May 23, 1847 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Harvey Keith

May 23, 1847

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Pavilion, NY

From: Harvey Keith, Comstock, MI

Jane Earl died Friday morning. The sore on Alfleda’s foot has pretty much healed. She has not done a day’s work since February. He is going to be working in the flowery mill. Galesburgh is growing. Alonzo Matthews sold his farm to Mr. Percival and it has been laid out into village lots. They have sold all south of the railroad and some north. Frank Clark is going to put up a brick tavern. Marion Wilcut married Mr. Rice from Illinois last Sunday. Harvey’s son Ruel lived only five weeks.

Scan of 1847-05-23 Harvey Keith to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Comstock, May 23rd /47 Sunday afternoon[1]

I have been trying ever since I got your last letter to get time to write but something happens every Sunday so that I could not get time. I have been to work all the forenoon and ought to be this after part ‑ we are generally enjoying good health here now. Jane Earl has been sick this sometime. She died at Charles Whitcombs Friday morning. Alfleda[2] has begun to step on her foot again. She has not done a days work since the first of Feb. The sore is pretty much healed up. I am to work in Galesburgh this summer on a flowery mill Ford Mills & Batt ar building for two run of stone. I get 10/- cash & my Board. Galesburgh is coming up this summer. Alonzo Mathews has sold his farm to Mr Percival. Has had it laid out into village lots. Has sold all south of the Rail Road and some north. Frank Clark is going to put up a brick tavern house in front of the old log house. He gave $.100 for the lot to build on. Henry D was down last Monday. He is the same old Henry. We have had a verry Backward Spring. People have not got their planting done yet. Father[3] ploughed his ground last fall & has got it planted. He has planted fifteen acres. It rains here about half of the time. Wheat looks verry well this Spring. Westly[4] wants to know what kind of a cake mother[5] wants. She says if he sends it she wants it sweetened but if he brings it she will take it without sweetning. Henrys health is verry good this sprig. Jo live in the old log house. Mr. Tubbs and Jake are in the other. Mead has gone to Ingham County. Crid & Taylor stay in the Manshion[6] yet. I have been building a hog power for Crid this spring. Alphadelphia[7] remains the same a usual. Ford has been trying to get his place back but has not brought it about yet. He offerd $.6.000 Stock for it and wanted the buildigs moved back on to it again and we wont stand that no how ‑ we had better set fire to the building than try to move them for the will hardly stand where they are. We have sold the square timber & old lumber to Mart and Nelson for about $1.80. Marion Wilcut[8] was married last Sunday to a Mr Rice[9] from Illinois. He came here last fall. They are going to start for the west in a few days. Groves goes with them. Uncle warren[10] is to work with me on the mill. Ezekiel was to have started last Thursday for the far west. Have not heard whether he has gone or not. Aunt Salina live with James on the widdow Earls place. Marquis Lee[11] has just been here. They are going to start tomorrow. The boys feel like death to go away. Mark says he had rather die. You mentioned in your last something about going into business when you get back. If I should go in with you I think we could do better here than at the Burgh for this reason. Here we could keep cows horses hogs & sheep if we wanted to but over thare we should have every thing to buy. We can get all the work to do here that we could do & we could do no more any whar else. I have Been down to Joes. He says tell Luke heis tinding Juliette this summer. He has got a pen built & keeps him shut up all the time. You said you had forgotten the name Alfleda hat laid up for the boy. We calld him Ruel but he lived only five weeks.[12] You say that when you come back you come double.[13] I should like to know in what way you in tend to double up. I have heard of animils doubling up and sticking their nose in their …. A. T. Jones[14] lives with Mr. Wells down below Lees. I saw him last Sunday. His health is about the same. Cathurnce[15] & family are well. Aunt Rhoda[16] has gone to Gull to live. There is a prospect of plenty of fruit this season. Wheat is slling at Battlecreek for $.100 in cash. Father is going to cary his there about 50 bushels.

Write when you get readdy. Our respects to all. Tell James to write som day.

Yours When you get it

Harvey Keith


[1] The letter was folded in such a way that it made its own envelope. It was addressed to C. L. Keith, Pavilion, Genessee Co., N York. Charles Luke Keith Jr. went by the name of Luke as did his father, Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Harvey’s wife, Alfleda (Starr) Keith

[3] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[4] Luke and Harvey’s adopted brother, John Wesley Keith

[5] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[6] Most likely referring to the Alphadelphia Association mansion

[7] See next page following for a brief description of the Alphadelphia Association

[8] Luke’s and Harvey’s first cousin, Marion Willcutt, daughter of Warren Willcutt and Electa Damon

[9] Elijah Rice

[10] Warren Willcutt

[11] Luke’s and Harvey’s cousin, Marquis La Fayette Lee, son of Charles and Rhoda (Keith) Lee

[12] Ruel was born March 6, 1844 and died in April 1844

[13] Luke married Jerusha Crittenden on July 25, 1847 so perhaps this is what he was referring to

[14] Have not been able to establish a blood relationship between A. T. (or A. F.) Jones and the Keiths. The 5-27-1838 letter suggests that he is living with Aunt Lydia, the 6-24-1838 letter from A. T. Jones says his is living with “Grandmother,” and the 5-23-1847 letter says that “A. T. Jones lives with Mr. Wells down below Lees.” A search of the census records shows an Asa F. Jones is living with Harvey Keith in 1850

[15] Luke’s and Harvey’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[16] Luke’s & Harvey’s paternal aunt, Rhoda (Keith) Lee

June 24, 1838 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from A. T. Jones

June 24, 1838

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Pavilion, NY

From: A. T. Jones, Comstock, MI

Is living with Grandmother. She has gone up to “your fathers.” Catherine said that Luke was getting homesick and was coming back to Michigan. There have been 20 weddings in three months. Caroline Willcutt is to be married. Catherine and Aunt Nancy, “the two widdows”, are trying to catch Norman Demmon for a husband. Mrs. Betsy Lee had three of her ribs broken by a kick from the old cow. Harvey is doing well since he got to be Esquire Keith. Catherine wants Luke to come live with her; she doesn’t like living alone. Uncle Alvan’s wife died the 8th of March; she left him with four little children. He lives about seven miles north of Rochester.

