April 21 1845 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Charles Webster

April 21, 1845

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: Charles Webster, Middleburg, IA

Hopes that the wagon Luke is making for him will soon be done and that when it is that Luke will “come and fetch it down and make us a visit” and fetch Aunt Lois and the children.

1845-04-21 Charles Webster to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Respected Friend

Your favor was duly Recd I was glad to hear that you had got the Waggon on the stocks. I hope it will soon be done. I have made arrangements for ironing of it. I Want it as Soon as posible. I Wish when you get it done you would come and fetch it down and make us a visit. Fetch aunt Louis and the children.[1] I Would come out for it but my business is such that I can not. Well _____ yours may be so to. If it is I wish you would send it to Kalamazoo and write to me what place I will find it by so doing you will confer a great favor on me. I think I can send and get it most any time. Now Luke just do this and write to me the Balance your due and I will see that you have yore pay before a long time. Do not fail. You must give our Respects to your folks and tell aunt Louis Sarah wants to see her very much.

We are all well. No news of any acount.

Middburg April 21 1845[2]

Chas Webster [to] Luke Keith Jun


[1] Luke’s daughter, Lois, and son, Henry

[2] The letter was folded to form its own envelope and the return address portion appears to read:

Middleburg  }
Ia April 21    }

August 19, 1844 letter to Charles Luke & Hannah Keith Sr. from Matthew Keith

August 19, 1844

To: Charles Luke & Hannah Keith Sr, Covington, NY

From: Matthew Keith, Winfield, NY

Received their letter and would have been glad to meet them at Covington, but cannot because money is very tight. They have received word that his wife’s oldest brother is not well and that they should come see him. If they do, they shall go in September and be gone about 15 days. He has had to pay out $250.00 in 18 months and he has lost a debt of $280.00 in Illinois. He has given away his Michigan land to his children. Has looked at the constitution of the Alphadelphia Association and is a little afraid of it, but would like Luke to send him the papers when it gets in operation.

Scan of 1844-08-19 Matthew Keith to Luke & Hannah Keith

Winfield[1] August the 19th 1844

Dear Brother and Sister[2]

I once more take my pen to let know how we do. We are waneing out Pretty fast. My own health has Been very poor for a month past. I feel almost worn out. I received your letter in due time and was glad to hear that are well. I should Been exceeding glad to have accepted your invitation to meet you at Coventon.[3] Money is very hard for me to get. If I had your letter three days sooner I should have come. Miss Keiths[4] Oldest brother Jarvis [or family?] is quite low. They have sent for to come and see him. I sent word only three days Before I got your letter. It is not certain that we shall go. If we do we shall go the first of Sept and Be gone about 15 days. I should have Been exceeding glad to had you and your wife made us a visit. I do not mutch think I shall ever see you again. Time grow Darker every day. We had laid out next summer to have come to michigan. I have had to pay two hundred and fifty dollars in about 18 months. I had it to live and it must be paid soon. I have just heard that I have lost a Debt in Illinois of 280 dollars which I expected was safe and was looking for the money or apart of it every day to help me out of my troubles but it is gone for ever. I have given away My Michigan lands to my children in order to get rid of that trouble 7 lots I have one yet. Our friends have one. All well as usual. I looked at your constitution[5] not as mutch as I mean to do. I am alittle afraid of it but I hope you will Prosper in it. Give our Best love to Esqr Spouge[6] and family and to sister Lee[7] and your children. When you get home send me some of your papers when they get in opperation.


Matthew Keith

to Luke and Hannah Keith


[1] The back of the letter, which was folded so as to make its own envelope, shows “Winfield N.Y. Aug 19,” and is addressed to “Luke Keith, Coventon, Genesee County N.Y., Pavillion Post Office”

[2] Charles Luke Keith Sr., who went by the name of Luke, and Hannah Willcutt.

[3] Covington, New York. Luke and Hannah were living in Michigan at the time of this writing, but it appears that they were visiting relations in New York

[4] His wife, Lucretia (Jepson) Keith

[5] The Alphadelphia Association. See page following the May 23, 1847 letter for a brief description of the Alphadelphia Association

[6] James Sprague, husband of Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague, Luke and Hannah’s daughter

[7] Luke’s and Matthew’s sister Rhoda (Keith) Lee

August 4, 1844 letter to R. S. Clapp from Charles Luke Keith Jr.

