June 4, 1850 letter to Luke Keith from Sarah Crittenden

June 4, 1850

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Sarah Crittenden, Concord, MI

It has been five weeks since she left home and she is getting impatient to return but doesn’t have the money required to do so. She wants Luke to send her the money that Luke owes her father. She intends to leave in two weeks with her grandparents. Cornelia would like to have the bonnet that Jerusha wanted her to have.

Scan of 1850-06-04 Sarah Crittenden to Luke Keith

Concord June 4th 1850

Uncle Luke

It is nearly five weeks since I left home so that I am beging to be quite impatient about getting home back again but as I have no means to do so shall be obliged to call on you for the money that you owe father[1] the amount of which you will know better than I. I intended to have visited you before I left Michigan but as grandfather and grandmother[2] are agoing to leave in two weeks I think that I shall not be able to go and see you this time. That bonnet which Aunt Jerush[3] wished Cornelia[4] to have we should like this summer if ever. Dwight[5] I believe has writen to you in whose care to send it that is if you chose to send it. Give my love to Gertrude.[6] You must remember to come and see us if ever you come to York state. You will oblige me much by sending that money immediately that I may be ready to go home with Grand father.

Yours in haste

S. Crittenden[7]

[to] Luke Keith


[1] Henry Crittenden

[2] Jarius and Eunice (Sprague) Crittenden

[3] Luke’s second wife, Jerusha (Crittenden) Keith, who died September 23, 1848

[4] Sarah’s sister, Cornelia Crittenden

[5] Sarah’s cousin, Dwight Crittenden

[6] Luke’s daughter, Lois Gertrude Keith

[7] Sarah Crittenden

April 29, 1849 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Sarah Crittenden

April 29, 1849                                   

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr, Galesburg, MI

From: Sarah Crittenden, Covington, NY

Was waiting for Henry to write, but he is in poor health, as is Aunt Lois and Clarissa. Aunt Lois lent all her money to a man and lost it. She hopes that Luke will send her some. Was sorry to hear of Jerusha’s death, but it was not unexpected. Guy Sprague died leaving two children.

Scan of 1849-04-29 Sarah Crittenden to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Covington Apr th 29 1849


I have waited a long time for Henry[1] to answer your letter but it is such a chore for him to write that he says he cannot write. His health is poor is not able to work any but I am in hopes he will be better when it comes warm weather. Pauls[2] wife[3] and I went to Stafford last week found Aunt Louis[4] very unwell. Her health has been very poor all winter. She was in low spirits. She had lent what money she had here and the man had failed and she had lost it so it had left her with out any thing and she feels very bad. She is in hopes you will collect some for her there and send her. She is very anxious you should. I hope you will for I feel very sorry for her. I also found Clarissa[5] poorly. She has a bad cough and I fear she will go the way of the rest. It was meloncoly news when we read of Jerushas[6] death but it was not unexpected although we had hoped she might recover. I think you must be very lonely. You wrote you would be glad to have Henry and I come up to Michigan this spring but times go hard with us and we can not afford it though I should be very glad to. The friends at Pavilion are well. Julia is gone. She died in December 11 months after _____. The little boy has gone to live with Mrs Dodge Julias sister. It is now evening since I wrote the above. Marion and George[7] have been here and say they have heard from you and hear you was comeing down this summer. Give my respects to your father[8] and mother[9] and when you come we can tell you all the news. It is getting late so I must close.

We have just heard of the death of Guy Sprague.[10] Left too children. No more at present. Good evening.

Sarah Crittenden


[1] Sarah’s husband, Henry Crittenden

[2] Paul Sprague, Henry’s first cousin

[3] Lydia Sprague, Paul’s wife

[4] Possibly Lois (Sprague) Mears, sister of Henry’s mother, Eunice (Sprague) Crittenden; however, it could be the mother of Luke’s first wife Minerva (Payson) Keith whose first name is believed to be Lois, as there seems to be a connection between the Sprague and Payson families; investigation continues

[5] Henry’s sister, Clarissa (Crittenden) English

[6] Luke’s second wife, Jerusha (Crittenden) Keith, who died September 23, 1848

[7] Luke’s niece, Marion (Sprague) and her husband, George Tomlinson

[8] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[9] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[10] The U.S. Census Mortality Schedule for 1850 lists Guy C Sprague, living in Middlebury, New York, married, age 36, with a date of death of April 1850. Guy Sprague and Henry Crittenden were first cousins

August 16, 1848 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from Henry Crittenden

August 16, 1848

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: Henry Crittenden, Covington, NY

He sent the castings and skeins to Luke yesterday and gives an accounting of his expenses for doing that. Sarah has recovered from her fall from the wagon. They are anxious to hear how Jerusha is.

