Ethan's 1884 Diary

Ethan Keith’s diary entries of March 7 – April 5, 1884

X Mar 7 – Wrote to J. P. Keith.[52] Have got a sore throat.

Mar 8 – Went over to the Dr’s. Aunt Kate did not feel well enough to go. This is Uncle Pros[53] 44th birth day.

Mar 9 – Am real lame in the small of my back. Uncle Hi is having the tooth ache to day. Aunt Kate and Jessie have gone to a temperance meeting.

X Mar 10 – Wrote to Lois and the Strait W. M. Co.[54] Uncle Hi was up all night with the tooth ache. Aunt Kate has not felt well this P.M., has been to bed.

X Mar 11 – Wrote to Rec’d a letter from Ma. Went to see the old Dr. Took dinner with Uncle Hi, Mr Beasup and Mr Atkins. Got a hammer for the piano repaired at Reeds Temple of Music. Went out to L. P. C.[55] this P.M., first if I have been there this time in Chicago. _____ at the temperance Hall this evening, 721 Larabbee St.

X Mar 12 – Wrote to Nancy. Aunt Kate went down town this A.M. did not get back until night. I got dinner for Blanch and I.

Mar 13 – Went over to the Dr’s this P.M. came back from the west side on a Madison St car. First I have been on that St. Pleasant. Aunt Kate has gone to the temperance meeting this evening.

X Mar 14 – Wrote to Ma this P.M. Aunt Kate is not feeling very well. Uncle Hi went to the Lodge and Aunt Kate to meeting this evening.

X Mar 15 – Aunt Kate and I went to see the old Dr this A.M. Rec’d a letter from Hank saying that he would be at Race Bro’s at 12 P.M. and 6 P.M., wanted me to meet him. Did not go.

Mar 16 – Hank Brown came up here this A.M. stayed until 1 P.M. was going home on the fast Express this evening. This is the 5 pleasant day this month. Uncle Hi was not very well this morning, did not get up to breakfast.

X Mar 17 – Went up to the Lincoln Avenue barn and office[56] this P.M. Aunt Kate has been sewing this P.M. Rec’d a letter from H. L. Keith[57] and one from Jim.

X Mar 18 – Aunt Kate and I went over to the Dr’s this A.M. I am having a hard real time with my tooth. Rainy this P.M. and evening. Rec’d a letter from Hannah.

X Mar 19 – Got the tooth ache, am about as near sick as I care to be. Uncle Hi brought the plan of his new house up this evening. Aunt Kate went to Central Music Hall this P.M. She and Harry went to meeting this evening. Rec’d a letter from J. F. Tomlinson.[58]

Mar 20 – Went to see the Dr this P.M. I visited the C.M. & St. Paul[59] Pittsburg & Ft Wayne M.S.& L.S.R.R.[60] and C&R.I.RR[61] Depots. Aunt Kate went to the temperance meeting. Kate washed to day.

X Mar 21 – Rec’d a letter from Ma. Wrote to Hannah this P.M. Mrs. Martin called this P.M. Aunt Kate has gone to missionary meeting this P.M.

Mar 22 – Aunt Kate and I went over to the Dr this A.M. I took dinner at Woodmans, went to Uncle Pross this P.M.

Mar 23 – At Uncle Pross to day. He and I went to Central Music Hall to hear David Swing. We went to the Grand Pacific Hotel and took a walk on one St in the dark hole.

Mar 24 – At Uncle Pross this morning came home this P.M. Aunt Kate went to the Temperance rooms this P.M. and evening. Uncle H to a meeting at the Church this eving. I went down to the Central Depot.

X Mar 25 – Rained all day. Aunt Kate and I went over to the Dr’s this A.M. She came back to Mrs Wienburgs and spent the P.M. I took dinner at Woodmans. Went to Kohl & Middelons Drive Museum this P.M. Rec’d a letter from Hannah and one from Ma.

X Mar 26 – Wrote to Ma. Took a bath this A.M. Went over to the Drug store on Halstead St this P.M.

X Mar 27 – Received a letter from Lou. Went to the Dr’s this P.M. Had my hair cut over on the West side.

X Mar 28 – Rec’d letter from Lois. Wrote to Lou and H. L. Keith. Recd letter from Nancy. Aunt Kate went down town this A.M. to trade. I got dinner for Blanche, Jessie and I. Uncle Hi and Aunt Kate went down town this evening.

Mar 29 – Aunt Kate and I went to the Dr’s this A.M. I took dinner at Woodmans. Went down to the M.C.R.R.[62] Depot after dinner. Quite a cold wind to day the Lake is real rough.

