1876 Letters

May 9, 1876 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

May 9, 1876

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Dell has traded his farm for one five miles northwest of Marshall which is about 100 acres. Henry and George Ives have got the patterns done of the plow. They are also going to make Ethan’s binder. Grandma Betts came last Saturday and is going to move in with them.

Scan of 1876-05-09 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg May 9, 1876

Cousin Frank,

I did begin to wonder why you did not write thought perhaps you had forgot that you was to write first. By the time Henry[1] & I had got across the track the express had got by the post so we missed seeing the mail caught. I went back to Dells[2] with Henry & stayed stayed two nights. Dell has traded his farm for one five miles northwest of Marshall. I believe there is a hundred acres in the farm a new house & timber for a barn ready to put togather. He does not have this place until January has what he raises this year. He will be two thousand dollars in debt, that better than seven if he does not have quite as a large place.

Henry is brim full of business attending to the Foundry & Sate.[3] Geo Ives[4] has got the patterns done of plow done. Guess they will cast one this week.

They are agoing to make my binder.[5] I have been to work over a week on a draft of it, have finished it & commenced makeing patterns. Am afraid we wont get it done for harvest. The last we heard from Aunt Katies[6] they were well, that was about two weeks ago. Ansell Lee[7] started for home a few days after you went away. He wanted to get Uncle Joe[8] out of the old log house before he went away but he did not succeed in doing it.  Pa[9] went to Lawton[10] & made the girls[11] a visit last week found them well. Grandma Betts[12] came here last Saturday she is agoing to live here. Pa thinks if we had Uncle Joe now we could have lots of music. Last Sunday was the first warm day we have had this Spring, it has been quite cold most of the time so farmers have not got ready to plant.

We are all well as usual. Respects to all. Write soon.

Yours &c[13]

E. B. Keith


[1] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[2] Adelbert Skinner, their sister Lois’ husband

[3] Sarah Skinner, Adelbert’s sister

[4] Henry’s partner; they were working together on patenting George’s “drill-tooth” invention

[5] Ethan was working on inventing a “platform grain binder” which was later patented on August 16, 1881

[6] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[7] His first paternal cousin once removed

[8] Joseph and Ansell were brothers

[9] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[10] Lawton, Michigan

[11] His sisters, Nancy (Keith) Brown and Hannah Keith. Hannah was visiting Nancy

[12] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[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 09-25-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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