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

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