Mar 30 – Aunt Kate and I went to the W.C.T.U.[63] meeting this evening. There is an awful riot in Cincinnati now.[64]

X Mar 31 – Rec’d a letter from Jim, have answerd it and written to the Strait W. M. Co. about some money. Went down to the Park this P.M. Harry came down and went around with me. We went out on the Lake shore. I saw some bananas growing in the Conservatory.

X Apr 1 – Rec’d a letter from Ma. Went to see the Dr this A.M. Rained quite hard about noon, hailed hard on the south side. Election here to day. I went to the C.&.N.W.R.R.[65] Depot, it is nice.

Apr 2 – Snow on the ground this morning. Went to the store for Aunt Kate this P.M.

X Apr 3 – Went to see the Dr the P.M. Went down to the Central Depot. Uncle Hi and I went over to the Baptist church to an entertainment this evening. Kate washed to day. Wrote to M. F. Lee.[66]

X Apr 4 – Wrote to Nancy. Pleasant yesterday and to day. Aunt Kate went down town to the rehersal. Loyd S. Higgins 33rd birth day. Would like to know where he is, also see him. Peter Cooper died one year to day. Wrote in Henrys Autograph Album.

Apr 5 – Went to see the Dr. Took dinner at Woodmans. Went to McVickers Theatre this P.M. and see “Jalma”, it was just grand. Took supper in the boarding house. Aunt Kate is sick to night.


[52] Don’t know who he is referring to; research continues

[53] Lucius Prosper Crawford, another brother of Sarah and Hiram Crawford

[54] Strait Windmill Company

[55] Uncle Pros

[56] Hiram was the treasurer for the North Chicago City Railway Company and horses were used to pull the trolley cars along rail lines. Although electric cable cars were introduced in 1882 and replaced horsecars on feeder routes when they became available, it wasn’t until 1906 that all their lines were converted to electricity

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

[58] His cousin, John “Frank” Tomlinson

[59] Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul RR, early predecessor to the Milwaukee Road

[60] Perhaps he switched the letters around and is referring to the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad

[61] Chicago & Rock Island Railroad

[62] Michigan Central Railroad

[63] Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. From Wikipedia: At its founding in 1874, the stated purpose of the WCTU was to create a “sober and pure world” by abstinence, purity, and evangelical Christianity. The constitution of the WCTU called for “the entire prohibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage.”

[64] From Wikipedia: On December 24, 1883, a young white German named William Berner and his accomplice, Joe Palmer, a man of mixed African and European descent, robbed and murdered their employer, William Kirk, a livery stable owner in the West End of the city. The murderers dumped Kirk’s body near the Mill Creek in the Northside district. After the men had been arrested, 500 potential jurymen were called before Berner’s lawyer accepted the jury of twelve. After a prolonged trial, on March 26, 1884, the jury returned a manslaughter verdict despite the testimony of seven different people to whom Berner had admitted his cold-blooded planning and execution of the murder. The judge, who gave a sentence of 20 years in prison, called the verdict “a damned outrage.” The next day, the newspapers called for a public meeting to condemn the verdict. Tried separately, Palmer was convicted and hanged. A New York Times article dated March 27, 1884, reported that James Bourne, one of the jurors, had spent the previous night at Bremen Street police station after being threatened by a mob. Returning home on the morning of March 27, a crowd threatened to hang him but was dispersed by the police. Later he was severely beaten and was again taken to the police station for his own safety. Another member of the jury, Charles Dollahan, was pelted with rotten eggs and dared not return home. Louis Havemeyer was told he was fired when he went to work. A crowd tore the blinds from the house of L. Phillips on Liberty Street, and threw dead cats and rotten eggs through the windows before discovering they had the wrong Phillips, not a member of the jury. The foreman of the jury, A. F. Shaw, had gone into hiding. On March 28, several thousand people attended a meeting to protest the lenient sentence. A large group of protesters then headed to the jail, apparently planning to lynch Berner. Unknown to the rioters, Berner was not there. He had been sent to Columbus, Ohio, for his own safety, and had escaped en route. The rioters managed to break into the jail through the Sheriff’s apartment, but left when they were shown that Berner was not present. Then more rioters arrived. The Sheriff had the alarms rung which had the effect of drawing yet more people to the scene. The mob, now 10,000 strong, pelted the jail with bricks and stones. They were driven out by reinforcements from the militia armory who entered the building via a tunnel from the courthouse. After one of the attackers was shot dead the violence escalated. Rioters attempted to set the jail on fire using stolen kerosene. By the time the situation became temporarily under control late on Friday night, five people had died, including one police officer, and many more were wounded.

[65] Chicago & North Western Railway

[66] His second cousin, Marquis de Lafayette Lee, the oldest son of Dr. Ezekiel & Elizabeth (Strong) Lee. The Lees were Mormons and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, and eventually to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850. Mark stayed behind to run his father’s farm and was living with his aunt, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee until March 18, 1870 when he joined his family in Salt Lake.

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