September 5, 1859 letter to Sarah Keith from Edwin Crawford

September 5, 1859

To: Sarah Keith

From: Edwin Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Mary has been sick since February with the inflammation of the lungs and for the last five weeks has not been expected to live, although she has been somewhat better lately. Eugene and Edna have enjoyed good health all summer, but Edna now has the ague and fever.

Scan of 1859-09-05 Edwin Crawford to Sarah Keith

Dowagiac     Sept 5th 59

Dr Sister

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. Mary[1] was taken sick last Febuary with the information on her lungs. She has been sick ever sinse. For the last five weeks she hasent been expeted to live. She seams to be some better now so she sets up some. Eugene[2] and Edna[3] has enjoed good health all summer till now. Edna has the ague[4] and feaver. My health has been good and I hope it will be as long as Mary is sick. We have had as many as three hired women in the house to a time. It has cost us as high as a hundred and Fifty Dollars for Doctor Bill and hired help sinse Mary was taken down. Mary sends her love to you and said she would like to see you. I received a letter from Matilda about a week ago today. I will answer it. Give my respects to Mr Halls[5] folks. Mr. Keith[6] I send my best respects to you and your wife and be glad to have you come out and see us when you can make it conveinent and if you ever conclude to come drop a line as we live a mile from the village. I will meet you at the cars with the waggon.

from your Brother

E.W. Crawford

Sarah one more thought. I havent heard heard from Mother[7] nor any of th Boyes[8] sinse last spring. I have had so much sickness in my family and my Farm to tend to I havent felt like writing to any body.


[1] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Edwin’s second wife

[2] Eugene Crawford, Edwin’s son by his first wife, Louisa Hall

[3] Edna Crawford, Edwin and Mary’s daughter

[4] A form of malaria characterized by stages of chills, fever, and sweating. Popularly, the disease was known as “fever and ague,” “chill fever,” and “the shakes”

[5] Presume he is referring to his first wife’s father

[6] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband

[7] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[8] Assume he means his brothers, Robert, Henry, D.C., Hiram and Prosper

February 22, 1859 letter to Luke Keith from D.C. Crawford

Footnote #6 updated 02-11-2017

February 22, 1859                

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI              

From: David (D.C.) Crawford, LaCrosse, WI

Describes where he lives in LaCrosse by the Mississippi River. Received a letter from Robert who spoke of James’ death and also his wife’s death and that there might have been something wrong in regard to him dying so suddenly. Received a letter from Platt Betts. Mentions Stanley Crawford.

Scan of 1859-02-22 D C Crawford to Luke Keith

La Crosse Feb 22nd 1859

Mr C L Keith

Galesburgh Michigan

Dear Sir

In answer to your last letter I would say in asmuch as you described to me your wherebouts it would be no more than fare for me to give you a little information on that point but there would be no danger if you should wish to come and see me because the trees are all spotted on or along the Old Territorial Road. We live in Wis near La Crosse on the pleasant Banks of the Raging Missippi the “Father of Waters.” We have a Flourshing and Enterprising R Road making their regular trips Daily between Milwaukee and La Crosse the (La Crosse and Milwaukee R Road) which makes a vast difference here in the Winter season I assure you. The toot of the Iron Horse or Whistle sounds good up in this County you had better believe only a few years ago hardly dreamt of. You say there is no sleighing their quite the contrary here. We have had a very pleasant and gay Winter this way. I re’d a letter from Robert[1] stating that sleighing was good in the Pinery and he was doing well. He spoke of James[2] and of His Death[3] and also His Wifes[4] and as though that there might have been something wrong in regard to Him dying so suddenly. It seems to be rather lamentable fact to realize a near kindred Blood a beloved Brother folded in the arms of Death so near us and none to say a kind word or smooth His Dying pillow. I was expecting to pay them a visit this comeing season.

I re’ed a letter from the Rev. Mr. Betts[5] the other Day for the first time. I should judge that He was and odd Old chap (allow me). He invites me to come and see them which I should like to do very much and shall soon probably.

Stanley[6] said that He called on you but did not stay but a few moments. He said that He was used well and was much pleased.

