1871 Letters

December 28, 1871 letter to the Keith Family from Caroline Wiseman

December 28, 1871 

To: Keith Family

From: Caroline Wiseman, Utica, MO

Describes the people and the town of Utica, Missouri. Describes an oyster dinner that her husband and daughters went to and how, during dinner, one of the finest houses in town burned to the ground. She also writes of how they spent Christmas and her daughters’ boyfriends.

Utica Dec 28the 1871

Dear Mr and Mrs Keith[1] and Children

I received your kind and affectionnate letter all wright and it was the first letter I receved from Galesburg. How do you do and how are you getting a long & how is evry-body else a-doing there. We are all well except colds. It has been verry cold here for the past week and but verry little snow. It is colder here by spells than it is in Mich but short winters so the people say. The people are mostly all eastern people well educated & verry dressy & verry stilish. The stiles hear are no different than they are in Galesburg and the people are all good looking and the Chrildren to and I notice there are well dress and cleen & neet. We live close by the Univity Choolhouse. It is a gradded School. There is three teachers. The principle is Mr Parks. He was educated in Mane. The other to are sisters Miss Arnels from Iowa. Our Congregational Minsters name is Mr Carlton. They are verry fin people. Granpa and Grandma are well as usual for them. Mr Wiseman & girls[2] was invited out to an Oister supper last week Wensday evening. The tables was set in grand stile with there silver cakes-baskets & casters. We They had Oisters & crackers & Coffee & Ice cream & cake & Apples & candy. Just as we they was reddy to sit down to partake of the sumptous repass the cry of fire was herd. We They rushed into the street and see it was one of the finest houses in town on fire. It burned to ashes. They saved a few of its contence. It was insured for $3500 after which we they went back to the Hotel and ate our supper. We They had an orgen there and Ella plaid and sung and it past off verry plesently and about 11 or 12 they came home and friday evening Mrs Carlton invited them the girls to her house to a party. They had Ice-cream & cake & Aples & had a verry plesent time. Now I must tell you a-bout Christmas. They There was 4 Christmas trees the Methodest – Baptist – & Congregational but the Piscupal had theres twosday night. I went to the Congregational tree. It was verry nice and they had Santaclass. He was a sight to see. He scard the chrildren & they creamed and cried lowd. They had lots of music. Ella plaid and Carrie plaid and sung to pieces a-lone. Carrie & got a whight ruby & a pare of cuffs & some french muslen agen presented by one of the ladies in Utica and Ella had the same. There father gave them the ___bys. Sister Sarrah & husband & Elvy & father & mother spent Christmas with me. Mother got a can of Oisters & a half pound of snuff. We had a nice time. Mr Wiseman & the girls went to the Piscupal tree. They had a verry nice tree and had every thing to eat in the _____ kind to all of the trees. Enough about Christmas. Well I must stop and tell Hanner and L[3] something to make them laugh. The girls and there baus went a slayriding last night with three other couple. They went out to Morerevill. It is 5 miles from here. Thay said it was good slaying in the country. Now I will tell you there baus names for I suppose you would like to now. They are not Missourines. There are the first in the place go in the hurd _____. Ella bau name is Mr McCoy.[4] He is the ticket agent and telegraph opperator a verry fine gentelman. Carry bau name is Mr Branden. He is the rich mans son that is building a grist mill hear. He is a very genteal fellow. Carry fell down stars the thursday after we arived in missoure and cut a hole over her right eye & brused her cheek. It is all well but it has left a scar. You would not now Carrie now. She is as fat and her hare curls all over her head. My hair is most all gon. Ellie says tell Jim[5] she will wate till next sumer for his picture. Ellie can ride horse back lik a top. She rode behind _____ florry to a to meeting. I got the girls black dresses made in Erie the trimmings cost 7. What has becom of Mrs Clark & Beckworth. We live in a new framed house with four rooms in it verry warm & comfortable. All the rest have gon to bed. Ella it is groin latter & latter and (illegible).

C. W.

This is full and it is late. We send our love to you all. Good by from

Corline W

(My love to Mrs Birdic. Tell her that I have found a nother Mrs Birdic to give me milk.) Ans[wer] soon and tell me all the doings a bout Christmas. and I can have meny things I could say to you if i could see you. We expect that sister in evry every[?] from Calaforna. I have quilted three quilts and got three more to quilt. Good by.


[1] Luke & Sarah Keith and their children

[2] Her husband, Joseph Wiseman, and their two daughters, Carrie and Sarah Ella

[3] Believe she is referring to Luke & Sarah’s daughters, Hannah and Louese

[4] James McCoy

[5] Luke & Sarah’s youngest son, James Clinton Keith


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