October 3, 1856 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

October 3, 1856

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

All are well here except Frank has the summer complaint. Getting along as well as when Patty was here. He’s thinking of selling the farm. If anyone inquires, he will take $23 per acres. If Lasher is willing to leave he will let him have whatever he can get over $23 per acre. Doesn’t want to build a barn if selling. Business is good at the store. Maybe Marion will write.

Scan of 1856-10-03 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion Oct. 3. 1856.

C. L. Keith, Esq.

Your line was not rec’d till yesterday. We are all well except Frank[1] has the summer complaint[2] somewhat – not very bad but we have not been able to check it. I dont see but we get along as well as when Aunt Patty[3] was here.

Libby says she cant stay with us only this week – dont know who we shall get. The Gentleman[4] has been _____ – has had the blues teribly – dirty wool, dull machines, cold weather & low water till within a few days & a great many other little devils to numeruous to mention.

On the whole I think if an opportunity offers we had best sell our farm.

You may say to men enquiring for land it is for sale – it has cost me to this date $23.80 per acre. I will take 23$. If those men want it I will let them have it – I shall want enough down to secure the sale & will give some time on the remainder. I think that fair good property if one could be there to see it. I want the means in my business or I would not care to sell. I shall not sell unless Lasher is willing to leave. I will let him have what he can get more than 23$ per acre – if he sells it this fall.

What is he doing about a barn. I dont want to build if I make a sale.

How are the horses?

Have you reserved that security?

I dont think of any thing new.

The Dea.[5] has gone to day to look up a girl – we are doing a fair business in the store.

G. Tomlinson

May be Marion[6] will write.


[1] His son, Frank Tomlinson

[2] A common, noncontagious diarrhea of young children, occurring in summer or autumn, sometimes caused by spoiled milk

[3] His mother-in-law, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[4] Perhaps he is referring to his father-in-law

[5] His father-in-law, James Sprague Jr.

[6] His wife, Marion (Sprague) Tomlinson

January 1, 1856 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

January 1, 1856

To: Luke Keith

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Comments on the health of various family members. Also still trying to decide what to do in terms of buying land.

Scan of 1856-01-01 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion Jan. 1. 1856.

C. L. Keith Esq

I am here, got back to “America” – as the paddy would say – I stood the _____ totually well. Found Paul[1] shaking – a hard looking subject – he has the ague 4 day in 8 & looks bad at that. His wife, Abiah & Ann[2] have it – the ague I mean – slightly, say once a week or so – tho Ann is had up – not able to do any thing. Jenny & Ella[3] have got well. Frances[4] has been free from the shakes. Paul has a good farm & good buildings. It will be right in town when all the projected R.R. are constructed. I dont think it will be very soon.

Eratis[5] folks are well except Henry[6] – he has the ague. Loyal[7] is there.

I got home last Saturday. The little one[8] dont know me – wont have any thing to say to me at all – squalls if I look at her. Phebe has a good time with her. I guess she will become requainted. Frank[9] sticks to me like a shawdow. I cant move without him. He looks hard – have been very well used in my absence or something else. Our folks put me through after the old gate. I am coward a little more than ordinary on acct. of confidence & dedication this week. One would think a general _____ was on foot by the _____ our folks are making.

We have first rate slieghing now days.

I find things about as I left them — — or strange. I have not yet seen Aunt Lois.[10]

Jan. 6. We have had a house full of folks attending the meeting. I have been to see Aunt Lois. She is well as usual. Cant see as those pictures look natural. She wished I had brot the old one back. Perhaps you had best send it the first opportunity. Your line of Dec. 30 is recd. I would like to trade with you if on account of the old folks &c if I could. I dont think your house as good property for me as the land – that wont — up, if it produces nothing. I cant trade any way without satisfying Lasher.[11] He told me when I left him at the burgh[12] that he wasnt willing to seek a new house. I dont know but he might be satisfied if I would build on the other side. I will trade as I proposed when I left or will let you have the land for the price you offer any time you may make sale of your house – or you may keep the house & I will give you time on the payment till you can sell the house to your mind.