Please ask Sarah[7] if She knows or Lois[8] (Miss Sarah Hall). If so please inform Her that Stanley Crawford wishes to be remembered to Her. Stanley says He saw more pretty Girls in Galesburgh and vicinity then He has seen in this Country for a long time that is when He was Home this last time. Tell Sarah if She does not write me I will think she has forgotten me. My love to all.

Yours truly David [to] C L Keith

Write Soon again please


[1] Brother, Robert Crawford

[2] Brother, James Crawford

[3] An entry in Luke’s dairy shows that James died December 15, 1858

[4] James’ wife, Ann (Rogers) Crawford, who died October 26, 1858

[5] Stepfather, Platt Betts

[6] Stanley Crawford. At this stage his relationship to David is unknown Believe this to be George Stanley, who operated a jewelry store with David “D.C.” Crawford under the name Stanley & Crawford from approximately 1856/1857 to 1860

[7] Sarah Keith, Luke’s wife and David’s sister

[8] Luke’s daughter, Lois Keith, who was his daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

October 30, 1858 Letter to Nancy Betts from James Crawford

October 30, 1858                  

To: Nancy Betts                                

From: James H. Crawford, Cassville, WI

His wife Ann died on the 26th and he is left with two small children.

Scan of 1858-10-30 James Crawford to Nancy Betts

Cassville 30 October 1858

Dear Mother

In answering your letter I have to inform you of the deth of my dear companion. Ann[1] dear wommen is gone. I am left with to little children[2] to mourn her loss. I am not well myself. I have a bad cold. The children is well. The children is at their grandfather[3] and I am to. Ann died at her father. I was with her at the time she died on the 26. Mother I was glad to here from you and yours and to here that your helths was good.

Mother I cant any more at present. I dont feel able at presant. I will write a gain as soon as I can. I want you to write as soon as you can.

My love to you Both.

James H Crawford


[1] Ann (Rogers) Crawford

[2] Alice and Rollin Crawford, ages 5 and 1

[3] Thomas Rogers

July 26, 1858 letter to Luke Keith from David (D. C.) Crawford

July 26, 1858

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: David (D. C.) Crawford, LaCrosse, WI

David is writing his brother-in-law to thank him for sending along the local Galesburg paper. He also mentions that his business in LaCrosse looks promising, particularly since the Milwaukee & LaCrosse Railroad will extend to LaCrosse in the next couple of months, which will serve as the railroad terminus for some time. David traveled to Black River Falls on a business matter. On his return he passed through beautiful sections of farming country which have a prospect of a plentiful harvest. David received a letter from Mother. Her recent remarriage seems to suit her. She apparently had a difficult time getting along with her son Robert’s wife when they were all living under the same roof.

Scan of 1858-07-26 D C Crawford to Luke Keith

LaCrosse July 26th _____[1]

Mr L C Keith, Galesburgh, MI

Dear Sir

Your welcome favor came duly to hand and was perused with interest. Galesburgh and inhabitants apparently is about the same as in Days of Yore except a few necessary changes which would naturally occur such as matrimonial alliances &c.[2] Your health I was glad to hear was improving. I think the West would agree with you much better. Mine is (par excellence) no fault to find. Our business is very good and prospects much better this Fall as the Milwaukee and LaCrosse Rail Road will reach this point in about two Weeks (months) and terminate here. For the present the Iron Horse will soon be bowing its Head over the Banks of the Broad Mississippi and then there will be fun (Hurrah for __emont). As regards the agricultural interests in this vicinity is very flattering. I understand Crops looking well and prospects of a plentiful harvest. I was up to Black River Falls some fifty miles above here where we had a small store conducted by Mr Stanley[3] for a short time and was doing well. I had a journeyman to assist me here but having enough for three to attend to at Home consequently had to close that up. I passed through beautiful sections of Farming Country with Glowing Fields of Grain and far as my experience would teach me everything looked finally finely especially Wheat and Oats. Corn rather delinquent. Your Watch please send that in most any morning Rep[?] free of Charge (regular Watch makers) the Best the City affords (so say the Journals). Should be glad to see you up this way some time perhaps would not suit you at all though (tell Sarah).[4] I received A letter from Mother[5] the other Day. She seems to be well contented. She seems to enjoy herself better since putting on the Bridle robe. The (Old Elder[6]) just suits her I guess). She can go to meeting all the time if she choses. Well, I am glad of it. Nothing suites me better. She had lots of trouble before. Her and Lousea[7] did not Hitch exactly living under the same roof. Louise is A Good Girl though (I liked her much). Please remember me to all and answer soon again.

