1871 Letters

December 1, 1871 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

December 1, 1871

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

The big news is that Ethan’s half-sister, Lois, was recently married to Adelbert Skinner, yet none of the family knew of it until they read it in the newspaper.

Scan of 1871-12-01 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg Dec 1st 1871

Cousin Frank,

Yours of the 13th of Nov was received in due time, was very glad to hear from you. I am making it a business now to answer letters, this will be the 6th letter since week ago last Tuesday & one more to answer yet. Our folks are all well as usual with the exceptions of Pa[1] & Nancy.[2] Pa sayes he does not feel so well, his head bothers him a considerable. He does not get his strength yet. Nancy has chills every little while she had one the other day that lasted her six hours.

Nancy & Hannah[3] has kept house for Uncle Joe Lee[4] ever since you left here until last Sunday. He thinks there never was anybody that has had the trouble he has. He cannot get anybody to do the work in the house or help him out-door very much. I must tell you the news before I write any more.

Married on the 18th inst. by R. G. Smith Mr. A. R. Skinner to “Miss” Lois G Clark both of Comstock. Copied from the Kal-Gazette. That is all I know about any such proceedings.[5] If you know anything about things of such a nature you would confer a great favor on the people of this vicinity as well as our own family by informing them by return mail, because we do not expect to hear anything about it from the parties concerned very soon. Nancy was up there the other day she did not hear anything but said they were very smiley. Pa & Ma[6] have gone down to stay with Uncle Joe tonight will stay with Mart & Lucy[7] tomorrow night. Tell Aunt Katie[8] that they are getting along finely down home.

I went to hear Dr Burner give a Lecture on the Laws of health last Wednesday evening it was first rate. I finished husking Corn 3 weeks from the day we commenced husking had about 225 bushels. I intend to commence school a week from next Monday. I have got my opinion of Mr James Higgins, am very much obliged to you & your Father[9] for your trouble. I guess it is about time I stop my nonsense. Love to all. Write soon

From your Cousin E B Keith

P.S. Nancy says tell Nellie[10] that she will write as soon as she gets well enough too.

E. B. Keith


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[2] His sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[3] His sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[4] Joseph Lee was Ethan’s first cousin once removed and Frank’s first cousin twice removed

[5] Lois was Ethan’s half-sister. This was her second marriage. Her first husband, Byron Clark, died December 25, 1865, and she married Adelbert Skinner November 18, 1871. She apparently did not inform any of her family of this as her brother, Henry Keith, wrote similarly to Frank on December 8, 1871

[6] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[7] Martin & Lucy (Lee) Milham. Lucy was Ethan’s paternal first cousin

[8] Catharine (Keith) Bradley Lee, Ethan’s paternal aunt and Lucy’s mother

[9] George Tomlinson

[10] Frank’s sister, Nellie Tomlinson

*Thanks to Leigh Terrass, great-granddaughter of John Frank Tomlinson, for sharing this letter with me and allowing me to post it. In order to keep the letters chronological in the https://lettersfromthe1860s.wordpress.com/ blog post, it was given a posting date of 02-24-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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