The Dea.[13] thinks the land on the south side will not be worth much without the other side. He thinks you will have to move in with your father[14] – i.e. if Hellen[15] goes away. He thinks the old gentleman will not do any thing now while he lives & that you will have the farm to see to & the old folks to look after. He thinks Wesley[16] will be unable to suit however well he may do. Help in the house will be as difficult to obtain as work out of doors. Mr. Rowe died a few days ago – he was kicked by a horse – died in a week after.

I will write again soon.

Geo. Tomlinson

I have been looking for a line from Wesley in relations to a trade. I dont want to build if we trade – in the mean time I want to know what he has to propose.


[1] George’s wife’s uncle, Paul Sprague

[2] Paul’s wife, Lydia (Sanderson), and his two daughters, Abiah and Sarah Ann Sprague

[3] Paul’s daughter, Ella Sprague. It is unknown if Jenny was another daughter; however, at this time there is no indication as to who she was

[4] Paul’s daughter, Frances Sprague

[5] George’s wife’s uncle, Erastus Sprague. Erastus and Paul were brothers

[6] Erastus’ son, Henry Sprague

[7] Loyal Starr, who was married to Erastus’ daughter, Emma Sprague, and who might have earlier been married to his older daughter, Lydia Sprague

[8] George’s daughter, Nellie Tomlinson

[9] George’s son, Frank Tomlinson

[10] See Footnote #5 in 7-22-1855 letter

[11] George had leased his farm out to Mr. Lasher

[12] Galesburg, Michigan

[13] George’s father-in-law, James Sprague Jr.

[14] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[15] Sister of George’s wife Marion

[16] Wesley Keith, Luke’s adopted brother

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

June 17, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

June 17, 1855

To: Luke Keith

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

More farm business. He hopes to be able to come in the Fall and examine the land. The children are getting over the whooping cough.

Scan of 1855-06-17 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion           June 17, 1855

C. L. Keith, Esq.

Yours of June 14 came to hand last night. The wheat business seems to be a hard case this year. We are used up for a large crop of wheat here. The fly has destroyed a many a fair prospect. I think there are many fields that will not pay for seed and harvesting. Farmers are long favored just now. We have a large growth of straw yet I think we shall have no more than half a crop or there about.

I have had apprehensions about michigan wheat for some time as we have _____ heard stories from various sections of the state. Are farmers sowing as much as usual this year or are they holding back to see what will come of this insect business?

You write no particulars about the farm & Lasher is silent as the grave. Has Lasher sown any oats? Has he done any thing with the bottom land fence? Has he any chance to pasture for any one? Does he plow deep & good or not?

I have had so much to think of that I have somewhat lost the run of that farm business out there. I wish you would advise Lasher to be faithful to cut up the grubs on that 12 acre lot & draw off all the stone on the ground and all he plows up. They will all be needed to make a wall under the house & barn. I now think of under____ the barn with a wall if there are stones enough. Lasher must do as much as get his living from the land. I am sure it will be hard starting, but he must work an odd day or so with the team to get his grain &c.

I should be sorry to have that timber lot, will examine it & see if it is ______ to ______? If nothing happens I shall be there in the fall & stay a few days, long enough to get the thing fairly in my mind.

I have not answered Oscars last proposition to buy that _____ & believe I shall not till I go on to the ground and examine with reference to a line. I had rather buy of him than to sell. This he refuses. If there is no chance to let out the pasture I shall have to opt on some stock or sheep tho can do nothing till I go there.

We must arrange Lashers cow business when I am there. If you can turn any of your old accounts into chopping set the hands at that wood as I should be glad to have 18 or 20 cords cut any way if I could.

