March 18, 1850 letter to Luke Keith from Lois Payson

March 18, 1850

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Lois Payson, Covington, NY

Hasn’t heard from him in ten months. Hopes his new wife will be a good mother to his kids. Thanks him for his invitation to come live with him. Includes a letter to Mr. Clapp asking him to pay her the money he owes her for the last four years. 

Scan of 1850-03-18 Lois Payson to Luke Keith

Covington March the 18″ 1850


Youre longe expected letter has arrived at last after waiting nearly ten months. I had concludeed that you had forgotten that there was such a being on earth. I was however verry glad to hear from you and learn that you were all alive and well. I suppose that I must make some allowances for your not writeing sooner as I perceive you have had other buisness to attend to, you tel me that you have got another wife.[1] I hope she may prove to be a good one. My desire is that she may have wisdom and patience to help you train up your Children[2] in the way they should be. I think it is an arduous task to be a step mother. I hope you will do youre part and the Children are so old now[3] I think they may be got a long with without much trouble. I do hope so in deede for they are verry dear to me. I want to see the Children verry much but have verry faint hopes that I ever shall but the subject is to painful to dwell upon and I will drop it. I am much obliged to you for youre invitation to come and live with you but that I could not do if I was ever so much disposed to for the want of money. How I have been disappointed a bout the Claps not geting that money for me every time I have hard from you for too yeares past it would be paid in the spring and the next time in the fall and so it has been ever since I left Michigan. My Friends here are verry kind but I now they think I mite as well use up my own propperty as to live at their expence. I have bee sick and lame and owe doctors bills and so on and so forth. I wish I could see the Clapps. They would hear something from me that they never heard from a woman. I shall write on this paper to Edwin.[4] I wish you to have him see it soon. Patty[5] designs to go to Mich in May if she is alive and well. She can tell you more than I can write. The harmonyville folks are all well at present and wish to be kindly rememberd to your self and Lady. They say they should like to have Harmony graced with a visit from your Lady and self and Children some time when you can make it convenient. Fances and Elly Sprague send their best love to Lois and Henry and want to see them very much. My respects to all pleas to write as often as you can for you now that I am always glad to hear from you. As I do not think of any thing more of importance I must bid you good by.

Youres as ever

Lois Payson[6]

Mr Clap

I am some what astonished that all most four years should pass a way and you pay no more attention to paying them notes. Luke tells me everry time he writes that he speaks to you verry often and that you promis verry fair and that is all. I think that living on promises is rather hard fare and I cant endure it any longer. It is not what I expected from you nor your Brother while I was in Michigan I was no more troubled a bout that money than I should have been had it been in my owne trunk when I left I expected the money in a few months. I think that a borrowed money debt ought to be considerd sacred and especially when borrowed of a woman. The last time I saw Rufus[7] what fare promises he made. He told me not to give my self any uneasiness about those notes for I should be paid ery cent. Luke says he has written to him but has receivd no answer and now Mr Clap I will tel you what I want you to do and I hope you will not disappoint me this time. Mrs Sprague Lukes sister will be in youre place some time in the month of May and I want you to make youre calculations to send me the money that is due to me by her when she returns for I am absolutely in want of it.

Youres Respectfuly

Lois Payson


[1] Luke married Sarah Crawford on November 14, 1849

[2] Lois and Henry Keith, Luke’s children by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[3] Lois was nine years old and Henry was six years old

[4] Edwin Clapp

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

[6] It is believed that this is Minerva Payson’s mother, however efforts to verify this have proved unsuccessful

[7] Edwin Clapp’s father, Rufus Clapp

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