1838-06-24 A T Jones to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Comsock         June 24, 1838

Luke Keith Esqr[1]

Sir haveing good chance to send a few lines to you I shall try to improve the time and not wait any longer for you to write first, but if you get this you must send me an answer soon or I shal think you dont do the fair thing but wee will see what sort of letter it will be, not one of mutch sence I will assure you. I am now living down in the timber with Grandmother and as happy as a king. I have got a garden of about two acres which make me about as mutch work as I want to do but you know that I am a lazy chap but I have no one to drive me but it is hurrying times now with the farmers around here and every one wants to hire so I work out once in while a day. It is a fine day to day so but rather windy. I am all alone to day the old lady has gone up to your fathers[2] and around about there to see the folks. Luke if you was here to day we would have a tune or two as I have got violin and a good German Flute. I am trying to learn to play on the fiddle but it wants fixing up before it can be played atall and I want you should com out here as soon as you can and fix it for me. We was up to your Fathers Fryday. Catharine[3] told me that you was a getting home sick and was a coming back to Michigan and I was verry glad to hear it and I hope you keep sick until you come. Times have alterd some since you was here. We have had some new comers here in the timber. There has been as many as 20 weddings in this town within three months but none that you are acquaintted with but we soon shall have one, that is Caroline Willcut[4]. The two widdows Catherine[5] and aunt Nancy are on a strife to see which shall have Norman Demmon but I gues he will take them both for they wont either of them give up. Luke you ought to be here to have some of the fun. Luke I am a going to writ a little more on this side for fear you cant read the other. It now about two oclock and I am a going down to Mr. Lee’s[6] in a few moments to see the sick. Mrs Betsy Lee[7] had three of her ribs broken about three since by a kick from there old cow which makes it prety hard for Mr Lee. The rest of the people are well. We have had no death sinc you was here excepting Teadway which you have likely herd of. Harvy[8] is a doing well since he has got to be esqr Keith. His things are increasing both in house out doors. It is a pitty he haddent been put in esqr before that is in family concerns. Catherine is a going to keeping house this fall and you had better come out here and live with her and then you can work at your trad or on a farm jest as you please but you mus live with her for she cant stand it to live there alone. She has got about an acre of wheat and half an acre of rutabagas a growing which will make bread enough stuff enough for her cow next winter so you will live like pigs in the clover but I need not medle with that which is none of my business but she wants you should come and live with her. She thinks she should enjoy heself better in her own house than she does at her Fathers. I shant writ mutch more for the more I write the worse it looks but if you can read this you send me one and then I will try do a little better. It was lonsone times for a spell aft you went away that is with me but I made a live of it and heard that you was a coming again so have got me Flut to ready for you to come. We have had a letter from Uncl Alvan[9] this spring. His wife died the 8th of March left him with four little children. He will be out here in agust. You had better come with him. He lives about 7 miles north of Rochester. I must begin to wind off. You must be carefull not set up to late nights especelly Sunday nights for that makes a fellow sleppy Monday morning. Speak a good word for me to some one for they are all gone here cant get one long enough to go to independence so I shall try to harve(st) and hoe my watermellons. If you cant read this send it back and I will send you annother but if you can send me an answer. So fare yo well for the presant.

Your most obedient and humble servant A T Jones[10]

To th Hon Luke Keith esq.

P.S. I shall send this letter by Mr Watkins if see him if not by the maile.

Yours VP A T Jones

Luke Keith esqr

There is a good deal of an ending to this letter but you know how it ought to be don so I dont care play fair well Ginsok forme


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr. went by the name of Luke as did his father, Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

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

[4] Caroline Wolcott married James Earl October 10, 1839. Caroline and Luke were first cousins, both being the grandchildren of Jesse and Katherine (Beal) Willcutt. Various members of the Willcutt line changed the spelling to Wolcott

[5] Perhaps this refers to Catherine (Keith) Bradley. Her husband, Ethan Bradley, died October 9, 1835

[6] Ezekiel Lee, son of Charles and Rhoda (Keith) Lee; Rhoda was Luke’s aunt

[7] Elizabeth (Strong) Lee, Ezekiel’s first wife

[8] Luke’s brother, Harvey Keith

[9] Alvan Turner, Luke’s first cousin, the son of Asa and Lydia (Willcutt) Turner

[10] Have not been able to establish a blood relationship between A. T. (or A. F.) Jones and the Keiths. The 5-27-1838 letter suggests that he is living with Aunt Lydia, the 6-24-1838 letter from A. T. Jones says his is living with “Grandmother,” and the 5-23-1847 letter says that “A. T. Jones lives with Mr. Wells down below Lees.” A search of the census records shows an Asa F. Jones living with Harvey Keith in 1850