September 2, 1857 letter to Luke Keith from Charles R. Cridland

September 2, 1857

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Charles R. Cridland, Delaware, KS

Is disappointed that he has not heard back from Luke. His corn is ready to cut and he should start making brooms in a week or two, but he doesn’t have the machine and the handles. Writes about his trees that he left in the nursery and what could be done with them and more instructions regarding the broom machine. He has been ailing from the ague and is taking quinine & whiskey as a cure. He is getting better but not able to work yet.


Delaware R J. Sept. 2. 1857

Dear Friend

I rec’d your letter yesterday and was much disappointed at its contents, that you did not more fully inform me of my business in Mich – I wrote to Taylor on the 30th June requesting him to see if he could sell the stuff I left or a part of it to Loren[?] Clark (as he wanted it) and have him pay me in soft wood lumber at Clarks Mill. I told him you would make a bargain with them to turn part of it into handles and take their pay in lumber and that if done it must be done very soon. Shortly afterwards I wrote to you requesting you to enquire about it and to assist me if possible in the matter and to write to me any way and let me know if anything could be done or not and you do not say a word about it. My corn is almost ready to cut and I should be making up brooms in a week or two if I had the machine and the handles. I trust you will write me immediately and let me know about it all. Now about the Machine. I gave very definite instructions to Squire Bristol what I would do about it and I cannot understand the proposition you make now. I told Bristol I would take the machine if Wan would take his pay out of the trees that were left standing in the nursery and I would not be particular about the price, but you do not say when he expects to take the trees nor what he asks for the machine. I do not know how many trees there are left & whether they would pay him or not and I am not disposed to pay any money, and it is too late now to parley about it as I must have a machine immediately if I have to make such an one as I can get up myself, and I do not know that I can find timber this side the rocky mountains fit to make one of as there is no time to be lost. I tell you what you must do. You must see Wan and make the best bargain you can with him. It is not likely the trees in the nursery will be of any value to me and you may turn them part or all of them out to him, cherry trees, everything there is if he will take them. And if You must try hard to do that first, and if that will not do, then you must pay him the balance out of what Squire Bristol has of mine. The Squire promised to send me a list of the number of the trees and the parts he got of me, but he has not done it and therefore I cannot give any very definite direction about them. I do not expect to get any of the trees sent to me the Squire has. The expense and the risk I find it too great. I have lost all those I brought in the Spring and I do not think it best to try again, so you will make a dicker with him somehow, and it must be done soon to be of any use. I would rather have one sent the middle of Sept than a wagon load the middle of October. It would be ten to one that it would be at St Louis till next May, so he must fix up Clark’s and let me have that. I think you had better take it to pieces and box it up in a high box. Perhaps a boot box would hold it, and you could fill it up with some of the things you have of mine. I wish you would get me the irons and make me a lever for a lever press. I could fix the rest of it if I had the proper irons and the lever, and if you could make a pattern for a jaw and get me a pair cast at Kalamazoo, I should like it. I have I am taking Quinine and Whiskey to cure the Ague and am getting better, but I am not able to work any yet.

Charles R. Cridland[1]


[1] While the letter is unsigned, from previous and subsequent letters it has been determined that the writer was Charles R. Cridland

Luke Keith’s diary entries from July 29 – September 2, 1857

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

Jul 29 – Pleasant 65 Abz. Finished my wheels. Henry Lee here. Left on the 9.45 train. I raised the under ____ to the ware house.

Jul 30 – P. 67 Abz. Worked in shop seting skeins for Mix. Bot Bottle bitters 75 cts.  Received a letter from C. R. Cridland. Raising the ware house.

Jul 31 – P. 71 Abz. A dash of rain. Set the tire on my cart wheels. Caty Chaffee[50] here. Bot beef and cucumbers 35. Bot cocoa 10 cts. Nancy has the whoping cough.

Aug 1 – P. 65 Abz. Painted my cart wheels. Bot brush 10 cts. Repaired Caywoods cradle 25 cts.

Aug 2 – P. 63 Abz. At home. Sarah went to church. Went swiming. Cut ring of Mrs. L. Burdicks finger. Walter hunting down here.

Aug 3 – P. 64 Abz. Repaired Beehive for S. Newman 95 cts. Hat & shoes 14/-. Father & mother here. They went to the show. Sarah went with them. I went in the evening. Saw Barnes the cripple.

Aug 4 – Rainy 74 Abz. Sick. Bot one lb Tea 62 cts. Hive syrup 5 cts turpentine. Rained afternoon. Oscar over here. George Wheeler died 11 oclock to day.

Aug 5 – P. 64 Abz. Father Brot some flour. George Wheeler Buried to day. Received a letter from C. R. Cridland. Received 20 Dollars of J. York.

