W5800 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Mar 13 1907
To: Calvin McQuesten Toronto Ontario
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton
My dearest Calvin,
Our house question is not yet finally settled for when I submitted the offer of the Club [Hamilton Club] to Mr. C.[Chisholm] he thought I should be assured of more than $750 as they proposed, that they should take it for six months at $900 and another month if they wanted as proposed. So that proposition was sent Monday afternoon and we have not yet heard. It may have been wiser, but I would almost rather have settled it and taken the chance, for I am so tired of indecision and am afraid of missing Oakville houses. Page's Cottages are so very small and close to each other. Think it a very good suggestion about photographing rooms and will try to have it done.1 It was very sad indeed about Gradie's young lady. Tom's friends are very unfortunate. We hear the Commercial Club is leasing the 8th story of the Bank of Hamilton and paying a rental of between 4 & $5000. The girls are planning to hear Dr. Grenfell to-night.2
Yesterday we had a call from Mr. Judson, Mr. Bone's successor, a very excellent little man, I am sure. Sabbath Evening Mr. Ketchen gave a sermon on "Gambling" which was very good, and did not skirt the question.3 Hamilton is said to have a very bad reputation in that line. The dearth of news is great. I hope you will get on satisfactorily with your exam this week. Sorry for Miss Oates!4 Tom is a first class bed-maker, I know by experience. Hope to have something more definite to write later. With much love.
Your loving mother
1 The Hamilton Club (an exclusive men's club) had suffered severe damage in the tornado of June 1906. Mary describes some of the damage.
Found there had been a tornado in Hamilton, which took down entirely our poor cherry tree, took the centre out of one of the maples next it . . . still we escaped wonderfully. Hundreds of chimneys were blown down. . . . There was great destruction at Dundurn and elsewhere; elsewhere numbers were killed. . . . We hear the Ham. [Hamilton] Club is considering our place. Its roof was blown off. (W5691, Oct 20/06)
On March 20/07, Mary wrote:
As to our house I think it is almost certain to go on. I was at Dr. Osborne's yesterday . . . and he said there was nothing else to do, but go on for they all knew already that the cost of building would be great, and when they give us an indemnity of $200, it looks pretty certain. At any rate we will have a cottage for the summer. . . . When Mr. Mason and the steward and cooks were over on Monday, he decided they would not take attic (which seems too good to be true) but every inch of cellar space. I was horrified to hear the bar was to be in back cellar, had not quite realized that feature, but it seemed as if I had gone too far to draw back, and wondered if I were doing wrong and yet it is just the same as an hotel. (W5804)
The Hamilton Club considered purchasing Whitehern, but rented it instead, from April 1907 to January 1908. Letters for this period describe preparations for moving, storing furniture, and renting a cottage in Oakville for Mary and daughters. Several letters describe the condition of Whitehern when the Club moved out and the cleaning and redecorating required to restore it.
WHITEHERN & HAMILTON CLUB LETTERS: Jun 15/06--W5502, Jun 28/06--W5516, Jun 29/06--W-MCP2-4.003, Aug 10/06--W8189, Oct 20/06--W5691, Mar 7/07--W-MCP2-4.037b, Mar 15/07--W-MCP1-3a.017, Mar 13/07--W-MCP1-3a.018, Mar 13/07--W5800, Mar 20/07--W5804, Mar 20/07--W5808,
Apr 7/07--W5812, Apr 15/07--W5816, Apr 22/07--W5820, Apr 25/07--W5824, Apr 30/07--W5832, May 1/07--W5836, May 30/07--W5854, Jul 2/07--W5894, Sep 6/07--W5970, Dec 18/07--W6008, Jan 20/08--W6012, Jan 25/08--Box 12-759, Jan 30/08--W6020, Apr 15/08--W6079.
2 Likely, Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell (1865-1940) English Physician and medical missionary to Labrador. He founded hospitals, hospital ships, orphanages and other social services (CBD 626). He was a forceful speaker, prolific writer, publicist and fund raiser (CE 938). For more information on Dr. Grenfell, see W-MCP2-4.053 which includes his image, IMG234.
3 For Ketchen family, see W5359.
4 Miss Oates was the landlady.