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W4717 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Dec 10 1902 Wednesday
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
From: 'Whitehern'

My dear dear boy,

It is so cold that my ideas seem frozen up and I have not time to reckon what day of the month it is. Yesterday was the Mission Band Sale and the girls had made and gathered a wonderful lot of pretty things. Mr. McPherson always gives the sugar, and this year Hilda and Ruby made it all. Such a tempting array of platters. The Mission Band was delighted with itself but the seniors did not do so well and our auxiliary is about $25 behind. It is thought our sale was injured by a big Scotch Lunch, which was held at the Central Church for two days and crowds flocked to it. It seems too contemptible, this lunch was given to pay for colored windows in the church. Miserable set always spending on themselves. And our church is getting so poor with a $600 deficit, and many people in it with means. In our own auxiliary I notice it, such carelessness in their method of giving, no wonder the church suffers.1

Well, I sent you the Herald with its reference to my letter, in one way it was courteous enough but underneath there was a bitter spirit it seems to me. Being charitable is one thing and speaking the truth is another. Sometimes we are called upon to speak the truth.2

So I am to be trotted to the Oculist, you sent far too much money, my dear boy, I hope it will not cost so much. You must just have robbed yourself. There are many calls at this time. It seems to me the weather is very cold for the season. I am hoping you will not get a cold. H. will write once more to Ken to either send or hand his photo to you. I would not like you to speak to him at all.

The temperance people here are not at all discouraged but some really jubilant with the results, you see both Toronto & Hamilton--the Cities--gave majorities and I think many who did not vote, would not vote against it. Do you know there were drunkards (poor things) who voted for it. One told Dr. F.[Fletcher] he did so in self-defence. They are a miserable godless drinking set in Montreal, and many like them here.3

Well, my dear, I am very thankful, we shall see you at Xmas, for one can never write about all they would like to talk about. We are expecting Annie Anderson, Mrs. Ross's niece, to-morrow. To-day we have the Annual meeting of Jewish Mission and the girls are going to assist at "Tea" at Mrs. Taylor's.4 I was asked to pour tea but would not forsake the Jews.5 Now do not forget Mrs. Skeoch's address.

Your loving Mother

Mary B.McQuesten

[P.S.] I have found a good scheme for warming my feet, I just have a warm soap stone (whilst I am sitting) under my feet.


1 The MacNab WFMS had also discussed the idea of giving a lunch but it was deferred for further discussion (WFMS "Minutes," December 2, 1902). The "Scotch Lunch" at Central was reported in the Spectator as

The Scotch Luncheon at Central church schoolroom opened today with great success. The attendance was exceedingly large. The room looked very pretty. There were 27 tables seating six people, and three seating twelve. The young ladies decorated their tables according to their individual tastes and the effect was varied, beautiful and harmonious. The platform was covered with palms.

At the left as you enter Mrs. W.R. Davis and Mrs. Edward O. Zealand have a table of the most inviting homemade cakes, buns, rolls, Scotch short bread, etc., also pickles, jelly, etc., and they did a rushing business, their wares being most delicious. The candy booth was presided over by Mrs. Will Stewart, assisted by Misses Aileen Davis, Margaret Scott, Margeurite Scott and Strathmore Findlay, and was one of the attractions, the people showing they appreciated good home-made cakes.

An extra large supply for both home-made tables has been ordered for to-morrow, nearly everything being sold to-day.

The work table presided over by Mrs. J.J. Scott and Mrs. W.A. Wood was covered with a host of pretty and useful articles, which were marked so low that they sold rapidly, and it is fortunate more new and novel articles had been promised for to-morrow or the table would have been given up from necessity.

Mrs. John S. Hendrie and Mrs L. Henderson received the tickets at the door. Duncan Campobell piped, and the guests bought bouquets of heather.

The young ladies in charge of the tables were, Mrs. C. Percival Garrett, Misses Tennie Gartshore, Harvey, Bell, Jessie O'Brien, Marion and Jean Findlay, Gladys, Beatrice and Dorothy Gates, Zimmerman, Garson, McBride, Elsie Forbes, McDonald, Turner, Roach, Ethel O'Reilly, Mabel Wallace, Edgar, Marshall, McKewn, Leather, Brown, Simonds, Fletcher, Bizzy, Stewart, Noyes, Travers, Rutherford, Leighman, Beatrice and Marjorie Evel, Nellie Rankin, Holton, Winnie Balfour, Agnes Hossack, Ida Scott, Fannie and Letitia Smith, Hugalt (Beverly), Scott, Hunter, Laura Dressel., McMeakin, Johnston, Tandy, Marjorie Stinson, Barker, Hoodless, Russell, Smith (Brockville), Mrs. Charles Murton.

