1860 Letters

February 27, 1860 letter to Luke Keith from Sarah Keith

February 27, 1860

To: Luke Keith

From: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

Sarah received a very welcome letter from her husband. She hopes that his cold will get better soon so he can enjoy his visit. The children miss him. The race broke away opposite Cary’s barn and that, on top of the snow, brought the water close to the house and started seeping into their cellar. The water was so deep in the yard that she could not get to the barn for chores without wearing Luke’s boots. Two stores were broken into and all the cash was taken.

Galesburg Feb 27th, 1860

Dear Husband

I received your very welcome letter this evening.[1] I am sorry you have had such a serious time of it, hope your cold will not make you sick. Keep close drink plenty of herb tea and I think you will be better in a few days. I do hope you will be well enough to go around and see your friends, whilst thare. We are all well. The children thinks pa is gone a good while, most every time the cars[2] comes from the east Hannah[3] is shure pa is a coming. Nancy[4] said she would give three shillings to see pa. Ethan[5] thinks it is pretty lone some. I have had quite a time with the water, the snow fell three or four inches deep the next Friday after you went away, and the next Mondy the race[6] broke away opposite Cary’s barn. The water coming on the snow brought it close up to the house. The Millers stoped the hole but Tuesday night it broke again. I went down cellar as soon as I got up. I saw the stones were wet to the bottom of the cellar I knew it was a soaking through. I kept watch and by ten oclock it got a hole through as big as a hens egg. Catharine[7] was here she helped me cary sand out of the cellar and stoped it. The Millers stoped it again. I cant get to the barn by night without getting my feet wet. Felt quite encouraged But wednesday night it broke a good deal larger hole. I looked down cellar the first thing after I got up, all was right thare, but when I went to the barn to do the chores I did not know what to do. I see I could not get thare without wadeing. I happened to think of your boots. I put them on the water came almost up to the top of them. It was high enough to stand about three inches in Miss Jones. I think I shant be troubled any more, they have shut the water off, there is none in the race only what melts from the ice. Galts and Blackbur’s cellers were filled with watter. One night last week Flint and Masons stores were broken open. Flint had ten dollars taken Mason less. It was all they had in the drawers. The theif is supposed to be Lyde Beckward he is around. Millhams foks have had a boy and lost it. Your mother[8] is better. Frank is thare yet. I got a letter from Mother Saturday she has not got thos likenesses yet. I must stop writting it is near midnight. I had so much to do the fore part of the evening I could not write. School is out to morrow vacation ten days. If you get so you can work any and Patty[9] can find enough for you to do so you can partly pay your way, you had not better come home till you make them a good visit. I can get along if we keep well. I have not seen Cross and so good night.


Henry[10] has been here some of the time. Jo is a getting ready to tap he needs his help. He will not be here any more.

The children are felling very bad over dolls[11] death.

Bennett and his wife were here last week they had just got a letter from Mary, her little boy was jut gone with the dropsy on the brain,[12] she wanted her Father to come and fetch him home.

[1] Luke left on February 14 to visit family and friends in Pavilion, New York

[2] The train

[3] Their daughter

[4] Their daughter

[5] Their son

[6] An artificial channel or bed of a stream leading water to or from a point where its energy is utilized, such as a mill or a mining claim

[7] Luke’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[8] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[9] Luke’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[10] Henry Keith, Luke’s son by his first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith

[11] Believe that Doll was their horse

[12] Dropsy on the brain, or hydrocephalus, is the accumulation of enormous quantities of water within the brain


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