Luke Keith’s diary entries from March 1 – May 31, 1858

To read the entire diary and/or to see the scans of the diary, previous footnotes, tags of people mentioned, click here.

Mar 1 – Pleasant 11 Abz. T. Flanders here. Finished shingling my shop. T. Flanders left.

Mar 2 – Snowed some 9 Abz. Libby Taylor here this morning. Cleaned out stove. Sarah went over to Deyos took tea there. Mike coe here to get a plate for coffin.

Mar 3 – Snows 11 Abz cold some sleighing. Went up to Yorks got four sticks timber for platform.

Mar 4 – Pleasant 6 Abz. Worked on vice. Mrs Wiseman here.

Mar 5 – Pleasant 8 Below zero. Flanders drawed load straw. Sarah & children went over to Fathers. Deyoe got load hay 1320 lbs.

Mar 6 – Pleasant snowed 9 Abz. Worked on vice some. Sarah & children gone yet. Recd a letter from E. W. Craw[ford?]. Wesley over here to see shop. Got 150 lbs bran of D. K. Rogers.

Mar 7 – Snows some 18 Abz comfortable sleighing. Sarah came home.

Mar 8 – Cloudy 16 Abz. Worked on my vice. Mended Sarahs shoes in the Evening. Stranger here clock tinker & musician.

Mar 9 – Pleasant 4 Abz. Worked on my Bench. Ground almost bear. Sarah gone to Church this Evening.

Mar 10 – Pleasant 20 Abz. Worked on my bench and floor. Got my Boots tapt. Snow most gone.

Mar 11 – Cloudy 37 Abz. Worked on my Bench. Snow most gone.

Mar 12 – Pleasant 18 Abz. Went up to Yorks. Got Bench hook made. Henry Stevens & wife here.

Mar 13 – Pleasant 28 Abz. York brot over brick. Got plank of hank Bennet 40 feet 40 cts. Bot 10 lbs Shugar ¼ lb cinnamon.

Mar 14 – Rainy 48 Abz. Stayed at home. Snow mostly gone.

Mar 15 – Rainy 56 Abz. Worked in shop some. Sent letter to G. T.[20] Rainy night. Robbins out.

Mar 16 – Rainy 57 Abz. Worked in shop. Frogs sing in the Evening. Estella Wightman[21] died this morning.

Mar 17 – Rainy day 57 Abz. Ben dug hole at the old backhouse. Frogs singing. Lois came home.

Mar 18 – Pleasant 40 Abz. Worked in shop some. Took down the old shit house. Got my Likeness taken 50 cts.

Mar 19 – Pleasant 32 Abz. Ben commenced dig my stumps. Lois at home. Mrs McCracken died in the night.

Mar 20 – Some rain 46 Abz. Ben here diging stumps. Recd a letter from Hite.[22] Hued out some axhelves. Mrs Whiting Brot one load goods.

Mar 21 – Cloudy & windy 40 Abz. Stayed at home. Snowed very little.

Mar 22 – Pleasant 30 Abz. Mrs Whiting came to day. Worked in shop some.

Mar 23 – Pleasant 26 Abz cool. Worked in shop some stoped up windows. Hale Whiting came to see his wife. Men came back to work in track again. Lois went home.

Mar 24 – Pleasant 36 Abz. Went over to Fathers got Nance.[23] Went up to Yorks got some lime. Deyoe got home. Shower in the night.

Mar 25 – Pleasant 38 Abz. Trimed my currants and Apple trees. Hellen[24] came down Mary Earl.

Mar 26 – Pleasant 32 Abz. Sawed out boards for my Backhouse. Moved some traps into the shop.

Mar 27 – Pleasant 39 Abz. Made sills & plates to back house. Father and mother got their likeness taken. Recd a letter from G. Tomlinson.

Mar 28 – Cloudy 36 Abz. At home. Read Robinson Crusoe.

Mar 29 – Pleasant 26 Abz. Went over to Fathers. Ethen[25] went over stayed. Got Rooster of Wesley.

Mar 30 – Pleasant 28 Abz. Worked on Backhouse. Bot broom of White. Polly Lyons here to tea. Indian preacher at Methodist church.

Mar 31 – Pleasant 34 Abz. Worked on backhouse. Abby Simmons married this Evening.

Apr 1 – Rainy 42 Abz warm. Sold my wheelbarrow to P. S. Carmen[?] 2.50. Put the siding on my backhouse.

Apr 2 – Pleasant 31 Abz. Put cornice on the privy and shingled it. Lois and Edith came here. Taylor carried the old bureau to Byingtons.

Apr 3 – Pleas 42 Abz. Got Bureau fronts & wheelbarrow hubs. Got pine board of G. H. Lockhart 20 feet.

Apr 4 – Cloudy 49 Abz. At home all day. Hat Taylor & Cordelia Earl here.