August 4, 1844

To: R. S. Clapp

From: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Stafford, NY

It appears that Mr. Clapp is anxious to have the payment of his note put off a short time. Mother has thought of putting her money in the Association, but thinks they are not doing very well.

Scan of 1844-08-04 Charles Luke Keith Jr to R S Clapp

Stafford August 4th 1844

Mr. R. S. Clapp

Sir your letter of the 27th Date Came to hand on friday last. You Appear to be Anxious to have the payment of your note put off a short time. Mother[1] has Thought some of putting her money in to the Association[2] as soon as she gets home again but as we have not heard any thing about the Association she thinks some times they are not doing very well or we should heard something about it. The president Told me when I left home he would let me know how they prospered. I have not heard The first word from him just as Expected Whig .. Whig- .. Whig—

As for the money, you can have it som six or Eight months. She Thinks she would not like to put it off any longer if she should ever get back to Michigan & the Association should prosper she thinks her money would gain her as much or more then ____ any other place she could put it.

We shall probably if our healths _____ be Home next month. We are all rather Home sick want to get back to Michigan.

There are a great many Old gals down here that would like to Emigrate to Michigan. I think you have best come this way in stead of going south &c &c and so on.

By Order of Mrs Payson I Send You This

You Can Have The Money Till The first of March 1845 if not longer

Yours &c

C. L. Keith

R. S. Clapp

Stafford Aug 4th 1844


[1] Believe he is referring to his then mother-in-law, Mrs. Payson

[2] The Alphadelphia Association; see the post following the May 23, 1847 letter for a brief description of the Alphadelphia Association

March 10, 1844 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from J. C. Sprague

March 10, 1844

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: J. C. Sprague, Covington, NY

Speaks of Aunt Lois and also of Uncle Elijah. Reports that Luke’s daughter Lois is doing well and that the deacon’s place would be the best place for her to stay until Luke settles again, but her grandmother doesn’t want to let her go. 

Scan of 1844-03-10 J C Sprague to Charles Luke Keith Jr

March 10, 1844[1]

Mr L C Keith

Dear Sir

Aunt Lois[2] left a request for me to write to you when she left here for Stafford[3]. I was not at home at the time. Aunts health was rather poor. When she left your little girl[4] was well and in good order that is to say fat. We think her a prety smart wolverine. The Deacons folks want her to live with them verry much but her Grand ma is so afraid she will cry that she cannot have her out of her sight one moment.

If I were allowed to express my opinion I would say of all the places I know the Deacons is the best for your child untill you settle again.

Aunt wants you to write by Mr Starr and let her know whether you calculate to come down this spring and stay through the season or not and wants you to fetch her umbrella and also Uncle Elijahs Portrait if you can conveniently. Gertrude says you must come as quick as you can and fetch Bub[5] with you. Our friends are all weel except my wife. Her health is rather poor.

The Deacon wideawake about Fouierism[6]. He calculates to get in to the Assosiation at Clarkson or yours at Kalamazoo.[7] He is going down as soon as the Travelling will admit. I wate untill we get our here. I have no news to write. My wife unites with me in our best wishes to you and also to your Brothers[8] and Fathers[9] families and to all enquireing friend if any.

Your affectionately

J. C. Sprague[10]


[1] The date was inadvertently cut off during the scan process (10-7-2017: the letter has been rescanned showing the date)

[2] Possibly Lois (Sprague) Mears

[3] Stafford, New York

[4] Luke’s daughter, Lois Keith, who was born August 16, 1840. Lois’ mother, Minerva (Payson) Keith, died August 29, 1843 and she was living with her grandmother temporarily

[5] Believe he is referring to Luke’s son (Lois’ brother), who was born August 20, 1843, and was being cared for by Joseph & Amanda (Hobbs) Flanders

[6] French socialist Charles Fourier, whose principles were the basis of the Alphadelphia Association

