May 2, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

May 2, 1872

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Nancy is writing her daughter, Sarah, about her state of health which is presently poor. She is complaining about indigestion and heart palpitations that are causing her to sleep poorly. She has received a letter from her grandson, Eugene Crawford, who has finished some academic courses and received his diploma. He also mentioned that his sister, Edna, is attending Notre Dame. Nancy has also been visited by her son, Prosper, who has been spending the spring driving logs. He and his wife had their first son on April 16th. The baby is doing well. She has also heard from her sons Robert, Henry and David, but has not heard from Hiram lately. She hopes that Sarah and her family are all well.  

Scan of 1872-05-02 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro  May 2th 1872

Dear daughter Sarah

I take my pen in hand to a dress a few lines to you to let you know how I be. My health is quite poor at present. I have the Dyspepsia and the palpitation of the heart. It trobles me so that I cant sleep much. I have ben taking the Vinegar Bitters for some time and thought they whare helping me for I was a goodeal better than I had ben for weekes but they have faild. O I do wish you could come out and see me. I often think of you and wish we could live near together. I received aletter from Eugene L Crawford.[1] He writes that he has got through his Coures and has got is Diaploma. He sais he has received aletter from Edna Crawford[2] and she sais she is atending school at Notra Dame four miles from South Bend. She writes that her mother[3] is quite sick and wants Eugene to come home. He sais he wont go for there is nothen for him to do. We expect him home in a week or two. Prosper[4] was here to day. His health is quite poor at present. He has ben on the Drive[5] and his work has been to hard for him. The river is so low it is hard work to get the logs down. His wife[6] has a young son[7] two weeks old last tuseday. It was born the 16 of April. She is very smart and the child is well. It has ben very dry and cold wether but a few dayes a go we had a blessed good rain. It rain a few hours and some vegation has put forth rapped. Lousia[8] and the children is well. She had letter from Robert[9] and he is well. I received a letter from Henry,[10] himself and famly was well. He writes there hired girl dide the 6 of April. She was a Polon[?]. She was the best hired girl that I ever see for work neetness. I received one from David[11] last month. He writes that his wife[12] lost her mother.[13] She whent to Utah for her health and she dide[14] thear. They where well. I have not heard from Hiram[15] lately. I wish I was well. I hope thease few lines will find you all well and injoying good health. My love to you all my Dear Sarah. Write soon when you receive this. From your affectionate Mother.

S C Keith         N B Betts

NB   Give my love to Mrs Burdis when you her and all inquireing frinds.

You Mother


[1] Her grandson, Eugene Leslie Crawford

[2] Her granddaughter and Eugene’s half-sister

[3] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford

[4] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s youngest son

[5] Driving is a means of moving logs downstream using the current of the river

[6] Isabella (Steele) Crawford

[7] Leo Ashton Crawford

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

[9] Her son, Robert Crawford

[10] Her son, Henry Clay Crawford

[11] Her son, David Caleb (“D. C.”) Crawford

[12] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford

[13] Hannah (Heaton) Thornton Jones

[14] While the headstone has a death date of April 1, 1876, the April 3, 1872 edition of the Colorado Transcript has the following: JONES – At Wellsville, Utah, on March 31, of bronchitis, Mrs. Hannah Jones, aged 48 years, wife of G. W. Jones, of this place. Deceased had been a resident of Golden since its settlement, but was visiting Utah for her health. She was the mother of our esteemed friend, Mrs. D. C. Crawford. Her death is mourned by a large circle of friends.

[15] Her son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

March 24, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from D.C. Crawford

March 24, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith

From: D.C. Crawford, Golden, CO

Glad to hear that Sarah is more cheerful and that her prospects seem brighter. The last portion of the letter is missing.