Apr 5 – Cold snow some 37 Abz. Went to town meeting. Mrs Whiting packed her goods _____ took the Rifle home.

Apr 6 – Pleasant 28 Abz. Carried her goods over to station marked them 396 letters. Went down to Comstock on hand car. Mrs Whiting left today. Got Load hay.

Apr 7 – Pleasant 26 Abz. Made door to State house. Ben dug hole for state house. Filed saw for ben & paid him ten cents. Rained in Evening.

Apr 8 – Rainy 42 Abz. Made the covers to seat in State house. Rainy fore noon. Mrs Mansfield here.

Apr 9 – Cloudy 48 Abz. Moved my State house. Got 71 lbs bran of D. K. Rogers. Six o clock train run on the new main track south side.

Apr 10 – Pleasant 34 Abz. Made place to put up my lumber. Rained in the afternoon & evening.

Apr 11 – Cloudy 40 Abz. At home all day. Cold & windy.

Apr 12 – Cloudy 38 Abz cool. Worked on Yorks Ex. Had a heavy shower in the afternoon misty bad day raw wind. Boys to work on track.

Apr 13 – Cloudy 42 Abz. Made ex for Yorks sulky. Rained some cool. Hannah sick.

Apr 14 – Cloudy 40 Abz. Worked in shop. York got his sulky.

Apr 15 – Pleasant 34 Abz. Worked in shop mended Flanders thills.[26] Ab gave me an anvil T Rail.

Apr 16 – Pleasant 34 Abz. Picked up stove. Mended swifs for T. Bronson. Bot violin string.

Apr 17 – Pleasant 32 Abz. Worked in shop some. Deyoe mended Wightmans thills. Made coffin for Smiths Boy. Set hen. Henry came home.

Apr 18 – Cloudy 44 Abz. At home. Sarah gone to church. Shower in the night.

Apr 19 – Rainy 40 Abz. Went over to Fathers. Cut out Bottom to violin. Bot ½ lb Tea. Rained in the night.

Apr 20 – Pleasant 48 Abz heavy shower. Commenced flanders bobs. A. Lamkins had half bushel corn. Eugene Bronson got his violin.

Apr 21 – Pleasant 40 Abz. All went over the river saw uncle Warren.[27] W. W. Earl started for Kansas. Bot Sarah & Ethens shoes.

Apr 22 – Pleasant 56 Abz. Sarah & children over the river. High wind. Cleared away the old shanty. Shower in the afternoon snow in the night. Flanders Brot some timber.

Apr 23 – Cloudy and cool 32 Abz snows. Mark[28] brot Sarah and children home. Bored rolls for bobs. Mr. Beach very sick. Bullard came with his saw to saw wood.

Apr 24 – Cold 29 Abz. Lois and Ethen came home. Snows some. Went over to Fathers got the buggy. Received a letter from G. Tomlinson.

Apr 25 – Pleasant 24 Abz. At home. Filled two teeth for B. Clark 50 cts. Uncle Chichester[29] here Mr Beach very low.

Apr 26 – Pleasant 29 Abz. Lasher drawed manure. Moved my back house. S. Bristol here. Paid Mrs M. Keiths School bill 72 cts. David Beach Died.[30]

Apr 27 – Cloudy 37 Abz. Worked in garden some painted spear handle for Mix. Lois & Nancy went over to Fathers.

Apr 28 – Cloudy 37 Abz. Went over to Fathers with Deyos calf. Went over to county farm with cow. Filed Barlows saw.

Apr 29 – Pleasant 58 Abz. Went over and helped Wesley raise his house. Had a shower in the night 74 Abz. Evening.

Apr 30 – Rains some 64 Abz. Built hogpen. Painted Moses spear handle.

May 1 – Storms some snow 45 Abz or hail. Went over to Fathers got some fresh meat of Wesleys folks. Finished my hog pen.

May 2 – Pleasant 40 Abz. Went over to fathers Catharine there. Deyo went.

May 3 – Cloudy rains 42 Abz. Went over to Fathers trimed appletrees. Showery. Ethen & Nancy commenced going to school. Rainy night. Bot pt. whiskey 10 cts.

May 4 – Rains 51 Abz. Went over the river got two boxes. Saw Hiram Mose James Earl Bot 13 lbs lard 10~.[31] Sent letter to E. W. Crawford.[32]

May 5 – Cloudy 54 Abz. Built chiminy in shop. Got 22 brick of Cory. Mrs Hale & Charley here.

May 6 – Cloudy 54 Abz. Worked round the garden put corn in boxes.

May 7 – Pleasant 40 Abz. Hued my stringers for bridge. Warm sun came out hot.

May 8 – Pleasant 52 Abz. Worked round house and garden. Rained some afternoon. J. York got hogs _____ to catch rain water in. Wesley got _____.

