1890 Letters

August 28, 1890 letter to Ethan Keith from John Frank Tomlinson

August 28, 1890

To: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: John Tomlinson, Perry, NY

Hasn’t had time to write due to being busy at the mill. Write mostly of the changes being made at the mill but also gives an update on his family.

Office of the
GEO. TOMLINSON & SON, Proprietors

Perry, N.Y., Aug 28 1890

Cousin Ethan

I have been tring for a long time to get chance to write but something has prevented. Have been more busy than ever this summer. Edgerly has been buying beans, and I have kept acct of purchases picking and sales, Beside some hard labor when men were busy at something else. Have had great deal of running to do and worked at books evenings to keep up. Have not accomplished much but has taken time just the same.

Father[1] has not been well all the time. Had a sick spell the first part of this month. Is around every day but has to be careful about work and eating. Water has kept up first rate this year and will most likely have enough to carry us thro.

Have changed millers and we think made good swap. Louis does not like the place very well but he did not study or read, and was behind the times. Perry changed the whol plan of grinding and has made great improvement as is shown by the demand for flour. We are breaking down fast on 1st and second breaks: this improves the midlings. Makes them coarser and easily cleaned. The germ now comes out in the feed whole and flat. Will enclose a little. Edgerly is a chronic kicker, but now says we are making best flour we ever made. Our purifiers are doing nicely. Could not ask for anything better. The Knickerbocker Co are putting out a new purifier, which they brag on greatly, but we are not yet ready to throw out our Smith machines. We take tailings from last purifier and stock from cyclones and run to smooth roll, bolt on round reel. We get a clean flour and the feed is poorer than we could ever begin to make before. We are having a pair of rolls reground smooth, and will try them for bran. Will cost nothing to try this and if does not work can use them for mids.

What do you hear from H. L. K.?[2] How about your fortune in Australia?[3]

Grandmother[4] keeps about as usual. Is as forgetful as ever. Goes out but little.

Hattie[5] is well, and is talking of going to Concord next week. Will take Agnes with her and perhaps Irene.[6] Will go to Colon first part of her visit. Thinks she will not go the rounds again this year as I will not be able to go after her. Segments on overshot wheel are worn out. Father thinks best to put on new ones. Perry and I think here is more money in a Victor wheel. Father has gone to Mt Morris today to find pattern for wallover[?] wheel.

Walter and Nell[7] are well as usual. W. keeps store going yet. Father knows little or nothing about the business. W. has gone to Syracuse this week to buy goods. Season at the lake has been very good this year. More building than ever this season. Have quite a city there now. Went to but two or three meetings: could not find time to spend there. Reaper folks are putting up a lot of machines to send west to Fairs.

Write and let us know how the folks are. Will try and write again some day.


J. F. Tomlinson[8]


[1] George Tomlinson

[2] Ethan’s half-brother, Henry L. Keith

[3] Ethan’s cousin, Charles J. Lee, who lived in Australia, and was trying to interest companies in Ethan’s various inventions as can be seen by letters written in 1889

[4] His maternal grandmother, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[5] His wife, Harriet (Root) Tomlinson

[6] His daughters, Agnes (2 years old) and Irene (3½ years old) Tomlinson

[7] His brother-in-law and sister, Walter & Nellie (Tomlinson) Gillett

[8] John Frank Tomlinson. Ethan’s father and John’s grandmother were siblings

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