October 21, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

October 21, 1855

To: Luke Keith

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Aunt Patty is concerned about her mother’s health and wants Luke to inform her immediately regarding same. She would like to come see her mother but feels she cannot leave the Deacon at this point. He has been unable to do much for the past month. George thinks he will come to Luke’s in about two weeks, but the Deacon and Aunt Patty may come instead, if the Deacon’s health improves. Heard that Loyal Starr’s wife is dead but had no particulars.

Pavilion           Oct. 21, 1855

C. L. Keith Esq

Aunt Patty[1] wants me to write meant I should a week ago when we rec’d your last & insisted on an immediate answer.

She wants to know how her mother[2] is – is she able to be about? Does her health improve? &c, &c. write immediately all the particulars.

Aunt Patty has about concluded to stay at home this winter & not visit _____ till next summer. If her mothers health is not too precarious – she feels torn to do so. Various reasons induce her to say so – the most important of which is the Deacons[3] health. He has been unable to do much for a month past – is now some better. If his health continues to improve she may go but if not – only on the most pressing anxiety of her Mother.

We are behind hand with our work – our hired mans time is out – he is gone. I am now down with a lame back – help is scarce. How we shall get along I dont now see – got the blues some I guess.

I think I shall be ready to start for your place in about 2 weeks if nothing happens. It is very possible the Dea. & Aunt Patty may go in my stead – tho the Dea. will have to get very much better first.

When do you get lime? I wish you would speak to a mason to help me lay the wall the first thing after I get there if you can find one. I want to get the wall up before frosty weather. Write about your mothers health right away.

Yours

Geo. Tomlinson

We just heard Loyal Starrs wife is dead, no particulars.

[1] George’s mother-in-law, and Luke’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[2] Patty’s and Luke’s mother, Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[3] Patty’s husband, James Sprague Jr.

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August 7, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from Marion Tomlinson

August 7, 1855

To: Luke Keith

From: Marion Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Marion was inquiring into the health of her grandmother who apparently was not well. Sarah Crittenden sold her farm to a Mr. Olmstead.

Pavilion           August 7, 1855[1]

Uncle Luke,

Geo[2] recieved a letter from you stating that grandmother[3] was quite unwell. Now mother[4] wants to know the particulars – what the matter is, whether you consider her dangerous, or not. As soon as you get this write all about her. Mother thinks of going there this fall with Geo. It rains most of the time – we had a shower yesterday. This morning it is cold as winter. Our folks have their wheat cut and five loads in the barn. They have cut but little hay, what they have is mostly spoiled by the rain. Wheat is grown some, ours is not injured much yet. Harmden[?] Olmstead has sold his farm and bought Sarah Crittendens.[5] He gave her $3,000, sold his to Ozro Brown for $10,000, gives possession the 20th of this month. It is thought that Sarah will save but little. Gordon is very slack and their affairs were left in a bad shape. Gordon has sold his half of the shop to Sam Crossman he _____ bought to save himself. Write as soon as you recieve this. All well. Tell us all about Aunt C’s[6] affairs. Wont the Lees[7] all die some day.

Marion

[1] While the letter itself has a date of only “August,” on the reverse side it appears that Luke may have started to answer the letter as follow: “Batavia, Aug. 22, 1855; Mrs Tomlinson; Marion your letter of the 7″ came to hand Saturday last, safe and sound.” Nothing more was written

[2] Marion’s husband, George Tomlinson

[3] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

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

[5] Sarah (Curtis) Crittenden; Sarah was the widow of Henry Crittenden, who was the brother of Luke’s second wife, Jerusha (Crittenden) Keith

[6] Luke’s sister, Catharine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[7] Catharine’s second husband, George Clinton Lee, died December 18, 1854, and this seems to be some reference to this branch of the family

July 22, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

July 22, 1855

To: Luke Keith

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

More farm business. Inquires about various family members. He hopes to come in September and if he does, the schools will have to take care of themselves.

Pavilion           July 22, 1855

C. L. Keith

I wrote you a few days ago in regard to Mr Lyon visiting Galesburgh for the purpose of seeing our land. I hardly think I shall trade with him any way for he will not be willing to pay what I shall ask. If Mr Lyon has been there write what he said as to price &c, &c.

I should like to have you write how Lasher is getting along with the house. Perhaps it would be best if your father[1] is willing to stack the wheat by his barn so as to thrash it with his. I dont care how it is done only that the wheat is cut & taken care of in good order in proper season. I hope you will let me know how the thing is going. We would like to know how things are going with the rest of you. What is Lois[2] about and Helen[3] how does she carry sail – and Aunt Catharine[4] how does she proper. I think some of you might come and see us – suppose you put your wites together and draw cuts – we wont be particular who comes. The last we heard from Mrs Kendal she had bargained away her place – she thinks of going west. Aunt Lois[5] will go west as soon as she has company. We hear from Uncle Pauls[6] folks occasionally, they never enjoyed so good health as at present. Our folks have gone to Perry to a conference, we have no meetings here but shall have sometime. The house is done but not furnished. We want blinds, carpets, lamps and lots of things, dont know where they will come from. I wish you would send us a stout woolverene, the girl we have dont want to stay much longer, she is not obliged to work out.

