1884 Letters

April 5, 1884 letter to Mary Ann Keith from Harvey Keith

April 5, 1884

To: Mary Ann Keith

From: Harvey Keith, Wyattville, MN

He reports that he wasn’t feeling any better than when he left home and hasn’t been out of the house since he arrived. He developed a pain in his lungs and couldn’t sit up and had to take a sleeping car all the way. He would like his mother to send $5.00 as soon as possible as the train fare used up all his money. The Geeslins have been very good to him and have told him he is welcome as long as he wants to stay.


April 5, 1884[2]

Mother well i am not feeling a well as I hope to when left home. i have not been able out of the house since i have Been hear. when i was in chigo i was taken with a pain in the lungs and could not set up. i had to go to bed and when the train started they had me on i took a sleeping car all the way and it took all the mony i had. i have written to Ira[3] for some money but have not heard from it yet and i guess i wont. i dont know what to think about. i wish you wood get 5 Dollars and send it to me as soon as possible for i need it now if ever. these folks so good to me as can be. Mr Geeslin[4] get me home bottly means[?] safe care and i dont want to ask to mutch for i dont now how i will be. they say i am welcome to a home as long as i wanter stay. i think that is a good deal dont you. i think if i have some thing to start me up i will get so i can go to work in a bout a mounth and if i do as soon as i can i will pay it. i wood not ask it if i cood see how i could get a long with out it. Well it is getting dark and i am getting tired so i guess i will close for this time. O yes Mr Geeslin says he dont want that Suit[?] he say it cost to mutch. it has been plesent today tuesday it snowed about 6 inches but it has goon of now. well i getting tired to write enny more so i will close now hoping to hear from you soon. I will say good by a kiss to Ina.[5] tell hurbert[6] i will write to him next time i write.

From Harvey to mother


[1] The 1880 & 1885 census records show the family living in Warren, Winona County, Minnesota. Wyattville is an unincorporated community in Warren Township

[2] Although “84” was crossed out and “81” put in by Ruth Keith, from the contents of other letters written in 1884, the correct year is 1884

[3] Believe he is referring to his brother-in-law, Ira Randall, the widower of Harvey’s late sister, Katie

[4] John W. Geeslin. From a note on a letter dated January 3, 1886, it appears that John was Harvey’s employer

[5] Believe he is referring to his niece, Inez Randall, the daughter of his late sister, Katie. His mother was raising Inez

[6] His brother, John Herbert Keith

This letter is among several which were loaned to Jim & Ruth (Stankey) Keith, probably back in the 1980s, by Ella Nola (Curtis) Eaton, whose husband, Clifford Eaton, was the great-great-grandson of James “Oscar” & Mary Ann (Batey) Keith. This is a photocopy of Ruth’s handwritten copy of the letter. Note: Jim Keith is the great-grandson of Charles Luke Keith Jr., who was James “Oscar” Keith’s uncle.

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