To Luke


[1] D. C.’s handwriting is hard to decipher and so could not make out the date. Someone had written 1857 on the envelope; however, the mention of his mother’s recent marriage, which was November 8, 1857, would place this letter in 1858

[2] Et cetera

[3] David was in partnership with George Stanley selling watches, clocks and jewelry (see business card, the back of which reads “Compliments of the Firm, D. C. C.”)

[4] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Luke’s wife, and D. C.’s sister

[5] Nancy Comfort (Crawford) Betts

[6] Nancy’s husband, Platt Betts

[7] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, his brother Robert’s wife

1858 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford Betts

_________ 27, 1858

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Crawford Betts, Omro, WI

Mentions Robert, Prosper, Henry & Hiram. Received a letter from (your) Uncle Nathaniel Crawford’s daughter. David wrote to Robert. Hasn’t heard from Edwin and wonders if he is dead or alive. She wants to see Eugene. When she heard from James, Ann was very low.

Scan of 1858-00-27 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

27 Omro 1858

My Dear daughter Sarah

I received a line from you informing us your helths was not verry good. We hope by this time you and Luke[1] are enjoying good helth, and prosperity both in worldly, and spiritual things. We doo not mean Spiritualism as is practiced in this and other places, but such as the Spirit of God Communicates to the Christians in all Countries and in all ages of time. We have nothing verry special to write to you. We are as well as might be expected in our declining age. Roberts[2] family are all well, also Prospers[3] helth is good. I received a letter from Henry[4]. He said they were usually well when he wrote Hiram[5] was with him. I received a letter from your Uncle Nathaniel Crawford[6] Daughter[7] which I send you. Pleas returne it when you write to me. Robert had a line from David[8] a short time since he was well then. Write soon and let us know how your getting along. Tell the children that granma has not forgotin them and kiss them for me. I have not received a letter from Edwin[9] for a long time. What has become of him, is he dead or live. I want to hear from him. Say to him for he ought to write and let me know how their helths are. I want to see Eugene[10] verry much and all of them. The last I heard from James[11] Ann[12] was verry low. If you know any thing about them let me know when you write.

Give my love to all of my old friends in that place and tak a good shair to yourself. The Elder[13] sends his respets and good wishes to you and Luke. Hopeing you will come out and make us a long visit.

[to] Sarah C Keith

Nancy B Betts


[1] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[2] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

[3] Nancy’s son, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[4] Nancy’s son, Henry Crawford

[5] Nancy’s son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[6] Nancy’s brother-in-law, brother of Hiram Crawford Sr.

[7] According to a letter written 9-27-1863 to Sarah from Hiram Jr., Nathaniel only had one child living at that time, Caroline B. Crawford

[8] Nancy’s son, David (D.C.) Crawford

[9] Nancy’s son, Edwin Crawford

[10] Edwin’s son, Eugene Crawford

[11] Nancy’s son, James Crawford

[12] James’ wife, Ann (Rogers) Crawford

[13] Nancy’s second husband, Platt Betts

February 16, 1858 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford Betts

February 16, 1858 

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Crawford Betts, Omro, WI

Talks about her home which she shares with her new husband, Elder Platt Betts, and his granddaughter, Maria Park.

Scan of 1858-02-16 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro February 16th, 1858

Dear Sarah

Som time has relaps sence I have written to you but now I seat my self, pen in hand to let you know how I am gitting along. My health is verry good at present and has been all the winter. Your letter com to hand three weeks ago and I was glad to hear from you and that your self and family whear all well. Robert[1] & his wife and child[2] & the boys[3] are all well. The Methodist are holding a protracted meeting at our school hous, and are gitting up quite an excitement. What it will amount too time & eternity will disclose.

