1877 Letters

January 21, 1877 letter to Frank Tomlinson from Ethan Keith

January 21, 1877

To: Frank Tomlinson

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Didn’t write earlier as he figured that since his father was visiting Frank’s family and his mother was writing all the news, he didn’t need to write. His father returned about 1:00 Saturday morning and was pleased with his visit to the family.

Scan of 1877-01-21 Ethan Keith to Frank Tomlinson

Galesburg Jan 21, 1877

Cousin Frank,

I hope you will excuse me for not answering your letter before. While Pa[1] was at your house[2] I thought there was no use of writeing as Ma[3] was writeing to him & would write all the news. Yesterday & to day have been about as rough days to be out as we have had this winter. Mercury from 4º below to 16º above zero with a strong wind. We have not had such severe cold weather, but it has been steady cold. Snow has not drifted so as to hurt the roads. I guess we have the start of you there according to Pa’s tell.

Pa received a letter from Nellie[4] yesterday saying that you had not heard from him. He mailed a letter to aunt Patty[5] week ago last Monday. If your Post Master was anything like ours the letter would be as apt to be in the office as anywhere else. Well Pa arrived here about one oclock Saturday morning all right. With the exception of the headache & that kept him company for three or four days. He was well pleased with his visit & I think pretty well paid. The coat & vest you sent me sets well on me. I am very much obliged to you for them & hope I may be able to do something for you sometime. Pa says amen for Sanders.

Henry[6] has been here all day he thinks he & I had better lease your R.R. He would be conducting & let me run the engine. Would give Geo Smead a position as conductor on sleeping car & if there was any extra to run he thought perhaps he could get you to run them.

Since Mrs Skinner & Sate[7] have moved out to their place they have found quite a number of things that needed repairing so Henry has had to go out about twice a week lately. It makes a nice thing for Dell.[8] He is getting his goods moved by furnishing team & helping load them up. Mr Flanders[9] is getting along slowly. He keeps his own fire nights now. He has had to have some one in the room with him nights until last week. The boys made about a thousand barrels of cider. They think it would pay them to put in an evaporator & make jelly. One man in this state has made eighteen thousand gallens this fall & sent to England. They were all well at aunt Katies[10] the last we heard from there. Pa says he will write to some of your folks before long.

Respects to all

E.B. Keith

(write soon)

(Look out for Nellie she talks of eloping. Dont let her run away this cold weather.)


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[2] Luke made a visit to the Tomlinsons from November 21, 1876 through January 5, 1877

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[4] Frank’s sister, Nellie Tomlinson

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

[6] His half-brother, Henry Keith

[7] Sarah (Knight) Skinner and her daughter, Sarah “Sate” Skinner. They were the mother-in-law and sister-in-law of Ethan’s half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[8] Adelbert Skinner, Lois’ husband

[9] Joseph Flanders. Henry Keith 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

[10] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

*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 10-21-2018 even though it wasn’t until September of 2021 that I received the letters from Leigh

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