May 9 – Cloudy cool 46 Abz. Went over the river with Hannah.

May 10 – Cloudy 46 Abz. Dug at the old stump out by the shop split it with powder. Dick Lamkins plowed part of the garden.

May 11 – Rainy 40 Abz. Mended my gloves. Bot thread 5 Bot shugar 5~. Rainy day.

May 12 – Pleasant 38 Abz. Got timber for my Bridge. Wm Matthews got 3 pecks seed corn. Plastered up the citchen. Got mortar of Warren.

May 13 – Rains 52 Abz. Spaded some in the garden. Mrs Kingsley died.[33] Joseph Lee[34] & family here & Rhoda Lee.[35] Rained in the night. 5 lbs Shugar 10~. H. Cook & McAlister got seed corn.

May 14 – Cloudy 54 Abz. Worked in garden spading. Bot ½ lb tea 31 cts. Went up stairs to sleep.

May 15 – Cloudy 49 Abz. Worked round garden made some fence. Lois Hat & Lib here to tea. Bot 50 lbs Bran 25 cts.

May 16 – Cloudy 40 Abz. Bot six lbs Cod fish 35~. Rained at night.

May 17 – Rainy 48 Abz. Went over the river. Sent letter to C. R. C. Put the timbers in for my bridge. Alf Howard here heard him play.

May 18 – Cloudy 40 Abz. Bot peck Barley 10~. Repaired knife 25. Traded violin trunk with Alf Howard.

May 19 – Cloudy 48 Abz. Went over to Fathers Henry came home. Rainy. Bot two lights glass 12. Old Mrs Weed died.[36] Heavy shower in the night.

May 20 – Cloudy 46 Abz. Moved stove. Went over and got Lasher to plow garden. Put stringers over the race. Rained a very little.

May 21 – Pleasant 34 Abz very little frost. Worked in garden spading.

May 22 – Pleasant 36 Abz. Work on garden. Bot Book for Nancy 12½ cts one cake soap 12½ cts. Rained in the night. Not much corn up.

May 23 – Cloudy some melting 54 Abz. At home rainy day heavy shower in the night.

May 24 – Cloudy 61 Abz. Went over to Fathers Catharine here. Flanders fetched down hog and it died. Rained at night. Some corn planted.

May 25 – Rainy 60 Abz cloudy Bad weather rained all day. Had the headache. Bot file 12½ cts. Shelled some corn.

May 26 – Rainy 50 Abz cool wind. No work sick. Thompson & hands left.

May 27 – Cloudy & cool 48 Abz. Got corn ground. Mrs Rogers got Sarahs _____ mended 12½. Cal Streator left for Ohio.

May 28 – Cloudy 56 Abz Rained some. Planted corn potatoes and peas. Old cow out to night.

May 29 – Rains like from 55 Abz. Went over to Fathers. River very high. Bot bottoms for Hannahs shoes 12. Recd a letter from Mrs M. Keith of Kansas.

May 30 – Pleasant 56 Abz. At home. Rained some had a heavy shower in the night.

May 31 – Cloudy 70 Abz very fair day rained very little. Planted corn onions beets cucumbers lettuce & pumpkins melons &c.[37]

[20] George Tomlinson

[21] A search of FindAGrave.com shows that Sarah Estelle Wightman is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Galesburg, Michigan

[22] His wife’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[23] His daughter, Nancy, who was about 5½ years old

[24] His niece, Helen (Bradley) York

[25] His son, Ethan, who was 7 years old

[26] The long shafts between which an animal is fastened when pulling a wagon

[27] His mother’s brother, Warren Wolcott

[28] “Mark” is referred to quite often in Luke’s diaries and it is believed that he is referring to his cousin, Marquis de Lafayette Lee, the oldest son of Dr. Ezekiel and Elizabeth (Strong) Lee. The Lees were Mormons and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, and eventually to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850. Mark stayed behind with the Keith family to run his father’s farm. (Thanks to Margaret Williams, Ezekiel Lee’s three times great-granddaughter, for this information)

[29] Luke sometimes referred to the parents of family members, or older neighbors, as “Aunt” or “Uncle.” The relationship here is unknown

[30] A search of FindAGrave.com shows that David Beach is buried in Roof Cemetery in Climax, Michigan

[31] Not sure what this symbol meant. It was actually written as a quarter of a round circle slanting upwards to the right (see scan of diary entry)

[32] Edwin W. Crawford, his wife’s brother

[33] A search of FindAGrave.com shows that Nancy (Anderson) Kingsley, the wife of Salmon Kingsley, is buried in the Galesburg City Cemetery

[34] His nephew

[35] His father’s sister, Rhoda (Keith) Lee (Joseph Lee’s mother)

[36] A search of FindAGrave.com shows that Mary “Polly” (St. John) Weed, the wife of Elijah Weed, is buried in Lawler Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan

[37] Etcetera

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