Aug 6 – P. 59 Abz. Went over to Fathers. Horace Clark[51] Died this morning.

Aug 7 – P. 67 Abz. At home doing nothing. Sent Cridland map. Horace Clark Buried to day. Henry at home.

Aug 8 – Cloudy 74 Abz. Doing nothing. Bot one lb coffee 18 cts one hat 11 cts. Finished raising the Freight House.

Aug 9 – P. 64 Abz. At home all day. Wrote two letters one to G. T. and J. S. K.

Aug 10 – Cloudy 69 Abz. Mended Parasol for E Childs 10. Extracted tooth for Wights girl 25 cts. Oscar paid postage on papers. Sent letter to G. T. on[e] to J. S. King on[e] to Heath NY city. Bot one lb candles 18 cts.

Aug 11 – Foggy 64 Abz. Lasher came over. Carried my calf over to Fathers. Let Lasher have Earls note.

Aug 12 – Cloudy 78 Abz. Went over to byingtons and turned my Box patterns one bottle Hive syrup 5 cts.

Aug 13 – Pleasant 78 Abz. Half yard silk 56 cts. Repaired wheel for Brown 75 cts. Went over to Byington.

Aug 14 – Cloudy 78 Abz. Went Down to Catharines. All well. Rained in the night.

Aug 15 – Rainy 60 Abz. Mark went to town. We started for home 2 oclock. Went up to flanders. Bot Bottle Bitters 75 cts. Henry came home from pawpaw. James McNinch buried.

Aug 16 – Rainy 59 Abz. At home all day. Wrote a letter to Bob. Thunder shower in the evening.

Aug 17 – Misty 64 Abz. Went over to Fathers and carried Lois. Some stormy. A Lamkins paid me one Dollar. Sent a letter to R. Crawford.[52] Recd one from Dr Heath NY city.

Aug 18 – Cloudy 64 Abz. Mended Car___s R_____ 25 cts. Bot 24 penny stamps.

Aug 19 – Pleasant 64 Abz. Filed saw for H Cook 12½ cts. Mended parasol for C Beckwith 12 cts. Put hoop on Johnsons pail. Varnished my violin. Bot some medicine for Hannah 15 cts.

Aug 20 – Pleasant 49 Abz. Sent letter to Heath NY city 2 Dollars. Received a letter & likeness from Pavilion. Bot 3 lbs mutton 15 cts. Went over to Fathers with them.

Aug 21 – Pleasant 58 Abz. Having new potatoes. Sawed out some Bob runners. Got some pine plank for boddy. Had a heavy shower in the night. Bennet moved.

Aug 22 – Cloudy 65 Abz. Made a box for D. K. Rogers 12 cts. Extracted one tooth for Mrs Frost 25 cts. Bot 11½ lbs beef 25 cts. Showrey through the day.

Aug 23 – Pleasant 54 Abz. Went over to Fathers. Indian there. Went over to Lashers.

Aug 24 – Pleasant 52 Abz. Sent a letter to C. R. C. Bot file (10). Rains a very little noon. Cal Streator here. Made spring for my cart. Bot 2 botts 4 cts.

Aug 25 – Pleasant 54 Abz. At home. Worked in shop some on my spring. Sarah went down to Bennets. Young Stevens Born.

Aug 26 – Cloudy 61 Abz. Came of plesant. Went to Kalamazoo on the cars. Cost 55 cts. Took my patterns down to get my Boxes cast.

Aug 27 – Rainy 71 Abz. Went over the river and got some green corn. Received a letter from Omro. Traded Lamkins watch for a violin with Flint. Had a shower.

Aug 28 – Pleasant 63 Abz. Mended Fathers seat. Got my cart Boxes from Kalamaz eight 20 cts. T. Flanders here. D. K. Rogers open shop to day. Medicine from N York.

Aug 29 – Pleasant 56 Abz. Set Boxes in my wheels. Done small bob for Lamkins. Setled with R. Bennet. Bal over Due $37.23. T. Flanders left celia. Paid 75 cts.

Aug 30 – Pleasant 52 Abz. Went and got some _____ _____ for hannah. Pulled two teeth for T. Whitings child 2 years old.

Aug 31 – Pleasant 51 Abz. Mose made the skeins for my cart. Put them in. Got the shoulder bands.

Sep 1 – Pleasant 56 Abz. Worked in shop. Set my skeins. Hot and dry.

Sep 2 – Pleasant 60 Abz. Hot now. Deacon Corys[53] wife[54] died this morning. Sarah & children went up to Yorks. Jo took my violin. I went up in the Evening.

