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Thesis - essays on the McQuestens and lifewriting by Mary Anderson
Timelines - a chronological list of events in the McQuesten family and corresponding historical events

1901 - 1914

Left Decoration 1673-1860 1861-1900 1901-1914 1915-1991 Right Decoration

Date McQuesten Timeline Historical Events
1901 A portion of the Whitehern property is expropriated by the T.H. & B. Railroad.

Thomas McQ. works his way to England and Scotland on cattle boat and lives in the hold with the cattle.

Roentgen, Wilhelm Konrad von (1845-1923) physicist recieves the first Nobel Prize for physics for discovery of X-Rays, Electromagnetic Rays.

Jan. 22, Queen Victoria dies, Edward VII is pronounced King. The Coronation is scheduled for Jun 26 but he is too ill and it is postponed and finally takes place on Aug. 9, 1902 and he rules Britain until 1910. The women of Hamilton collect funds for a statue of the Queen, which is unveiled in 1908 and stands in Gore Park today.

Jan 23, The Toronto Evening News reports that vaccination parties are in vogue as the "latest social novelty": "the physician is the guest of honour and while he vaccinates the guests one by one, in one room, the others play whist in another. After all is over, supper is served."

May to Nov. The Pan American Exhibition is held in Buffalo N.Y.

1902 Jan., Calvin and Thomas McQ. have vaccinations, possibly administered by their uncle Dr. Calvin B. McQ.. Mary B. McQ. reports the death of a friend from diphtheria.

Feb., Mary B. McQ. slips and fractures her ankle and/or heel. She is on crutches for Feb. and March. She is unable to attend the WFMS conference in March but her paper is read out.

Summer, Tom McQ. becomes an expert marksman in the militia, a member of the 4th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery.

Sept., Hilda receives a marriage proposal from Kenelm Trigge. Her mother (Mary), objects because he drinks alcohol and also "treats" others in his job as a salesman. The relationship ends.

Dec. 4, The Liquor Referendum Act in Ontario receives 199,749 votes "for" and 103,542 "opposed." However, the referendum on Prohibition is defeated on a technicality which requires that more than 1/2 of the affirmative votes cast in 1898 are needed to proclaim a victory (212,723). Although the referendum is defeated, the prohibitionists on the basis of the majority, proclaim a moral victory and the result is a greater restriction in traffic and the closing of many of the bar-rooms.

Rev. Dr. John Wilkie (1851-1928) is a Presbyterian missionary in Indore, India from 1879. He is one of the principles in the "gender conflict" between the missionaries. He is removed in 1902 and operates an independent mission in north India from 1904 until his death.

Miss Jean Sinclair is a medical missionary in Indore, India from 1888. She is involved in the "gender conflict" between the missionaries and denounces Rev. Wilkie.

Charles Bell becomes a brilliant criminal lawyer and a successful playwright. His father was William Bell, attorney. His mother Mrs. Emily (Rogers) Bell is a neighbour and close friend of Mary B. McQ.'s.

B.K. Sandwell (1876-1954), is a fellow-journalist and friend of Calvin McQ.'s in Montreal They live in the same boarding house. He becomes a prominent Canadian writer and in 1925 is elected fellow of the Royal Society of Can.

Marconi successfully sends signals across the Atlantic from Glace Bay, N.S.

1903 Thomas McQ. works as lumber man on Ottawa River.

Thomas McQ. wins the Alexander Mackenzie Scholarship for Political Science at Univ. of Toronto. He is also president of his fraternity (Zeta Psi) and editor of Varsity.

Sept. Calvin McQ. tenders his resignation from The Montreal Herald because of the stress and workload of the Street Railway strike and the threat of a breakdown.

Jan., Eva Booth performs in Hamilton, daughter of Edwin Thomas Booth, the son of Junius Brutus Booth, and brother of John Wilkes Booth who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

Jan 27, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), U.S. industrialist offers $350,000 for a central public library and two branch libraries in Toronto, accepted.

