W4815 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Mar 4 1903
To: Calvin McQuesten Montreal Quebec
My dear dear Cal,
By this evening's post came a letter from Harry Whittemore saying that Reggie had been taken to Grace Hospital with appendicitis, the doctors were not decided as to an operation, but he asked for Hilda to go down to be with Reggie sometimes, as there was no one to sit with him. I do not know if I mentioned that Mrs. W. went to California a few weeks ago, some of the relatives I think had sent her the money for the trip. So it is very hard for the poor boys. I do trust he may not need the operation, poor fellow. Hilda of course starts off to-morrow.1
We have been having an afternoon of callers, the two Mrs. Dr. Arnotts were here.2 The young lady is a cousin of Mr. Riddlicombe's at Ottawa and a Miss Gilmour her cousin has just gone to school at Ottawa. Mrs. Fletcher3 and Mrs. Leitch4 had been round calling on the bride Josie O'Brien Glassco, Mary & Hilda ran over also.5 Mrs. Bonnie Glassco was assisting, a very handsome woman they say. Bonnie does nothing you know, they just travel about living on her money. Now Cal, this is what you'll have to do, look out for a nice wife instead of grinding away your strength.
Tom writes that David Ross is in Toronto, getting together another party of students to sell Views, he is to be as manager and starts in the spring.6 I cannot understand it at all, I thought the whole thing was a failure and when Annie Anderson was here she gave us to understand that David lived on his mother for ever so long and she was tired out going with him to her friends to buy the Views. Tom says David's eyes are so bad he cannot do anything else scarcely. It is very sad.
I do not know what we are to do about our assistant. Dr. Fletcher is determined to have some young man just to help in the visiting and he can do the preaching, this is his idea I am sure.7 He preached last Sabbath himself as he "wished to give us a good sermon before communion," you know he just thinks he can preach better than any of them and really I could hardly sit it out. After hearing these fresh bright young men it seems worse than ever. The first Sabbath we had a Mr. Wilson from Knox College a great many liked him, but I would not want him. A great many liked Anderson by far the best, but he is not strong enough.8 And I am afraid it is going to be a terrible try to pull our Church up again. People have so lost interest in it and I do not wonder. Hilda and Edna went to Knox to hear their new minister, Mr. Henry.9 He is most original in his methods, but very fine and the Church is packed, crowds of young men. We heard that at Brandon where he was, the other churches were rather glad he left, for he took all the young men.
Do you ever see the new paper in Toronto? Is it still called the News? I never hear it mentioned. We had quite a little excitement on Saturday Morning when the Palace Rink went up in a blaze, the fire had got well started before any alarm was given, so the firemen had just to water surrounding buildings well till it burned out.10 It was a grand bonfire. I do wish St. Paul's [Church] would buy the land.
I have a warmer spot in my heart for the French people now that you have found them so friendly, it is a great help to a stranger. H.[Hilda] heard from Helen Gartshore, she said your letter made her mouth water for the fun.11
Well dear, I hope you are keeping well. Mary has got cold in her larynx, so she makes the most extraordinary sounds. The weather here is quite mild. Brownlow Sanders was asking for you to-day. Harold Thomson has enlisted in Rhodesian Mounted Police.12 With much love my dear dear boy.
Your loving mother
1 Mrs. Francis B. (McCord) Whittemore and her children, Miss Penrose, Harry and Frank lived at 133 Bloor St. E., Toronto, in 1900 (Tyrell 120). In 1908 Mrs. Whittemore and some of her family lived near Ruby McQuesten in Calgary and may have been there for the same rest cure which was later diagnosed as tuberculosis (W6203). "Reggie" may have been a middle name for Frank. On September 19, 1907, Harry married Miss Florence Haworth (Florrie or Flossie) daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George F Haworth (nee Yates) 199 Bloor St. E. (Tyrell 61) (W5970, W5990). Others mentioned in the letters are Henry and Holton (W4815, W4821, W4835, W4863, W4877, W4963, W5172, W5212, W5524, W5636, W5683, W5970, W5990, W6173, W6196, W6203, W6211, W6223, W6229, W6302, W6813, W7095).