[50] His niece, Frances Catherine “Kate” (Keith) Chaffee

[51] A search of shows Horace Clark died at the age of 39 years 1 month 19 days, and is buried in the Galesburg City Cemetery. It is unknown if there is any relationship between Luke and Horace

[52] His brother-in-law, Robert Crawford

[53] Joseph Cory

[54] A search of shows Gratia (Whitney) Cory died at the age of 54 years 2 months 5 days, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Galesburg. It is unknown if there is any relationship between Luke and Gratia


July 28, 1857 letter to Luke Keith from Charles R. Cridland

July  28, 1857[1]

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Charles R. Cridland, Delaware, KS

Is writing this letter because he forgot to include some things in his last letter. He is looking for his duck bill garden hoe and also sends instructions on how to mail the map he left behind and asks Luke to check if there is anything at the P.O. for him. He wants John Lay to send the Tribune to him in the future as he wants to see what is going on in all parts of Kansas. He wants Luke to see Mr. Bristol about the Broom Machine and whether he could get it. He gives numerous instructions (along with a diagram) on how he wants parts for the machine adjusted to be like Clark’s. He will pay Luke for his trouble and the freight.

Delaware R J July 28[?]. 1857.

Friend Luke

Before I got through my last letter I found I had forgot several things which I could not get in and that I must write again to finish – in the first place I left my duck bill garden hoe behind which I want you to find. Perhaps Taylor has got it. The map I left you must get a large envelope at John Lay’s and fold it and send by mail. You must enquire if there has been anything come to the P O for me. You must see about the tribune. If John has got them send them by mail post paid and pay John the postage and tell him to send mail them to me in future. I have paid one quarter pay him for the rest of the year. If you have not got the dollars of _____ I will send you the money. I have got a little money now. Most of all I want you to see Bristol about the Broom Machine. He will tell you about it if he could not get it. I want you to get me the two rollers made the one for the handle to go through and the back roller. I want the back roller the whole length of the machine having a bearing in the middle on the middle top rail like this: [at this point he inserted drawings]. You know I should like you to get me the two top cross rails. I think I can manage the rest myself instead of having the broom roller fixed on the top like the old one I want it like Clark’s in this way the rails _____ made [another drawing] the end hollowed to let the roller in and a strap of iron to keep it in its place. Have the distance the broom roller shorter by 4 or 6 inches than the old one between the bearings. there is no use in having it so long and the twine roller need not be more than 12 or 15 in. It makes the machine take up a deal more room than necessary and is no better. The cross rails must be longer because they project over in front as I have figured. Get me the two rollers and the two cross rails. I should you to attend to as soon as you can, and to send me what handles you have at the same time unless there is a prospect of getting more handles in the way I have written about before. Tie the handles 50 in a bunch at each end with good twine and you can tie them the rollers and rails up with some of them I think. And I want the freight to be paid to Chicago at 32 cents a 100 as that will save me paying about 5 per cent a week for advancing. They charged me about a dollar on my things for advancing the pay for about two weeks. They charge about as much for taking them into the warehouse[?] at Leavenworth as they do for bringing[?] them up the river 600 or 700 miles from St. Louis. Have the hole bored in the roller about right you know how and get the old roller and see the size where the band goes on with the screw in. I bought the band with me, and can fit it on if you dont get the roller too small. But before you send write to me and tell how much you will want to pay out for your trouble and the freight and I will send it to you.

Your friend

Charles R Cridland

I am so near Kansas I dont know any thing much about it. I want the tribune to see what’s going on there.

Put this note in the P.O. for Bristol and then you will see him when he comes to town.


[1] The actual day that the letter was written is hard to read but appears to be July 28, 1857

Luke Keith’s diary entries from July 22 – 28, 1857

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

Jul 22 – Cloudy cool 62 Abz. Sick. Father & mother here. Bot Bottle Bitters 75. Silk & _____ 14 cts. Had a heavy shower.

Jul 23 – Cloudy 68 Abz. Catharine & folks here. Henry Lee[49] left here. Lois at home. Had a shower at night. Folks haying & harvesting.

Jul 24 – Pleasant 64 ABZ. Mended cradle for ___ White. Lois went home. Wesley here in evening.

Jul 25 – Pleasant 64 Abz. Set skeins for Mix. Father came over. Carried corn to mill. Got one Bag 30 cts. _____ paid 3.45 cts. Finished the wall to the ware house in Galesburg.

Jul 26 – Pleasant 72 Abz. At home 96 at 4 oclock P.M. Thrashing machine here for B. B. Fox.

Jul 27 – Looks like rain 74 Abz. Drove spokes in my cart wheels. Had a shower in the afternoon. Oscar called here. Commenced on _____ sills ____________.

Jul 28 – Pleasant 62 Abz. Got flour of Flanders one Dollar cash. Got leather & awl for making Hannahs shoes. Bot one small auger one shilling.