We are all well. The children[1] have or are getting over the hooping cough. The weather is cold – corn is small much of it to small to hoe. It is wet – we are having lots of rain these days. I have started the carding we have not much wool yet, but few have sheared. I expected Marian[2] would write a line but her little one[3] has been cross & I guess some sick so she has no time.

Mrs. Kendall has sold her place – the writing is not made but she expects they will be soon. Price $350. Our young ones are getting over the hooping cough – I think they will go it till the _______ come along. The calves do not do very well – the Decon looks discouraged over one of them.

June 25 – Rains again this morning. I must go to work.

Geo. Tomlinson


[1] Frank John and Nellie E. Tomlinson

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

[3] Nellie was born February 18, 1855

May 6, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

May 6, 1855

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Pavilion           6th May 1855

Mr. Lasher started for Michigan May 1st and expected to take the boat to Detroit, but ice has prevented that. George isn’t sure he will reach Michigan in time to get his crops planted so would appreciate any help Luke can give him.

1855-05-06 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

C. L. Keith, Esq.

As I wrote you a week ago my man Lasher started for Mich May 1. I had a line from him from Dunkirk at which place he expected to take the boat but the ice prevented – he had started for Erie – this was on the morning of the 4th. If he can go from Erie he is now in Detroit. If he has to go to Cleveland I dont know when he will reach Mich. I would not had him start only we received accts published that Boats have made regular trips from Dunkirk for 2 weeks. I suppose the storm drove the ice back.

His delay will make him worse & worse off as to spring crops. What you can get done to help him along I want you should. I would be glad to have him helped. I want you should consult with him and advise as tho you owned the land. I shall write him soon. We are all well. Plowing for planting.

Monday morning. Aunt Patty[1] is astir. Cold – Evry thing is my favor.

G. Tomlinson


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

April 29, 1855 letter to Luke Keith from George Tomlinson

April 29, 1855

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: George Tomlinson, Pavilion, NY

Mr. Lasher, the man who is renting the farm, has been detained for a week because of ice in Buffalo Harbor, and George is asking Luke to get someone to draw out the manure on the orchard and plow it to make it ready for Mr. Lasher as it is important to get things planted so they will have food to get them through next winter.

Scan of 1855-04-29 George Tomlinson to Luke Keith

Pavilion           April 29, 1855

L. C. Keith

The man who has is going on to my place has been detained for a week past by the ice in the harbor of Buffalo. He is now calculating to start Tuesday next. He is going to take a team with him. Will drive to Buffalo take the boat to Detroit, send his wife by the cars and drive his team himself. It will be late when he gets there. It is highly important that he has something planted to keep him through next winter. If your father[1] has got along with his work so he possibly can I want he should draw out the manure on the orchard & plow it if possible & Mr Lasher, that is his name, will do as much for him. If your father cant do it all if he can do any thing have him do it. Try Oscar & see if he will change ____ so – or any body else. Lasher is a worker & is anxious to have things started in season. He would have been there by this time nearly had the lake been open. He wants to buy a good cow, make some inquiries for me. He has one horse, I have bot another so he will have a strong team. Could we be certain of finding a team then he would have left his horse with me & bot them. If the lake keeps froze up all the spring it will be a mistake that he did not go by the R.R. & run the risk of getting a team. He has the farm for 5 years. I furnish half the seed & he has half of what is raised delivers my half harvested & threshed on the premises. I furnish one horse or give him the use of the worth of a horse for the time. I am confident he can do well if he will. Try to get things started if you possibly can. I should have written before but expected he would start any day.

We are all well. No news that I think of.

Have you got any chopping done or have that timber? Lasher will plow for any one that will help him or do any thing else as he will be behind the light house some days. If you cant see to this send this line to your father or Oscar or both. Are you coming down to Attica?

Horace Bradly will die some time – report fixes the time as probaby near at hand.

Geo. Tomlinson

If Mrs. Lasher go from Detroit by the cars she will need taking care of 2 or 3 days.


[1] Charles Luke Keith Sr.