December 1, 1901 letter to Oscar & Mary Ann Keith from Altha Keith

December 1, 1901

To: Oscar & Mary Ann Keith

From: Altha Keith, Charlotte, MI

Updates her in-laws on her sons, especially how Donald is doing in school. Also gives them her husband’s train schedule so they will know when he is working and when he is at home.

Scan of 1901-12-01 Altha Keith to Oscar & Mary Ann Keith

Charlotte, Mich

Dec 1st 1901

Dear Father and Mother

We received your last letter but as usual some time has gone by and we have not answered it. All the week we have been busy as usual. Have had at least 18 callers (formal ones) then came thanksgiving and we wished over and over that you had been here to help eat duck. We had a dandy one weighed nearly eight lbs. At night Herbert[1] and I attended a very swell party at the Pythain temple given by the Rathborn sisters lodge and two days we have spent shopping. Had to get both boys[2] new coats, rubbers and lots of things. Robert lost his nice mittens Grandma knit not a hole in them. Had to get him some new ones two weeks ago. Herbert & I took a day off went to Lansing on an Early train and stayed all day. Bought me a new “Raylan” down there. Mrs Whitaker took care of Robert and Mrs Markham kept Donald. We knew the boys were all right so we had a good time. Last week Herbert was nearly sick with a cold but worked just the same and on Wednesday (same week) both boys broke out with chicken pox. They were scarcely sick at all. They have been over there for about three or four days. Went to church today and it was so perfectly lovely out that we took little walk and made one call this P.M. and before six o’clock we came home and two couples came in for over an hour then Herbert went at 8-30 to the depot both boys asleep and I am lonesome as can be. Donald wrote his papa a letter the last week he was out he did nicely with out help except at spelling some words his paper intended to keep it but it in some way got torn. I’ll send you a sample of his writing for found the part where he had written his name. He does splendid in school is very good in figures. His teacher phoned me one night to tell me I would be proud to know what a good boy Donald is in school and I was proud to hear him praised. Donald asks nearly every day if I have cut out any postal cards for Grandma and Robert thinks he would like to see his own quilt as he terms it. I think you are very good to piece for them and soon as I can I’ll cut you a lot of pieces and send. I have seen one quilt after the pattern you mentioned and it was beautiful. I can hear it raining now very hard. I think of Ina & Jay[3] often but dont get around to write to them. Now you tell them that Herbert is out the first week in Dec. and then every other one. They can mark their calenders and then they will know at a glance when he is out and he runs on No 9 and No 10 – 9 runs west and 10 runs East. They get to Marcellus about mid day about a half hour a part Mondays, Wednesday & Fridays. He runs west on No 9 and tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays East on No 10. If they just keep track when he is out or at home and they will be all right on if they ever enquire for him go to the mail car for the employees at the depot do not know him by name.

It is so late now that I must go to bed.

Love to you both from Allie


[1] Her husband, John Herbert Keith

[2] Her sons, Donald and Robert Keith

[3] Oscar & Mary Ann’s granddaughter and husband, Inez (Randall) & Jay Eaton

This letter is among several which were loaned to Jim & Ruth (Stankey) Keith, probably back in the 1980s, by Ella Nola (Curtis) Eaton, whose husband, Clifford Eaton, was the great-great-grandson of James “Oscar” & Mary Ann (Batey) Keith. This is a photocopy of Ruth’s handwritten copy of the letter. Note: Jim Keith is the great-grandson of Charles Luke Keith Jr., who was James “Oscar” Keith’s uncle.

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