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

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