Mar.4, The Palace Rink, a vaudeville theatre in Hamilton, burns to the gound. It was near Whitehern, and had been converted from a livery stable and a roller skating rink. Mary B. McQ. describes the fire.

Apr., Sir William Mortimer Clark (1736-1917) becomes Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, succeeding Hon. Sir Oliver Mowat. He was a Q.C., chairman of Knox College, and iss on the Foreign Missions Committee for the Presbyterian Ch. He is created a knight bachelor in 1907.

Aug., Hon. William Proudfoot dies. He had been Isaac McQ.'s law partner, justice of the high court of Ontario, prof. of law and vice-chancellor of U. of Toronto, and a member of MacNab St. Church. He lived with his daughter Miss Jessie Proudfoot.

Aug. 17, The Ford Motor Co. of Canada is incorporated and production begins at the Walkerville, Ont., which produces 117 cars in the 1st year. In 1904 the company is incorporated at Windsor, Ontario.

Sept. The richest silver vein in the world is discovered at Cobalt, Ont. by railway worker Fred LaRose.

An anti-toxin is being administered for diphtheria.

The Hamilton and Toronto Automobile Club is founded when there were fewer than 178 automobiles in the country. They are largely social clubs with an interest in racing.

The 91st Highland regiment is founded in Hamilton by James Chisholm, William Alexander Logie, (members of the McQuesten law firm) and J.R. Moodie (and others). It later becomes the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. Logie is the first commanding officer.

"The Gamey Affair." Robert Roswell Gamey (1865-1917), politician, speculator, Conservative MP, brought charges against the Liberal govt. of bribery and corruption, which causes a news sensation and are partly responsible for the defeat of the govt. The hearings of the Royal Commission last through April and June.

1904 Apr., Calvin McQ. becomes a missionary preacher for the summer at Standoff and Slide-out, Alta., traveling on horseback, and then he studies at Knox College in the fall & winter.

May, Mary B. McQ. is invited to Government House to dinner with the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Mortimer Clark and his wife "Daisy," who are old friends. Mary is attending a missionary society conference in Toronto.

May, Thomas McQ. is a candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship. Tom and Mary, and others, do a great deal of politicking, but it is defeated. It would have provided $1500 per year for Tom's education at Oxford. It is the first year that the Rhodes Scholarship is offered.

June, The Ben Greet Company of Shakespearean actors tour Canada and the U.S. They play Montreal and Toronto and Mary McQ. and some of her family see the performance of "Midsummer's Night Dream" while in Toronto for Tom's graduation.

June, Thomas McQ. Graduates, B.A. in Political Science.

Summer, Thomas McQ. works as lumber man on Ottawa River at Quym, Que. as he had done in the summer of 1903. He comes home in Sept. to go back U. of T.

Aug., The McQ. family visits Parliament House to see the art collection and 100 pictures by Paul Kane.

Aug., Edna wins the Governor-General's Scholarship in Classics to Queen's Univ. She is never able to attend because of failing mental health. In Sept. she suffers headaches and depression ("nervous prostration") and spends long days on a camp bed on the veranda.

Sept., Thomas B. McQ. takes a job on military survey. It pays $75. mo. He asks to be excused from Osgoode for a month.

"Higher Criticism" is being taught in the Presbyterian College by Prof. John McFadyen, "a scholar of international stature" and Sir Robert Falconer, and others. It involves a more critical, experimental, and historical study of Scripture, which questions the fundamentalist view. It is influenced by German philosophy and by Darwin's theory. These professors also tend to favour "Church Union." Some professors, such as William McLaren, principal of Knox Coll. from 1905, remain on the fundamentalist and conservative side of the issues. However, by 1911, the new criticism is accepted by many Presbyterians, but it continues to be very controversial.

The Rhodes Scholarship is newly instituted according to the will of Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902), Prime Minister of Cape Colony. The will establishes colonial, American and German scholarships to Oxford. His motive is to secure good understanding and peace through educational ties.

Japan and Russia declared war. Peace is declared on Sept. 13, 1905.