Scan of 1872-03-24 D.C. Crawford to Sarah Keith

Golden, Colorado, March 24, 1872[1]

My Dear Sister Sarah,

Yours of 15th is before me. I assure you it gives me great pleasure to read your letter as it does not contain such a gloomy account as formerly but you are more cheerful and prospects seem brighter for you all. You speak of having worn out the climate and would like to change. This climate is reccommended as good for asthmatics or consumptives, in the latter only in first stages. After they have been sick sometime they seem to suffer more here but generally the Country is considered healthy but still we seem to have just as much sickness here as elsewhere for what I know. And just as hard to get along. Still I believe if I was Luke[2] if I could sell out I would try Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas or Oregon, some place anywhere just for a change. It might be for the best. Still

[the rest of the letter is missing]

[1] On the letterhead of “Crawford & Boyd, Real Estate Brokers, Conveyancers”

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

March 18, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

March 18, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Talks about Robert and family as well as Prosper, who has not been feeling well. Mentions that Aunt Jemima Comfort has been married fifty years in February and celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.

Scan of 1872-03-18 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro March 18 1872

My Dear Daughter Sarah,

I take my pen in hand to answer to your last letter wich was gladly received. I was happy to hear that that you all had got a long in your sickness as well as you have. I hope that the good Lord will restore you all to good health again. I should have written before now but I have ben waitting and looking for som letters from the boys before I rote to you but I have not receive non as yet. Lousia[1] and famly is well. She had a letter from Robert[2] last satterday. He was well. He expects to come home next weeke but dont think he will stay a grate while. One weeke ago last satterday Prosper and wife[3] was here and took dinner with me. They where well. He was here last weeke. He complaind of not fealing well and said that Bell was quite un well. My health is not very good but better then it was som weekes a go. I still take the vinegar bitters but only twice or three times a weeke. They have help me but I dont expect they will cure me. Robert is takeing them. He sais they have help him very much. If he hadent got help he couldent work. There is a good meny rond here that is a takeing the bitters and thinks they are a helping them very much. I have thought if Ethen[4] could get them and persavear in takeing them I thing they would cure him. He is young. There is a better chance for him then for older folks. We have had a very cold winter and deep snow. Good sleighing. Febuary was the plents months of the three winter months but March has come in like a roaring Lion. So far it has ben cold and blustering wether. To day it is cold and winday. There is not meny sick at present but there has ben quite good meny deaths. Erva MacCall Dr M Call son is a going a decline. They think he has the consumption. He is a fine young man. He is a bout Ethens sise. He made me think of him often. I would like to know how you have got a long with Chapans or if you have got any thing to pay Osker Keith[5]. Do write the perticulars when you write a gaine. Dont waite so long befor you write as you did. Tell Nancy[6] to write to me and tell me when she is a gone to get married if she knows and I will send her a colla to be married in. Tell Hannah[7] to write to me and tell me if her bow has got back from Ohio and if they are a gone to get married. I would like to know it and if they are I will send a nice littel present. I have nothing that is very interesting to write. Tell Ethen I wich he would take a tramp out to Omro. We think it would do him good and improve his health. All of the boys sais they would like to have hime and stay a few wekes withe us. Tell Sis and Jim[8] that I would like to see them if I could I would give them some canday. I would like to see you all very much. I wich you and Luke[9] could come out and make us a viset. It would do you both good to get a ride on the cares. My love to you all.

From your mother

[to] S. C. Keith                       N. B. Betts

NB Your aunt Jimima Comfort[10] she sais they have ben married fifty years in Febuary and they had Golden Wedding and they had all of there children but Alford[11] and grand childred. He could not leve. They had menny nice presents. She did not say what they where. They wich that could ben there. They ware all well but your Uncel Frank[12] is troble with a bad pain in his head the most of the time. Write soon.

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

[2] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[3] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s son, and his wife Bell (Steele) Crawford

[4] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[5] James Oscar Keith, son of Harvey Keith, who was Charles Luke Keith Jr.’s brother

[6] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[7] Hannah Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[8] Louese and James Keith, Sarah’s two youngest children

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

[10] Jemima Wilcox was married to Nancy’s brother, Francis Comfort

[11] Francis and Jemima Comfort had a son, Francis Alfred Comfort. Perhaps this is who this reference relates to. See also a reference to Alford Comfort in the January 30, 1869 letter

[12] Francis Comfort

February 21, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

February 21, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Chicago, IL

Sends his sympathy to Sarah regarding the general ill health of her family and the financial strain it seems to be causing. He is well as is his son Harry. Kate is not feeling well and is taking medicines for kidney, liver and “complaints too numerous to mention.” Hasn’t heard from Henry since he was out there, therefore, doesn’t know why they didn’t visit Sarah.