The guests were received by Mrs. Lyle, Mrs. Gartshore and Mrs. J.J. Evel.

Mrs. Wm. Hendrie, Jr., was in general charge of the tables.

The diningroom committee was Mesdames Robert Evans, B.E. Charlton, Eastwood, James Walker, Barr, Rankin, Furnivall, O.G. Carscallen, W.R. Mills, M.D. Galbreath, Goodman, Thos. Lees, Jr., H.S. Steven, James Dunlop, Inksetter, Jolly, Low, Fraser, Turner, R.R. Wadell.

Officers of the Ladies' Aid society: Mrs. John Harvey President. Mrs. Alex Gartshore, president pro tem. Mrs. Eastwood, first vice-president. Mrs. A.R. Kerr, second vice-[president. Mrs. L. Henderson, third vice-president. Mrs. G. Lyon, secretary. Miss Mary Gartshore, assistant secretary. Mrs. E.B. Charlton. Mrs. Robert Evans, treasurer pro tem. (The Hamilton Spectator, December 4, 1902).

The coloured windows at Central Church were installed but destroyed in the fire of June 1906, see W5512. When the church was rebuilt in 1908, the "features of the new church included beautiful stained glass windows," donated by parishioners (Bailey, Wee Kirks 54).


2 The Hamilton Herald for this period is not available on microfilm


3 On the day of the election, December 4, 1902, The Hamilton Spectator reported:

WILL ONTARIO BE WET OR DRY? The referendum fight is on all over the province. Liquor men and temperance workers are facing each other and are striving with the people to gain victory. . . . The dispensers of hard drinks know all the tricks that are worth knowing in connection with the getting out and the manipulating of the vote. . . . On the other hand the temperance people are without this fine organization. They have not the money. . . . There was talk of the plugging game being worked along with that of the impersonator.

The women's participation was noted: "One of the pleasant features of the day to the workers was the mid-day remembrance from the W.C.T.U. The ladies are not allowed to vote, but they did the next best thing--they sent hampers to every polling division for the refreshment of the workers of both sides." On December 5 the same paper reported: "The liquor trade has apparently won a victory. That is, through the trickery of Hon. Mr. Ross in imposing an impossible task upon the prohibitionists, [they] have been held in check by a body of men of much less numerical strength. Indeed, the prohibitionists are well entitled to proclaim a victory inasmuch as they polled two votes to the liquor man's one." Rev. T. Albert Moore stated "All over the Province, the result makes it imperative that we should demand more restrictions on the traffic, with a view to getting rid of the bar-rooms and treating evils."

In a 1923 Newspaper article (ND but likely 1923 because 1922 is mentioned) Rev. Beverley Ketchen noted that the O.T.A. (Ontario Temperance Association) had at least had the effect of making liquor, good and bad, expensive. That, it seemed, was the chief objection of many. A man told him that he could get a couple of glasses of whisky at any hotel in the city for $1. Mr. Ketchen said that he did not know as to the truth of that statement because he had not tried, but even so there was a big difference between $1 and 20 cents. One could imagine how hard that must be especially for the Scotch. If there was more liquor now and it was easier to get, why should it be do dear? This seemed to be a tribute to the effectiveness of the law.

Drinking was confined to the fashionable and the foreigner, and the stuff that the foreigners were making was so bad that they were getting sick of it themselves.

Half the drinking south of King street was done to be fashionable and up-to-date, but there was nothing more fickle than fashion. There were thousands of women whose life used to be a nightmare who were profoundly grateful, for the O.T.A. committments to jail in 1922 were only 14,700 as compared with 22,777 in 1914 before prohibition and despite a 300,000 increase in population. [The article continues with comments about British Columbia statistics, and then continues]

For a long time he also held the belief that the O.T.A. encouraged other and worse crimes, but he had come to realise the absurdity of this claim. If the prevention of any one evil created worse evils then it would be the bounden duty of all to support every existing evil in the world. Equally absurd was the charge that the Act was an infringement of personal liberties. One might as well stop health enforcement or let the motorist speed at will. [sentence structure in balance of article is incoherent]


4 For Taylor family, see W5382.


5 The WFMS made a special effort to convert the "Jews" and other immigrants in Hamilton and elsewhere. Mary was vice-president of the Jewish Mission which conducted classes for all immigrants (W4847, W5199, W5245, W-MCP1-1.025).




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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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