November 14, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

November 14, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Kalamazoo, MI

Ethan is writing about the year’s potato crop. Also mentions that their record player broke. It was 68 years ago that their parents were married.

68 years ago to day Luke Keith and Sally Crawford[1] rode behind “Old Doll” to Battle Creek on a wedding trip, and Sally carried a parasol. That was before the cantenment.

Kalamazoo, Mich. Nov 14, 1917.

Dear Sister,

Hannah[2] says I will have to write you about the potatoes. I dont know what to say, but will tell you what we have got. I wish you could have had the potatoes that Peake sold in Kal- for us. They were nice to eat and looked nice. He got the top of the market Kent was paying $1.00. and he got $1.25. He dug them before the hard freeze. So many of the potatoes are frosted people will have a lot of trouble with them, they wont be good, and lots of them will rot. Some of ours were touched a little. I have not sorted them yet. Could not do it when I dug them for I had to get them in the cellar as soon as I could, for I was afraid they would all be frozen. Our potatoes are quite scabby. Will have to sort them pretty close. Will have to sell what I call Hunters New Yorkers, and some of Rowlands New Yorkers. Dont know as you know what they are. The Rowlands were what we used while you was here. Dont know how I would get them to freight house unless I could hire the Peake’s to take them. Will look them over as soon as I can and find out what I have got then if Jim[3] does not send you any perhaps I can if you want them. Of course what there are more than we need I want to sell.

We are not listening to the little records any more. Over a week ago I was playing one, and the thing made an awful noise and stopped playing. Have not had a chance to take it apart but think it has stripped coggs on one of the gear wheels, dont think the spring is broken. I have been afraid of the coggs for some time they have run a good while. Daisy and Fannie are standing together for the first tonight in the stanchions.[4] I hope you are having a let up from that torment. I think the Witch Hazel did relieve me, but I was not bad. Tell Helen[5] Auntie[6] and I would like to see her.

Love to all. Ethan.

[1] Ethan and Nancy’s parents, Charles Luke Keith Jr. and Sarah Crawford, married on November 18, 1849. Early records refer to Sarah as Sally, as does their marriage certificate; however, in later years she is referred to as Sarah

[2] Ethan and Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[3] Ethan and Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[4] A frame that holds the head of a cow in place, especially to facilitate milking

[5] Nancy’s granddaughter, Helen Mueller

[6] Hannah was very often referred to as Auntie

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