I am much pleased with my home and feel contented. I have a kind companion[4] and one that trise to make home plesent. My family is smol. It consist of three, his granddaughter, a plesent young lady about twenty. Her name is Maria Park. We live about four miles from Omro Village. Our farm is located in a plesant farming community. Our hous is rather small for two families but we mak out to get along comfortable thus far.

The Baptist Church in Omro are prospering. We are favoured with the gifts of Elder E. Thomas. We should be much grattified to have a visit from you [the letter is torn at this point]

The Elder joines with me in sending our love and respects to you and Luke[5] and the children and all inquireing friends.

This is from your mother to her daughter Sarah C Keith

Nancy B Betts

PS if money was plenty we would come and see you but necessity compels us to stay at home for the presant soo write often. Yours truely.


[1] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[2] Louisa (McCann) Crawford and William Edwin Crawford

[3] Believe she is referring to Prosper and Eugene. As of 1-3-1857 both boys were living with her, but it would appear that since her recent marriage (see next paragraph) the two boys are living with Robert

[4] Nancy’s new husband, Elder Platt Betts. They were married November 8, 1857

[5] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband

January 30, 1857 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford

January 30, 1857

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Crawford, Omro, WI

Nancy is keeping house alone with the little boys. Pros does the chores before school. Eugene goes to school with Pros. Louisa went with Robert to the woods to help with cooking. Nancy received a letter from Edwin saying he would like “the boys” to come out. He has 609 acres and will give them 50 or 70 apiece if they will chop him 20 apiece. Nancy has written to James and Henry but has not received a response. She received a letter from Hiram.

Scan of 1857-01-30 Nancy Crawford to Sarah Keith

Omro[1]  Jan the 30 1857

Dear Sarah

I have been slow a bout writing to you sence I received your last. I hope you will parden me for my negligence wich is not real negligence for I have not been well. I have been quite sick with a bad cold and have had a goodeal to see to. I am keeping hous alone withe the little boys[2]. Prosper[3] milks two cows and I churn twice or three times a weeke. He has the rest of his chores to ten to before he can git reddy for School. It keeps him verry bissy. Pros has got to bee a verry good studdy boy. Eugene[4] goes to School with Pros. Leousea[5] is gon with Robert[6] to the woods to help her Aunt Mrs. Couffer cook for the men and if we keep well I dont expect she will bee back hear till the first of April. I feal quite lonesum when the Children is gon and we havent no verry near neighbors alltho I had company one after noon this week. Two ladys came and spent the after noon with me. I am quite well a gane all tho my helth is not so good as it was before I was sick last summer. They have been verry kind to me. They have left me evry thing to make me comfortble and I injoy my self verry well. If you lived near hear so I could stept in and see you all I shold enjoy myself much better. They would like to have Luke[7] sell out and come and live hear. Rob thinks Luk would do better hear and injoy better health. I have gest received a letter from Edwin[8]. Thear are all well. He has writtin to the boys to com out thear. He has six hundred and nine acears of land. He sais he will let them have fifty or seventy a peace if they will chop him twenty apeace and he assist them abilding on thear place and will help them outher ways all he can. Thar is outhers standing reddy to take the job but he would rather the boys would have chance. He thinks they will be sorra in time if they dont take him up. I had a letter from Hiram[9] three weeks go. They whare all well and doing well. I wrote to them sence and told them to write to you. Edwin sais he has written to James[10] two monts go and has not received no answer and I to have written to James and have not got answer and I have written to Henry[11] and have not received an answer. I am glad to hear that Mrs Tubs has don so well. I think she would bee the wright one to sute them. Write as soon a you can write evry perticular. Tell the children that granma Pros and Eugene would like to see them and kiss them for me. My best love to you Sarah Luke and the children and Lous[12]. Prosper wish to bee rememberd to you all. He wants to see you Sarah verry much. He thinks in a year or two he will go and see you if you dont come out hear. Sarah I had the most of my Crockrey all broken to peaces. My stand was broke but my big rocking chair and large looking glass came safe. The big glass lamp the large platters the churn and I shant speake of any more.

