1873 Letters

January 3, 1873 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

January 3, 1873

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

He is taking music lessons one day a week. Will Plank had an accident while working with the railroad in which he lost his right hand. He was hurt in October and was able to go back to work in December.

Scan of 1873-01-03 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson 

Galesburg Jan 3d 1873

Cousin Frank

As it is a rather stormy day & I have not much of anything to do but to do chores so I will improve part of my time by writing to you. It is one month to day since I received your letter.

Our folks are all well & enjoying themselves as well as the cold weather will permit. We are haveing some very cold weather, the mercury has been as low as 35 degrees below zero.

I am takeing music lessons of a German teacher in Kalamazoo, take one lesson a week. Henry Keith[1] & Henry Brown[2] started for Benton Harbor yesterday morning, they have gone to see about starting in business there. They saw a fellow from there a short time ago & he said that there was a good chance for either one of them there. If Henry Keith goes there he will rent a window & go to repairing. Eugene Crawford[3] made me a visit about two months ago, he was expecting to go to keeping books for a firm in Detroit, have not heard from him since he went away.

Will Plank[4] has had the misfortune to loose his right hand coupling Cars on the Grand Rapids & Ind R.R. He got along a great deal better than anybody expected he would. He was hurt the 14th of October & he went back on the road the 10th of Dec., he is in Grand Rapids now watching road crossing.

Did the holidays go off pretty lively in Perry? There was not much of anything done in Galesburg. There was a couple of Christmas trees & the Masons had a supper at the Hotel.

Hannah[5] & I was down to Aunt Katies[6] last Sunday they were all well as usual. I suppose that small snow drifts dont stop trains on your R.R. this winter. Do you see Loyd Higgins[7] any this winter. He is in Castile[8] yet I suppose.

Pa[9] has gone after Ma[10] & Hannah they are down to Mr Browns[11] to a quilting party so I am alone with the children.[12] The Mercury is 16 degrees above zero & the wind is blowing a perfect huricane. We all wish to be remembered to you & your folks. Write soon.

From Ethan B Keith

P.S. Has Nellie[13] got her Piano yet.



[1] His half-brother

[2] His sister Nancy’s husband

[3] His maternal first cousin

[4] A neighbor

[5] His sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[6] His father’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[7] A neighbor and one-time boyfriend of Hannah

[8] Castile, New York

[9] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[10] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[11] Henry Brown’s father, Ambrose Brown

[12] Presume he is referring to his younger sister Louese and brother James

[13] 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 04-10-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh


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