Ethan's 1884 Diary

Ethan Keith’s diary entries for August 1884

Aug 1 – I Draughted. Worked in the garden some this A.M. Went up to Charleys this evening and carried some beans. Sowed Turnip seeds this A.M.

Aug 2 – D made an instantaneous shutter for James Conkeys camera. Went to the Burg this evening. Rode home with T. Earl. Jim is out of the Band.

Aug 3 – Went down to Mrs Browns and put Bill in with Prince and got their double buggy for Mrs B-, Hank, Nan and Ma to go up to Mr Woods with. They did not find them at home so got back at 2.30. I carried Nan and the children home this evening. Charley & Clara was down this P.M.

Aug 4 – Draughted. Pa went over and got Nan this morning to help Ma ki quilt small quilt for Lou.[116] I carried her home this evening. 22 years ago to day since the Tornado.[117] It is quite cold for this time of the year.

Aug 5 – Draughted. Clara came down this A.M. and helped Ma quilt. Pa and Ma went to Kal this P.M. Ma went to see Edna. Jessie is there will come home tomorrow. Charley and Will Clark bought Lacelle Straits[118] carriage to day. Clara and Edna took dinner with me.

X Aug 6 – Geo Ives took dinner with us. After dinner I went up to Fidelio Browns. Ma went to the Burg this P.M. I went after her this evening. Edna and Jessie was at Nan’s came on Mich City freight. O. M. tried to –[119] Rec’d a letter from Henry L. Keith. Cong’l and Baptist S.S. Picnic at Gull Lake. Will Clark went. Jim took Flora & Mary Milham.[120]

Aug 7 – Draughted. Will and Charley have been breaking Mustang to day. Clara was down this P.M. Charley, Will and I went to the Burg this evening.

Aug 8 – Pa and Ma started for Shelbyville at five oclock this morning. Nan and the children came over to night. Will Clark went up to Gull Lake this P.M. to stay a few days, the Russells are camping there.

Aug 9 – Draughted. Went to the Burg this evening. Nan and the children went up to Claras this P.M. a little while.

Aug 10 – Hank came over this A.M. Charley & Clara came down this A.M. After dinner Charley, Hank and I went up around by Flanders and the brick school hous with the Mustang. Then Hank, Nan and I went home with Charley & Clara got Mr Earls boat and we went across the river to look at Hanks cow. Charley talked of buying it. Jim and Flora are out this P.M. & evening. Will C came from his visit up to Gull Lake.

Aug 11 – Draughted some. Clara and Edna were down this P.M. Hank Brown went to Chicago last evening. Will came back on N.Y. Express this evening to Battle Creek and from there home on accommodation.

Aug 12 – Draughted. Aunt Kate and Blanche came out on Mail to day. Pa & Ma came from Shelbyville this P.M. Clara & Edna were down to day brought a mess of fish.

Aug 13 – Draughted a little this P.M. Aunt Kate, Jessie and Blanche went home on Mail. Will Clark helped Mr Allerton[121] threash. Lela Brown is 6 years old to day.

Aug 14 – 90°. Draughted. Went to the Burg with Will Clark this P.M. Went down to the foundry. Clara & Edna were down. Pa is not feeling well.

Aug 15 – Draughted. Went to the Burg this evening. Mr & Mrs Streator and Mabel[122] was down this P.M. took tea with us.

Aug 16 – Will Clark and I went to Kal-. Called at Aunt Katies. Lucy is worse has not set up much the past week. We are having hot weather. {Nellie Bristol[123] is 21 years old to day. {Lois Skinner is 44 years old to day.

Aug 17 – Hank, Nan, Jim, Claude, Lela, Bess and myself went up to Gull Lake. Stopped at Hanks grounds. Found Mrs Cummings there from Battle Creek (per agreement). I tried roller skating a little while tried twice to break a hole through the floor but found it the hardest.

Aug 18 – Helped Ma clean the two west bedrooms. Will & Charley went to Augusta. C- bought some chairs. He took “Bill” this P.M. and went to the Depot after them. Clara & Edna went over to the Burg with him.

X Aug 19 – I gave the front room a thorough sweeping and dusting this A.M. Draughted a little this P.M. Rec’d a letter from Hannah.

X Aug 20 – Wrote to Lois Hannah and Henry L. Keith about binder business. Henry is 41 years old to day. Pa and Ma went down to Aunt Katies. Will Clark worked for Charley Towne. Charley was down this P.M. Jim came home this evening to stay to night is going to Battle Creek tomorrow.

Aug 21 – Wrote some to Henry and made a drawing of Strait’s and my Reaper & binder to send to him. Will Clark began working with Billy Johnson cutting bands for him. Mrs Brown is here this evening. I went to the Burg this eving, rode with Harry Streator. Jim went to Battle Creek to the Encampment. Turned out some stand tops for Herb Earl. He says Elva has a little girl.[124]

Aug 22 – Draughted. Two years ago to night. Wonder if anyone among the Berkshire Hill, Mass. remembers anything about it. I am quite certain I do, to my sorrow. This is a fickle world.[125] Dont feel very well have a hard headache.

Aug 23 – Went up to the Mill this A.M. Herb gave me a piece of walnut for a stand top & legs. I went to the noon train and met Laura E. and Rosa C. James[126] of Ravenna Portage Co Ohio second cousins on Grandma Keiths side.[127] Nan and the children were over.