Lasher wrote me or some one for him soon after I wrote to you that heard nothing from him – he was rather sharp I thought I felt called upon to reply that I thought the writer of the letter made him say what he did not mean.

I think his wifs sister is there am I right? I have sent Lasher 10$ have you heard him say any thing about seeing it? Ask him. I send $5.00 in this for him which you will please hand.

What do you think about the kind of wheat it is best to have Lasher sow? I see it stated in the papers that the meditteranian wheat is not or was not attacked by the fly. You are there & of course know what news paper writers guess at. If it is thought best by you & Lasher to sow meditteranian wheat it would be best to secure said soon if it is to be had & to be paid for when my wheat is thrashed.

The Valperaso or blue stem stands the fly as well as any while the _____ is very badly used up & many fields entirely. I think to escape the fly in the fall wheat ought to be sown rather late – say Sept. 15 or 20th. I have not made up my mind when I shall go then I want to build a barn when I do go. If I go in Sept. I shall have to let the schools take care of themselves.[7]

It has rained 3 days now – large lots of hay are cut – no grain is cut in this vicinity yet.

Write as soon as you _____ this.

Yours

Geo. Tomlinson

[1] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Luke’s oldest daughter, Lois Keith

[3] Believe he is referring to Luke’s niece, Helen Bradley

[4] Luke’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[5] It is believed that this is a reference to the mother of Luke’s first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith, whose first name is thought to be Lois

[6] Paul Carpenter Sprague, the uncle of George’s wife, Marion (Sprague) Tomlinson

[7] George was the superintendent of schools in Pavilion, New York

June 17, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

June 17, 1855

To: Luke Keith

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

More farm business. He hopes to be able to come in the Fall and examine the land. The children are getting over the whooping cough.

Pavilion           June 17, 1855

C. L. Keith, Esq.

Yours of June 14 came to hand last night. The wheat business seems to be a hard case this year. We are used up for a large crop of wheat here. The fly has destroyed a many a fair prospect. I think there are many fields that will not pay for seed and harvesting. Farmers are long favored just now. We have a large growth of straw yet I think we shall have no more than half a crop or there about.

I have had apprehensions about michigan wheat for some time as we have _____ heard stories from various sections of the state. Are farmers sowing as much as usual this year or are they holding back to see what will come of this insect business?

You write no particulars about the farm & Lasher is silent as the grave. Has Lasher sown any oats? Has he done any thing with the bottom land fence? Has he any chance to pasture for any one? Does he plow deep & good or not?

I have had so much to think of that I have somewhat lost the run of that farm business out there. I wish you would advise Lasher to be faithful to cut up the grubs on that 12 acre lot & draw off all the stone on the ground and all he plows up. They will all be needed to make a wall under the house & barn. I now think of under____ the barn with a wall if there are stones enough. Lasher must do as much as get his living from the land. I am sure it will be hard starting, but he must work an odd day or so with the team to get his grain &c.

I should be sorry to have that timber lot, will examine it & see if it is ______ to ______? If nothing happens I shall be there in the fall & stay a few days, long enough to get the thing fairly in my mind.

I have not answered Oscars last proposition to buy that _____ & believe I shall not till I go on to the ground and examine with reference to a line. I had rather buy of him than to sell. This he refuses. If there is no chance to let out the pasture I shall have to opt on some stock or sheep tho can do nothing till I go there.

We must arrange Lashers cow business when I am there. If you can turn any of your old accounts into chopping set the hands at that wood as I should be glad to have 18 or 20 cords cut any way if I could.

We are all well. The children[1] have or are getting over the hooping cough. The weather is cold – corn is small much of it to small to hoe. It is wet – we are having lots of rain these days. I have started the carding we have not much wool yet, but few have sheared. I expected Marian[2] would write a line but her little one[3] has been cross & I guess some sick so she has no time.

Mrs. Kendall has sold her place – the writing is not made but she expects they will be soon. Price $350. Our young ones are getting over the hooping cough – I think they will go it till the _______ come along. The calves do not do very well – the Decon looks discouraged over one of them.

June 25 – Rains again this morning. I must go to work.

Geo. Tomlinson

[1] Frank John and Nellie E. Tomlinson

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

[3] Nellie was born February 18, 1855