Scan of 1848-08-16 Henry Crittenden to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Covington  August 16th 1848

Dear Sir

I have sent the castings and skeins to you yesterday by the railroad to Galesburg from Attica directed to Luke Keith.

The Axels cast at 5 cts per lb                        $5.65
The Boxes and Skeins                                      4.00
I shall have to charge for going to Att.       1.00
I have to hire a horse & waggon                  10.65
and Cr. to you in cash                                    $6.00
Leaving a balance in my favour of                4.65

Which you may forward to me as soon as it may be convenient for you to do so and you will oblige yours &c.

You promised to write to some of us before this. My health is better than when I was at your place. I am some encouraged. Do not know but I may take another trip on the lakes as far as Cleveland this fall. Do not know certain yet. Sarahs[1] health _____ she has entirely recovered from her fall from the waggon. I have Miss Pasons own words to write. She says she would like to see some of your handwriting once more. She wishes you to say something about a certain Note. I could not tell whether or not you said anything to me or not. If you did I have entirely forgotten everything about it. You must write the old lady something. She feels anxious to hear from you all verry.

We have not heard from you directly since I left but once indirectly that was by the way of D. Smith. Mr Hall of pavillion saw David some where and he said Jerusha[2] remained just as when I was there. You scarcely know or think how anxious we are to learn something about her health. Do write something soon and relieve this anxiety with us all.

Our friends and neighbours ____ all in good health healthy generally in this vicinity.

Some pollitical news we go free Soil measures Martin Vanburen is the man for York States for president and Mr Adams for the vice and we will Screw Slavery out of the land. _____ more nonsence to write what did Davis Smith say because I did not go see him. _____ he say any thing about the waggon any thing about the pay for it & write soon. It is a great trouble for me to write. I can scarcely write my hand trembles bad. I do not know if you can read this scrall.



[1] Henry’s wife, Sarah (Curtis) Crittenden

[2] Luke’s second wife, Jerusha (Crittenden) Keith; Jerusha was Henry’s sister

[3] Between a rather large hole and portions of the paper having been torn off, transcription was difficult; however, it appears that the letter was written by Henry Crittenden

January 27, 1839 letter to Jerusha Crittenden from Charles Webster

January 27, 1839

To: Jerusha Crittenden, Pavilion, NY

From: Charles Webster, Allegan, MI

Was anxious to write to someone and so thought he would write to her seeing as how they had been “some acquainted and … good friends for a long time.” He went to Father Keith’s and Catherine asked him if he thought Luke had any notion of marrying anybody.

Scan of 1839-01-27 Charles Webster to Jerusha Crittenden

Sunday P.M. Allegan Jany 27 1839

Honored Madam

Wishing to employ myself about something I take the liberty of writing a few lines to you prsuming you would not regret receiveing them with pleasure. I have the happiness of stating that I am well and Chester Sprague sets at my left hand enjoying the same blessing writing to Suel who is at Marshall acting as Clerk in a store the last time I herd from him he was well but last fall he and Chet had the ague and fever enough to shake a barn down. You may think it rather strange my writing to you but no more strange than true – being anxious to write to some one I thought I would write to you it being that we had been some acquainted and as I presume good friends for a long time. Such being the case there will be no harm done I hope. I received a leter from Mr Rowe stating that Madge and Mandy had gone off slick and cruel in the ____ system. So Mr Rowe has lost her. Next I shall know I shall loose Eliza. Then what. Broke down forever. No I hope not. You know the story of when we went to dancing school was that each one had made his choice but I did not believe that would be the case. I never thought Bill would have Mandy no more nothing. Pshaw evry word of it. I was to father Keiths[1] about two months ago. They wer all well. Catharine[2] asked me if I thought Luke[3] had eny notion of eny body or eny thing about nothing. I supposed she ment about getting married[4]. I told her that I understood he went down the creek when he was amindto and crossed over. She said she wished he would come to Michigan fore long, if that was the case. Then she asked me if I was maried. I told her I did not know for I had not heard eny thing about it since I left home but I expected the next news I heard would be that I was. Then she replied that she had heard that I was married and who to Eliza Belding &c. &c. &c.——-[5]

