1891 Letters

April 12, 1891 letter to Ethan Keith from Helen York

April 12, 1891

To:  Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

From:  Helen York, Nampa, ID

Describes the work being done on the “Canal proper.” Writes of receiving letters from various family members; one in particular was from Henry Lee, who was helping to get a record of the Lees, and wanted Helen to send Lucy’s information. She received a letter from Henry Keith who said he was out of business and would like to come to Idaho.

Office of P. J. Pefley
Manufacturer of and Dealer in
Harness and Saddlery,
Boise City and Caldwell, Idaho[1]

Nampa, Sun P.M. April, 12th 188__[2]

Dear cousin

Ethan, will write a little for you, on this Ad sheet, the company F.[3] works for. F. came this morn, can send this to office by him. A lovely day, froze ice, thick as plate glass, last night. Thurs a very cold, & heavy wind all day. Baby,[4] feeling quite well, & playful. Men to work on the “Canal, proper” call ditch, in front of us. I went out to see the ditchers work the other day; quite a good deal machinery, on top of a wagon, the plow running in the ground, the dirt carried over on the same as a straw carrier. 3 men on each one. The canal, 24, feet across top – 12 on bottom 4 foot deep. Have forgotten the fall to the mile – that will carry a large amount of water, the work going on Sundays the same. Friday rec’d a letter from Clara[5] also 1 from Mark Lee.[6] C. wrote she had had the “Grippe.” Imagine I can see what a winter they have passed, children, from school, would have liked some of the sugar, & Syrup they made. Mark, said his health had been poor, rheumatism; Said Mary[7] was married in Dec. About 2, weeks ago[8] rec’d a letter, from Henry Lee[9] (my first), enquired about your people, said he was helping to get a record of the Lees,[10] wished me to send Lucy’s[11] &c. Said the winter had been very severe, (24, below here the lowest I heard) a great loss of stock, M, said the winter had been hard with them. Henry Kieth’s[12] address I asked in my letter before, 2 days after Sending you I rec’d a letter from him. I answered, have not heard since from him. Said he was out of business, he would like to come to Idaho.[13] Mark said he rec’d your father’s[14] & Jim’s[15] picture, a little time ago. I would like your father’s & Mother’s[16] likeness ever so much, have all you children, but Lou.[17] Hope this will find you well, read you are having cold, & snow. Best of wishes to all to all enquiring ones.

From Cousin Helen

P.S. Dinner ready beef roast biscuit, potatoes, bread, butter, beans, pie cake, sauce. Come & partake.


[1] Stamped over this heading is another heading reading “P. J. Pefley [and] Warren Pefley, Idaho Saddlery Co., Successors To”

[2] While Helen does not indicate the year that she wrote this letter, according to a reference calendar, Sunday, April 12 occurred in 1891

[3] Frank Page, Helen’s son-in-law, who was married to her daughter, Marion Adelphia York

[4] Probaby referring to Frank Page Jr, Helen’s grandson, who was born in October of 1889

[5] Most likely Helen’s niece, Clara Milham, daughter of her half-sister, Lucy Irene (Lee) Milham

[6] Marquis de Lafayette Lee, who went by the name of Mark. Mark was the son of Ezekial and Elizabeth (Strong) Lee. Helen was the only daughter of Catherine Keith (Ethan’s paternal aunt) and her first husband, Ethan Bradley; Catherine later married George Clinton Lee, Mark’s uncle

[7] Mark’s daughter, Mary Jane Lee

[8] Mary Jane Lee married David Eskelson December 3, 1889

[9] William Henry Lee, who went by the name of Henry. Henry was the son of Ezekial and Elizabeth (Strong) Lee

[10] As far as known, Henry was the first family member to try to keep family history records

[11] Lucy Irene (Lee) Milham, Helen’s half-sister, who died September 22, 1884. After Helen’s father, Ethan Bradley, died, her mother, Catherine, married George Lee and then had Lucy

[12] Ethan’s half-brother, the son of Charles Luke Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva Payson

[13] In the 1890’s Henry was living in Oakland, Alameda County, California, and working as a railroad conductor

[14] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[15] Ethan’s brother, James Clinton Keith

[16] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[17] Ethan’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

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