This from your affectionate Mother to her Daughter

Nancy B Crawford [to] Sarah Keith

N B We have had a grate eal of verry cold wether. Bad colds is verry prevalent. We have had a good share ourselfs. The snow is three feet on a level and they say it is five in the woods. Pros haned your to me gest after I close mine. Yours and Eds both dated the 15. N B C

Edwins com night before last night.

[in margins on first page] N B I am glad to hear from you all and I hope you all will get the better of your colds soon. Before I sent my letter away Robert he said they whare all well. He sends his love to you all.



[1] In 1852 Nancy moved first to Cassville and finally to Omro, Wisconsin, where her son Robert was living. According to the 1853 issue of the Wisconsin Gazetteer, Omro was “pleasantly situated on the south side of the Neenah River, 11 miles west from Oshkosh, and 75 miles northeast from Madison. It has a heavy body of lumber on the north, with a rich soil of openings and prairie on the south, and has excellent facilities by water for obtaining pine logs from the immense pinery of Wolf River, a great quantity of which is here manufactured into lumber. Population 600, with 100 dwellings, 5 stores, 2 hotels, 3 mills, and 4 religious denominations.”

[2] It appears she is living in Robert and Louisa’s home (while they are in the Pinery) with her son Prosper and grandson Eugene

[3] Nancy’s son, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[4] Her grandson, Eugene Crawford, who was apparently living with Nancy at this time. Eugene was the son of Edwin Crawford and his first wife, Louisa Hall

[5] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Robert Crawford’s wife

[6] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

[7] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[8] Nancy’s son, Edwin Crawford

[9] Nancy’s son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[10] Nancy’s son, James Crawford

[11] Nancy’s son, Henry Crawford

[12] Sarah’s stepdaughter, Lois Keith, who was the daughter of Luke and his first wife, Minerva Payson

August 31, 1856 letter to Sarah Keith from Luke Keith

August 31, 1856

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Luke Keith, Omro, WI

He is still at Robert’s in Omro. He is feeling somewhat better and plans to leave Monday or Tuesday for Green Bay. Some of the men are going bear hunting and Robert has his hunting shirt done and “is a dancing around the floor.” Luke doesn’t feel well enough to go with them. Describes the area again and that they get their water from boring into the ground. When they get to water, it spouts up from 3 to 15 feet high. Says that Robert has a very good woman and their boy looks like Eugene and is as cross as ever Eugene was. Wants Sarah to tell Nancy and Ethan that he “will come home some time.”

Scan of 1856-08-31 Sarah Keith from Luke Keith

Omro Aug 31st 1856

Sarah your letter was received Friday afternoon. I was glad to hear from home,[1] was sorry to hear that Father[2] had hurt his leg.[3] I am at Roberts[4] yet. I feel some better than I did when I wrote you before. I think I shall leave here monday or tuesday. I shal go to the bay and then I will write you a gan. I am glad you and the children are well. Pros[5] says he wants to see you the darndest ***[6] the other children. He wishes he could *** and nancy[7] sing pop goes the weasel *** enjoy themselves very well. Robert *** wishes you and the children *** got a very good woman.[8] She is not *** Lois[9] she wares short dresses and pant___ *** a little girl. Their boy[10] looks like Eugene[11] and is as cross as ever Jean[12] was. We have heard from David.[13] He is well. Hiram[14] is going out where Dade is in two weeks. Robert starts to morrow morning for the woods. There are six of them going up the woolf river a bear hunting. Bob has got his hunting shirt done and is a dancing around the floor. He wants I should go with them. I cant I dont feel stout enough for that. I like this country very well. There are some as farms about here as I ever saw in any country. They get their water by diging. They bore into the ground with a two inch auger from 20 to 75 feet. When they get to water it raises to the top of the ground, just spouts up from 3 to 15 feet high. I went to Osh Kosh friday saw James Sprague[15] Uncle Jesses[16] son. He showed me one that was —5 feet deep *** pipe some 4 feet above the top of *** and cold as any spring water *** crockery store. I will get around *** as I can. If I stop at Green bay or Mackinaw long enough to get a line from you I will write where to direct. I saw a man last evening, said he was some acquainted at the bay, said he knew one man there by the name of King.[17] He did not know what his given name was. I am comfortably well. Tell Nancy and Ethen[18] I will come home some time.

