, Tom had written to Calvin from Aberdeen, Scotland about his trip across the Atlantic on the cattle boat (W4490).


5 I have found no record that Dr. Clark, dentist, was related to Gordon Clark or Sir William Mortimer Clark, but he may have been a cousin. For Clark, see W4902.




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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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