[7] The Alphadelphia Association; see the post following the May 23, 1847 letter for a brief description of the Alphadelphia Association

[8] Harvey Keith and John Wesley Keith

[9] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[10] It is unclear at this time if this is James Sprague Jr. or somebody else

(This post was updated on 03-38-2021)

April 24, 1843 letter to John & Rebecca Adams from Phebe Berry

April 24, 1843

To:  John & Rebecca Adams, Somerville, NY

From:  Phebe Berry, Malone, NY

Her health has been better the past three weeks. She was glad to hear that they had a good time getting home and was surprised to hear of the sudden deaths there in their absence. She is thankful and grateful for the care she received from her parents and wished they weren’t so far away so that she could repay them by caring for them as they grow older.

1843-04-24 Phebe Berry to John Adams

Malone April the 24, 1843

Dear Parents[1]

I intended you should hear from me before this time when you left but I have neglected it. My health is better. I have been quite smart for three weeks past, so well that I and Mother[2] have done the work without a girl. Harriet left us just three weeks ago to day. She has been quite sick with this disease in the throat but she is better now. I was glad to hear that you found your things in as good order as you expected and that you had so good a time in getting home for we had a dreadful storm here, and I was a fraid you would have as bad a time as Mother and I had but David[3] got home Monday without any trouble and said he left you all quite smart. I was verry much surprised to hear of the suden deaths there in your absence and it seems as though I could not have it that Margaret and Mrs Bishop[4] are no more in that society that will ever be near to me all though the the strongest ties that bind my affection to that loved place be torn a sunder yet there will remain an attachment for those friends in my boosom which nothing but death can ever obliterate.

I have not much news to write. There has not any thing transpireg of any importance here since you left. I have not seen Grand Father or any one from Constable since you left. But have heard that Aunt Lavinna was well enough to be around out doors and had made Edgar a pair of pantellons and done some other sewing. There hasent been any sickness about here since you went home excepting Mr Brown child that is dead. My complaint has been better. I got a medisin of an old lady that I thought was better than oak bark. I have neglected useing it for too or three days and I am not quite so well to day. I thank you and I feel as if I could not be greateful enough for these preasents and if I could express the feelings that I have every time I go to that Bureau whare we have in time past had the pleasure of laying our things side by side that it has gone from one that is more deserving than I. One that has toiled early and late through wet and dry for me and I knew not till now how to prise her worth and now must it be that I cant repay that gift of Love and gratitude. Must they go so far from me that though you should in your decline of life need my care and assistence as i have yours that we cant be neer enough together to know any thing about each other. I have an opertunity to send this Letter to the Office and I must draw it to a close. I have wrote most the hole of it with Ellen[5] in my arms and I wish her Aunt Ellen[6] or her Grand Ma could had her for she is a little rogue. Thats what I say. I am all a lone this after noon with the Children. Mother is over to St Parlins helping her quilt. I dont expect to do without a girl much longer and I wish i could have you Ellen yes and Emulous[7] too. Do write as soon as you get this for I want to hear from you verry much for if my health is as good as it is now i should want to come and see you if you went to the _______. I dont know as you can read this but I have no time to draw it of but read what you can and then burn it. Give my Love to all inquirers.

This from your Daughter

Phebe Berry


[1] John and Rebecca (Lawrence) Adams

[2] Her mother-in-law, Mercy (Fish) Berry

[3] Her husband, David F. Berry

[4] The letter had been folded many times and it was difficult to read if it was Mr. or Mrs. Bishop

[5] Her daughter, who was born November 23, 1841

[6] Her sister, Ellen Adams

[7] Her brother, Emulous Adams

November 17, 1841-1842 letter to Minerva Keith from Lois Payson

November 17, 1841-1842

To: Minerva Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Lois Payson, Pavilion, NY

They have sold their house to Mr. Wright who will pay $150.00 next May 15th and then $100.00 in one year. They will be able to stay in the house until May, but only using the kitchen, buttery and the chamber room to store their things.

Scan of 1841 or 1842-11-17 Lois Payson to Minerva Keith

Pavilion NY

Nov. 17[1]

Dear Child[2]

I received your letter last evening but had almost despaired ever hearing from you again. Very glad to hear your health was as good as it is. I had anticipated you were all sick & could not write. I should have written to you today if I had not got your letter.