1905 Feb., Mary McQ. visits MacDonald Institute in Guelph.

June, Calvin McQ. completes his exams at Knox Coll. and takes a position as minister at Staney Brae, Muskoka with a regular stipend.

Aug. 9, Edna McQ. is sent to John Baker's (a cousin) at Kokoma, near London, for a rest, but she is upset by his drinking and arguing. In Sept. Edna leaves John Baker's abruptly; she is "excitable" and in a "fearful state of nervousness." On Sept. 13, Edna comes home in a "most terrible state" and has a "violent fit of hysterics." On Oct. 10 she has a breakdown and is taken by a nurse to Montreal. In Oct. 1906 her mother, Mary, becomes very concerned about the cost of medical care for Edna.

May, The Turbinia and Modjeska, steamships, travel between Hamilton and Toronto several times daily, 10 trips for $2.00 & $2.50.

Albert Einstein states the first theory of relativity.

July, Rev. Hugh Beverley Alexander Ketchen (1872-1961) becomes the minister at MacNab St. Presbyterian Church in 1905 (to 1946). He is an outstanding preacher, strong on poetic quotation and has a sparkling wit. He is in great demand as a preacher. He writes two books. The McQuestens strongly endorse Ketchen.

1906 Apr., Edna is staying with Ruby at Ottawa Ladies' College, She arrives home on June 4.

May, Calvin McQ. takes a missionary preaching post at Standoff, Alta. In June he is at Macleod Alta.,stays until the end of Dec., then to Knox College in Jan. 1907.

May, Mary B. McQ. travels to Winnipeg to a Missionary Society Conference and inspects many of the various Indian reserves, mission posts and schools in the area, such as Birtle School. Her letters describe the trip to the various outposts and the means of travel. She stays for 5 weeks, returning on June 15.

Mary B. McQ. has her first automobile ride at Winnipeg. She is not pleased.

June, Mary B. McQ. makes one of her frequent trips to the dentist, Dr. Capon, in Toronto for dental problems.

Summer, Mary B. McQ. vacations with her daughters Mary, Ruby and Edna at Dorset, Ont.

Aug., Ruby McQ. receives a marriage proposal from David Ross while mother and daughters, Ruby, Mary and Edna are vacationing at Dorset, Ont. Ruby's mother (Mary) objects & the relationship breaks up after 2 yrs. in secret.

Sept., Thomas is working buying up the Beach Strip for the Railway people.

Nov. 13 & 26, Mary B. McQ. objects to the "noise" of the 11 new bells at St. Paul's Presbyterian Ch.

Dec. The Hamilton Street Railway Strike ends. It is a long and bitter strike. Mary B. McQ. is in favour of the workers and the union and writes a letter to the papers in support (Nov 12).

June 25, The Central Presbyterian Church at Jackson & MacNab Sts. is destroyed by fire. It was built in 1858. It is rebuilt in 1908 at Caroline and Charlton (formerly Hannah). The architect is John MacIntosh Lyle of Hamilton. He is an urban planner and leader in the "City Beautiful" movement with Thomas B. McQuesten, Noulan Cauchon and others.

Mar., Toronto's first movie house, the Theatorium, opens.

July 11, Sunday is officially made a day of rest in Can. The Lord's Day Act restricts activities on Sundays to prevent business interests from turning it into another work day. The idea originated with the Lord's Day Alliance formed by the Presbyterian Ch. In 1888 and bucked by many Protestant faiths.

July, The Modjeska, Turbinia and Macassa, steamships, travel between Hamilton and Toronto: Turbinia, 3 round trips daily, 35c. & 50c., 10 trips $1.50, Modjeska and Macassa, 5 round trips daily, same fare. Meals can be purchased in the dining room.

May 14, The Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission is created, with Adam Beck (1857-1925) as Chairman. It is the 1st nationalized electric utility in the world. Albert James Anderson of Hamilton, is Supt. of Construction between Niagara and Toronto.

Nov., 12, St Paul's Presbyterian Church is fitted with eleven bells, and begins to give public concerts, and on Sunday before services they play ten hymns.