Scan of 1872-02-21 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith

Chicago Feb 21 1872

Dear Sister

Your letter was received today. We were very glad to hear that the health of yourself, and family was improving. I know of no family that has suffered with long, and continual sickness, as yours have and I don’t wonder that you should feel discouraged. Ill health, of any great duration, of one alone in a family is enough to make misery plenty, but when a whole family is stricken, money gone, and actual want comes in, then I think the cup is full to overflowing. How you have got through all of this trouble so far and how you can write as cheerful as you do with your present and future before you, is more than I can understand. I presume that twenty years ago, nobody could have made you believe that you would have been strong enough to have gone through with what you have. When we were out there three years ago Luke[1] was in tolerable good health, the girls feeling pretty well and Eathan[2] I supposed was perfetly well, any of us little dreamed of the trials that was to come upon you. I sincerely hope and trust that the worst of them are over, and that you and yours will at least be restored to health. After that a living is comparatively easy.

Harry[3] and myself enjoy good health. Kate[4] complains most of the time is taking medicine continually for the Kidneys and Liver and other complaints too numerous to mention. I don’t see as it does her much good yet. If she feels better in one spot she is worse in another. Harry is quite a boy, so much so that he runs the house pretty much. I haven’t heard from Henry[5] since I was out there, therefore don’t know why they didn’t visit you. I received a letter from Mother[6] the other day thanking me for a five dollar bill. She was as well as usual. Kate joins with me in love to you all and trusting that the future will be brighter.

I am affectly your Broth

H. Crawford

430 N. Clark St.

Enclosed find five (5) dollars. I only wish it was five hundred.


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

[2] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[3] Harry Crawford, Hiram’s son

[4] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[5] Henry Crawford, brother of Sarah and Hiram

[6] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

January 5, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

January 5, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Nancy has not been feeling well lately, but appreciates the kindness of her landlord as well as her son Robert and his wife. She describes an unpleasant visit with Henry and Virginia. She talks about her sisters, Jane & Mary; Mary Crawford, who is planning a trip; and Prosper, who has just purchased a team of horses from his father-in-law for $300.

Scan of 1872-01-05 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro  January 5th, 1872

Dear daughter Sarah,

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you. I should have written sooner but I thought I would wait till after there[1] visit to your place. My health is quite poor at present. I havent ben very well since I came home. I am troble with the palpatation of the hart and dyspepsin[2] with it. I have no appatite to eat. I am now taking the vinegar bitters. I think I am fealing som better than I did and I hope they will help me so I can get my health again. Since I have ben so un well I have thought of you a grate deal. I thought if I could live with you or near you so you could take care of me when I am sick. I havent sufferd for the want care but it would be difernt have you with me. The old lady that I am a living with is very kind to me. Robert[3] and wife is kind. I am writeing with trimling hand. I hope if Henry[4] and Jenne[5] has ben to see you you have injoyd there visit. I was tretted well knoff by them only Jenne was not very sosabel. I had no chance to talk to Henry. He would come in eat his meals and then soon she would start from the tabel and then he would follow her till the next meal. One day I thought I would hed him out when he was a feeding the hogs and so I did and how mad she was. She call to him and he dident go and she diden speak to him that afternoon. She would not eat no supper and she went out doors and staid to the barn till he went out to where she was and staid som time coax her to come in and took the horse and buggy and whent out a rideing and next morning she peard a littel more social. O dear Sarah it was no viset for me. I never want to go again. You dont know how miserbel I felt while I staid there. Hiram[6] came there to tell me that I could not see Kate[7] nor Harry[8]. He and Henry said I had not better stop to Marshal if I dident go he would go with me to the next station so I whent on to Sister Janes[9] and found her well. Her sone Wallos Sunderland wife and three children was there and they have ben there for five months and they have looing for him. He has sent them monny and have promes to come but dont come. We whent to Sister Mary[10] in the afternoon. I staid with her that night. I feal sorra for Mary she is not very well and hast to sow for a living. Her daughter Kate husband[11] is well of but they are a bording but she sends her somethings but she mite send her more than she does but he is a Catholic. That makes the diferance. Mary Crawford[12] was packing up to start her journy but I dont know anything more about her. When you received this write soon and wite all of the perticulors. Prosper[13] bought a span of horses of his Father in law[14] and is to pay three hundred dollors when he can ern it. She is living with her folks. He bords her as pays them. They expect to have adition to there famly the first of April[15]. She went with him to where he was to work the two weeks ago. I havent space to write. How are Luke[16] gitting long with his farm afairs? Dous Ethen[17] do anything with couplin[18]?  From you mothe my love to you all.

