Family Stories · Luke's 1873 Diary

1873 Plat Map of Comstock, Michigan

As I was transcribing the 1873 diaries of Luke, Nancy and Henry, I kept running across entries where I realized I had pictures and/or documents relating to what they were writing about. It’s always interesting to know where our ancestors lived and I’ll be blogging several posts with pictures and such other things I have of Luke & Sarah Keith’s house and Ambrose & Matilda Brown’s house.


The following  tax receipt dated December 31, 1872 gives a description of the land owned by Luke & Sarah Keith:

S.E. Cor [of the] S.W. 1/4 of Section 24, Township 2 Range 10 – 6 acres; and

N 29 [acres in the] W 1/2 [of the] N.W. 1/4 of Section 25, Township 2, Range 10 – 29 acres.

He paid $12.57 for his 1872 taxes.



The Plat Map for 1873, pictured below, shows where so many of the people mentioned in the diaries lived, particularly my two g-g-grandparents, Luke & Sarah Keith and Ambrose & Matilda Brown. As indicated by the tax receipt, Luke & Sarah’s property was in Sections 24 & 25 (highlighted in pink) and Ambrose & Matilda had property in Sections 24 & 26 (highlighted in blue). Their house was located on Section 26 which was down the road from Luke & Sarah. Regarding the property in Section 24, just north of Luke & Sarah, it would make sense that that was the lot Luke was referring to in his 1873 diary: Jun 1 – At home all day. Put the cow in A. Browns lot.

Most of the family members and neighbors mentioned in the diaries lived south of the Kalamazoo River. Notice that the Galesburg Post Office is north of the River in Section 24 and I believe that is the area that was referred to as “the Burg.” Luke’s adopted brother, John “Wesley” Keith lived in Section 25; his sister, Catharine (Keith) Bradley Lee, Section 29; his cousin, Charles Lee, Section 28; and his daughter, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner, Sections 27 & 22. As can be seen, many more names that are mentioned in the diaries show up on the Plat Map.

Things have changed since 1873. In about 1941 a dam was constructed on the Kalamazoo River which then formed Morrow Lake. Interstate 94, built in 1972, runs just south of the two families’ original farm locations. The family said it ran right through Ambrose’s farm, leaving the farm site on the north side and the land containing the cemetery, where Ambrose & Matilda and Matilda’s sister Julia are buried, on the south side.

Comstock Northwest ca 2018

The red marker on this next map, on Miller Drive, is right about where Luke & Sarah’s farm was with Ambrose & Matilda’s farm being more towards the west end of the road.


2 thoughts on “1873 Plat Map of Comstock, Michigan

  1. Dear Barb,

    The Plat Maps you sent us are fantastic!! I wish I had them last summer when I visited the area. The map I had of the area, drawn by a friend of Mark Lee, and sent to his granddaughter Leila Anderson in 1930 didn’t seem to match up with the real-life streets and places I was seeing. I took a lot of pictures, but I am not sure I was in the accurate locations, and the locals I talked to had no idea. I tried to contact Roxanne Fritz while there, but she was away taking care of her elderly mother.

    I tried printing off your entire email, however, the maps got cut in two pieces, in order to fit the pages. I am wondering if you would be so kind as to send me them individually as jpegs, so that I can print them better and bigger, as I am having a hard time reading the names and details you mentioned? I cannot express in words how much I appreciate ALL you are doing to save and document our Lee/Keith Family Heritage. God bless you!

    Sincerely, Margaret 801-725-2012



  2. Margaret, I’ll be sending the plats via email. I thought of you several times as I was remembering our correspondence of several years ago when you were trying to figure out where the Lees lived in relation to the Keiths – “went down to,” “went up to,” etc. I had totally forgotten I even had the plats until I came across them just recently. Sure puts things in a new light now!


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