Yours as always

C. L. Keith

[to] Sarah C. Keith


[1] According to Luke’s 1856 diary, he was gone from home from August 11 through September 23. See the pages following the August 24, 1856 letter for a transcript of the entries during that time period

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

[3] See August 24, 1856 letter

[4] Sarah’s brother, Robert Crawford

[5] Sarah’s brother, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[6] There is a large hole that runs through all the pages of the letter; *** indicates missing words

[7] Their daughter, Nancy Keith

[8] Robert’s wife, Louisa (McCann) Crawford

[9] Lois (Keith) Clark, Luke’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva (Payson) Keith

[10] William Edwin Crawford, who was born August 23, 1855

[11] Eugene Crawford, Sarah’s nephew, the son of Sarah’s brother, Edwin Crawford

[12] Believe this is short for Eugene

[13] Sarah’s brother, David (D. C.) Crawford

[14] Sarah’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[15] James G. Sprague and family were listed in the 1860 Census, living in Oshkosh

[16] Jesse Sprague was the uncle of Luke’s second wife, Jerusha (Crittenden) Keith; also, Jesse’s nephew, James Sprague Jr. (the son of Jesse’s brother James & Abiah [Carpenter] Sprague), was married to Luke’s sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[17] Luke had an uncle and a cousin, both by the name of James King, that lived in De Pere, Wisconsin, which is in the Green Bay area

[18] Their son, Ethan Keith

August 11 to September 23 entries in Luke’s 1856 diary regarding his trip to Omro and De Pere, Wisconsin

Aug 11      Left Home 12. Oclock noon went to Kalamazoo stayed until 12.25 Evening lft for Laport I.A. Had A fine shower at Kalamazu L. T. Earl paid seven Dollars

Aug 12      Arrived at Laport half past ten found the folks comfortable heard the Hon. A. Bur_________ lecture on our present wrongs in Kanzas

Aug 13      At Laport visited all the principal machine shops saw the engine that the clock company owned that used Barnums Name so freely

Aug 14      Left Laport at 7. AM arrived in Chicago at 9. AM Left Chicago half past eleven on the steam Boat Superior had a good trip

Aug 15      Got to Sheboygan four oclock Saw the Steam Shovel work on the railroad left Sheboyan at one oclock arrived in Fond du Lac at 9. evening left quater past 7 took a 3 Dollar Bill of Wm Russel not good on the Lewis County Bank

Aug 16      Left Fond Du Lac 15 min past 7. got to Omro 12 at noon found the folks all well Hiram and Prosper waer ther David[1] was gone some sixty miles west to Stephens point on the Wisconsin River

Aug 17      Rainy. Went up to Waukau in the after noon saw some of the finest country out corn and oats are heavy farms sell from 20. to 25 Dollars pr acre with good buildings

Aug 18      Cloudy and warm the Steamer Berlin City passed here at 7. in the morning went to Eurekah in the after noon up the fox River Between Omro and Berlin Citty saw Armstrong at Omro

Aug 19      All well fine pleasant day went a hunting killed two squirrels Pros went up to Kings after butter did not get Home until evening left his butter said he could not bring it

Aug 20      All Right warm and pleasant the boys loging Went over to town in the evening went into the big mill saw the nicest engine I ever saw was got up at Milwaukee

Aug 21      Cloudy and cool some rain went down town with bob[2] in a skiff saw Mose Mix and armstrong he says tell simmons he will come and work for him when he gets his shop done if hes helped bob fix his Barn for thrashing

Aug 22      Shower in the morning warm thrashers on hand one death in town child got done thrashing before night 53. bushels wheat 90 bushels oats on 3. acres 3 acres wheat

