June 24, 1857 letter to Luke Keith from Mrs. Charles Cridland

June 24, 1857

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Mrs. C. R. Cridland, Cleveland, OH

Charles has not received the money owed him by Luke’s father or Mrs. Mills. Charles needs to pay transportation fees on his goods and needs his things from the boxes. She is sending a stamp and hopes Luke will answer immediately. She asks to be remembered to Luke’s wife, brother and children.

Scan of 1857-06-24 Mrs Charles Cridland to Luke Keith

Cleveland June 24th, 1857

Mr Luke Keith

Sir, I rec’d a letter from Charles today in which he said, that he had not got the ten Dollars from your father yet. He said that there was a Dollar from Mrs Willard L. Mills. If you will be so kind as to send the Eleven Dollars to me. If your father[1] will not exchang the bill, I will get it exchanged and pay the difference myself. Charles had been to considerable expense and needs it to pay transportation on his goods, they have been delayed so long on the road that his trees are worthless yet. He needs his bedding and other things in the boxes or else I would advise him to let them go. I will send a stamp and if you will answer immedately it will add another to the many obligations which we are under to yourself, and Mrs Keith.[2] Remember me to her, your brother[3] and children.[4] We reached home safely, and are now very well.

I am Yours Respectfully

Mrs C. R. Cridland

[to] Mr L Keith
Galesburg Mich


[1] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Luke’s wife, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[3] His adopted brother, John “Wesley” Keith

[4] Lois and Henry (by his first wife, Minerva Payson), and Ethan, Nancy and Hannah (by his third wife, Sarah Crawford)

April 12, 1857 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

April 12, 1855

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Has written three times and received no reply. Mother is anxious to hear how her folks are. Wants to know if Luke has succeeded in selling their farm.

Scan of 1857-04-12 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion Apil 12 1857

C. L. Keith Esq

I have writen you three times have recevd no reply. I write a line to say that mother[1] is anxious to hear how her folks[2] are. We are all well — hav our grief as well as a christian faith calls us to do. We know it is all right yet cannot avoid wishing it otherwise.

Monday morning. It is a pleasant morning. I am full of business.

How do you succeed in selling our farm.

Write without fail soon.


G. Tomlinson[3]


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

[2] Charles Luke Keith Sr. and Hannah Willcutt

[3] George Tomlinson was married to Luke’s niece, Marion Sprague

February 15, 1857 letter to Luke Keith from James S. King

February 15, 1857

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: James S. King, DePere, WI

Another report on the various places Luke could purchase.

Scan of 1857-02-15 James King to Luke Keith

Depere Feb 15th 1857

Cousin Luke[1]

Sir, I now take my pen to write you afew lines in answer to yours of the 25th. In the first place we was rite glad to here from you and that you was then all well. We had about made up our mind that you had given up all thought of coming west but now hope has revived alittle. I have delayed writing for afew days to look over the chances and I find they are about the same as when you was here. You can have the Eighty East of me for $5 per acre if you take it soon. I think Uncle Luke[2] can by afarm here that will suit him. Tell Cousin Catharine[3] she need not wate or delay comming West on acount of a School. There will bee a school here in the spring. Mr Newton is going to move on to his farm in the spring and said he would have aschool at eny rate. Charly Dickenson is comming back from Chipaway this month. He says it is 10 times as cold there as here. It has not been as cold here this winter as last but we have had rather more snow but it has now started for low river. It has been nice and warm here the past week and yesterday we had afine thunder shower about the same as the day you left. The man you speak of that wants 40 acres of land can bee acomadated to his harts content. There is 40 acres South East of Leroys that I know will suit him. There is a good log callin [cabin?] on it and log barn. Messrs Blake & Field have been lumbering on it this winter. The falls crick runs through the West end of it (see plan on first page). Price 4 dollars per acre. Well, now, some thing else. Mother[4] says tell Aunt Hannah[5] to come along and if she likes as well as she dose she will never bee sorry she started. Father[6] & Mother are quite well and so with all the rest of us. My helth was never better than it has been the last 2 years. Jonas[7] is as tuff as abare, has had no coff this winter. Edeth[8] is about as contented as she was when you was here but she said tell Luke if he will come and bring his family she shall try to bee contented. Mr Burnells[9] family are all well and he is doing well. He has all he can do with his oxen at 3 to 4 dollars per day. Tell Alvin if he has not started before you get this to come out here and see us if no mor but I think if he should come he would stay. I know he would find enough to do. Now with regard to the winter here it is no comparison to Mass. The coldest day we have had I took the ponyes and went from Mr Burnells to Harris Jameses in the town of Morrison, distance 15 miles, without stoping to warm. Staid there 2 ours. Took in Marian James. Drove back to Burnells with out stoping to warm and was not very cold at that. So you may have no fears abou freesing unless it is colder than it has bee this winter with us but they say it has been very cold up in the pinery and on the prairys but let him squeel. We can hold him. Mr Leroy says remember me to Luke. Tell him I hope to see him out here on the first bout. The iron company offered me three thousand Dollars for my place last week. They think of commencing buisness at the fall next summer. I should like rite well to see you as I can talk much faster than I can write. Tell Aunt Hannah to come with you when you come and she & Mother can goin to the dary buisness. Butter 30 cts per lb. Pleas write me as soon as you receive this and tell me when to meet you at the Bay. Remember me to all the friends. My Best respects to you and family.

