1882 Letters

January 15, 1882 letter to Sarah Keith from Harriet Plank

January 15, 1882               

To: Sarah Keith

From: Harriet Plank, Grand Rapids, MI

Apologizes for not answering Sarah’s letter sooner and was glad to get the Galesburg newspaper, but sorry to hears of all the deaths, especially that of Mrs. Towne. Goes on to give an update on her children who all received a wage increase at their jobs. Will’s baby had a cold which affected his brain and they were afraid “he was a going like little Gertie” but he is better now. She would be glad to see any of their family again.

Jan. 15 1882

My Dear Mrs Keith

I guess you begin to think I am not a going to answer your good letter that you wrote me so long ago. When I got it I thought I certainly should as soon as you returned from your visit[1] as you wrote you expected to stay two weeks but something would happen to prevent evey time I thought of writing, but sufice it to say I was very glad indeed to hear from you & to know that you arrived at Galesburg all right & th when you wrote you were all well. I also received that paper you sent me was very glad to get it but sorry to hear of the deaths of those we once knew especiall Mrs Towne[2] as we knew her best. When you see any of them give them my love & sympathy for I feel I can sympathize with any in such trouble & in my way of thinking it is one of the greatest trials we can be called to pass through to have those who were so dear to us taken from us & go through life without them.[3] Still I would not wickedly murmer I try to say not my will but thine O Lord be done knowing that He doith all things right. Wells[4] folks are with us. The baby[5] has been quite sick it was a cold on his Lungs & affected his Brain. We were afraid he was a going like little Gertie[6] but he is much better. Carrie[7] is a teaching where she has been. She had her salery raised as they said they would do. She said she told you when you were here that they had not raised it & so she thought it must be they were not a going to rais it as when the board of education met & she red the proceedings of the meeting there was nothing said about it. Always before if the teachers salery had been raised it was published with the other changes, that were made but she thinks the reason why they did not was this. Several other teachers applied for more salary but they did not grant it, but she had not asked it, but they prommised her last year they would do so & when she drew her pay after she had taught the first month she was happily surprised to find they had not forgotten their promise. Mary als[o] works where she did when you were here, & the beginning of this year they raised her wages a dollar a week more. Will works where he did & they have raised his wages some & he says tell Ethan[8] h if he does not come out & see him he will have to go out there. We looked for him & Hannah[9] some about Christmas but did not see them. It was quite a sight to go around & see the display of nice things especially in the evening. I went one night with the neighbors but could not begin to see half but got so tired of looking had to come home. Tell Mr Keith[10] I hope he will not forget to come & take that ride for I think I should enjoy it so much better than to be cramped with three in the buggy because I was a fraid to drive a livey horse. I was very glad it Mrs Keith[11] enjoyed her visit well enough to ever come again & Jim[12] also. I was so glad he came & we all were. Tell Lou[13] we would be vey glad to see her & all & any of you. I shall have to think about saying good bye as I am nearly at the bottom & with love to all I will do so as it is nearly dark. Martha[14] and send love. I suppose Nancy[15] is in Kal.[16] I hope she is well & all of you. Good bye for this time & as ever I remain your friend.

H. Plank[17]

Mrs Keith you know you spoke of sending me a paper that Nancy had some of Nancys composeing in. I would like to see it vey much if you would be willing to send it. My love to all acquaintances & accept a large share for your self. Write as often as you can for I am always glad to get a letter from you.

We have had a very mild winter here no sleighing yet. Have had a little snow. I had a letter from Father Plank[18] last week. He said he & the rest were well. Thank you very much for sending us that Galesburg paper.


[1] 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.”

[2] Pamelia (Hosley) Towne, mother of Charles Towne (Hannah Keith’s future husband). Michigan death records confirm that she died November 28, 1881 in Comstock and FindAGrave.com shows she is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Galesburg, Michigan

[3] Harriet’s husband William had died May 22, 1879

[4] Her son, William H. Plank

[5] J. Raymond Plank, born June 12, 1881

[6] Will’s daughter, who was born March 14, 1877; details regarding her death are unknown.

[7] Her daughter, Caroline Plank

[8] Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

[9] Sarah’s daughter, Hannah Keith

[10] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[11] Presume she is referring to Sarah

[12] Sarah’s son, James Clinton Keith

[13] Sarah’s daughter, Louese Keith

[14] Her daughter-in-law, Will’s wife, Martha (Marvin) Plank

[15] Sarah’s daughter, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[16] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[17] Harriet (Groat) Plank. The Planks had been neighbors of the Keiths in Comstock until 1873 when they moved to Grand Rapids

[18] Her father-in-law, William Plank

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