Minerva, we have sold our place, yes, sold out of house and home, sold to Mr Wright, the man I spoke of. I hate to tell you what we are to have but must. He pays $150 next May 15th and $100 in one year. Ten in goods every day. We are to stay in the house until May & stay is all. We have nothing but the kitchen & buttery & some chamber room to store our things. It is some like the Palmer House. We made the writings 2 week since. They have not moved in yet. I expect them tomorrow. The Harmony wits say she, the Mrs W is dreadful grand, one would think she had a silver lined – you know what I mean, but I do not care how grand she is Minerva you cannot think how changed I am none of these things move me. I expect to be some tried with Uncle A & them, they are prosperous to the back bone, they have but two children. I shall live somehow. I have done the best with the things I could. I have sent one table & Chairs and ____ ____ stand over to Sara S & they are in her chamber & Braynard says she will take care of them. I told Mr he must let the locker stand in the Northwest bedroom and he concluded he would. I have covered it over with a sheet. Bedsteads & bed are packed away up chamber. The dressing table he wanted to buy. I do not know but you would like to have it yourself. This selling like all my affairs. Wright told me he was going to the Ohio should be gone four weeks. I did not think I should see him again. He came at the very time he told of. Had not been to the Ohio and must have a place to live in this winter he would not live where he was I could not sell until I had heard from my folks at the west. I told him he must wait a week or two but on he came and must know for he wants to shingle his house and I finally concluded to sell. Whether I have done right or not I cannot tell. Oh, if I could but had some one to advise me, after I had sold some said one thing and some another. It does not trouble me what they say, I have done as I have & the next thing is to make calculations to get away from here by the middle of May. You wrote something like Luke[3] & you both comming down if we sold it would be very pleasing to me to have it so but I supposed that something must be done about your things better than anything I could do. Mr James thinks Luke had better turn them out to pay his debts but more of this another day. We want your minds with regard to what to do about carrying the stove & pot and those old chairs. My other few articles I shall carry. We calculate to let you have money to pay for transporting your goods across the Lake since ? you want and we shall want a residence with you for a while. A thinks that lone room of yours will be the place for him. I feel rather unhappy about A going there. If he should not live long there would be much said about getting the old man out there to die. It is said now cannot the old woman die quick here, but that does not trouble on my part. If A could get sure some cider I should be glad but that cannot be. I suppose he will drink too much whiskey. I think he is not unwilling to go. He has been opposed to it or said so. He wants to get there in season to plant some corn but knows he shall not. He has got a little seed corn he is going to carry. Uncle A has not received a penny from Castle nor Old Mill Page but expects the money every day.

Lyda was at Mrs Kendels last week. Says that Charles was crazy see everything & run after everything. He is much as Uncle E was & had jammed his leg very bad beside all the rest. L thinks he will not live long. There has been a great many deaths here this summer & you have heard of the most of them. Mr Porter & Mr A Clark have died since Mrs P left. I have done for the present, with haste and all But I shall not close this until I have cautioned you to be prudent of your health. Let me tell you you will take cold very easy when you are weak. Do not do anything that you can help. I will help when I come. You know if you take cold the forepart of winter it lasts til spring. Kiss the child Lois[4] for me. Mrs Smith wishes to be remembered to all her folks. Tell Mrs Sa____Family all well. Uncel Yamell has sold his farm. My love to Mrs ___. Write Monday morning. Hurry. Hurry.[5]


[6]This was to Minerva – great grandpa Keiths 1st wife. They were married in 39 & she died in 1843. She was Ray Keith’s grandmother. I gave original to him.

Minerva buried at Shafter Cemetary (now a cow pasture) Great great grandpa & grandma[7] & Jerusha[8] at another one[9] (not Oak Grove) & Harvey[10] at City Cemetary.


