October 31, 1852 letter to Luke Keith from John Crittenden

October 31, 1852                     

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr.  

From:  John Crittenden, Concord, MI

Would like the money that Luke owes him. He heard from the spirit land through a medium. There were 14 spirits present, one of which was his father who took him by both hands and gave him a long and beautiful lecture.

Scan of 1852-10-31 John Crittenden to Luke Keith

Concord           Oct 31fst 1852

Dear Brother[1]

I take the present opportunety to informe you of our good health and the friends generally. I should have writen you earlyer but my business maters have been pressing. I do not find the account of the amount due me from you. It is mislaid or distroied by some accident but the amount will not vary far from eight Dollars and 40 cents. You may send eight Dollars and the interest from the time you received the property unless you think you ought not to pay interest. I think I can assertain the exact sum by writing to Henry[2] or you can write to him. I do not want one cent more than is my due in this matter if I can ascertain the true amount due me is less than $8 I will cherfully refund it to you again.

We have had another opportunity to hear from the spirit land through the medium I spoke to you about when in your place the same beautiful language and doctrine as before. She said there were 14 spirits present. Father[3] was one he took me by both hands gave me a long and beautiful lecture and departed. The medium said they bowed their heads and gave us the parting kiss.

No more at present. I had forgotten to say to you that you may send two pair of the long gloves. Dwight[4] wants one pair. You may send one pair of mitins as we talked and deduct the value of the gloves and mittins from the amount due me.

Give my love to your wife[5] and children[6] and all the frinds in your place your Father[7] and Mother[8] in particular not forgeting Alfleda.[9]

From your Brother

John Crittenden

[to] Luke Keith


(His second wife’s brother) His father[10] made the cherry table.[11]


[1] John was the brother of Luke’s second wife, Jerusha Crittenden; Jerusha died September 23, 1848

[2] John’s brother, Henry Crittenden

[3] Jarius Crittenden

[4] John’s son

[5] Luke’s third wife, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[6] Lois and Henry Keith (children by his first wife Minerva Payson) and Ethan and Nancy (children by Sarah Crawford)

[7] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[8] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[9] Alfleda (Starr) Keith, the widow of Luke’s brother Harvey

[10] The note referred to in the next footnote indicates that Henry Crittenden made the table, so it is unclear whether Jarius or Henry made the table

[11] This was a handwritten note by Dorothy (Recoschewitz) Langmayer. In a separate note she wrote: “The Cherry ‘Drop leaf table.’ Grandma wrote this (Nancy Keith Brown).” Then in Nancy’s handwriting: “Pas ‘Fall’ or Gate leaf table. Made by Henry Crittenden from the largest cherry tree grown in Western New York. It was grown on Mr C farm in Genness Co. Pa married Jerusha Crittenden in July 1847. They had the Table.”

1852-10-31D - Drop Leaf Table

September 1, 1852 letter to Luke Keith from Sarah Keith

September 1, 1852                

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr.             

From: Sarah Keith, Dowagiac, MI

Sarah’s father is still alive but they don’t expect him to live much longer. He wants to live until David gets there. Edwin contracted cholera in Chicago and came home. They thought he was going to die also, but it appears he will pull through.

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

August 30, 1852 letter to Luke Keith from S. H. D. Vaughn

August 30, 1852                    

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: S. H. D. Vaughn, Dowagiac, MI

Sarah’s father is very sick and her mother wants her to come “by the first cars.” Edwin is also very sick.

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

October 17, 1851 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford

October 17, 1851                  

To: Sarah Keith                               

From: Nancy Crawford, LaPorte, IN

Had a visit with Aunt Jane. Everyone was well except Frank Nelles’ wife, who was “confined with a young son.” They buried their 14-month-old daughter on September 1. Almira‘s husband died of cholera two months ago and Aunt Jane was in low spirits because of the cholera epidemic. Aunt Jane had lots of sewing to do and Nancy wished Sarah could live there as she could get as much sewing as she wanted. Robert said he would take Prosper in the Spring, and she sometimes wishes he would because she has a “grate trial with him,” but she would miss him. Henry left LaPorte September 17 for St. Louis. She is beginning to worry, as they haven’t heard from him yet. He hadn’t been able to work for 5-6 weeks because he had erysipelas on his hand and a fellon and boils. Edwin is going to Toledo for a new Engine — wanted to have Hiram as his fireman. Edwin is to have the greatest and the most splendid engine that runs. The name of the engine is the I. B. Parks (?), named after the president of the road. They moved to another house close to the depot (she is apparently living with Edwin). Edwin has always been kind to her, but Mary “has been quite clever since I came back.”

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

September 16, 1851 letter to Almira Nelles from Nancy & Hiram Crawford

September 16, 1851

To: Almira Nelles

From: Nancy & Hiram Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Edwin is working on the “Engine,” Louisa is boarding at Marshall with her baby, and Sarah has a little 7-month-old boy. Robert is still in Wisconsin but she hasn’t heard from James. Said she wrote to “our folks in Canada” but hasn’t heard from them. Describes Dowagiac. Expects Sally and Louisa to visit. Asks Jane, if she receives news from California, to inquire if there is such a name as James H. Crawford there and to let them know as soon as possible.

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

June 14, 1851 letter to Luke Keith from Marion Tomlinson

June 14, 1851

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: George Tomlinson, Port Washington, WI

Marion is leaving for Michigan on Monday night and George would like someone to meet her at the depot.

Scan of 1851-06-14 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Port Washington June 14, 1851

Luke C. Keith, Esq.

