1885 Letters

April 21 & 22, 1885 letters to Harvey Keith from Jennie and Addie Geeslin

April 21, 1885

To: Harvey Keith

From: Jennie Geeslin, Wyattville, MN

Both Jennie and Addie wrote to Harvey telling him about school, their teacher and Pa’s new hired man.



Wyattville Minn

April 21, 1885

Friend Harvie

After along delay we will answer your letter. We are all well at present. We go to school this summer. We have 3 months school. It began last week. Our teachers name is Mary Hus. She is a good teacher I think. Our teacher boards at Ira and so does George Hunt.[1] Last Sunday George took the teacher to our church in his new buggie. I suppose you hear from Carrie real often. Mate is well. Why don’t you anser Pa[2] letters. Addie[3] and I have got 2 new lots of sample real prettie ones. Pa has got a hired man.[4] I will close for this time hoping this will find you well. Hopeing to here from you soon.

Sincerely yours




Wyattville Winona Minn

April 22, 1885[6]

Friend Harvey

After so long a time we will try to answer your letter. We are well at present all go to school. Have got a splendid teacher. She boards to Uncle Ira’s.[7] Our teacher is a old maid[8] we have 19 scholars. We have got a hired man and he looks just like you.

Where are you going to stay this summer or are you a going to stay at home. You must excuse my dirty paper it got on the flor and someone stept on it. Pa is dragging to day. Well I guess this is all I can think of now. Jennie has told all the rest. We have sent for sum cards and as soon as they come we will send you one.

Write soon

Addie Geeslin


[1] The 1885 Minnesota state census shows a G. W. Hunt and a Mary Hughes living in the household of I. C. Brainerd, just a few entries after the Geeslin family

[2] John W. Geeslin

[3] Her younger sister, who was about 12 years old

[4] The 1885 Minnesota state census lists Alburtus Gage, age 20, living in the household

[5] Jennie was about 14 years old

[6] While the handwritten date is 1884, it appears that either Addie mistakenly wrote 1884 or a transcription error was made

[7] Their mother’s brother, Ira Brainerd

[8] The 1885 Minnesota state census lists her age as 29

These letters are 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. These are photocopies of Ruth’s handwritten copies of the letters. Note: Jim Keith is the great-grandson of Charles Luke Keith Jr., who was James “Oscar” Keith’s uncle.


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