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Ruby Baker McQuesten (1879-1911)W6509 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Aug 30 1909
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
From: 'Whitehern' Hamilton

My dear Calvin,

After I wrote you on Saturday, it occurred to me, Supposing you had a chance to sell your homestead when you were ready to leave there would be the $500 mortgage on it. If you once put it on, then you would almost have to keep it till you paid that off and what would your taxes be? Your belated letter came this morning and your question me as to my summer outing and I had been expecting it and I feel that I owe it to you to spend the money you sent me in that way and yet I need it so much for other purposes that I did not like to spend it on a trip.

So I think I must just at last tell that we have been under extra expense for Ruby. Before going further I want to tell you so that you will not be alarmed that she is now we believe out of danger and getting on rapidly. Well, when Ruby reached Toronto from Winnipeg she went to Dr. Caven and he advised her to go to a Sanatorium at Gravenhurst under a Dr. Parfitt in whom he had the greatest confidence. This was a new place started in March. Dr. C. said for her just to go for two or three months, and there she could learn how to take care of herself.1 I suppose he did not wish to discourage her, but he must have known that it takes at least a year to make a cure. Of course this gave us all a terrible shock and we decided as you were so far from home, it was useless to tell you, and we would wait till you came home and by that time she would be better. After she had rested there for two weeks and Heurner attended to her, her fever was lower and Mrs. Mullin and Hilda were up with her, they were delighted with the doctor, the nurses and everything about the place, and Ruby was quite happy too.2 The present system is to keep the patient perfectly quiet and feed them well. By the blessing of God Ruby never went back. And when Tom went to see her in June on his way from Elk Lake, the doctor said the disease had been checked, at first he was afraid it was in her throat but it was not. Then two weeks later Hilda went to see her. About the first of July she was moved into a tent a fine large one with floor and comfortably furnished, R. said she felt better immediately; the nurse says she is getting fat and she enjoys her food thoroughly and eats well. Her card on Friday says "I must touch wood, have been feeling especially well these last few days and my temperature is 'out of sight'" so we feel she is getting on finely. The doctor also uses the new treatment of injecting tuberculin into the back to destroy the germ, the effect of this is to increase the temperature, but evidently now since it was "out of sight," it has had a fine effect upon her. Dr. Parfitt himself nearly died of it and was given up but fought it out and is now a strong fine looking man, he is a very fine man too and takes the greatest care of his patients. His wife also is a fine woman and so is Mrs. Fournier the head of the house. It is called "The Minnawaska" and was an Hotel which was bought with 14 acres of land, it is fitted up with steam heating &c and very comfortable, they have excellent food, and we can but feel grateful to God that such a place was ready when we needed it. Crawford Pawis is up there and though he seemed very ill, the doctor thinks he will be moving round by the spring, it is quite wonderful the cures we hear of. Gordon Gates was there but there was no hope of him from the first, it had gone on too long, so he was brought home.3 Whilst there he was very kind sending Ruby papers and magazines and made his sister come to see her, and Miss Gates came to see me after she returned and sent garden roses while we had them. The poor sister said he was her child companion. They always went every place together for they did not go into society. Dr. P.[Parfitt] said Calgary was too windy not a place for R. at all.4

I must tell you that Jean Black McKerracher is in the Manse at Gravenhurst and she wrote inviting any of the family that wanted to go up and stay with her, so H. did and found Mr. McK. so kind & nice and most hospitable, so I am sure if you could stop off on your way home, you could just stay overnight with him and you could get meals at the sanitarium for 25cts. Jean will probably be here in October, but you could introduce yourself and get your meals at the san. Mr. McK. & all the Blacks have been so nice and kind in visiting Ruby.5 "The Minnewaska" is not far from the Manse, within the limits of Gravenhurst. I cannot tell you how thankful we are for the good hope we have, for it was a disappointment when she came home from Calgary and had to be sent right off again.6 Now I think the very hot weather is over, really cold to-day. You see I could hardly go to a place by myself and it takes the two girls to keep the house going.

Maggie [MacKay] asked me to Toronto, but think I will wait till you are back here before I go, it would be nicer to go out for little walks with you. Tom helps all he can and he wants to get your answers to his questions before deciding. Of course if one risks nothing one wins nothing. We pray that you may be guided. R. will be writing you now as I have told the tale. With much love.

Your mother

[M.B.McQuesten]


1 Likely Dr. W.P. Caven, see W5105.


2 For Dr. Heurner Mullin and Mullin family, see W4521.


3 Gordon Gates death had been reported in Mary's letter to Calvin of August 21, 1909. For Gates family, see W4698.


4 Dr. Parfitt was in charge of the sanatorium at Gravenhurst "The Minnewaska" where Ruby was being treated for tuberculosis (W6135, W8787, W6574, W6576, W6617, W6665, W9058, W6537). See also a biographical sketch of Ruby by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.


5 Jean (Black) McKerracher [sometimes spelled McKeracher] was likely the daughter of Rev. James Black, a retired Presbyterian minister. Her husband, Rev. William McKerracher was a minister at Gravenhurst. He invited Calvin to take his services for him on September 17 [or October 17th] during his holidays so that Calvin could visit with Ruby (W6532, W6535, W6540, W6544, W6545, W-MCP6-1,421). For the Black family, see W6063.


6 For Ruby's illness, see W6135n, and her bioglraphical sketch as noted above. Calvin did visit Ruby at Gravenhurst, see W6574.




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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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