June 3, 1862 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

June 3, 1862 

To: Luke & Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Has sold her interest in the farm. Expects to start for Michigan the first of June. Louisa had another young daughter. LP [Pros] is working on the Wolf River. Aunt Mary Wickersham is at Oshkosh. Ann Lacey got a letter from “canaday” saying that Uncle John Patterson died two months ago. Wants to come live with Luke and Sarah rather than any of the boys. Louisa wants her to live with them. They are willing to let her have a room and let Pros board with her. Pros wants to go to the gold diggings.

1862-06-03 1862-06-03B 1862-06-03C 1862-06-03D

Omro   June the 3 1862

Dear Luke and Sarah

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you to let you know of my heath and affairs. My heath is better at present then it was last spring but I am not well yet. The dyspepsia[1] hangs on yet. As to my business I have got it all settled. I have sold my Farm or my intrust in it for four hundred dollors to Darwin Rice. He makes annual payments at fifty dollares a year and more if he can till it is all paid and in trust on the whole at ten persent. I expected to start for Michigan the first of June but it was so that I could not leave then. Lousia[2] was not confind till the 12. She has a nother young daughter[3]. She is verry smart and up rond the hous seeing to he work. The rest of the famly is well. L P[4] is up to the boom to work on wolf river[5]. We expect him home to day. He was well a few days ago. Your aunt Mary Wickersham[6] is at Oshkosh yet but she expects to start for Iowa in a few days to her other daughters[7]. I went to Oshkosh a few days ago and made her and Ann Lacey[8] a viset. They whare well. Lacey[9] has inlisted in the war. He was in the battle of Pittsburg landing. He said he was paralyze by a shell bursting near him. He is gon to git discharge. Ann received a letter from Canaday from som of her friends. It stated that your uncle John I Patterson[10] was ded. He dide two months ago. The papers states of having som hard fighting at Richmond. We have not heard of the perticulares yet. It made me feal sad and sorrowfull when I read this morning in the Milwaukee sentinel of the twentieth Indiana Regment wich is in Gen Kenneys [General Kearny] Division beaning in som of the hotest of the Battel. O Sarah it would be sorrowfull news to me to hear of his death[11]. It seames that I could not be reckencile to it but I know I must be if it is the will of God. I hope he will give me grace and strength to bear up under it and to know that he doeth nothing rong. Louesas brother Stuard MacCan[12] was in the Battel of Pittsburg landing. He did not get wounded. Corfee was in the the Battel to. He is promoted to Lieut. He was sick and came home on a ferlow but has returnd back. Mr. MacCan[13] and famly has move to Minasota. Thear are all discontented. The old man sais that any the poorest placees in Wisconson is better then thear. I havent heard from David[14] in five monts. I do feal unesey a bout him but I know that he is in the hans of a mercyfull God that is abel to take care of him. Luke and Sarah I would say to you both I would like to live with you If you are willing I will support my self if you could let me have a room. I feal as though I would rather live with you as with the any of the boys. Louesia says I had better live with them. She thinks I will be better contented but I dont think so. If you think it is best for me to stay in Wisconsin or you havent a room for me or if it is a go to be any disadvantage to you I feal as if it would not be wright for me to go. Wich way you disside on and think best for me to do. I want you to write soon and let me know. Robert and his wife is kind to me. They are willing to let me have a room and have Pros bord with me and we stay as long as they do. They dont know how soon they may have to give up the hous as they havent rented it for any serten time. If they had a home of thear ond it it would be difernt. Prosper has a roveing mind. He wants to go to the gold digdings or some whare elce. He dont no whare. He has botherd me this year past about going away. I told him if he would be still and say no more till I could get things stratned I would give up all claims on on him. He expects to go to school this winter.

[to] Luke and Sarah Keith

Nancy B Betts

Rober and Louesia joines with in sending our love to you all

I dont expect to go 2 Mich till after harvest

[1] Indigestion

[2] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Nancy’s son Robert’s wife

[3] Melissa “Lizzie” Crawford, who was born May 12, 1862

[4] Nancy’s son, Prosper “Pros” Crawford

[5] The Wolf River was used for floating timber down the river to sawmills in Oshkosh. As travel increased, the river had to be cleared of rocks and debris and a dam constructed to maximize the floating of logs downstream. There were as many as five companies running logs down the river at once and each cut their own “water mark” on each of their logs which were then sorted at Bay Boom. Perhaps Pros worked at either clearing the river of rocks or in the actual sorting.

[6] Nancy’s sister, Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

[7] Phebe Catherine “Kate” (Wickersham) O’Connor

[8] Mary Wickersham’s daughter, Angelina (Wickersham) Lacey

[9] Alonzo Lacey, Angelina’s husband

[10] Nancy’s sister Elizabeth (Comfort) Patterson’s husband

[11] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son, was in this regiment, so it is assumed she is talking about him. From June 24th to June 30th, the Indiana 20th was engaged in fierce fighting, protecting the rear flank of the retreating Army of the Potomac. This phase of the Civil War, known as the “seven days battles” decimated the Indiana 20th Regiment, which started the battles with more than 800 men. The roll call at Harrison’s Landing in early July could account for only 350 men. The rest were either killed, wounded, captured or missing. During this peiod Company E lost nearly all its officers, resulting in a field promotion for Hiram Crawford Jr. on July 1, 1862 to 2nd Lieutenant.

[12] Steward McCann, Louisa’s brother and Robert’s brother-in-law

[13] John McCann, Louisa’s father

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

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  1. Trackback: June 3, 1862 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s

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