March 20, 1901 letter to Sarah Keith from Harriet Plank

March 20, 1901

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Harriet Plank, Grand Rapids, MI

Has had great trouble with her rheumatism which has been quite painful. She has been reading her late husband’s diaries which brings back to mind many events. Mentions her children and also their former neighbors, the Fords and Allertons.

Scan of 1901-03-20 to Sarah Keith 

Grand Rapids             March 20, 1901

My Dear & long timed Friend

I have finaly seated my self to to write you after this long delay. It has not been for want of thought of you or a disposition to write that I have neglected it so long for I have thought of you so much this past winter as I have been shut in the house all winter with rheumatism. It has troubled me so much that it has been all I could do to get around & do what little I had to do. It has been in my right arm & shoulder a great share of the time & in my limbs as well from my hips down to my knees & been very painfull at times but have managed to limp around the house & do things that had to be done but my arm & shoulder has been the most painfull especially if I tried to use it much. I have not been able to sew or write but very little & am indebted to all my friends. I have spent considerable time in reading Williams[1] Diarys & it has seemed that I was living my past life over again way back in York State & all the way down to the last few months before his death.[2] O so many things that had transpired that had gone out of my mind entirely but after reading I had a faint recollection of & even while at your house so many little things that I had entirely forgoten. He always kept every thing so minutely. I have not been to Wills[3] Since October or Marys[4] since Nov & she lives quite near[5] but my dear friend am very thankfull to say that my arm & shoulder is much better but pains me to use it much & shall be very thankfull if I get through this letter as there is so much I wanto say. The friends have all been very good to write me and not waiting for me. _____ Plank wrote me the fore part of winter that Huron Allerton[6] called on him said he was a living in Minnesota & also said that Mrs Allerton[7] wrote him that Ida & Liz[8] had visited them the past summer but did not say one word about Lizzies having a child.[9] Tommie Ford[10] called on us this winter said that Tamer had a Cancer in her neck & face.[11] Charlies boy[12] was with him. They had been to see Tamer. Wills & Marys family are well at present but Martha[13] & Marys husband[14] have been quite sick with Grippe. I could not go to either place. Carrie[15] is still teaching & when Mary comes we all so often speak of you & wonder how you all are. I have also been reading some old letters several of your families, the first one that Hannah wrote Mary after we came to the Rapids.[16] Also yours, Ethans,[17] Nancys & Lous[18] telling us all about Galesburg. Now my dear friend I do hope to hear from some of you. Write some as I would be so glad to hear how you are this winter.

I hd a letter from Willie Stiles last week asking me if I thought I could board him a while said his health was not good & thought the change would be a benifit to him. Carrie told him how I was now but if I got better we would let him know & all about it. With love to all not forgetting the Cihcago friends & Mrs Skinner[19] & young Lou. Tell Ethan he used to rule for I read several of his letters the other day & they were good. Tell Mr Keith[20] I came a cross those pictures the other day he gave me & I could see just how he looked when he gave them to me. I hope he has kept comfortable this long winter. Now do some of you write.



[1] Her late husband, William Plank

[2] He died May 22, 1879 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

[3] Her son, William Plank

[4] Her daughter, Mary (Plank) Skeels

[5] Both Will’s and Mary’s families lived in Grand Rapids also

[6] Former neighbor of the Keiths and Planks

[7] Caroline (Rapelje) Allerton

[8] Sisters, Ida (Allerton) Carr and Elizabeth (Allerton) Clark. Liz was the wife of Sarah’s step-grandson, William Clark

[9] Caroline Lois Clark, who was born October 14, 1899

[10] Former neighbor of the Planks and Keiths in Comstock, Michigan, and the brother of Tamer Ford (see following footnote)

[11] Mary “Tamer” (Ford) Adams. She died from the cancer on April 10, 1902

[12] Either Thomas or Henry Ford, who were the sons of Charles Ford, Tommie and Tamer’s brother

[13] Her daughter-in-law, Will’s wife, Martha (Marvin) Plank

[14] Isaac Skeels

[15] Her daughter, Caroline Plank

[16] The Plank family had been the Keith’s neighbors in Comstock, Michigan, but on April 3, 1873, Sarah’s husband, Luke, noted in his diary that they had left for Grand Rapids, Michigan

[17] Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

[18] Sarah’s daughters, Nancy (Keith) Brown and Louese (Keith) Harris

[19] Sarah’s step-daughter, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[20] Sarah’s husband, Charles “Luke” Keith Jr.

[21] From the contents of the letter, this was written by Harriet (Groat) Plank

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