The fate of the Whittemore's husband and father is unknown; however, he was possibly the Dr. J.H. Whittemore, Dr. Calvin Brooks McQuesten's classmate at medical school, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (CMQPW Sec. 5). Dr. Whittemore and a mutual friend, Dr. George O. Moody, wrote several letters to Dr. Calvin Brooks from Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, London and Boston, where they were studying medicine in 1871-72 and 1877. They described their travels and studies in the various medical centres in Europe and encouraged Dr. Calvin Brooks to join them, but he did not do so (W1256, W1321, W1327, W1333, W1336, W1337, W1344, W1348, W1354, W1486).
2 A Dr. Arnott was consulted for Edna and for Ruby. He may have become the family doctor after Dr. Mullin's death in 1899, although Heurner Mullin was attending for a time also (W4815, W5406, W5087, W5691, W6343). However in the next letter Dr. Clark was summoned for Edna (W5426).
3 For Fletcher family, see W4479.
4 Mrs. A.W. Leitch was a member of the MacNab WFMS for 16 years , secretary for 8 years. Her husband was an elder. They lived at 144 Herkimer St. (Latoszek 25; W4815, W4835, W4902, W-MCP1-3a.056, W6336).
5 For Glassco family, see W4436
6 For Ross family, see W4651. David Ross's job involved selling photographs ("Views").
7 For Fletcher family, see W4479.
8 For Rev. Fred Anderson, see W4835.
9 Edwin Arthur Henry (1866-1938) was pastor at Brandon Manitoba from 1895-1902, and at Knox Church, Hamilton from 1902-06 (BDKC 101).
10 The Palace Rink, a vaudeville theatre, had been converted from a livery stable and a roller skating rink. It stood at 24-26 Jackson St. W. very near "Whitehern" at 41 Jackson St. W., which likely accounts for the fact that Mary would prefer to see the lot used by a church. Daughter Mary also describes the fire: "I do wish you could have seen the Palace Rink 'hop the twig.' I can tell you it was a magnificent sight, no smoke simply red flames" (W4855). The Palace Rink and the Star Theatre (on Merrick St.) both provided vaudeville shows every night and Saturday afternoons: singers, dancers, comedy sketches. The Spectator, December 12, 1892, reviewed a popular act of male impersonators: "Cort's Cosmopolitan Comedy Co. is the attraction at this popular and cosy place of amusement this week. The company is headed by the great Hindle, a male impersonator. This lady, or gentleman, is a curiosity in her or his way, she (or he) having been married at one time to Vivian, the celebrated English comique, and since his death, according to the American papers, has been married to a woman" (HPL, Pamphlet File, Weaver, from an essay by Shiela Turcon for Dr. J. Weaver, March 7, 1978). These impersonators likely provided the inspiration for Calvin's pseudonym of "Nina Vivian" for the Women's column that he wrote for the Toronto News (see W4415n).
11 Likely, the family of John Gartshore (?-1906?), Eglinton Ave. Toronto (W5151) close friends of the McQuestens who visited often and they vacationed together at "Willow Bank" Eglinton, or at Lake Simcoe. They are frequently mentioned in the letters. John was one of the three sons of John Gartshore (1810-73) a pioneer industrial baron in the foundry business in the 1830's and 40's at the same time that Dr. Calvin McQuesten established his foundry in Hamilton. Gartshore established the Gartshore foundry in Dundas in 1838, and moved to Toronto to establish the Toronto Car Wheel Co. in 1869, which he ran with his son John until his death. Another son, Alexander (1839-1904) remained in the foundry business in Dundas, moved to Hamilton in 1870 as Gartshore and Cowrie (later, Canada Pipe Foundry and Gartshore-Thomson Pipe and Foundry (for Thomson, see W4415). Alexander married Isobel King Hendrie in 1866. They lived at "Ravelston," 50 Robinson St., had five children, and attended Central Presbyterian Church. A third son, William Moir, became mayor of London, Ontario (DHB1.80; DHB2.56; Tyrell 138; W4815, W4902, W4977, W5008, W5012, W5022, W5030, W5036, W5040, W5046, W5053, W5063, W5091, W5142, W5122, W5151, W5297, W5343, W5371, W5377, W5422, W5477, W5502, W5512, W5524, W5546, W5583, W5654, W5736, W5932, W6813, W7388, W7391, W7402, W7468, W7560).
12 For Harold Thomson, see W5665. For Thomson family, see W4415.