1876 Letters

December 2, 1876 letter to Luke Keith from Sarah Keith

December 2, 1876

To: Luke Keith

From: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

Recounts happenings at home while Luke was away visiting relatives. Between ailments that Alfleda and Ethan had she hadn’t gotten much sleep the last two nights. Fills him in on the rest of the family.

Galesburg Dec 2d/76


I received your letter last evening. Had about made up my mind you did not care to hear from home. So much for prelimenaries. I will commence with the day you left.[1] Had a time of picking up, clearing out cupboards and so on, was pretty tired by night. The next day I done the work, mended and rested some, so I could do a big washing the next day. Thursdy morning at two oclock Alfleda[2] came in and ____ with one of her stomach aches. I got up and built a fire, got the lounge up by the stove. She was in perfet agony from that time till afternoon but I took care of her and done my washing. Thought I was about used up at night, but they say there is no pease or rest for the wicked, and so I found it. Ethen[3] came in from doing his chores with a pain in his right side. It proved to be a severe attact of the pleursey.[4] Got him in a presperation as soon as possible, put warm applycations on his side. By twelve oclock he was qute comfortable. I was in hopes would get along but the next night he was worse than he had been. I got him to sweating again. Made a bag of salt kept that hot on him most all night. Did not sit up till after noon. His side is some sore yet he helped Jim[5] about the chores friday for the first. Jim has done first rate. Ethen told him how much to feed. I think he has done just as he was told to do. Charley[6] and Jim drew the wood. I wrote a line to Mr Barton. He and Dave[7] com and split it, but so large Jim and Charley could hardly get it in the wagon. Charley goes home Tuesdy night. He expects you will stop and see him. I guess you had better if you can. Hannah[8] came home the next Mondy, had a good visit. Nancy[9] went to Dowagiac,[10] stayed over night. Edna went with her to Chicago,[11] got there fridy night. Hank[12] got a day off Saturdy. Louese[13] went and helped them, so they got pretty well settled by night. Hank has not got his stove pipe. Hes sent for the rest of it. When they came to unpack their things could not find any dishes. Hank put them in that large box that set on the stoop. Nancy thought was chemicals. Going to send them tomorrow. Charley and Hanh went to Lois[14] Thanksging. Charley took Hannh to Aunt Kates[15] yesterdy, expects to go to ______.

Have not heard how Ansil[16] is getting along with his _____. Mart thinks he is not capable of doing it. Ethen got wet some, it commenced raining before they left the Depo. They stoped at a grocery this end of the town, waited till it held up some. Nelt Nichols has moved in Henreys house, he boards with them. Snow two inches deep, looks stormy. Expect Kate Chaffee[17] here aney day. Saw Byron Streeator. He said she was at his house two weeks yesterday. Expected Blaget would meet her in Kalamazoo.

Cant sell the calf.

You had better stay till you make your visit[?]. We will get along all right.

Welt[?] Nichols has moved in Henrys [18] house. He boards with them. Snow two inches deep. Looks stormy.


[1] Luke left on November 21st for Perry, New York, to visit relatives

[2] Alfleda (Starr) Keith was the widow of Luke’s brother, Harvey Keith. She lived with Luke and Sarah

[3] Their son, Ethan Keith

[4] Inflammation of the lung lining which can produce a stabbing pain in the chest

[5] Their youngest son, James Clinton Keith

[6] Luke’s grandson (Lois’ son), Charles Ira Clark

[7] Neighbors, Samuel Barton and his son David

[8] Their daughter, Hannah Keith

[9] Their daughter, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[10] Dowagiac, Michigan, where Sarah’s sister-in-law and niece, Mary (Hamilton) Crawford and Edna Alice Crawford, lived

[11] Hank & Nancy had lived in Lawton, Michigan, but Hank was having a hard time making a living at photography so was going to take a job in Chicago working on the streetcars. They temporarily moved back to Comstock around September and it appears they spent time at both Luke & Sarah’s as well as Hank’s parents, Ambrose & Matilda’s home. Hank then went on to Chicago to find a place to live and on November 24th Nancy and Claude joined him there

[12] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[13] Their youngest daughter, Louese Keith

[14] Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner, Luke’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith

[15] Luke’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[16] Luke’s cousin, Ansel Lee

[17] Alfleda’s daughter, Frances Catherine (Keith) Chaffee

[18] Luke’s son by his first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith


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