1874 Letters

February 9, 1874 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

February 9, 1874

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Aunt Alfleda is sick. She takes morphine for her stomach but won’t let a doctor see her. Lucy has joined the Grangers. Uncle Joe Lee is so lame that he can hardly get around.

Scan of 1874-02-09 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg Feb 9th 1874

Cousin Frank

I will try & answer your letter after so long a time. I have been rather busy lately & had almost forgotten that I had any letters to answer.

Aunt Alfleda[1] is sick does is confined to her bed most of the time. We do not know what is the matter with her, her Stomach troubles her a great deal, takes Morphine for that. We cannot get her to have a Doctor.

Aunt Katie[2] is at our house to night, Pa[3] went down there to day & she came back with him.

Have not seen Henry[4] since you went away. We thought it would be Sugaring time before this (you know he was not agoing to come out again until Sugaring time). I guess the attraction is getting nearer White Pigeon.

Eugene Crawford[5] came up here & staid over last Sunday with me.

Hank & Nancy[6] have moved to Lawton, have been there five weeks. Nancy has been real sick since she went there but is up around the house now.

Hannah[7] is at home now. The lady she is learning her trade[8] of is sick. Aunt Katie & Mrs Gaffeny are going out to Joe Yorks[9] tomorrow. Mrs Gaffeny has been there ever since you was here. She is coming back with Aunt Katie, will probably visit them then until Spring.

Lucy[10] has joined the Maple Grange[11] she has taken all the degrees in their Grange & one in the State Grange. It will not cost us much to live now. The Grangers are trying to get Aunt Katie to let them have some land in the north west corner of her farm to build a Hall on. Uncle Joe Lee[12] is so lame he cannot hardly get around he has been to work very hard picking up wood around the neighborhood, he is not able to buy his wood so he has got to work & get it.

Aunt Katie said she received a letter from your mother[13] a few days ago. Hopeing you are all well I will close. Write soon.

Yours &c[14]

E. B. Keith


[1] Alfleda (Starr) Keith, the widow of Ethan’s Uncle Harvey Keith

[2] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[5] His maternal first cousin

[6] His sister and brother-in-law, Henry & Nancy (Keith) Brown

[7] His sister, Hannah Keith

[8] Seamstress

[9] Joseph York was married to Helen (Bradley) York, Aunt Kate’s daughter by her first husband, Ethan Bradley

[10] Aunt Kate’s daughter, Lucy (Lee) Milham, by her second husband, George Clinton Lee

[11] From Wikipedia: The Grange, officially named The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a social organization in the United States that encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture. The Grange, founded after the Civil War in 1867, is the oldest American agricultural advocacy group with a national scope. The Grange actively lobbied state legislatures and Congress for political goals, such as the Granger Laws to lower rates charged by railroads, and rural free mail delivery by the Post Office. The word “grange” comes from a Latin word for grain, and is related to a “granary” or, generically, a farm.  The organization was unusual at this time, because women and any teen old enough to draw a plow (aged 14 to 16) were encouraged to participate. The importance of women was reinforced by requiring that four of the elected positions could be held only by women.

[12] Joseph Lee was actually his paternal first cousin 1x removed but because of the difference in their ages was referred to as “Uncle”

[13] Marion (Sprague) Tomlinson

[14] Etc.

*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 07-15-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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