1874 Letters

May 17, 1874 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

May 17, 1874

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Updates on various family members and their illnesses. Pa “went to a lawsuit” and Louese received a letter from Libbie Keith saying they arrived in Kansas all right. Henry thinks he might go into telegraphing but Ethan thinks that is too confining for him.

Scan of 1874-05-17 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg May 17th 1874

Cousin Frank

I received your kind letter in due time & ought to have answered it before but have been rather busy & have neglected writeing.

It has been very dry here all the spring. Friday we had a nice shower & another last night so the ground has got a pretty good soaking. Cherry & Peach trees are as full of blossems as they can be.

Most of the farmers have got through planting. Pa has let about ten acres of Corn ground. Nancy[1] is out makeing us a visit she is haveing a real time with the toothache seems as though she would go crazy part of the time. They were all well at Aunt Katies[2] the last we heard from there.

Thursday 21st

I will try & finish this letter this afternoon. Our folks have left me to my own destruction. Pa[3] has gone to Kal–[4] to a Lawsuit.[5] Ma[6] is down to Uncle Charley Lees[7] takeing care of Aunt Julia.[8] She is very sick with inflamation of the bowels. Sis & Jim[9] are to school & I have not got much to do this afternoon but a few chores.

I was down to Kalamazoo Monday called at Aunt Katies they were well. Aunt Katie was out to Joe Yorks.[10] Louesa[11] received a letter from Libbie Keith[12] last week said they arrived in Kansas[13] all right. Did not say how they liked it there.

Henry[14] has been to Chicago but did not meet with any success. I dont know what he will do now, it seems to me the best thing he could do would be to go to Telegraphing if he could get a situation. He thinks he could Telegraph with a very little practice. There is no labor connected with that business, but it is too confining for him I guess.

I expect to go to work for the G.R.&I.R.R. Co[15] next week running a tank engine. I dont know positively at what place but I expect it will be at Clam Lake, that is about 145 miles north of Kalamazoo.

Hannah[16] is in Battle Creek yet.

Respects to all. Write soon.


E. B. Keith


[1] His sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[2] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[5] From the March 5, 1873 Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph: Ambrose Brown vs. John T. Allerton. Yesterday afternoon and to-day were devoted by court, jury and counsel, and a score of witnesses, in investigating the alleged trespass of an unruly hog belonging to the defendant. Luke Keith and Nancy & Hank Brown all wrote in their 1873 diaries of the Brown and Allerton lawsuit. There was a judgment entered on March 6, 1873 awarding Ambrose Brown $22.00 plus costs. The May 25, 1874 Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph noted the following: Ambrose Brown, appellee, vs. John T. Allerton, appellant. Verdict for plaintiff, $26.00.

[6] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[7] His paternal first cousin 1x removed

[8] Charley’s wife, Juliana (Davis) Lee

[9] His younger sister and brother, Louese and James Keith

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

[11] His younger sister Louese

[12] Hannah “Libbie” Keith, the daughter of John Wesley Keith, who was the adopted brother of Ethan’s father, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[13] From Nancy (Keith) Brown’s diary: 5-4-1874: I went down to Aunt Celinas and stayed this afternoon to visit with Wesleys folks. They start to night for Kansas.

[14] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[15] Grand Rapids & Indiana Railway Company

[16] His sister, Hannah Keith

*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 07-28-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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