W4803 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Feb 12 1903
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dear dear boy,
Have just received your card and glad to know you have managed the sale so well. I had been watching the papers and saw that five shares had been sold at 280. 2 shares and 3 shares, so I had hoped those two were mine, but perhaps I misunderstood and 275 is certainly a fine gain for me. I am seeing Mr. Chisholm to-day and will ask him as to the $79. Dear me! how rich we are getting! Mr. C. sold a property, the Lodge house, which was left in my hands some years, and of which we have been trying to get rid. The purchaser cannot pay cash but can give good security and will pay the interest which is a great improvement for Mr. C. has been so bothered keeping tenants in it.1 So that I almost feel afraid something will happen, I am feeling so easy in mind. Of course I have just been more than busy seeing to fitting up the other houses, but Mrs. Hill is willing to do part herself and is so pleasant to deal with. Mrs. Merrill left on Saturday night for New York. After that we had to keep up the fire for sake of paper and had a great deal of running about on that account as the luckless Vann had to have the mumps and though Ross promised to see to it, he thought I would send coal. Mrs. M.[Merrill] sent me no keys as promised, so I had to turn out Sabbath morning snow nearly up to my knees (but not cold) and go down Main near Walnut to get key from Ross and send a man with coal.2 However, it did not hurt me, I am in such fine health.
Saw Mrs. Bell yesterday, she is quite alone except Mr. B. & Charlie no servants and Florri off in Toronto for more than two weeks, she was so discontented, her mother was glad to send her off. Herbie had been really ill with tonsilitis & high fever. Charlie Bell telephoned Florri, but she had never gone near him, nor even telephoned to inquire, though there is a telephone in Herbie's house. O how thankful I am for dear good children!3
Monday Leckie came in to invite us to the celebration of Dr. Lyle's 25th Anniversary of his pastorate. We got talking and before we ended I had given him my ideas of the duties of a preacher very plainly and I was very much in earnest.4 From Mrs. Mullin I learn, he was not altogether pleased. M.[Mary], H.[Hilda], Mrs. Mullin & I went to the affair on Tuesday evening.5 First we had programme of music by all their good singers, then Mr. Rutherford in an excellent address presented Dr. L.[Lyle] with an illuminated one and a purse of over $600., to which Dr. L. replied in (to my mind) very bad taste, though quite intentional on his part he gave a long history of all he had done in the City, the church at large & his own church. He meant to show, I think how he had striven to fullfil his duty, but Oh dear it was just a blowing of his own trumpet.6
Afterwards Leckie conducted Mrs. Lyle and Mrs. Hendrie to the platform (you should have seen the latter, she is the funniest figure and face I ever saw), and Mrs. Evel7 made an address on behalf of ladies and Mrs. H.[Hendrie] presented Mrs. L.[Lyle] with a Persian Lamb Coat.8 Then Mrs. Lyle gave a lovely address of thanks in which she quite eclipsed her husband. After that Dr. Fletcher gave a fine humorous speech which was a fine wind up. Lastly refreshments.
Well now dear, must close take great care of yourself. Have just to rush out, Mrs. Irving and Katie at the Manse.9 Mrs. F.[Fletcher] said Mrs. I.[Irving] told her your letter to Mrs. Colin [Fletcher] was most beautiful and greatly appreciated by her, also the book you sent.10 With much love dear dear boy.
Your loving mother
[P.S.] Miss Lawson of the mission always asks about you and says they are reaping the benefit of your work in the library to this day, it is so easy to keep it in order through your system. You are a dear boy! Mr. C.[Chisholm] says to do as you said and send me $79. He thought 275 fine.
1 For James Chisholm, see W2520.
2 Mrs. Merrill had been renting the houses at 1 and 3 Bold St. from Mary. Mrs. Hill had taken over the rental and the renovations were being done to the boarding houses (see W4425).
3 For Bell family, see W4531.
4 Mary is frequently outspoken in her assessment of preachers (W4803, W4815, W4835, W5382, W5591, W5596).
5 For Mullin family, see W4521
6 For Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Lyle, see W4436
7 Mrs. Evel was likely Jessie Gay, the wife of James Joseph Evel (1849-1932) founder of the Evel Casket Co., and a director of Mercury Mills. They lived at 51 Stanley Ave. Evel and his wife worked with Mrs. Lyle and others to found the Hamilton Sanatorium, and the Evel Pavilion is named after him. Evel also helped to found the Hamilton Health Association and was president for twenty-five years (see W4436). The Evels were members of Central Presbyterian Church where he was an elder. He was a 33rd degree Mason (DHB3.47 - DHB3.48).
8 Mary Murray Hendrie was the second wife of William Hendrie (1831-1906), prominent Hamilton industrialist, contractor and horse breeder. He had eight children from his first marriage and three children from the second (five sons and six daughters). He was on the executive of many businesses, including president of the Toronto, Gray and Bruce Railway, Ontario Cotton Co., Hamilton Bridge, director of Hamilton Gas Co., Canada Life Assurance Co., and the Bank of Hamilton. The Hendries lived at "Holmstead," 57 Bold St., which was the site of several state occasions and the entertaining of royalty. They were active in the affairs of Central Presbyterian Church where he was a trustee (DHB1.101; Tyrell 142). Hendrie's eldest son, Sir John Strathearn Hendrie (1857-1923) was the lieutenant-governor of Ontario from 1914-19 (DHB2.63 - DHB2.66; W4803, W2181, W5516, W5577, W6135, W6436, W6849). Mary again comments on Mrs. Hendrie in May 1915: "They had a delightful time at the Wentworth Historical Exec. This morning when Mrs. Gov. Hendrie appeared with a letter, which suggested that she should give up presidentship to someone in the city. Mrs. Gates confessed to the letter and there was a great uproar" (W6849). See also W-MCP1-3a.056.
9 For Donald Fletcher family, see W4479. For Colin Fletcher family, see W-4635. Calvin had written to Mrs. Colin Fletcher (Anna Agur) on the death of her brother, Mr. Agur (W7380, January 2, 1903).
10 Mrs. Irving (nee Fletcher) was visiting her brother, Rev. Dr. Donald Fletcher at the manse, 116 MacNab St. S. (Tyrell 137). Mrs. Irving and her children, Katie and Tom (son or cousin) lived in St. Mary's where Mary visited them in July 1902 (W4588). Mrs. Irving had witnessed the signing of Mary's Will in February 1902 (W4568). Mrs. Irving had married Dr. Irving (M.D.) in 1880 and he died suddenly in 1901 (W4803, W7296, W4415, W4568, W4588,
W4863, W5709, W4877, W6173, W6223, W6630, W7010, W7296, W7380, W7384, W8471).