Aug 23      Pleasant going to help his neighbor thrash went over to town with Coffee Roberts Boy is one year old today his name is Wm Edwin[3] made him a cart

Aug 24      Cool and cloudy in the morning Hiram & the women have gone to church had a heavy shower between 3 & 4 oclock in the afternoon at Omro Wisconsin

Aug 25      Pleasant and warm helped Hiram clean up wheat Bob and I went over to mill in the afternoon went to the office no letter getting rather home sick want to be moving

Aug 26      Very foggy in the morning pleasant day made a saw buck for bob had a rost turky for dinner

Aug 27      Cloudy with some rain in the fore part of the day bob & Hite[4] are a loging Killed 2 squirrels rainy afternoon bob has gone to Waukau after his rifle he is going a bear hunting

Aug 28      Pleasant and warm Went to Osh Kosh saw the Big Steam saw mill saw some fine country good farms saw James Sprague[5] he is in a crockery store at Osh Kosh

Aug 29      Warm and pleasant stayed at home all day Robert went over to town and got my letter

Aug 30      Pleasant stayed at home in the fore noon went over in town in the after noon with bob saw Mose & Armstrong got a cane

Aug 31      Went out and caught a fish a sheep head stayed at home the remainder of the day warm and pleasant nothing on hand worth making a fus a bout to day

Sep 1         Very warm and dry went over to Winnaconne with the hunters see them all safe on the steamer Eureka and started up the river the steamer W. A. Knapp is now pasing 1/2 past 2

Sep 2         Very warm and dry went over to see S. Eliots farm has a fountain on it good land but rather low heavy timber redish clay soil eighty acres asked $1500 Dollars had chicken stew for dinner it went first rate

Sep 3         Very warm went in north of Roberts to look of the widdow browns forty like it very much very level and heavy timber deep soil went to Mc Lains on the hill saw Pierce rather unwell head ache some fence [fierce?]

Sep 4         Very hot Hite and pros commenced cutting up corn Bob gone a hunting been up the river into the wild rice Had a shower in the evening

Sep 5         Left Omro 20 minutes past eight pleasant part one sail boat the payton pased us met the Eureka and the Knapp in the Lake above osh kosh Left Osh Kosh 11. AM got to Green Bay at seven in the evening

Sep 6         Left Green Bay went back to depere Found King four miles East of Depere got there about one P.M. found them all well had a fine shower

Sep 7         Rainy this morning and warm cleared of pleasant. James and John Leroy[6] went after the cows gone at night

Sep 8         Pleasant and a cool breze from the Bay went out East with James to look of some land saw a fox saw the falls and some first rate land beach maple baswood oak and some pine

Sep 9         Cloudy looks like rain cleared of pleasant Mr Leroy raised his house he married Edith King Luther Bernol married Sarah King Their youngest Daughter They both live clost by five miles from the Bay

Sep 10       An uncommon hot night had a shower this morning nothing new to day all well as usual had some melons

Sep 11       Pleasant but rather cool Aunt Lilly[7] mended my pants had mush & milk for dinner

Sep 12       Warm and pleasant all at home work going on as usual went over to Charles Vintons after shingles for Leroy Helped Leroy shingle in the after noon had a shower in the evening

Sep 13       Pleasant this morning helped finish shingling Leroys House got through about sundown very hot all well no one hurt

Sep 14       Warm and pleasant stayed at home Expected to have had preaching at Kings but no one came

Sep 15       Very warm and smoky hot and dry went over to Cridens to a raising they raised a log house a very good country beach maple baswood oak pine and ash plenty running water there

Sep 16       Pleasant and cool stayed at Kings had mush and milk for supper cloudy and cool Had the headache

Sep 17       Had a fine shower cleared of pleasant started for G B got there about noon Michigan in port went over to fort Howard ¼ before one standing by one of Uncle Sams canons saw 4 mounted on wheels rained at 5 PM James & Leroy left about 4 AM bot spy glass 15 Dollars

Sep 18       Left Green Bay at 6 AM very heavy wind some rain had a very heavy gale run into Big Sturgeon Bay stayed all night come very near geting shipwreck