[49] Luke’s cousin, William Henry Lee; see also footnote #45. Henry and Mark were brothers


July 21, 1857 letter to Luke Keith from Charles Cridland

July 21, 1857

To: Luke Keith

From:  Charles R. Cridland, Delaware, KS

Thanks him for sending the money but before he got it the goods came and he had to pawn his watch to pay the bill. Most of his trees were dead and the ones that lived died soon after due to dry weather. The roses and other garden items did much better. A rat chewed up all the hay in the box and worried him “well to death,” but he found a trap and caught it. He has never had better looking broom corn nor so much of it. The “kind of half southerners” who live there know nothing about cows and milk them using only one hand and a tin cup. The women churn all their milk and sell the buttermilk to campers to mix with their bread. He wants the handles before fall and hopes Luke can make some arrangement to help him get them because he is very hard up.

Delaware[1] R. J.[2] July 21. 1857

Dear Friend

I got a letter yesterday from my wife in which she tells me she had written to you about the 10 doll[ar]s! Do women always run before they are sent.  I guess they do, if the fit takes them – well never mind. The money came all right and I am much indebted to you for the trouble you took, though it was all trouble for nothing. I found when I got here the bill I left with you was just as good as any here, and when my goods came I had not the money to get them and finally pawned my watch for 10 dollars and had to take gold and then had to pay the bill at a discount to pay gold back, where if I had had the paper at first it would have paid the transport as well as the gold. My trees were pretty much dead as I expected, and we have had such dry weather here that a good many which lived out near the bottom have died since. Whether any of them will live through the summer is uncertain. The roses and other things of the garden have done much better and I shall save some of most kinds of them. A pesky rat had made a nest in the box and chewed all the hay up fine, and knaw’d the harness, and since he got here has worried me well to death until I found out a few days ago where there was a trap and I have cotch’d the scamp. We have had quite cool weather here for the season until last tuesday when it got up to 93. Since then it has been very warm and on saturday it was 104 in the shade all the afternoon. I like it here very much so far. The soil could not please me better. I have no fear of having to haul dung while I live. I think the summers here are very dry. We have but two showers since I came here but the land seems to hold moisture much better than in Michigan and corn is doing first rate. I never had better looking broom corn[3] than I have now nor so much of it but it has been too dry in garden and I have had no peas until about a week ago. I have now peas and beans in abundance. The bottom of near the creeks are full of first rate smooth gooseberries. You can get any quantity of them. One of my neighbors has carried half a bushel at a time to town to sell, and there are plenty of wild plums and crab apples, and a good place to swim. I go in 3 or 4 times a week. If you take a notion to come out here you had better get off the boat at Delaware and you can walk straight to my cabin. Ask the way to the fording place[?] on the military road on the nine[?] mile creek and if you miss me on the way there the folks who live in the cabin at the ford will put you on the track back. I am only about 1½ miles from Delaware but there is no inhabited house between me and them and you will not be apt to find me till you get to the main road. Mechanics get good wages here and you could do first rate at your trade at a place in the country, but rents are very high in town and board too. But it does not cost much more to live in the country than in Mich. These kind of half southerners who live here know nothing about cows. They never have a stool and they milk with one hand into a tin cup until they get tired of stooping or they allow they’ve got milk enough. They eat milk a great deal but make very little butter or else butter would not be so high here, for there are plenty of cows and feed as high as your knee, and cows 5 to 10 dolls cheaper than with you. They bring stock from Texas and Arkansas and evry where else here. There were 300 beef oxen herding round my cabin a few days ago. The man told me they cost him 17 dols a head in Texas. They sold ’em to the govt at 70 dols a yoke. Butter was 50 cents a lb when I came, it is now 25. The women round here churn all their milk and then sell the butter milk to campers at 25 cents a gallon to mix their bread with. I had to write to Taylor and told him to let you know I had got the money. I suppose you have seen my letter. I wish you would tend to that business a little. I expect he is very busy and will be slow about writing and I am very anxious to have what can be done, done before fall as I shall want the handles. If he has not sold any of the things and cannot make the arrangement I wrote about I wish you would try to do something to help me about getting them for me for I am very hard up. Please write to me as soon as you can.

I want you to inquire of John Lay or of Lockhart what Dr Stetson’s post office address is now.

C R Cridland


[1] According to History of the State of Kansas: Containing a Full Account of its Growth From an Uninhabited Territory to a Wealthy and Important State (A. T. Andreas, 1883, p. 458), Delaware City was formed in the summer of 1854 and was soon a prosperous and growing town. By 1883, however, there were only a few houses and about sixty people living there

[2] What these initials, which appear to be R. J., mean is unknown at this time

[3] The stalks of broom corn, the tops of which grow in fan-shaped blooms, were used to make brooms. These grass-like plants are not true corn plants and do not produce ears of corn for consumption. It generally took one ton of broom corn to produce 80 to 100 brooms