[1] The year that this letter was written is unknown; however, “the child Lois” is mentioned, and she was born August 16, 1840, it was most likely written in 1841 or 1842

[2] This letter was hand copied by Dorothy (Recoschewitz) Langmayer and the original was given to Arthur “Ray” Keith, the son of Henry Keith who was Minerva’s son. Henry was born August 20, 1843 and Minerva died just nine days later on August 29, 1843

[3] Minerva’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] Minerva’s daughter who was born August 16, 1840

[5] No signature but this appears to have been written by her mother. It is believed that her mother was Lois Payson; research continues

[6] Dorothy Langmayer made the following notes

[7] Luke’s parents, Charles Luke Keith Sr. and Hannah Willcutt

[8] Luke’s second wife, Jerusha Crittenden, who he married on July 25, 1847

[9] Galesburg Old Cemetery

[10] Luke’s brother, Harvey Keith

May 13, 1841 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Marion Sprague

May 13, 1841

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: Marion Sprague, Pavilion, NY

Is replying to Luke’s request for an update on “all the gals and boys” and relates the recent marriages and deaths in the area. She went to school in Leroy and boarded with Mrs. Belding, the teacher.

Scan of 1841-05-13 Marion Sprague to Charles Luke Keith

Pavilion, May 13, 1841

Mr Keith

We ****ing[1] good health, cold weather, and a plenty of water besides a great many other good things. You ask me to write about all the gals and boys but it would take me from now till next winter to write about them all but I will begin. Altherd goes to see Juliet once in a while and they say he is stepping up and Peter Coon walks up to Uncle Amos’es pretty often and poor lib and I cant get any beaue,s. Captain Crofoot comes here once in a while and Mother[2] says he comes to see me but he will come here and stay two hours upon the streach, and not so much as ask if I am at home, and if that looks like coming to see me, I dont know what looks like coming to see Mother, and I made him angry the other day too, and she is dreadful fraid he wont come again. Mr Belding and his family have moved to Rochester. Eliza came up last saturday she sais they are very home sick. I presume you have heard that George Mathews is married to Betsey Hannun.[3] If you have not you will now. Sylvenus is keeping company with Louisa but I dont know whether it will be a match or not. Gid Crofoot kept company with Bird all last winter and Eliza told me that he staid there as often as twice a week besides being there almost every day. High times for a girl 16 last March I reckon. I went to school to Mrs Belding in Leroy last winter. She had a small school only six schollars besides her own children, the three Miss Sweetland’s from Stafford, the two Miss Freeman’s from Bethany and myself. We had a very pleasant school. I enjoyed myself first rate and was not homesick a bit. I boarded with Mrs Belding. They had five boarders besides. I have not danced a step since last October and I have not been a visiting with **** young people but three times since that time. I wish **** come and see us to day for we look real slick. We took up our carpet yesterday and scoured our floor and swept the wall so it looks almost as slick as though it had been whitewashed but it made my arms so lame that I cant hardly use them and my hand trembles so that I can scarcely write at all but what you cant read you must guess at. Married by the Rev Mr ______ Mr Julius Hurlburt of Moscow to Wife Dorothy Innis[4] of this place. Also by the Rev Mr Kelsey Mr Simeon Church to Miss Eliza Hubbard[5] all of this place. Adaline is teaching school at Ronoke this summer and Betsey at Bayleys Mills. Harriet Scranton was here last Friday. She has not got married yet and George Tomlinson[6] says she is not like to be, but she says never mind time enough yet. Jason Miller is attending school in Wyoming this summer. John Hasey is in your part of the world somewhere. They expect him home in June.