Sep 19       Pleasant and a very high wind Left Sturgeon Bay 25 minutes past nine evening Got into Eagle harbor at 12 Evening all right

Sep 20       Pleasant run into Washington harbor about Eight AM pased out of the bay at 9.15 AM passed fox island at 2 AM pleasant got to Bever island at 6 PM got to Mackinaw half past 12 Evening all right left Mackinaw quarter past one AM

Sep 21       On Lake Huron rainy Saw two propellers of Michigan Shore at four PM half way through Saginaw Bay at five out sight of land saw a bright rainbow

Sep 22       Pleasant & cool left Lake Huron about 5 AM Got to Detroit half past 2 Got home ¼ past one

Sep 23       Got home this morning Patty[8] and Sam Star came about seven oclock found the folks comfortable Patty went home with J York[9]

[1] Hiram, Prosper and David Crawford, Sarah’s brothers

[2] Robert Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[3] William Edward Crawford

[4] Hite is a nickname for Hiram Crawford

[5] Husband of his sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[6] Sons of Jonas and Edith Ann (King) LeRoy. Edith was Luke’s cousin, the daughter of James & Lilly (Willcutt) King

[7] Lilly Wilcutt, wife of James Hunt King. Lilly was Luke’s aunt

[8] Believe he is referring to his sister, Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague

[9] Joseph York was married to Helen Bradley, daughter of Luke’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley

August 24, 1856 letter to Luke Keith from Sarah Keith

August 24, 1856

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Omro, WI

From: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

Sarah is writing her husband, Luke, who is staying with her brother, Robert, in Omro, Wisconsin. She tells Luke that after he left his father fell in the barn, broke a bone in his leg and is having difficulty getting around. The children are well but they miss him. She would like him to bring the children gifts when he returns.

Scan of 1856-08-24 Sarah Keith to Luke Keith

Galesburg August 24th 1856

Luke[1] I received your letter yesterday to late to send one out by the mail. Your letter came to the Burg[2] Friday but I had not an oppertunity to send. I sent Henry[3] over Thursday to see if thare was a letter and it made him sick. I hope you are better. We all fell very anxious about you[4]. If you think of going farther dont leave Roberts[5] till you are well. I think if you dont feel very smart you had better come home. If you had some one to go with you I would not think so much about it. We are all as well as usuel. The next Thursday after you left your Father[6] fell down in the barn yard and hurt his leg very bad. One of the bones is broken below the knee. He could not get off of his bed for a week. He cant get around much now. The children have been well since you left. Ethan[7] says he thinks about Pa all the time, and Nancy[8] talks about you pretty much all the time. Nancy says I must tell Pa she wants to see him. For to or thre days after you left whenever we would ask Hannah[9] whare Pa was she would go to your Mothers[10] bedroom and we had to let her in before she would be satisfied.

Lasher had a 186 bushels of wheat. We expect to thrash this week. Cridlin has had two sisters a visiting him the past week. If you fetch Ethan and Nancy a present you must fetch Henry something too. Tell Hite[11] I want him to send me some present to remember him by. If you expect to stay long I want you to send me some postage stamps. We have had a letter from George.[12] He says Patty[13] is a coming the last of next month. Answer this as soon as you get it if you intend to stay.

My best wishes for your health and happiness.

Sarah C. Keith

[to] C. L. Keith


[1] The envelope is addressed to Charles L. Keith, Omro, Winnebago Co., Wis. Charles Luke Keith Jr. went by the name of Luke, as did his father, Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[2] Galesburg, Michigan

[3] Henry, age 13, Luke’s son by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[4] According to Luke’s 1856 diary, he was gone from home from August 11 through September 23. See following pages for a transcript of the entries during that time period

[5] Sarah’s brother, Robert Crawford

[6] Charles Luke Keith Sr.

[7] Sarah and Luke’s son, age 5

[8] Sarah and Luke’s daughter, age 4

[9] Sarah and Luke’s daughter, age 11 months

[10] Hannah (Willcutt) Keith

[11] Sarah’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[12] George Tomlinson, son-in-law of Luke’s sister, Martha

[13] Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague, Luke’s sister

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