1864 Letters

June 22, 1864 letter to Sarah Keith from Luke Keith

June 22, 1864

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Luke Keith, Milwaukee, WI

Luke writes that he is well other than daily headaches and the blues. He has put in bed bottoms in several places and has shown the model as well as putting a bedstead in one of the big furniture establishments. He is on the go all the time. He feels that the prospect of sales is not very good since there has been no rain in Milwaukee for eight weeks which is driving up the cost of hay, flour and other goods.


June 22″ 1864

Sarah I am well as usual have some head ache evry day and the blues some. The day I left home I went to Mattywan[1] found Aunt Electa[2] about one mile west.[3] Stayed there until after five then went over to carolines[4] uncle Warren[5] was there. I went one mile west then back to Mattywan which made me two miles travel then went three and a half miles north which made me five and a half miles travel dusty as you ever saw. I found them all well. Stayed all night left the next day noon got to the cars in time went to Niles.[6] Henry[7] has told you all about that. I left Niles at five Mondy morning got to Milwaukee about two put up at the niagara Hotel. Dont have to pay but seven dollars pr week for board. I have put in one bed bottom[8] for the landlord where I board. He thinks some of having two more dont know yet I hope he will. I am on the go all the time. Have showed the moddle to a great many they all pronounce it the best thing they ever saw in the shape of a spring bed. The land lord told some of his boarders this morning that he had as lives have it as a thirty dollar mattrass it was better than he had any idea it could be. I have put one into a bedstead in one of the big furniture Establishments. They pronounce it the best thing they have seen. I think I shall leave here the first of the week dont know where I shall stop next. I cant stand it to pay so high for board. Some of the houses charge 3 dollars pr day none less than one. Not any to high living at that if I dont do any better than I have so far I shant do wonders. Prospect not verry favorable as yet but never mind it may come out all right yet. I will wright you a gan before I leave then I will tell you where to direct. How is the youngones and all the rest of you. Has Brad left yet. How does the cow come on. Evry thing is drying up in the vicinity of Milwaukee. There has not been any rain in eight weeks. Wheat and grass is nothing here. Hay is selling at fifty dollars pr ton flour nine pr barrel and every thing else in proportion. The freight on my beds was six dollars and eighty seven cents about 17 cts pr bed. If I dont sell many here they will cost something by the time I get them up to Omro and Depere.[9] I wish I could put them all but ten or fifteen in here. I think they would go here after they found out what they are but it is going to cost to stay here in a dried up city. There seems to be money enough but evey thing is so high. Dont tell any boddy what I have written. I will know better nex time how the thing runs. The prospect look rather dark but I must keep nitten as Brad[10] says. I may go to Oshkosh[11] from here. I hope you will all keep well.

Yours &c

C. L. Keith


[1] Mattawan, Michigan

[2] Electa (Damon) Wolcott

[3] Almena, Michigan

[4] Electa’s daughter, Caroline (Wolcott) Earl

[5] His uncle, and Electa’s husband, Warren Wolcott

[6] Niles, Michigan

[7] Sarah’s brother, Henry Crawford, lived in Niles

[8] Luke sold Ulmer’s Spring Bed Bottoms; see August 2, 2015 post on the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog here for more information

[9] Omro and De Pere are cities in Wisconsin

[10] Perhaps he is referring to John D. Bradford or A. J. Bradford, who were listed as Manufacturer and General Traveling Agent, respectively, on the Ulmer Spring Bed Bottom handbill

[11] Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s