Asels folks have got a boy. Aunt Lou will tell you about it when she comes. Samantha’s health is very poor. Jerushe[7] was at meeting last sunday. She said she was well but she looked pale and has a very bad cough. There are a great many people sick in this place this spring with the meazles. There were three funerals here last sunday one at the school house on the hill at ten oclock a boy of Mr Forbes died of the meazles and scarlet fever, two at the Babtist meeting house at three oclock Mr Bisby’s[8] youngest boy died of the meazles and Mrs Gillmore.[9] She had been sick several weeks with the dropsy but she had got better so that she sat up considerable. Thursday morning she sat up and dressed her babe. Friday morning she had a ****ack of the numb palsy and died saturday about noon. ****ore drinks as bad as ever. To day is Thursday and he has been drunk two days this week already. Where he gets his liquor I dont know for there is no one in the place that will let him have any. Mariah Barret was buried two weeks ago last sunday. She had the consumption. There has been five buried in this yard within one month. The Methodist meeting house has been moved into this place. It stands where the old wagon shop stood. Mr Coburn has bought the house that stood up near Mr Chilsons and moved it onto the corner of Mr Sanders lot. Pa[10] has set out a row of maple trees from the farm to Mr Whitney’s about six feet from the fence. When they grow I expect they will look very nice. I guess I have written all the news. I dont think of any more. O yes Robert Snow preached in this place all day last sunday. What under the sun has become of your gal. We have made up our minds that you have thrown it away or that it dont know much for you dont never say any thing about it. Now if you dont write me a letter to pay for this I never will write you another now you see if I do. Tell katy I should like to have her write me a letter and tell grandma[11] that I have got to be very steady and they all say that I shall be an old maid. Give my love to all the folks and write about Jane, Caroline, Harvey and all the children and all the rest of the folks.

Good by



[1] **** indicates missing word/s due to a hole in the pages

[2] Luke’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[3] A search of Ancestry.com reveals that George L. Matthews married Elizabeth or Libbie Hannum in Dubuque, Iowa on December 3, 1840

[4] A search of Ancestry.com reveals that Julius Hurlburt married Dorothy Annis March 4, 1839 in Warsaw, New York

[5] A search of Ancestry.com reveals that Simeon Church married Eliza Hubbard on April 4, 1841 in Covington, New York

[6] Marion’s future husband; they married on April 6, 1845

[7] Perhaps this is Jerusha Crittenden. Luke was engaged to her; however, when a new girl, Minerva Payson, came to town he broke off the engagement and in 1838 married Minerva. She died August 29, 1843 and Luke then married Jerusha on July 25, 1847

[8] A search of Ancestry.com reveals that John Bisbey, age 7, died May 8, 1841, in Pavilion, Genesee County, New York

[9] A search of FindAGrave.com reveals that Mehitable (Smead) Gilmore, age 33, the wife of William Gilmore, died May 8, 1841, and is buried in Pavilion Cemetery, Pavilion, New York

[10] James Sprague Jr.

[11] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith, Luke’s mother

November 15, 1839 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from James Sprague Jr.

November 15, 1839

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: James Sprague Jr., Pavilion, NY

Mentions Luke’s wife, Minerva. Talks about times being hard. Wants to know how much Luke got cheated out of by selling his mare. Dan’s girl was buried four weeks ago.

Scan of 1839-11-15 J Sprague to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Pavilion Nov 15 1839

Sir we have not herd from you except by Minerva[1]. We expected a letter from you before this – the rest of the folks we have given up there writing. We are all well. It is the hardest time for Money we ever knew. I paid W. M. Sprague[2] thirty four dollars & had the same indorsed on your Note. William was some dissatisfied. He said he expected from the conversation that he had with you that I would give my Note & take up yours. You said nothing to me about it. He talked of writing to you on the subject – I dont know if he has or not. The cloth I left with Father[3] sell if it will sell for ten shillings pr yard more if it is worth it. Dans[4] girl was buried 4 weeks to morrow. We expect to send by Mr Austin some yarn to keep Catherines[5] feet warm. Give our respects to all.

J Sprague Jr[6]

I understand by Mrs Payson you had to swap away the old mare. I should like to know how much you got cheated. I am verry sorry you went with a horse & waggon. Had I have known your circumstances before buying the horse as I have since I should have advised you differently but it is no use to cry for spilt milk.

In haste

J Sprague Jr


[1] Luke’s wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith

[2] Believe this to be his brother, William Sprague

[3] James Sprague Sr.

[4] His brother, Dan Sprague

[5] Luke’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley

[6] James Sprague Jr.

January 27, 1839 letter to Jerusha Crittenden from Charles Webster

January 27, 1839

To: Jerusha Crittenden, Pavilion, NY

From: Charles Webster, Allegan, MI

Was anxious to write to someone and so thought he would write to her seeing as how they had been “some acquainted and … good friends for a long time.” He went to Father Keith’s and Catherine asked him if he thought Luke had any notion of marrying anybody.

