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

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