[to] Sarah Keith

Nancy Betts

[The following was written on the first page above the date.] Write soon. Tell all about Ethen and the girls[19] and Sis[20] and Jimme[21]. My love to them all and Luke and your self. Your Mother


[1] Nancy seems to be referring to a visit by Henry and Virginia Crawford

[2] Indigestion

[3] Robert Crawford, Nancy Betts’ son

[4] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy Betts’ son

[5] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, Nancy Betts’ daughter-in-law (Henry’s wife)

[6] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy Betts’ son

[7] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Nancy Betts’ daughter-in-law (Hiram’s wife)

[8] Harry A. Crawford, Nancy Betts’ grandson (Hiram & Kate’s son)

[9] Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[10] Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

[11] Felix H. O’Connor

[12] Believed to be her son Edwin Crawford’s widow

[13] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy Betts’ son

[14] Joseph Steele

[15] Leo Ashton Crawford was born to Pros and Isabella (Steele) Crawford on April 16, 1872

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

[17] Ethan B. Keith, Luke and Sarah’s son

[18] Ethan was an inventor and had several patents related to coupling jacks. Perhaps this is some reference to that

[19] Luke and Sarah’s daughters, Nancy Keith and Hannah Keith

[20] Luke and Sarah’s youngest daughter, Louese Keith

[21] Luke and Sarah’s youngest son, James C. Keith

November 27, 1871 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

November 27, 1871

To:  Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Arrived at Robert’s last Wednesday morning and has rented two rooms for fifty cents a week. Found Bell at Robert’s. When Bell found that Nancy had rented she was very indignant and said she thought it would be cheaper for them if Nancy were to board. Pros had gone to Oshkosh. He met Eugene and stopped overnight with him. Mary gave Eugene only one hundred dollars. When Prosper returned, Nancy told him about Bell’s comments. He did not like it very much. He thought she was rather “faster than she ought to be.” Since his marriage, Prosper has gone deeply into debt. The remainder of the letter talks about a visit to Chicago and seems to be describing the clean up after the Great Chicago Fire.

Scan of 1871-11-27 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro Novem 27th 1871

