Ethan's 1884 Diary

Ethan Keith’s diary entries for January 1884


E. B. Keith
Galesburg Mich
Bought Dec 11 1883

X[1] Jan 1 – Worked at patterns. Lois, Ina,[2] Nancy and Claude[3] came from Shelbyville[4] to day. Jim[5] brought Lois and Ina over here from the Burg.[6] Jim came down this evening. Wrote a postal to Henry.[7]

Jan 2 – 16° Snow. Worked at patterns. Snowed about 10 inches last night. Will Clark[8] came up this morning after Lois and Ina. He took Will Brown[9] to the train, he went to Marshall. Jim took Bessie[10] home this P.M. Herb Earl[11] was down this A.M.

Jan 3 – 0° Blustering. Worked at the patterns some this P.M. It is very blustering to day. Jim came down this P.M. Hannah[12] hemmed my scarf this morning.

Jan 4 – 16° 17° below Blustering. Worked at patterns. Very cold and blustering. Lois and Ina came up from Mrs Browns[13] this morning. Jim was down a little while this A.M. Grace Griffith left Hanks[14] for Decatur this P.M. She is not agoing to work there any longer.

Jan 5 – 14° below Blustering. Worked at patterns. Jim was down this A.M. and helped Pa[15] cut some wood.

Jan 6 – 14°. Jim called a few minutes on his way to the Burg. Will Clark was here a few minutes this evening.

X Jan 7 – 10° below. Worked at the patterns a little while this A.M. Lois, Hannah and I went down to aunt Katies[16] this P.M. Pa took Lois and Ina over to Nans this evening, they are agoing to go home to morrow. Rec’d a letter from Henry and Florence.[17]

Jan 8 – Worked at patterns part of the day. Pa went over to the Burg twice to day. Lois and Ina went home on mail. Pa brought Bessie over home with him this P.M. Herb Earl was down this P.M. to show me a “Little Lap Board” he had made and to get me to stamp the date on it.

Jan 9 – Worked at patterns. Herbert Earl was down this P.M. Hannah and I went over to the Burg this evening. She stayed to the play “Kathaleen Mavoumum.” Bessie was quite croopy to night. A gentleman and three ladies came here this P.M. Smith & Woodard sent him here to see if I would make patterns for them.

Jan 10 – Worked at patterns. Hannah and I went over to the Burg this eving took Bessie home. Am not feeling very well my Stomach is what’s the matter.

Jan 11 – Worked at patterns. Pa and Jim have gone to the Burg this evening. Jim to the dance and Pa to hear the music. Ma[18] wrote to Uncle Hiram[19] about “business.”[20]

Jan 12 – 15° Snow. Went to Kal[21] this P.M. to see the Eureka Wind Mill Co. They want me to make patterns for them, but I dont think I will for I have other jobs. Geo Youmans and Lou Bristol[22] came over this morning to see the pattern.

Jan 13 – 40° warm. At Hanks this morning came from Kal last night on Mich City freight and stayed all night. Bessie is sick with a hard cold. I came home with Jim about noon. Pa and Ma have gone over to Nans this evening.

X Jan 14 – Worked at patterns. Went to the Burg this Evening saw Geo Youmans about some the W-M patterns. Wrote to Messrs Smith & Woodard that I could not work for them.

Jan 15 – 11°. Worked at Patterns. Went to the Burg this evening took Hannah and Lela[23] over. H[annah] is agoing to sew for Nan[cy]. Took some of Beatty’s circulars over to Mr Conkey.

Jan 16 – 11°. Worked at patterns. Pa and Ma have gone to the Burg this evening. Will Morten, and Myrtie Barlow, was married this evening.[24] Oscar Keith[25] came here this P.M. he and Mary[26] are up to Mr Batys[27] Mr B- is very sick.

Jan 17 – Worked at patterns. Pa went to the Burg this P.M. Lou and Jay[28] came back with him. Lou came out to day. Theodore Earl[29] was down this A.M. Jim brought Hannah home from the Burg this evening.

Jan 18 – Worked at patterns. Pa took Lou and Jay over to the Burg this morning. Ma and Grandma[30] visited at Mr Streators[31] this P.M. Mrs Brown also. Will Clark has got “Bill” this evening to take a load up to Russells. Oscar Keith has gone home this P.M.