Very Truly Yours
J. S. King

To C. L. Keith, Esqu
Galesburgh, Mich


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr. went by the name of Luke

[2] Luke’s father, Charles Luke Keith Sr., who also went by the name of Luke

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

[4] Lilly (Willcutt) King

[5] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith, Luke’s mother; Lilly and Hannah were sisters

[6] James Hunt King

[7] James’ brother-in-law, Jonas LeRoy

[8] James’ sister, Edith (King) LeRoy

[9] James’ brother-in-law, Luther Burnell, who was married to James’ sister, Sarah

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.

Scan of 1855-07-22 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

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.


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

February 21, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

February 21, 1855

To: Luke Keith

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Is sending a note against Charles Anderson for $100.00 for the farm. Aunt Patty wants to know if and when Lois is coming.

Scan of 1855-02-21 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion           Feb. 21, 1855

C. L. Keith, Esq.

Enclosed please find a note against Charles Anderson for $100 on which is due the principal and int. at 10 per ct from date. If your Father[1] wants more I will send it. I think there is a poor sight for wood chopping just now. If you can get any one to chop handily do so if not let it go. My cousin takes possession the first of April so I am not so particular about it. When I see him again I will learn his calculations & advise you.

Do you have any offer for the place? Aunt Patty[2] says ask Luke if Lois[3] is coming down here this spring and have him write right off. If she is coming she wants to know it – if not she wants to know – she adds have her come without fail.

We are totally well. Marian[4] is a little out of health, but is now getting better – will be around again in a few days we think.

What do you mean by saying “Hellens Walter is dead”? who is or wasWalter“?

Write about Lois the same day you get this so say Aunt Patty.

We are having fair winter weather – good sleighing.


Geo. Tomlinson


[1] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] George’s mother-in-law, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[3] Lois Keith, Luke’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

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

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

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 1, 1834 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Harvey Keith

June 1, 1834

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Pavilion, NY

From: Harvey Keith, Comstock, MI

Father and Catherine arrived the 18th of May. Father bought 160 acres. Hears that Luke wants to go to “the Illinois” but Harvey wants him to come out to Michigan first and then if he doesn’t like it he can go further west. The apple tree grafts that he brought from Covington are alive and he has set them in the roots of a large apple tree he found in town which was set out by the French or the Indians. He is building a log house, which is the custom of the area. “Mother will have to live between Martin and Jesse Turner when she comes.”

Scan of 1834-06-01 Harvey Keith to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Comstock Kalamazoo M.I.

Dear Brother[1]

I now take this oppertunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are all well and hope these few lines will find the people all well in Covington[2]. Father[3] and Catherine[4] got here the 16th of may. They had a verry pleasant time up the lake. They took bad colds coming up the lake but have got over them now. Father like the country verry much. He has bought 160. acres of land forty of it is within one quarter of a mile of my place. He has gone to work on it. The rest lies two miles off. He has got the best timber I have seen in the teritorry. Father tells me that you talk of going to the Illinois in the fall. I think you had best come here. You can do as well here as in the Illinois. Come out this fall. We will get out some timber this winter for waggons. Here will be a good place for a waggon maker in a short time. You had best not go to the Illinois a lone. If you should be taken sick in that country amongst strangers you know not what may become of you. At any rate if you go come this way. It is about as near as any way and then if you dont like this place you can go father west. Ethan[5] has taken a job of chopping and clearing ten acres for 90 Dollars. The man finds team and boards him. He has got it partly choped. He has planted about two acres on his place. That is all he could get ploughed. I have not ploughed any except a garden. My apple trees lived that I brought from Covington. I have got about thirty grafts alive that I set in the roots of an appletree that I found her in this town. It was a large tree set out by the french or Indians. I dug up the roots and grafted them. I shall soon have apples here though not before another sumer I dont expect. I want you should save me some grass seeed red top I want. You will find it in James lots. I want about a quart if you can possably find it and send it by Father and send me some white clover seed if you can get it. I have not got in to my house yet. I could not get lumber till last week. I shall get into it this week I think. I am building a log house. That is the custom of this country. I have sold my mare and I think I shall sell the horse tomorrow. There is a man wants him. The people are all well here that you know any thing about except the Austins people. Mr Austin an Ben have the ague this spring. Mr Crane and his wife have been here to day. Give my respects to all the folk in Covington that say any thing about me. Tell Marion[6] I have her letter she sent me and was glad to see it. I should write to some of the rest but I send it by Mr Tubs and dont want to load him down with letters. Tell mother[7] she will have to live between Jesse and Martin Turner[8] when she comes to Comstock. I cant think of any more this time so good by. Write to me the first oppertunity.

Sunday afternoon Jun 1st 1834

Yours &c[9] Harvey Keith

[to] Luke Keith Jr

Alfleda[10] say there is some pretty girls and you had best come out here and see them. There is one girl coming here this fall that has got _____ acres of land lying close to mine and perhaps you might get you a farm verry easy. He name is Alvira Tubs.

H Keith


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr., referred to, and better known, as Luke, was 20 years old at the time

[2] Covington, New York

[3] Charles Luke Keith Sr., also known as Luke

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

[5] Catherine’s husband, Ethan Bradley

[6] Perhaps he is refering to Marion Wolcott, their first cousin, who also lived in Covington, and was nine years old at the time. They were all grandchildren of Jesse and Katherine (Beal) Willcutt Jr.

[7] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[8] Brothers Jesse and Martin Turner were also grandchildren of Jesse and Katherine (Beal) Willcutt Jr.

[9] Etc.

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