W4977 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jun 16 1903
To: Calvin McQuesten, Montreal Quebec
My dear Cal,
It certainly was the most surprising thing for Tom to get a scholarship, it was so unexpected that the very idea quite upset me.1 On Saturday the results had come out, but the Globe made a great mess of it and half the third year men were reported starred. The James2 saw it but did not like to tell us; that afternoon I went down to Mrs. Bell's and Mrs. B. congratulated me on Tom's passing and Herbie showed me the Mail which was all right and said from what Tom had told him he thought Tom might get a scholarship.3 I said, I was sure his writing would prevent it. When I came home Mrs. Mullin had been up to say they had seen the Globe but Heurner said it was evidently a mistake and Robin had telephoned that Tom had come out with flying colours.4 Well, I was so excited, I could hardly sleep and by Monday Morning was almost ill with suspense; but the news soon revived me, but when he had worked so hard wished for his sake he could have had the satisfaction of being first. However it may be the means of spurring him on more next year. Why I am specially pleased is, that when Mr. Chisholm and Ruby have helped him so much,5 I like them to see he has been doing his best and not acting like Charlie Locke, who is starred again simply because he wastes so much time.6 But Tom said he enjoyed his work last year which argues well for his future. Tom had quite a number of congratulations, but when one came from Helen Gartshore also condoling on account of stars,7 I could stand it no longer and wrote to "Jimmie" Bubner to have it corrected. To-day I wrote Dr. Fletcher congratulating him on the brink of the moderatorship as Mr. Knowles termed it.8
Send copies of your Herald with the article on Dr. F. marked to him, Miss Lerned, Hopkinton and John McQuesten and Mrs. Fletcher here.9 Miss Lerned thought so much of Dr. Fletcher, put your initials on this article and [send to] James Buchanan too.10 Did you write John Duncan Clarke?11 I have written Miss Lerned.
Have never heard a word from Tom but a card with his address and saying they are far from the post, so I thought the scholarship warranted a telegram as he might not get a paper for days.12 When are you starting? Take any unframed photos you may have of the family with you. You could find out at Y.M.C.A. in Boston where you could get cheapest board. Do you need some extra money, you should see all you can. Let me know & I could send it to John McQuesten. With Much love.
1 Tom won the Alexander Mackenzie Scholarship for Political Science in 1903. It brought a small cash prize.
2 For James Family, see W4436
3 For Bell family, see W4531
4 For Mullin family, see W4521
5 For James Chisholm, see W2520
6 Being "starred" represented failure. For Locke family, see W5382
7 For Gartshore family, see W4825
8 Rev. Dr. Donald Hugh Fletcher (1833-1912) became moderator of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1903 (W4479) (DHB2.49-50).
9 Miss Lerned was related to Dr. Calvin McQuesten's first wife. She lived in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. John Knox McQuesten was living in Bedford, New Hampshire, see W4835
10 James Isaac Buchanan was in business in Pittsburgh. For Buchanan family, see W4367, W4500.
11 I am unable to identify John Duncan Clarke.
12 Tom was working at the lumber camp on the Ottawa River which he did for the summers of 1903, 1904, and at least part of the late summer of 1905--see Ruby's letter of Sept. 1905, (W5410).
Tom asked Calvin not to tell his mother about the dangerous work: "I think I will go up the Ottawa this year as a river rat. I will let mama think I am clerking or it will worry her to death" (W8160). And again:
"I am not letting the Mother know the nature of the work I am doing which is common log-driving. It is pretty hard work for ten hours a day but I will get used to it and the air is fine. The food is enough but very good and that is the most important thing. A person can stand hard work if the food is good. As yet I am not very expert at running on the loose timber but there is not very much danger as the men who are on the whole a fine set of fellows are careful to watch a green hand" (W8164). "The crew too are the wildest looking men. A great many of them are Indians and they are all lousy; Indians and white men both" (W8166). See also, W8170, W-MCP1-3a.028, W-MCP2-3b.055
Mary wrote in September 1904: "Tom arrived home. . . . he is literally the colour of mahogany and shows off his muscle with great pride" (W4877). The current complete list of references is: W4977, W5307, W4863, W8160, W8164, W8166, W5410, W-MCP1-3a.028, W-MCP2-3b.055, W-MCP3-5.036, W-MCP2-4.057, W-MCP2-4.058, Best 9-10.
For a brief biographical sketch for Tom, click on "Family" on the Home Page and then on Tom's picture.