You remember finding a horse shoe I suppose and what you said about the nails that was in it[6]. If you dont I do and I think that sine will prove false if you dont look out. Thare was three nails in it and three of us found it so we calculated three one nail apiece and if that failed we could have it three nails apiece. That and all the rest of this letter is not of much consequence. After having a pleasant voyage up the lake I found myself in Michigan. First I knew I come to James Whitneys who wifed Norissa Crittenden and dont you believe she has got a boy big enough to stand tip toe on level ground. They live at Romio Macomb Co. Denis Scranton lives in the same place. They were all well. I received a letter from Philo Ferrier stating that they were all well except Mary. She had got the ague and that Woster Dean had been there and Scranton was with them all well. You may guess I never wrote meny leters by the run of this and guess right to but I will tell you something about the folks here. The same dificulties atend men here as there. That is they have to work for a living. That is not all. They are sick more.

I should think you would be tired of such a lingo as this. If you are not you have good patience so I will cut my story short by saying there is a dancing schooll here as well as at Wyoming[7].

Chet says he is comeing to America to get him a woman. That is if he can find one that will have him and says I may go down with him if will behave prety well.

Give my respects to your people and all the enquireing friends if there are eny such and be asured that my most cordial feelings acompany you and that I am your friend.

Please to favour me with an answer and oblige

Your humble servent

Chas L. Webster

[to] Gerusha Crittenden

Direct to Allegan Michigan


[1] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Catherine (Keith) Bradley

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr. Both Sr. and Jr. were known as Luke

[4] Family story is that Luke and Jerusha were engaged, but when a new girl (Minerva Payson) came to town, he broke off their engagement and married Minerva on April 23, 1839. Minerva died August 29, 1843 and on July 25, 1847 Luke married Jerusha; however, Jerusha died September 23, 1848. Luke then married Sarah Crawford on November 14, 1849

[5] Etc., etc., etc.

[6] According to old superstition, the individuals who find a horseshoe must first examine it to see how many nails still remain in the holes. They must next count the number of holes, which then determines how many weeks, months, or years (depending upon the beliefs of the region) it will be before they will become rich or will be married. Another variation of the superstition is that the number of nails remaining determine the length of time before good luck arrives. According to yet another interpretation, the number of nails remaining in the horseshoe indicates the number of years of good luck that the finder will enjoy

[7] Wyoming, Michigan

July 12, 1837 letter to Charles Luke Keith Jr. from E. D. White

July 12, 1837  

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Tolands Prairie, MI

From: E. D. White, Kalamazoo, MI

He left without saying goodbye as the family was napping.

1837-07-12 E D White to Charles Luke Keith Jr

Kalamazoo 12 July 1837

Mr L. Keith Jr.[1]


Having from early youth experienced the pleasures attending a morning nap I thought best not to disturb the sweet slumbers of the family. I therefore stole from the dwelling of Uncle Luke without even saying Good Morning.

As to the Old folks I will settle with them hereafter I’ll plague[?] them by Gum – when I next go there but I wish you to Give my love to All particular Uncle ____ Cruttendens folks,[2] And write to me immediately after your arrival. Hereof fail not at your peril. Given under my hand &c.[3]

E. D. White[4]


[1] Charles Luke Keith Jr., known better, and referred to, as Luke

[2] Perhaps this is referring to Jairus (the handwriting looks like Jirs) Cruttenden/Crittenden. Luke was engaged to his daughter, Jerusha; however, when a new girl, Minerva Payson, came to town he broke off the engagement and in 1838 married Minerva. She died August 29, 1843 and Luke then married Jerusha on July 25, 1847

[3] Et cetera

[4] It is unknown who this is or how he is related to Luke