May 23, 1856 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford

Footnote #6 updated on 02-11-2017

May 23, 1856

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Crawford, Cassville, WI

Arrived at Cassville on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin three weeks ago. Apparently staying with son James. Describes the area and also James and his family. Speaks of Eugene being quite sick. Asks Lois to write when she is going to marry Byron.

 1856-05-23 1856-05-23B 1856-05-23C 1856-05-23D

Cassvill May the 23 1856

Dear Sarah

We arived at Cassvill three weeks ago to day safe and sond and found James[1] and family the same. James looks quite natural. He is a vearry large stout man. Perty good looking. He has sandy wiskers, not quite so hevvy as Edwins[2]. His wife[3] is a verry good looking. She is bout Louesa bild, a verry little taller, verry fare blue eyes, lite chesnut brown hair. Thear children is large and fleshed for so yound as they be. The little girl[4] will be three years old the tweneth of next September and she [is] largear then your Nancy[5] and the boy[6] is one year old and he looks like a child two years old.

Edwin recommendation and pas that the Superitendent gave him past us all over raile and watter free. He thinks he can go to Roberts[7] without paying anything. He left hear the third day after we arrived hear and was a going to Roberts place and saide if he bought thear he wold rite to us in a few days and let us know all the perticulars. He had a grate ide of having James move thear if he bought and if not he was a going back to Hamelstons[8] and get Mary[9] and the houshold stuf and move out hear in this regeion of country to a place call Hastings and have James move with him but we havent heard from him cence he left. This is the resson that I delaid in riteing to you before.

Cassvill is a smoul town, quite a hamson location with scatterd housses and few good bildings in the loer end of the town, four stores, two publick houses, three groasses and som few bourding houses. It is on the Missippa river. Som of the bildings is close to the watter age. Cassvill is surrounded by mountains on south side of the river and iowa layes on the west side of the river. In some places the mountains is one hundred and thurty feet high. The hous we are aliving in is about thurty rods from the river. To morrow we expect to move in a hous that sets on the river edge. He [James] expects to stop thear tell he puts up one for themselves. He is a going to bild soon if he dont go with Edwin. James has traveled a grate deal sence he left us at Yorkvill[10]. He has ben to liverpool, round cape horn and to the east indes and to quebeck and Newyork City and broolin and a grate menny other places that is to leigus to menchen. He traveld betwen three and four years after he left home studdy. James has a unstiddy mind of his own fore ever to keep property after he earns it. He is indurstres, hard working fellow. I wish he could git with Robert in that kind of bissniss. I think he wold do better whare he cane have Roberts consol. I think he will hear [listen?] to him but I have no apinion of him going with Edwin, but still he may do well and I hope he may let him be whan he will for he has got a good kind wife and one that thinks evry thing of him and he is a good harted fellow as ever was.

Now Sarah I think I have told you all. Now dont split your sids a laughen when your reade this wen you see how I have blundert in the perticulars. James and family is well. I have a bad cold ever cence I have ben hear and a hard cough but I am som better of it now. Eugene[11] has the ague. He was verry sik yesterday. To day is his well day but he looks bad. He saide he wanted to go and see Eathen[12] and Nancy[13] but poor boy I dont know if he will ever have that oppertunity agane in his young days.

I cant tell you much about my self and and what I will do at present. I think now I will go back to Laport the first of July if the Lord spare my life. My things is thear. James and Ann wants me to stay longer if I can be contented. This place is settled mostly by dutch and a few irish and som americans and English. Rite as soon as you can. Give my respects to the old folks. My love to Luke[14] and youslef and the children, to Lous and Henry.[15] Tell Lous that she must rite to me when she and Byron[16] is a goen to git married[17] and get those verces from Miss Taylor and to put then in letter. James and Ann joins withe me in sending our love to you. No more at present but remain your afectunate Mother till death

Nancy B. Crawford

[to] Sarah C. Keith

N B give my respects to all inquirn frinds and rite evry peticulars.

N.B. Dear Sarah

The Missippa is a beatiful stream of water. It looks verry much like the river St. Clair only the water is soft and the cullar of rain water. The large boats is a runing up and down the river consinly. They engage six aday.

NBC

[1] James Crawford, Nancy’s son

[2] Edwin Crawford, Nancy’s son

[3] Ann (Rogers) Crawford

[4] Alice Crawford

[5] Nancy Keith, Nancy’s granddaughter (Sarah’s daughter)

[6] The baby’s name is unknown This was actually the second of three children born to James and Ann; name unknown. See notes below

[7] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[8] Nancy is referring to the Hamiltons, Edwin’s in-laws

[9] Edwin Crawford’s wife

[10] When the family moved to Michigan from Canada, they lost contact with James, who apparently went his own way while the family was living in Yorkville, Michigan (about 1846). See 9-16-1851 letter where they are trying to find the whereabouts of James. This is apparently the first time Nancy has seen James since he left

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

[12] Sarah Keith’s son, Ethan Keith

[13] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

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

[15] Lois and Henry were Luke’s children by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[16] Byron Clark

[17] Lois and Byron were married March 17, 1859

Additional note added on 08-09-2015 regarding Footnote #6 above. It is possible that this was another child who died in childhood. According to this letter, James and Ann had two children: the “little girl will be three years old the tweneth of next September and she [is] largear then your Nancy and the boy is one year old and he looks like a child two years old.” If that boy was Rollin (nicknamed Rolla), he would have been born around 1855, yet according to census records, Rollin was born around 1857 or 1858. Perhaps another boy was born to James and Ann who then died before Ann did in 1858. If Rollin was born in 1857/58, then possibly Ann died from complications of the birth.

Correction added on 10-18-2015: According to the obituary for Alice Crawford, “she was the last surviving member of a family of three children.” This confirms that Rollin was born in 1857/58 and that there was another boy born to James and Ann around 1855 and that that boy died before Ann did in 1858.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Correction to May 23, 1856 letter | Crawford/Comfort Family Letters
  2. Trackback: May 23, 1856 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford – Letters to and from the Keith and Related Families
  3. Trackback: Updates & Corrections | Crawford/Comfort Family Letters

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