Aug 24 – At home all day. Jim and Hank went to Gull Lake this evening. Will Clark went to see “Hettie”.

Aug 25 – Worked at the stands some to day. This P.M. Laura and Rosa and I took a ride up south. Wrote in Rosa’s Autograph Album this evening.

Aug 26 – Laura, Rosa and I went up on the “big hill” this A.M. this P.M. I took them over to Nancys. Found Lois and Ina there. Charley & Clara were here visiting to day.

Aug 27 – Draughted some. Ma went over to Nan’s a visiting to day. Pa went after her this eving. There is Laura and Rosa came back with them.

Aug 28 – Rainy. Laura and Ma washed. Will Clark came home this P.M. and turned the lathe for me to turn out the girls stad stand top. Herb Earl turned for me to turn one for my self this A.M. Went to the Burg this evening. Lois and Ina came home with me.

Aug 29 – Carried Ma, Laura and Rosa up to Charleys this A.M. Pa, Lois and Ina went down to Aunt Katies. I went up to Charleys and took dinner with the “ladies.” Draughted a little. The girls stay with Clara to night.

X Aug 30 – Worked at the girls stand. Herb Earl we came down this morning with an other board for me to turn him a stand top. Laura has ironed to day. Rosa talked to me on “religion” this P.M. a while. Charley took his mother to Kal- to take the cars for Shelby ville. Rec’d a letter from Hannah.

Aug 31 – Will Clark and I went to the Burg this A.M. This P.M. Laura, Rosa and I went up to the Hartwell Corners Cemetery and from there up to John Flanders and across by Ras Townes[128] around by the Lawler school house and Augusta home, 16 miles.


[116] Louese was pregnant with her daughter, LaVergne, who was born September 10, 1884

[117] Newspaper articles: Kalamazoo Gazette 08 August 1862 p 3: “The Gale of Monday” A gale and thunderstorm swept over this place and surrounding county on Monday resulting in much damage to buildings, trees and fences; and we are pained to say also by claiming some loss of life. All through our streets and enclosures may be seen broken trees, but we hear of no other particular damage in the city. But we learn that at the residence of J. MILHAM, Esq., some two or three miles southeast of here was unroofed, and that the falling timbers killed several cows and sheep. Other damage was done to his premises, but we have not the particulars. At Galesburgh the storm was very destructive. We refer to a communication in another place for the details. At Battle Creek too, there was considerable damage done; among other things we are grieved to hear that the elegant Methodist Church was severely marred by the falling of its steeple, cracking the walls and shattering the roof. We have rumor of several lives lost here and there which we do not think reliable.”

“The Tornado at Galesburgh” Ed. GAZETTE: A tornado passed through our village yesterday about 4 o’clock which filled the minds of our citizens with great gloom and solemnity. It began to do its great work in the western part of the village by destroying three homes and injuring others. It then passed in an easterly direction blowing the roof off the grist-mill and entirely destroying our new part that was recently attached to the mill. It then made its rage through the eastern part of the village destroying barns, cabinet shops and three dwelling houses, tearing up every tree in its course. Three families were entirely buried in the ruins of their own dwellings. No one injured except A. SHERMAN who was badly bruised and a little girl about eight years old a daughter of MR. BATCHELDER was instantly killed by a falling stick of timber. A Committee of five was appointed by the citizens to examine the property injured and ascertain who is made destitute in consequence of the storm. They report that damage at thirteen thousand, six hundred and twenty four dollars. M.G.

Burial: From Tombstone Inscriptions in Kalamazoo County, Michigan by Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society, 1980. Galesburg Old Cemetery, Section 13, corner of Hastings & Division, Comstock Twp., Kalamazoo County.

Batchelder, Anna L. Daug of J. D. & L, Aug 4, 1862 5 yrs 10 mos 11 dys Killed by the tornado

Lurectia, wife of J.D. Sept 17 1862, 45 yrs 8 mos”

[118] Neighbor; son of Ransom Strait and brother of Dexa Strait (see footnote to May 31st entry)

[119] Following this are three lines of underlining. Ethan made several cryptic entries (see August 22, September 8, November 28 & 29) which seem to relate to the fact that he had been engaged to Helen “Nellie” Bristol, who went to West Stockbridge, Massachusetts and married Clarence Spencer on October 25, 1885

[120] Believe he is referring to Flora Milham, the daughter of Richard & Hannah (Goodrich) Milham, and Mary A. Milham, the daughter of James & Ella (Adams) Milham. Richard and James were Martin Milham’s half-brothers

[121] Neighbor, John T. Allerton. Later in 1896, Will would marry John’s daughter, Elizabeth Allerton

[122] The 5-year-old daughter of Harry & Helen (Randall) Streator

[123] Helen “Nellie” Bristol

[124] Elva was the sister of Theodore and Herbert Earl. She married Frank Crossfield and they had a daughter, Ethel Crossfield

[125] See footnote to August 6th entry. There is also an entry in Ethan’s 1899 diary: Took Hannah to Cora Beras this A.M. went after this evening. Went over part of the same road seventeen years this even’g.

[126] Laura (James) Vair and Roselia James, daughters of John & Elsie (Prentiss) James

[127] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[128] Erasmus Towne, who was the brother of Charles Towne (see footnote to May 5th entry)

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