1880 Letters

April 30, 1880 letter to Oscar Keith from Katie Randall

April 30, 1880

To: James Oscar Keith

From: Katie Randall, McBride, MI[1]

Received a letter from her brother Harvey who wrote that he was at Uncle Ed’s, but didn’t say whether he intended to stay there or where he was going. She then writes to her two younger brothers telling them they must not do as Harvey has done. She writes that the lathe mill is running now and also that the water tanks are dry and if they can’t get them fixed they will have no water.

McBride April 30th 1880

Dear Father

We are well. Was glad to hear from you. I would like to hear from you. I would like to hear Elder Rawson preach first rate but would rather hear Elder Finch or Norman. Ella got a letter from Clarrie Bell. She said Johny Goff had got a boy. We got a letter from Harvey[2] the other day he said he was well at Uncle Edds.[3] He wanted us to keep his satchel untill he sent for it. He did not say whether he intended to stay thare or come up here or whare he was going. He writes so poor that we can not hardly make it out. We have not heard from Ira[4] folks[5] yet. He wrote six weeks ago. I dont think much of us. I am much obliged for the paper and glad you sent it. What does Aunt Katie[6] work out for cant Uncle Jeff[7] take care of her. Whare does Myrtie and Mabel[8] stay. Well I can not think of any more at present.

Good by


Well Glen and Leon[9] I will try and say a few words to you this time. Well it has not rained for wonder to day. The smoke comes in the house so we can not hardly see the view. Have just got the lath mill to running. It is to bad about your rooster I tell you. Are you going to school this summer. I suppose you can not now Harvey has gone away. You boys must not do as he has done. You can see how it looks for boys to get the idea that they know more then any one else. If Ira could see him he would try and convince him to go back again and do better. I have not got my paper[?] yet do not see what is the matter. The broke and the tanks are dry so we can not get any water. If they do not get it fixed we will halfto go without water how is that for high. The meat pedlar was here this afternoon but was out of meat. We expected he would bring some fish but got disapointed. He comes every Tuesday & on Friday so we can have fresh meats twice a week. Here goes the cars. Ira is a working and I do not believe he will have time to write for I want to send it to night. Well I guess I will halfto stop writing for my eyes are very weak and they are beginning to smart. Ella[10] just sent a leter to Ida but has gone back to finish supper. It is only a few steps to her house. It is one the north end of mine but halfto go out doors to into each other room. Here is the neighbors dog or they pretend to own it is a Negros dog his name is Fred. It is about as large as Aunt Sallies. Well I can not think of any more at present. Write soon. From your affeconate Sister

Catharine Randall

I wish I could see you all. I do not like living off from a farm. I bet we will not many years either. What is Meredith[11] a doing this summer. Did Aunt Kate say in her letter. Tell Ma[12] I use my basket for a close basket just as she said. I do not know what I would do for one. Well good by.



[1] McBride is located in Montcalm County, Michigan

[2] Her brother, Harvey R. Keith

[3] Perhaps this is her mother’s brother, Edwin Batey, who was living in Ganges, Allegan County, Michigan

[4] Her husband, Ira Randall

[5] Ira’s parents, Russell & Sarah (Williams) Randall

[6] Her father’s sister, Frances Catherine “Kate” (Keith) Chaffee

[7] Kate’s husband, Thomas Jefferson Chaffee Jr.

[8] Myrtie LaVern and Mabel Chaffee, the daughters of Jeff & Kate Chaffee

[9] Her brothers, James Leon Keith (age 14) and Glenn Noah Keith (age 13)

[10] The 1880 census lists Seward & Ella Ross right before Ira & Katie, so assume that is the Ella that Katie is referring to

[11] Presume she is referring to her cousin, Stephen Meredith Chaffee

[12] Mary Ann (Batey) Keith

This letter is among several which were loaned to Jim & Ruth (Stankey) Keith, probably back in the 1980s, by Ella Nola (Curtis) Eaton, whose husband, Clifford Eaton, was the great-great-grandson of James “Oscar” & Mary Ann (Batey) Keith. This is a photocopy of Ruth’s handwritten copy of the letter. Note: Jim Keith is the great-grandson of Charles Luke Keith Jr., who was James “Oscar” Keith’s uncle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s