1875 Letters

April 25, 1875 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

April 25, 1875

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Some of the family went to Aunt Katie’s where they sugared off 35 pounds and gathered enough sap to make 50 more pounds. Henry has gone to White Pigeon to try his new business selling agricultural equipment.

Scan of 1875-04-25 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg April 25 1875

Cousin Frank,

Your letter of March 21st was rec’d in due time. Guess it is about time it was answered.

Pa, Ma[1] & Jim[2] have gone down to Aunt Katies[3] to day, expect they will have some warm sugar. Lois[4] & I was there last Wednesday they sugared off about thirty-five pounds & gathered sap enough that day to make fifty more. It is rather late to be making sugar, most of the farmers gathered their buckets before the last cold snap so they have missed two or three good runs so far & if it should continue to be cold all summer, they would loose a considerable sugar. Mart[5] has let the bush for next month. I guess we will have to get some more snow before it will come off warm. I dont think that half of the Oats are sowed yet in this part of the country.

Henry[6] went to White Pigeon[7] Wednesday to try his new business. I hope he will do well it would seem so though he might for he has the agency of a good many things. They sell the Stover Wind Mill Racine Thrashing Machine Portable engines. I dont know the ___ke, Marsh Harvester Organs & Melodeons, & all kinds of agricultural implements. I think it will agree with him as he is to be on the road most of the time canvassing.

Mr Flanders folks[8] lets him take a horse. Skinner[9] has traded his farm for one of his hundred acres about a mile east of the Burg on this side of the river. He has got a good farm & one that is a great deal easier worked. Charley Clark[10] is living here & going to school to the Burg. You can tell Aunt Patty[11] that Pa & Ma are alive & what there is left of Aunt Alfleda[12] is here yet, but would not be if she could have her way. She would rather be in the Drummer Band.

Love to all,

Yours &c[13]

E. B. Keith.


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr. and Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[2] His younger brother, James Keith

[3] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[4] His half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[5] Martin Milham, Aunt Katie’s son-in-law

[6] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[7] White Pigeon, Michigan

[8] 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

[9] His half-sister Lois’ husband, Adelbert Skinner

[10] Charles Clark, Lois’ son by her first husband, Byron Clark

[11] Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague, Frank’s maternal grandmother

[12] Alfleda (Starr) Keith, the widow of Ethan’s Uncle Harvey Keith; Alfleda was living with Luke & Sarah Keith

[13] 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 08-09-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s