Scan of 1839-01-27 Charles Webster to Jerusha Crittenden

Sunday P.M. Allegan Jany 27 1839

Honored Madam

Wishing to employ myself about something I take the liberty of writing a few lines to you prsuming you would not regret receiveing them with pleasure. I have the happiness of stating that I am well and Chester Sprague sets at my left hand enjoying the same blessing writing to Suel who is at Marshall acting as Clerk in a store the last time I herd from him he was well but last fall he and Chet had the ague and fever enough to shake a barn down. You may think it rather strange my writing to you but no more strange than true – being anxious to write to some one I thought I would write to you it being that we had been some acquainted and as I presume good friends for a long time. Such being the case there will be no harm done I hope. I received a leter from Mr Rowe stating that Madge and Mandy had gone off slick and cruel in the ____ system. So Mr Rowe has lost her. Next I shall know I shall loose Eliza. Then what. Broke down forever. No I hope not. You know the story of when we went to dancing school was that each one had made his choice but I did not believe that would be the case. I never thought Bill would have Mandy no more nothing. Pshaw evry word of it. I was to father Keiths[1] about two months ago. They wer all well. Catharine[2] asked me if I thought Luke[3] had eny notion of eny body or eny thing about nothing. I supposed she ment about getting married[4]. I told her that I understood he went down the creek when he was amindto and crossed over. She said she wished he would come to Michigan fore long, if that was the case. Then she asked me if I was maried. I told her I did not know for I had not heard eny thing about it since I left home but I expected the next news I heard would be that I was. Then she replied that she had heard that I was married and who to Eliza Belding &c. &c. &c.——-[5]

You remember finding a horse shoe I suppose and what you said about the nails that was in it[6]. If you dont I do and I think that sine will prove false if you dont look out. Thare was three nails in it and three of us found it so we calculated three one nail apiece and if that failed we could have it three nails apiece. That and all the rest of this letter is not of much consequence. After having a pleasant voyage up the lake I found myself in Michigan. First I knew I come to James Whitneys who wifed Norissa Crittenden and dont you believe she has got a boy big enough to stand tip toe on level ground. They live at Romio Macomb Co. Denis Scranton lives in the same place. They were all well. I received a letter from Philo Ferrier stating that they were all well except Mary. She had got the ague and that Woster Dean had been there and Scranton was with them all well. You may guess I never wrote meny leters by the run of this and guess right to but I will tell you something about the folks here. The same dificulties atend men here as there. That is they have to work for a living. That is not all. They are sick more.

I should think you would be tired of such a lingo as this. If you are not you have good patience so I will cut my story short by saying there is a dancing schooll here as well as at Wyoming[7].

Chet says he is comeing to America to get him a woman. That is if he can find one that will have him and says I may go down with him if will behave prety well.

Give my respects to your people and all the enquireing friends if there are eny such and be asured that my most cordial feelings acompany you and that I am your friend.

Please to favour me with an answer and oblige

Your humble servent

Chas L. Webster

[to] Gerusha Crittenden

Direct to Allegan Michigan


[1] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Catherine (Keith) Bradley

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr. Both Sr. and Jr. were known as Luke

[4] Family story is that Luke and Jerusha were engaged, but when a new girl (Minerva Payson) came to town, he broke off their engagement and married Minerva on April 23, 1839. Minerva died August 29, 1843 and on July 25, 1847 Luke married Jerusha; however, Jerusha died September 23, 1848. Luke then married Sarah Crawford on November 14, 1849

[5] Etc., etc., etc.

[6] According to old superstition, the individuals who find a horseshoe must first examine it to see how many nails still remain in the holes. They must next count the number of holes, which then determines how many weeks, months, or years (depending upon the beliefs of the region) it will be before they will become rich or will be married. Another variation of the superstition is that the number of nails remaining determine the length of time before good luck arrives. According to yet another interpretation, the number of nails remaining in the horseshoe indicates the number of years of good luck that the finder will enjoy

[7] Wyoming, Michigan