Nov., A violent Street Railway strike occurs in Hamilton. It is settled in Dec., and the employees do not lose their jobs.

The Hamilton "Sanatorium" for the treatment of tuberculosis, the "white plague" or consumption, is formally opened. Since 1902, the City Improvement Society and the Hamilton Health Association sought to establish a treatment centre, inspired by Mrs. Samuel Lyle and J.H. McMenemy, the IODE, and the Local Council of Women. It is the "first purely local anti-tuberculosis association in Ontario."

1907 Jan., Mary B. McQ. is reluctant to attend the meetings of the WHMS which has been formed in 1903 to minister to the gold rush and immigrants, and continues to favour the work of the WFMS for foreign lands.

Feb. The Railway makes an offer to expropriate the McQuesten home, "Whitehern," but it does not occur.

Mar., Mary B. McQ. complains of having "blind turns" and has not been feeling well for the past year.

May, Calvin McQ. goes to Glenhurst and Milden, Sask. as a missionary preacher until fall and then back to Knox Coll.

Sept. Ruby gave up teaching, ill with "bronchitis." It is later diagnosed as tuberculosis.

Apr.-Dec., Mary B. McQ. rents Whitehern to Hamilton Club for $900 mo. and lives in Oakville with her daughters.

June 10, Thomas McQ. Graduates, L.L.B., Osgoode, Toronto.

June, Thomas McQ. is rumoured to be engaged to Miss Elliott. His mother (Mary) objects and the relationship continues in secret for a time.

June 15, Thomas McQ. has been engaged to article with Royce & Henderson of Toronto for $75 mo. He assists with the purchase of the right-of-way for the railroads and Hydro-electric development between Niagara and Toronto. He stays with this firm until the fall of 1907.

Sept., Thomas McQ. begins work with Masten, Starr & Spence, Toronto at $1000 yr. He makes several trips North and takes charge of the new law office at Elk Lake which serves the mining boom at Cobalt, Sudbury and North Bay. He stays with them until June 1909.

Dec. Mary B. McQ. resigns her office as President of the WFMS on account of ill health, but the members agree to retain her as President and vote that 10 members be asked to preside at the monthly meetings.

Feb., The debate on the Mormons in the Globe. Prof. Kilpatrick objects to the Mormon settlement in the Canadian West on religious grounds because of their practice of polygamy, which he considers a sin, and because they would have great influence by voting in a "block"; whereas, the Hon. Frank Oliver favours their settlement on political and economic grounds: that they are industrious, peaceful, law-abiding, and make good farmers and citizens.

July, Rev. James Alexander Macdonald gives a series of impassioned speeches on evangelism and social reform as part of the "Social Gospel" movement. He is first editor of The Westminster and founder and editor of The Presbyterian. He also helps to pioneer the settlement work in Canada.

Dec. 6, The 1st recorded flight in Canada or the Br. Empire, of a heavier-than-air machine takes place at Baddeck, N.S. when Thomas Selfridge is lifted into the air in a tetrahedral kite, the Cygnet, designed by Alexander Graham Bell.

Sir Robert Falconer (1867-1943) becomes President of the University of Toronto, which he completely reorganized He is a Presbyterian clergyman, scholar and Principal of Knox Coll. He is active in Church politics and favours "Higher Criticism" and "Union." The committee for church union began in earnest in Dec. 1904.

1908 Jan., Mary B. McQ. and her daughters return from the Oakville rental home to find Whitehern greatly in need of repair after the Hamilton Club vacates. It takes several weeks to complete the repairs.

Mar., June, Calvin McQ. takes a missionary preaching post at Glenhurst Saskatchewan. In June the news reaches him that he has graduated with a B.A.

May, Mary B. McQ. has been complaining of tiredness, "heart trouble" "nervous heart" and "heart palpitations" for several months.

June 15, Ruby is having her throat sprayed twice a week by Dr. Arnott--diagnosis chronic bronchitis and asthma. In July she is sent to Calgary for convalescence, where she is treated for "the Con" (consumption) for 9 mos. While in Alberta, Ruby visits Lake Louise in late July.

