1881 Letters

November 6, 1881 letter to Hannah Keith from Mary Plank

November 6, 1881

To: Hannah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Mary Plank, Grand Rapids, MI

Apologizes for not writing sooner but she had been sick with the ague. She is working at the Shirt Factory. Her brother Will’s baby is five months old and weighs 19 pounds. They had a pleasant visit with Hannah’s mother and brother and would like to see the rest of the family.

Grand Rapids Nov 6th 81

Dear Friend Hannah

I should have answered your letter before this but I have been having the ague[1] since your Mother[2] left but I will try and do better in the future. Tell Jim[3] that I have been to the Theatre once since he was here.[4] The play was The Bankers Daughter. Will[5] weighed the baby[6] today he weighed nineteen pounds. He is pretty good and we think pretty nice. He will be five months old the twelfth. I am at the Shirt Factory yet. It is a beautiful Sabbath day the nicest day we have had in a long time. It snowed last Thursday for the first but it did not last long. We had a very pleasant visit with your Mother and Jim and we hope that it will not be as long as it was this time before they come again. And we would like to see the rest of you out here in the Holidays. Tell Jim that we have not seen any thing of Allen since he left. I think he must have bought his Potatoes some wheres else. Does Charlie R go with Mary yet. If he does I should think that they would get married before long. Is Lou[7] at home now days. I suppose that you are very busy at present. I am very much obliged for your picture and Nancys[8] baby[9] and think that they are very nice and when I have some taken I will send you one. I intend to have some taken before long if nothing happens. I had a dosen taken last Spring but I had promised them all and so I did not get a chance to send any away, not even to my Cousins. Jim wanted I should give him the only one I had left, but I could not part with it. We want one of Jim and Lou, for we have not get one of theirs. How does Tamer[10] prosper give her my best respects when you see her. Tell your Mother that my Mother[11] will answer her letter before long. We were glad to hear that they arrived home safe and sound. Your Mother was afraid that she would get left I was in hopes that they would, but the train was a waiting for them. As it is bed time and my sheet is nearly full, I think that I will bring this epistle to a close. Now answer soon, and as ever I remain your Friend,


Does Ethan[13] drink any water while eating.


[1] A form of malaria characterized by stages of chills, fever, and sweating

[2] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[3] Hannah’s younger brother, James Clinton Keith

[4] Luke Keith’s diary entry for September 26 notes that he “Carried Sarah over to Burg. She and Jim went to Grand Rappids to Mrs Wm Planks. Carried Jim over they went on the one oclock run.” On October 1 he wrote, “Sarah and Jim came home on the One Oclock train.”

[5] Her brother, William H. Plank

[6] Will’s son, J. Raymond Plank, who was born June 12, 1881 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

[7] Hannah’s younger sister, Louese Keith

[8] Hannah’s older sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[9] Nancy’s youngest daughter, Bess Rae Brown, who was born February 7, 1881

[10] One of their Comstock friends, Mary Tamer Ford

[11] Harriet (Groat) Plank

[12] Mary Plank. The Planks had lived in Comstock until 1873 when they moved to Grand Rapids

[13] Hannah’s older brother, Ethan Keith

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