Marion[1] behaves so I start her to Michigan. She expects to start from here Monday night next the (16th inst). If nothing happens she will be at Galesburg on the Wednesday morning train. I suppose the boats and trains run in connection so there will be no delay – if there should happen to be a delay she may not arrive till night. If any thing happens here so she does not start Monday I will write again. As she will be alone I hope it will be convenient for you to meet her at the Depot.

Marion will give you the news.

Truly yours

Geo. Tomlinson


[1] George’s wife, Marion (Sprague) Tomlinson

May 2, 1851 letter to Luke Keith from Marion Tomlinson

May 2, 1851

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr.

From: George Tomlinson, Port Washington, WI

She left Pavilion April 14th and arrived in Port Washington on the 18th, passing by his place on the 16th. She was upset that they could not stop; she could see the big hill by Grandpa’s and imagined she saw Uncle Harvey’s house. She expected Luke to meet her at Galesburg to take the birds, but Julius left them with Mr. Cothran. Gave Luke a list of the food he should feed to the chickens. The mill is growing rapidly and George expects to have it in running order by September. He will have to stay at least until July and she will start for home three or four weeks before he leaves.

Scan of 1851-05-02 Marion & George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Port Washington, May 2, 1851

Uncle Luke,

That long talked of brood of chickens is hatched – now I can count them. Well, here I am, away up in Wis. a great way from home, I know, but can hardly realize it. I started from Pavilion[1] the 14 of Apr. at three in the morning & arrived at Buffalo about eight. No boat for Detroit that day, so we were obliged to wait till the next morning, went on board the Atlantic, had a fine time getting to Detroit, arived the morning of the 16th, that night at ten oclock were in New Buffalo. We passed your place about sundown, it was real provoking that I could not stop. I could see the big hill there by Grandpas[2] and I imagined I saw Uncle Harveys[3] house. I expected you would meet me at the burgh,[4] and take the birds. Julius went out and looked about for you, and not finding you left them with Mr Cothran.[5] He promised to take good care of them and send them to you in a day or two. Now I want to know whether you got them, and how they act – they were almost frightened to death before I left them. The brown headed one, we called dick, the other fanny & if you do not like the names, find better. Give them plenty of bread and milk, and all kinds of seeds, such as turnips, cabbage, lettuce, mustard, hemp &c &c – they love wheat if you soften it. They are fond of dandelion blows, mustard blows, and I think they would like cowslip blows, you can try them. As soon as you recieve this, I want you to answer it mind that you do not put it off. Now I will finish my journey. Well, we started from NB at midnight, the next night slept in Milwaukie and the next morning at ten oclock, (Friday the 18th) we were in Port Was. Found Geo[6] well, and covered from head to foot, with mud and mortar. The mill is growing rapidly. They expect to have it in runing order, the first of september. Geo will be obliged to stay here till July, certain, perhaps longer. I shall start for Michigan three or four weeks before he is ready to start for home. Your Mother Payson[7] want you to get her some money, if you can, and send by Geo. Her health was as good as usual. Our folks were well when I left home. Mary Knapp will live there this summer, take in sewing and help mother. If you know any thing about Mr Anderson folks, I wish you would tell it. They do not let the people in Pavilion know any thing about them. Mother thinks you had better let Lois[8] go home with us if her grandmother does not come to Mich this summer, the old lady wants to see the children[9] so, that she can hardly content herself. Give my respects to all and when I come I will tell a thousand things that I have not time or room or patience to write. It is very cold weather here, yesterday the ground was covered with snow, and it is not gone yet, at six oclock, evening. Harriet is all ready for a walk down town, and she will not like to wait.

Do not put off writing.


[The following was written by George Tomlinson]

Marion has left a little space. My work has been hard and by no means near done, but I hope to get this business in a shape to leave it by July. Our walls are up to the windows on the low floor. I have no rooms to brag of _____ corn but if you want to see a real badger just ride on this way. Remember me to the friends – particulary the old people. I hope to see you all on my return.



[1] Pavilion, New York

[2] Luke’s father, Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[3] Luke’s brother, Harvey Keith

[4] Galesburg, Michigan

[5] Mr. Cothran was the freight agent at Galesburg

[6] Marion’s husband, George Tomlinson

[7] Mother of Luke’s first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith. Believe her first name was Lois; investigation continues

[8] Luke’s daughter, Lois Keith

[9] Lois, and Henry, Luke’s son

April 7, 1851 letter to Luke Keith from Marion Tomlinson

April 7, 1851

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: Marion S Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Expects to leave Buffalo next week and would like someone to meet her to “take the birds.” George will have to stay in Wisconsin for July and perhaps till August so she can make them a long visit. Wants Luke to make some arrangements about the birds so she can leave them if he is not there. Mother Payson feels bad because Luke does not write to her.

Scan of 1851-04-07 Marion Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion April 7, 1851

Uncle Luke,[1]

I write to inform you that I start for Wisconsin one week from to day. I go with Julius and his wife, but cannot stop to visit you. We expect to leave Buffalo in the evening, so you must make your own calculations about what time I will be at your place, and you, or some of the rest must meet me there to take the birds, for I shall bring them. Geo[2] will have to stay in Wis. till July, and perhaps till August. I shall start for home before he does, so as to make you a long visit. Make some arrangements about the birds so that I can leave them if you are not there, that is, if you can. Dean is waiting to carry this to the office and he is in a hurry. We are all well. Your mother Payson[3] feels bad because you do not write to her. Give my respects to all the friends.

Marion S. Tomlinson


[1] Luke’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague was Marion’s mother

[2] Marion’s husband, George Tomlinson

[3] Mother of Luke’s first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith. Believe her first name was Lois; investigation continues