Oct. Thomas McQ. visits the old homestead in New Hampshire.

Oct., Mary B. McQ. is unable to attend meetings, experiencing some nervous heart, nervous exhaustion and dental problems.

June 14, Central Presbyterian Church is formally opened. After the fire of June 25, 1906, it is rebuilt at Caroline & Charlton Sts. The architect is John MacIntosh Lyle.

Aug., Robert (Bobby) Kerr (1882-1963) wins the Olympic championship in the 220 yards. Some of his records stand for 20 years. He works at the International Harvester and is a "fireman" in Hamilton.

The statue of Queen Victoria is unveiled in Gore Park, where it stands today. The women of Hamilton collected funds for it.

General Motors manufactures 200 automobiles, in agreement with the McLaughlin Carriage Co. of Oshawa, Ont.

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1847-1942) publishes Anne of Green Gables.

1909 Apr. May, Ruby comes home from Calgary for 2 wks., then is sent to Gravenhurst, and moves to a sanatorium in Muskoka, the "Minnewaska," which has just opened in March, where she is being treated for tuberculosis.

May, Rev. Calvin McQ. is ordained a Minister of the Presbyterian Church at Glenhurst, Saskatchewan. He also becomes a homesteader.

Sept. Thomas McQ. and his mother take a trip to the Fonthill Nurseries to view the plantings.

June, Thomas McQ. joins the law firm of Chisholm, Logie & McQuesten in Hamilton, Ont. at $1000 yr. He is considering politics.

Dec.13, Calvin McQ. visits Ruby at Muskoka.

Jan. 23, The Republic steamship is shipwrecked in collision with an Italian vessel, the Florida. It sinks 23 hours later and the 1500 passengers are transferred twice. The heroic wireless operator and Marconi's telegraphy is credited with the rescue of the passengers. The cargo is lost, $3,000,000 in American Gold Eagles destined for the government of the Czar of Russia.

Jan., Rev. R.P. MacKay, secretary of the Foreign Missions Committee of the Presbyterian Church and moderator of the General Assemby, is invited to speak to the Hamilton WFMS. As he is inspector of the missions in China, Korea and India the women are eager to hear of the results of their work abroad, but they are disappointed and "exasperated." MacKay favoured the WHMS and resisted "any accretions of power by the WFMS."

Feb. 25, Ethel Caroline Kinrade is murdered at her front door while her sister Florence is at home. The murder is never solved, but her sister said that a transient had come to the door asking for food and money and when she went to get it her sister was shot.

Apr., Carnegie offers Hamilton $75,000 for a new library and the Whitehern site is being considered. However, the railroad is also considering for their new development.

May 15, The Globe reports on the "Amendment to the Coronation Oath" which passes second reading, and is an attempt to remove some of the safeguards of the Protestant faith, which the Catholics name as "Objectionable Clauses." This causes a debate between the two throughout the Br. Empire.

The 1st Canadian Service station is set up in Vancouver.

Louis Bleriot flies his airplane across the English Channel

Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Calgary opens, the "Minnewaska."

Feb. 23, McCurdy, John Alexander Douglas (1886-1961) flies the Alexander Graham Bell-designed aircraft the Silver Dart at Baddeck, N.S. It is the first powered flight in Canada or the British Empire. He had previously made more than 200 short flights in experimental aircraft in the U.S.

1910 Mar.,Thomas McQ. visits Ruby and finds a cottage for her close to the Minnewaska for $15 mo. for 8 mos. They arrange that Hilda be her care giver.

Apr. 26, Calvin McQ. passes all of his final examinations and is "finally launched" with a B.A.

Oct., Ruby is moved to a cottage on Hamilton mountain and Hilda is her care giver there. The family has Christmas dinner at the cottage.

Mary B. McQ. is elected vice-president of the Ontario Provincial Society of the WMS.

1911 Apr. 9, Ruby McQ. dies of tuberculosis, age 32.

June, Rev. Calvin McQ. accepts a ministry call to Staney Brae, Muskoka.

