1872 Letters

October 8, 1872 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

October 8, 1872

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Should have answered sooner, but had been working at the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad. Writes that Henry is thinking of starting a jewelry store, Lucy’s baby died of water on the brain, Eugene Crawford  is going to work scaling logs for $30.00 a week, and Nancy married Henry Brown.

Scan of 1872-10-08 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg Oct 8th 1872

Cousin Frank,

Your letter of July 21st was received in due time. I think you was rather more punctual about answering than I have been. I should have answered before but have been to work most of the time for the last two months. I went to work on the Grand Rapids & Indiana R.R. in a few days after I wrote to you. My business was wipeing Engines nights. It was not very nice work, neither was it very pleasant being up nights, but I would have put up with that for the sake of getting a better position if I could have stood it but that was an imposibility so I expect I have got to give up Rail Roading.

Loyd Higgins[1] is here now. He came last Friday. He expects to start for home next Friday. He is baggage man at Castile[2] gets about sixty dollars a month.

Henry[3] is at Mr Flanders[4] yet. He talks some of going to Illinois or Iowa & start a jewelry store. He dont like Mich well enough to stay anywhere around here. I guess he had rather live in Buffalo than any other place he knows of.

Lucys[5] little baby[6] died the 25th of last month with water on the brain. It was five months & two days old.

Mart[7] is makeing cider now has made about fifty barrels. Fruit of all description is very pleanty, fall apples are worth one dollar per barrel. Have not got to buying any winter apples around here yet.

Henry & Pa[8] has been down to Oscar’s.[9]

Henry said he had an awful time with the Cats. I suppose you have forgot what a time we had with them.

We had a wedding at our house last Saturday evening. Nancy[10] was married to Henry Brown.[11] They expect to go to keeping house next week. live They will live in the same building that his Photograph rooms are in. He owns the stock of Photographs goods that Wightman[12] had, the man that took our Pictures. Eugene Crawford[13] is in Wisconsin near Oshkosh to work for my uncle[14] scaling logs get thirty dollars a week. I dont think of anything more to write. Love to all write soon.

Yours &c

Ethan B. Keith

P.S. Nancy says tell Nellie[15] she will write to her before great while.

E. B. Keith


[1] Lloyd Higgins was a family friend

[2] Castile, New York

[3] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[4] Joseph Flanders. Henry was the son of Charles “Luke” Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith. When she died just nine days after Henry’s birth, Joseph & Amanda (Hobbs) Flanders took Henry in and raised him even after Luke remarried. The Flanders wanted to adopt Henry but Luke said no; however, it looks like Henry lived with them throughout his youth. This seems to be corroborated by the 1860 census showing “Henry L Flanders” (who I believe was actually Henry L. Keith) age 16, living with Joseph & Amanda

[5] His paternal first cousin, Lucy (Lee) Milham

[6] Johnny Milham was born June 27, 1872 and died September 24, 1872

[7] Lucy’s husband, Martin Milham

[8] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[9] His paternal first cousin, James “Oscar” Keith

[10] His sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[11] Henry Brown

[12] Eli P. Wightman, a neighbor and photographer living in Comstock, Michigan

[13] His maternal first cousin

[14] Robert Crawford

[15] 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 03-29-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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