1890 Letters

September 23, 1890 letter to Ethan Keith from Henry Keith

September 23, 1890

To: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Henry Keith, Los Angeles, CA

He is now living in Oakland, a place he had always wanted to live. He gave up the milling business and described his new job on the railroad. Wants Jim’s address so he can thank him for the lantern. All the conductors say it is dandy. Wishes Ethan would come out and stay with him for the winter.


Los Angeles, Cal. Sept 23, 1890

Dear Brother[1]

Guess it is about time that I was writing to you. Most I have to say is we are all well as usual. We are now living in Oakland the nicest place to live on the Pacific Coast in fact the place I have always wanted to live in. We like it very much. Florence[2] has just got so she feels settled, has had a hard time of it. She had a young man to help her or I dont know what she would have done for I could not leave my work to help her. Ray[3] got a letter from Ina[4] the other day and it was a nice letter well written and well composed for any one old or young. Lois[5] also wrote. We were glad to hear from her. You ask about my situation. I like it very much. It is a nice clean easy job and a good place to study human nature. I wish I could see you and tak with you then I could tell you all about it. I should have stayed with my trade but the milling business was so over done that it was out of the question for me to get a job unless I worked all night. It is true my work is part night now but there is scarcely ever a night that I am not in bed at 12m and sleep as late in the morning as I choose and when here in Los Angeles can sleep as much as I choose through the day.

I wish you would give me Jims[6] address for I want to write to the old boy.[7] I tell you what it is, the lantern he sent me (and I tell every one that my brother sent it to me) is by far the nicest lantern on the road. Every one of the conductors say I have got the dandy lantern and so I have. Hugh lives only a little way from us and I see him every day. He is on the police force and he has a hoste of friends. Every one likes him except the hoodlams and they fear him. I suppose without a doubt he is considered about the best if not the best man on the force. Hugh is a fine looking fellow, has got a nice lady for a wife. She is not handsome but good. Will is on the Alameda local fireing. How I do wish you were here to stay this winter. It would not take you long to come and I will board and clothe you as long as you would stay. I would give you a little spending money now and then enough to buy your tobaco and clay pipes. Could’nt afford Cigars i e not every day might give you a nickleplate on Sunday. Well I must report for duty. I leave here at 1040 every Tuesday night and 1245 every Saturday afternoon, leave home Monday mornings at 935 and Thursdays at 430 PM arive at home Wednesday nights 810 PM and Sundays at 950 A.M. milage 419 miles. Write soon.

Direct to 834 Madison St Oakland



[1] Henry and Ethan were half-brothers

[2] His wife, Florence (Stall) Keith

[3] His son, Arthur Raymond Keith

[4] His niece, Ina Skinner

[5] His sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[6] His half-brother, James Clinton Keith

[7] Henry was actually 19 years older than Jim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s