Aug. 8, Mary B. McQ. visits a show of motion photography at the Temple Theatre depicting the Coronation of George V, including the procession, the foods and wines, the boat trip, and the growth of flowers.

Aug. 11, Thomas McQ. salary is raised to $1200 per yr.

Aug. Edna vacations with her mother in Chippewa and is feeling well.

Jul. 28-30, An Aviation meet is held in Hamilton, with 3 "birdmen," McCurdy, Willard and Martin competing for new records in altitude and speed. McCurdy flies to a height of over 2000 ft. The McQuestens view the meet on July 30.

St. Christopher's House, a settlement house patterned after Toynbee Hall in London England, is opened in Toronto as a result of the "Social Gospel" movement. The movement represents a kind of "social Darwinism"-the belief that morality and social reform can be effected by a wholesome environment. It concentrated on the urban poor and immigrants, and soon led to settlements in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

J. Emily Steele, Catherine Ewart's daughter, becomes president of the WFMS, and moves from Dundas to Toronto for the post.

Sir Winston Churchill becomes Lord of the Admiralty, and organizes the navy. In 1917 he becomes Lloyd George's minister of munitions, and he becomes prime minister in May 1940 and leads Britain through the war.

1912 Jan.-Mar. Calvin McQ. goes back to Knox Coll.

Feb. 19, Dr. Calvin Brooks McQ. dies in Hamilton, Ont.

Mar. 20, Rev. Calvin McQ. accepts a call to Bracebridge to be inducted April 2. His mother visits him there in Aug.

Mary B. McQ. inherits $36,000 from Dr. Calvin Brooks McQ., her brother-in-law.

Mary B. McQ. takes a trip to Vancouver, B.C. and Banff with WFMS delegation. They also take a trip on the Steamer, Princess Mary.

Aug., Mary B. McQ. visits Calvin at his manse in Bracebridge from early Aug. to late Sept.

Sept., Calvin McQ. is very ill with a cough and cannot sleep.

Apr. 15, 16, The Titanic sinks off Nfld. on her maiden voyage, only 711 of 2224 passengers survive. It sinks in 3 hours. It is struck by an iceberg after Capt. E. J. Smith ignores warnings and maintains full speed. The Hamilton Spectator first reports that all the passengers were saved by the miracle of telegraphy. The next day the report is corrected.

Gold is discovered at Kirkland Lake.

The WMS Women's Missionary Society is formed as an amalgamation of the the WFMS and the WHMS. The woman's executive members feel they havebeen coerced by the FMC

Aug. 5, Hamilton's first hydro pole is planted.

1913 Jan.-1920 Thomas McQ. is elected Alderman Ward 2, Hamilton, Ont. Jan. Women in Hamilton are allowed to vote for Alderman and Mayor.

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is formed to promote the automobile, improve roads and motoring conditions.

1914 April, Rev. Calvin McQ. resigns his ministry at Bracebridge and comes home for several months, emotionally exhausted. In Dec. he accepts a position as Co-Presbyter in Buckingham, Quebec.

Thomas wants to enlist in WWI forces, Mother objects and he does not enlist. Mary expresses a "violent opposition" to the war, the waste of money, and she fears losing her son.

Mary B. McQ.'s daughter Mary is on a European tour and narrowly misses the trouble in Europe.

The Panama Canal opens.

Aug. 5, Canada enters WWI when Britain declares war on Germany. On Aug. 19 Canada declares war on Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Nellie Letitia McClung (1873-1951) and other suffragettes hold the Mock Parliament in Winnipeg to agitate for votes for women.

Sir John Strathearn Hendrie (1857-1923) is the Lieut.-Governor of Ontario to 1919. He is the eldest son of William Hendrie (1831-1906) a prominent Hamilton industrialist who has 11 children, is on the executive of many businesses, and lives at "Holmstead" the site of many state occasions. The Hendries are members of Central Presbyterian Church and Mrs. Hendrie is a member of the WFMS.

Left Decoration 1673-1860 1861-1900 1901-1914 1915-1991 Right Decoration

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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.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.