May 27, 1838 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Harvey Keith

May 27, 1838

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Pavilion, NY

From: Harvey Keith, Comstock, MI 

Will give Luke one bushel of potatoes and one pig, Alfleda will give him a hen and roosteScr, and Oscar will give him his steers if he comes to Michigan. Mother says Luke can live with them and Father will help him if he will come to farm in Michigan rather than work his trade in Covington. Father built a barn for himself. As for Galesburg, they are to work at the race this summer. Supposes A. T. Jones is living with Aunt Lydia.

Scan of 1838-05-27 Harvey Keith to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Comstock        May 27th 1838

Dear Sir[1]

I received a letter from you a few days since. I was glad to heare that your health was good. We are all in good health in this place. We have had a verry backward spring so far. It is cold enough to day to want great coat and mittens if we go out of doors. The people in this county have just finished planting whis is about ten days later than we planted last season. You say that you are getting homesick to come to michigan. I think it is a verry pious notion. You wanted to know what I would give you to come here. I will tell you I will give you one bushel of potatoes one pig – Alfleda[2] says she will give you a hen and rooster. Oscar[3] says he will give you his steers. He has got a verry fine pair of yearlings. I am farming a little, work a trade a little. I have put up mr Tubbs barn this spring. For the want of lumbr we neglected it last season. I have got ten acres broke and in to grain on the south side of Road. I have got a hired man this summer. Father[4] has one. Mother[5] says you may live with her if you come to michigan. Father says if you want to come here and go to farming he will give you a good chance so that you can make mor than you will to stay in covington and work at your trade[6]. I think it will be better for you to go to farming if you dont make any mor it will be better for your health. Father is building a barn for himself this summer. As for Galesburgh it is not doing much. They are to work at the race[7] some this summer. Their is but verry little building goingon. Mr wiseman has sold his place. Their is a stor kept their now. They are building a store on the corners east of Reynold. It is to be fild in two weeks and I hope if may for their is nothing in any of the other stores that any body wants such as tea and other groceries. We have been without tea in this place for about three months and I tell you what it is their is some sour looking faces among the women.

I saw Jesse Turner[8] the day after I got your letter. He say he wants the waggon and thinks he will send for it by Osmond Smith about the first of July. Osmond is at Otsego with R. Crane and is going to New York for goods. He wants all that is necessary about the waggon and that of the best kind and not be extravigant. Jesse has had a letter from Alvan[9] this spring. He has lost his wife. Nancy is going down with Osmond and is going to fetch Alvan and family to Michigan. I suppose you know your own business best but my advise is not to send the waggon without the money. Jesse is considerably in debt. I suppose A. F. Jones[10] is livin with Aunt Lydia[11]. Sylvia White live with Jesse down to the pinery. Emeline live to martins but I think she will go to mr Tubbs soon to live with Nelson. We have had a Universatist Preacher here this spring. He preachd at the schoolhouse on the priarie. His name was Richard Thornton[12]. Jame wrote in his litter that they ware having their social meeting. What do you think they will amount to. They are going on in the same path of the orthodoks. They ar going step by step till they will have their protracted meeting and make as much nois as any of them.

Give my respects to all the people in Covington that I know any thing about.

Yours &c H Keith

May 29th 1838

Orren Starr came her this afternoon and I send this by him. I have it ritten to send by the mail


[1] The letter was folded in such a way that it made its own envelope. It was addressed to Luke Keith Jr., Pavilion, Genessee Co., N York. Charles Luke Keith Jr. went by the name of Luke as did his father, Charles Luke Keith Sr. Harvey and Luke were brothers

[2] Harvey’s wife, Alfleda (Starr) Keith

[3] Perhaps Harvey’s son, James Oscar Keith, who is about six years old

[4] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[5] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[6] Luke was a wagon maker

[7] A channel for the water flowing to or from a water wheel is called a mill race, or simply a race

[8] Luke’s and Harvey’s first cousin, son of Asa and Lydia (Willcutt) Turner

[9] Brother of Jesse Turner

[10] Have not been able to establish a blood relationship between A. T. (or A. F.) Jones and the Keiths. The 5-27-1838 letter suggests that he is living with Aunt Lydia, the 6-24-1838 letter from A. T. Jones says his is living with “Grandmother,” and the 5-23-1847 letter says that “A. T. Jones lives with Mr. Wells down below Lees.” A search of the census records shows an Asa F. Jones living with Harvey Keith in 1850

[11] Lydia (Willcutt) Turner, Luke’s and Harvey’s maternal aunt

[12] One of the proponents of the Alphadelphia Association (see brief description following the 5-23-1847 letter)

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