W9013 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jan 7 1913 Tuesday 7:15 a.m
To: Calvin McQuesten 'The Manse' Bracebridge Ontario
There was great excitement here last night. You would have enjoyed it immensely. We did not hear if Tom had got in till after eight o'clock1, but quite early we knew that Allan was in2. You can imagine the telephone ringing all morning. Mattie D. and Hilda started off in Stanley Mills' car the first thing in the morning worrying out their women voters, and I can assure you the tension here was very great. They and Mary had been going for days, house to house canvassing, even Edna went to some and it is said the women's work put Allan in, but it was only MacNab St. women who worked. The miserable Baptists led by New went for Bailey and St. Paul's was not active except John Knox. Mrs. David Gillies did great work and the dirty Herald actually alluded to her by name. It seems she would not take the Herald and told them as a reason that she had two respectable maids in the house. I telephoned her my appreciation of her work and also Mrs. Evans who said that "My son was the fore-front of the whole thing3." He certainly planned and worked up the whole thing, until he made it a live issue. It was he that had the women organized and that miserable Newton Galbraith4 telephoned Mrs. Evans and accused her of working for Allan, because she had Cataract Power Stock. We were most sorry that Mr. Milne5 did not get in as Controller but Morris, Cooper got in and Gardner will follow and we think Bird will do6. He is the most simple looking creature, a clerk in Grafton's but a Catholic, but it is too bad.
We are also sorry that the By-law to take off 27 licenses from hotels failed, tho' the one for shops carried. But 27 would mean taking it from some of the better hotels and the liquor men spent $20,000 on the elections. It was disgraceful too; the manufacturers came out in a long list as opposed to the reduction7. Well, I must run, if I am to make my toilet before breakfast but I want to have this posted for morning mail. Heard from Miss Fisher who was much concerned to hear of your illness and wished me to convey to you her best wishes for New Year8.
With much love
[P.S.] There is a letter from Saskatchewan we are posting.
1 Tom was elected alderman, a "position he maintained for seven years" (Barnsley 22). Tom and his family worked very hard to get the voters out, especially the women who had been "enfranchised for municipal elections" (Best 26). The provincial franchise was not received until 1917, the federal in 1918 (Bashevkin 6).
2 John Allan (1856-1922) builder, politician, was elected mayor of Hamilton in 1913 and had been an alderman since 1908. "His administration was noted for its business-like methods, and he was popular with all classes [and] was elected Liberal MLA for Hamilton West in 1914." He was a Presbyterian, a member of the Commercial Club, the Scottish Rite and assisted in the formation of the National Bricklayers' Union (DHB2.1). He worked well with Tom on many issues including the struggle with the TH&B Railway to depress their lines in the West End near Whitehern.
3 This is a reference to Tom who had worked very hard for the Liberals in the election.
4 Likely, Newton Galbreaith (1848-1925) philanthropist, came from United Empire Loyalist stock. He worked in his father's general store and retail grocery on King St. E. and earned his wealth in real estate speculation. His mother established Hamilton's first art class, later part of the Wesleyan Ladies' College, and he created Hamilton's largest and most valuable private art collection. He was an early proponent of an art gallery for Hamilton, and "wanted beautification of the city." He was a Liberal, a Freemason, and a member of Central Presbyterian Church. His art collection was donated to "the proposed future gallery" and a room was named for him (DHB3.65-DHB3.66).
5 John C. Milne (1838-1922) businessman, senator, member of Board of Directors for the Library, owner of the Pure Milk Co., director of Steel Co. of Canada, and was in charge of the Wentworth Street Incline Railway, and many other business interests. He was a Freemason and a member of Knox Presbyterian Church (W9013, W5297, W6336; DHB1.154; Henley 28).
6 Thomas Skinner Morris, merchant, alderman 1892-95 and 1909-10 and 1912. He was instrumental in establishing the five-mile stretch of land that became Mountain Face Park, which had been denuded by quarries, brick manufacturers, and railroads. He worked closely with Tom on several city beautification projects (Best 44). He was on the board of control from 1913-17 and acting mayor in 1916. He ran for mayor twice and was defeated. He was a Liberal, member of the Scottish Rite, a firm believer in social reform and assisted in the establishment of Methodist Sunday schools and churches (DHB3.153).
William Henry Cooper, contractor, was elected alderman in 1909 and to the Board of Control in 1910-17, ran for mayor in 1917 and lost. He was president of the YMCA for 25 years, worked for the Big Brothers' Association, the General Hospital, the library, and was a Methodist and United Church supporter. He was a man of "unashamed religious convictions" and "believed that education must go hand in hand with Christian faith" and to that end he worked to bring the Baptist McMaster University to Hamilton in 1930. He was a Mason and citizen of the year for 1942 (DHB4.52-3).
Charles W. Gardner, clothier, Conservative, was elected to city council 1907-09, to the Board of Control 1910-13 and ran for mayor in 1915 but was defeated. He was a member of the Scottish Rite (DHB3.66).
7 A reference to the temperance part of the election.
8 For Miss Fisher, see W4315. More about Cal's illness in next letter.