1882 Letters

May 28, 1882 letter to Sarah Keith from Kate Chaffee

May 28, 1882

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Kate Chaffee, Paw Paw, MI

She was out to Oscar’s the week before Katie died and Vern was there until today. Mary was taking Katie’s death very hard. Katie only had two requests: to be buried next to Nettie and that Mary should take care of Inez. Ira was agreeable with that. Kate hoped that family members would come to visit.

Paw Paw May 28th 1882

Dear Aunt and friends

Now I think if nothing happens you will hear from me pretty soon. It is a shame that I am so negligent about writing. Mother[1] often speaks about it. She will say now you must write to Sarah this week and I say yes I will and that will be the end of it for some time but I think I will crtainly do it but some thing come up to put me off from time to time untill at last I have made a start. We are all well now. Mother has got up all right a gain. I was out to Oscars[2] a week before Katie[3] died and Vern[4] has been there ever since untill to day she came home. She left Mary[5] feeling quite poorly, hardly able to do her work and very lonely. She takes Katies death very hard. If it was not for the little girl[6] I do not know what she would do. Katie only made two requests, one was to be buried beside Nettie[7] and the other that her Mother should have Inez. Ira[8] is willing they should have her as long as Mary lives but would not be in case of her not living. Katie was a great sufferer the last few months of her life up to the very last hour. They will tell you that she was concious up to her last moment. I do not think so nor that she realized that the change was comming. She did not talk much after I got there. It was dificult for her to speak, the trouble seemed to be in her throat nor she could not lie down. She sat up in her chair all night before she died, got on the bed about four in the morning not to lie down though some one had to hold her up all the time. When the change come she went very quickly and did not seem to suffer as much as we wer a fraid she would. They had a funeral at the house Friday morning and one at Covert[9] Sat fore noon. Vern was all the one that went from here. I had taken an awful cold and Mark[10] was sick and not able to go to Covert. They went with teams. I came from C to take the friends and casket there. They had a bad rainy time.

I hope Aunt Phebe[11] will come and see Mother for she will be disapointed if she does not and Aunt Katy and Patty[12] if they can and we would like to have you too. It will not be so that we can come out there this summer at least I could not and Mother is not able to go a lone any more. I hope Leon[13] will not be home sick up there for it is a good ways off to go back and forth often. Has Helen[14] given up going to Cal. How is Lois[15] and her family, Nancy[16] and hers, Eathen, Hanah and Jim.[17] I should think some of them might come out and see us if we are poor. Tell Aunt K and P to be shure and come and Uncl Luke[18] can scort em out here. We are having cold back ward weather. Our garden is not all in yet such as vines and late sweet corn. We have potatoes, onions and radishes very nice for the season. Suppose the strawberries are about all killed and allso the peaches and it is still cold. No great loss without some gain. As long as it is cold there will be no mosketoes (there now spell it right) muskeeters and they are a terror here or wer last year at this time. Merediths folks[19] are well are in Elk-rappids[20] yet in the furnace[?]. There is no news that I can think of.

Write often and I will try to do better in the future.



[1] Alfleda (Starr) Keith

[2] Her brother, James “Oscar” Keith

[3] Oscar & Mary’s daughter, Catherine (Keith) Randall. She died of consumption on May 3, 1882 at the age of 20

[4] Her daughter, Mertie LaVern Chaffee

[5] Oscar’s wife, Mary Ann (Batey) Keith

[6] Katie’s daughter, Inez Alice Randall

[7] Katie’s older sister, Jessie “Nettie” Keith, who died on March 13, 1879, also of consumption, at the age of 22

[8] Katie’s husband, Ira Randall

[9] Covert, Michigan

[10] Her youngest son, Mark Chaffee, who was only about 1½ years old

[11] Unknown at this time; research continues

[12] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee and Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague, the sisters of Sarah’s husband Luke

[13] Believe she is referring to Oscar & Mary’s son, James Leon Keith

[14] Believe she is referring to Helen (Bradley) York, the daughter of “Aunt Katy,” Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[15] Sarah’s step-daughter, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

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

[17] Sarah’s other children, Ethan, Hannah and James Keith

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

[19] Her oldest son and his wife, Stephen Meredith & Evalyn (Bonfoy) Chaffee

[20] Elk Rapids, Michigan

[21] Frances Catherine “Kate” (Keith) Chaffee

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