1875 Letters

August 18, 1875 letter to Hannah Keith from Nancy Brown

August 18, 1875     

To: Hannah Keith

From: Nancy Brown, Lawton MI

Elder Shepherd of the Baptist Church called on them. He knew Pa’s and Father’s folks and wanted to know if they had experienced religion yet. Told him no, not what he called religion. He could not answer the questions Hank asked him so they did not think he would be back. There was a big picnic at Michigan City for Paw Paw and Lawton. About 400 from Paw Paw went, but she didn’t know how many went from Lawton. They hired a a special train with ten passenger cars and one baggage car for five hundred dollars. She did not want to leave Claude and told Hank to go, but he would not. She has Mrs. McKinney’s machine for a little while longer so Hannah should bring her skirt and whatever other patterns she thinks they will need.

Wednesday Evening

Lawton Aug 18th 75

Dear Sister[1] & all the rest

I have just laid Claude[2] in the cradle and am rocking him. Hank[3] has gone to meeting. The Baptists are having a revial here. Elder Shepherd is their head leader. He called on us Monday. Hank & Claude were down town. He was here over half an hour before they came home. I found out he knew Pas[4] and Fathers[5] folks. He seemed to be quite pleased to hear from them. He wanted to know if Pa or Father had experianced religion[6] yet. I told him no not what he called religion. He said he was going to the Burg[7] before long and was going to see them and see if he could not do them good. I thought he would be apt to get a good deal of satisfaction when Hank came they had it hot and heavy. He could not answer all the questions Hank asked him. I dont know as he will come again, though he said he would. He gave me a lectureing because I did not leave Claude and go to church or else take him. There has been a big picnic at Michigan City to day some of Paw Paw and Lawtons get up. They engaged a special train for five hundred dollars ten passenger cars and one baggage. There was about 400 went from Paw Paw. I dont know just how many from here but a good many, but we did not. Hank wanted to go quite bad but we could not go and leave Claude very well (though one of the neighbors offered to take care of him). I tried to get Hank to go but he would not. They carried for less than half fair and had rides on the Lake. They visited all the places between here and there. They had to come down with their five hundred before they left here. They had not got back yet. I hope it will be so you can come next Monday. I guess Mrs McKiney[8] will be home the last of next week but if we conclude to make my dress I guess she will let me keep the machine a few days longer. Bring your skirt pattern and what other patterns you think we will need. Ask Ida to come out and go back with you but you need not tell her when you will be back for maybe you will be dispointed. You can write when you get ready to go. We had quite a time looking for the key after Charley[9] went away. We concluded it was lost. Let us know Saturday if you come Monday so we can meet you.

Our love to all.

From Nancy

[10] Wedne Thursday

Hannah, if you dont get this epistle time enough to write Saturday you can come Monday wether you write of not. We will meet you at the depot Monday if you are there. We are as well as usual this morning.


[1] Hannah Keith

[2] Her son, Claude Keith Brown

[3] Her husband, Henry Brown

[4] Her parents, Charles Luke & Sarah (Crawford) Keith Jr.

[5] Her in-laws, Ambrose & Matilda (Allen) Brown

[6] Luke’s daughter, Louese (Keith) Harris, used to tell her granddaughter, Carol (Boyer) Stafford, the story of how the local minister approached Luke one day and asked him, “Are you Luke Keith?” When Luke replied yes, the minister said “I’ve been wanting to meet you. You’re worse than the devil in this town. Everywhere I go and every man I approach and ask him to come to church, he isn’t going to come. He says ‘Luke Keith doesn’t ever go to church and he’s the best man I ever knew.’” And then he said, “You’re just doing the devil’s work and you ought to come to church.”

[7] Galesburg, Michigan

[8] Mary (Stephenson) McKinney

[9] Most likely her nephew, Charles Ira Clark, the son of her sister Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner; entries in Luke Keith’s diary notes that Charley went to Lawton on August 7th and returned home on August 12th

[10] The following was in Hank’s handwriting

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