1875 Letters

June 6, 1875 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

June 6, 1875

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Uncle Joe has gone back to the old log cabin but he can’t walk without a crutch and a cane and cannot wait on himself. The folks have to go down several times a day to help him. Mr. Ives’ drill tooth invention is working well and Henry is getting it patented.

Scan of 1875-06-06 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg June 6, 1875

Cousin Frank.

I received your letter in due time, thought I would not wait so long before answering it as I have some time.

You asked if we had heard from Wesleys[1] folks lately. Louese[2] received a letter from Libbie[3] about two weeks ago, that was the first we had heard from them since some time in the winter. They were all well. Edith[4] was in Wichita learning the Millenery & Dressmakers trade. Aunt Katie[5] says she has not heard from them in a long time. Aunt Katie is here now is agoing to stay about a week. Uncle Joe[6] came up to day the first he has been here since October. He is better this Spring so he has gone back to the old log house to live. He cant walk without a crutch & cane & then he can just move & thats all. He can not wait on himself much so some of the folks have to go down there two or three times a day & see how he is. He lives there because he says it is cheaper. He told Pa[7] last winter it cost him only sixteen cents a day to live down there. I presume he will be found dead sometime. He makes lots of work for Aunt Katie & she gets no thanks from him for it.

We are haveing a considerable rain to what we have had for the last three or four years. Corn is looking very well. The cut-worm is doing a considerable damage to the corn & gardens. People complain a great deal about potatoe bugs. They think they are worse than ever this spring. I have not seen any on our potatos but they have not been up but a short time. Henrys[8] drill-tooth is a good thing I think & all that have seen thinks that it is a success. It is not his invention a Mr Ives[9] a young man about Henrys age is the inventor but Henry gets it patented & has an equal share with him. They have given it some pretty good tests & it has worked well every time. They are getting it patented now. Aunt Katie says [to] you that she will answer your letter before great while.

The folks are all well as usual & send love to all. Write soon.

Your Cousin

E. B. Keith


[1] John Wesley Keith and his wife, Harriet (Blakesley) Keith. Wesley was Ethan’s father’s adopted brother

[2] His sister, Louese Keith

[3] Hannah Libbie Keith, Wesley & Harriet’s daughter

[4] Edith Keith, Wesley & Harriet’s daughter

[5] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

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

[7] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[8] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[9] George Ives

*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 08-10-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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