Jan 19 – 1°. Worked at patterns finished them this A.M. Worked at the core-bores[?] this P.M. Teachers Institute at the Burg to day. Will Clark went after Nan and the children, brought Lou over here. Mr Bela Wright died to day.[32] Mr Baty died last night.[33]

Jan 20 – 7° below. I am 33 years old to day. Will Clark brought Nan and the children up this A.M. I took them home to night. Lou is sick. Mr Wright was buried this P.M.

Jan 21 – 6°. Worked at patterns. Lou was not well enough to go over to the Dentists to day. Uncle Tom’s Cabin at Schroders Hall this evening.

Jan 22 – Worked at patterns. Hannah and I went to the Burg this evening. I went down and saw Geo and Barlow. Pa took Lou and Jay over to the Burg this A.M. Mr Knapp was over to see about some patterns this A.M.

Jan 23 – Worked at patterns a little to day. It has been quite blustering. Pa went over and went to the Depot with Lou. She started for home on Mail. Claude is 9 years old to day. Geo Barber was over this P.M. to see the patterns.

X Jan 24 – 17° below. Worked at patterns. Rec’d a letter from Lois and my wristlets she has been making me. Aunt Pattys[34] birth day “79th.” Wrote to Lois.

Jan 25 – 13° below. Worked at Patterns. Jim has gone to the Club dance it is the last one. Pa went to the Burg this A.M. and got some alcohol for me.

Jan 26 – Finished the Strait No 4 Patterns. Commenced them Nov 6, 1883. Pa went to the Burg twice to see if Uncle Hi[35] came but he did not come. Bessie went home with Pa this evening.

Jan 27 – Jim and Will Clark went to the Burg this A.M. found Uncle Hiram, he came home with them. He brought a couple cans of Oysters we had them for dinner.

Jan 28 – I am not feeling very well. My stomach is so weak. Pa and Uncle Hi went to the Burg this P.M. I took Uncle Hi over to Hanks this even’g, he leaves for home 12.50 A.M. Uncle Hi left his scarf, forgot it.

Jan 29 – Hannah and I went to the Burg this A.M. I went down to the foundry and told Geo that I had finished the patterns. I went and took Hannah down to aunt Katies this P.M. It has thawed yesterday and to day. I mailed uncle Hirams scarf to him.

Jan 30 – 60° 49°. Rained some to day. Have got the tooth ache some. Pa went up to the saw mill and ground his ax. Ma washed.

Jan 31 – Emmett Crawford[36] came out this even’g. He has not been here since the Spring of ’73. Pa chopped a Cherry tree down that stood by the west line fence.


[1] Ethan placed X’s at the top of several entries, however, there was no explanation as to why

[2] His half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner, and her daughter, Ina Skinner

[3] His sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown, and her son, Claude Brown

[4] Shelbyville, Michigan, where his sister and her husband, Louese & D.D. Harris, lived

[5] His younger brother, James Clinton Keith

[6] Galesburg, Michigan

[7] His older half-brother, Henry Lindsey Keith

[8] William Clark, his nephew, son of his sister Lois by her first husband, Byron Clark

[9] Willis Brown, neighbor and brother of Henry Brown

[10] Bess Brown, the daughter of his sister Nancy

[11] Neighbor, Herbert Earl

[12] His sister, Hannah Keith

[13] Matilda (Allen) Brown, neighbor and mother of Henry Brown

[14] His brother-in-law (Nancy’s husband), Henry Brown

[15] Charles Luke Keith Jr., known as Luke

[16] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[17] His half-brother and sister-in-law, Henry & Florence (Stall) Keith

[18] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[19] Sarah’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[20] Possibly the business was relating to their mother, Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts, who was living with Ethan’s parents, and needing more attention and assistance in her old age

[21] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[22] Neighbor, and cousin of Henry Brown

[23] His niece, Lela Brown (Nancy’s daughter)

[24] Michigan marriage records show that William Morton and Myrtie Barlow were married in Galesburg, Michigan on January 16, 1884

[25] His paternal first cousin, James “Oscar” Keith

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

[27] John Batey

[28] His sister, Louese (Keith) Harris, and her son, Jay Harris

[29] Neighbor, and brother of Herbert Earl

[30] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[31] Neighbor, Marius O. Streator

[32] Michigan death records confirm that Bela Wright died on January 19, 1884 in Galesburg, Michigan and shows he is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Galesburg, Michigan

[33] Michigan death records confirm that John Batey died on January 18, 1884 in Pavilion, Michigan and shows he is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Galesburg, Michigan

[34] His father’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[35] Nickname for Hiram Crawford Jr.

[36] His paternal first cousin

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