Dear daughter Sarah

I rived home to Roberts[1] last wendsday morning. I met Rob a bout eightteen miles from home between Bernett and Rushlake on tuesday night. The cars was behind time and when we come to the Depot the Omabu[2] was gon so I stop with Mrs Henderson over night and in morning Robert came after me with horse and waggon and sence I have rented tow rooms for fifty cents a week ove Mrs Small a plesent old lady near Roberts. When I came to R, I found Bell[3] there. Pros[4] had gon to Oshkosh. I did not see him till the next day. He seen Eugene[5] and stop overnight with him. Mary[6] gave him only one hundred dollors[7]. I havent seen him yet. Prosper had come and got my houshold steff and and apears they had talk over what would be best for me to do and then they could keep my things. Lousia[8] had ask Mrs Small if I could have the hous before I came hom and so the next day I whent to see about it and she was very much pleas about it and said I mite have it for fifty cents a week. When Bell found that I reted she was very indignant about it and said she thought it would be cheaper for them for me to bourd. Said a goodeal that was not becoming for her that had nothen when she came in our famly and she a stranger to to me for I have had but very littel arguments with her. She never ment that I should live with them but she ment to have my things any how. Robert and Lousia thinks she is a gitting on the pants as fast as posabel. If I could see you I wanto tell you wen he came to Roberts. The first chanch I had I told him and talk with a bout it. He did not like very much. He thought she was rather faster than she ought to be. He has whent in debt very deep. He has taking Steel farm to work on Shars and has bought his horses for three hundred dollors and has bought a stove and chairs and I dont know how menny others things. I told him if they could live where I could live with them they mite have my things. He rather made fun of it. I dont expect he will do much for me for he cant git any thing with out he goes in dept for it. I pitty him from my very hart. He wont take no advice. Robert has advise him not to go in dept and not to take the horses but he dont take no adfice, goes right a long and we think he hears to them. I did not stay long with Mary. They where a cleaning the hous and waching bed closes. It is a getting dark that I cant see to write very good. Henry[9] is a doing well. They have a hous full of evry thing. When I write a gain I will tell you more about Henrys folks. I did not see Kate[10] nor Harry[11]. We rote to Hite[*] that I was a going out thear so he came to Henry _________ and he came with me to the Chicago Depot and Kate was a living eight miles from there. Hiram came to the next Depot and Henry paid my way fair through. Her, Kates, Father[12] sent her one hundred and thirty dollors and Hery sent thirty[13]. I did not stay long with my sisters for Jane[14] had a quite famly and Mary[15] had evry thing to bye. They wonted me to stay longer but I was anxous to com home and found them all well. I have not ben very well. You must excus all of my bad spelling and misstakes. It will pussel you some to read it. I am so tired I cant set comfortabel in my chair. Now Sarah write if you are abel to when you git this. You must excue me for not writing before. I have felt very uneasy a bout you and your famly. Write all of the perticulars. I would have written more perticular if I wasent so tired. This is second letter I have written to day and my pen is very poor. I hope these few lines will find you all in good health.

You mother

[to] S. C. Keith

[from] N. B. Betts

[at bottom of fourth page] My love to you and famly.


[1] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[2] Omnibus

[3] Isabella (Steele) Crawford was the wife of Lucius Prosper Crawford

[4] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s youngest son

[5] Eugene Crawford, Nancy’s grandson

[6] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Nancy’s son Edwin’s widow, and Eugene’s step-mother

[7] This is either regarding the settlement of the estate of Mary’s father, Patrick Hamilton, or help given Eugene following the Great Chicago Fire

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

[9] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

[10] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[11] Harry Crawford, Kate and Hiram’s son

[*] Her son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[12] Robert Atcheson

[13] Nancy seems to be writing about the state of affairs following the Great Chicago Fire, which started Oct 8th, 1871 and burned through the 9th. As many as 300 people were believed killed and 90,000 left homeless with damage totaling $200 million

[14] Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[15] Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

May 11, 1871 letter to Sarah Keith from Henry Crawford

May 11, 1871

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Henry Crawford, North Ceres, IN

The children have all had the measles this winter, five at one time and all very sick. Virginia has also been very sick. In the past four weeks she has been up but not very strong. He has a contract making wheels for the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Co. making two hundred sets per week. Henry employs nine hands.

Scan of 1871-05-11 Henry Crawford to Sarah Keith

South Bend, May 11th [1871[1]]

Dear Sister,

I will acknowledge that I have not been verry Brotherly In not writing to you before. I will or I can safely say that you have been remembered by me at least once a day for the past year. Your letter was a welcom letter to me. I was glad to hear from you & to know you are all as well as you are at the present time. As I have heard from you in a round about way, I am aware you have sorely afflicted with sickness. I hope your Childeren are all well. I think I can simpathise with you for I believe we have had our share in the past six months. The Childeren have all had the Measles this winter, five at one time & verry sick. Virginia[2] has been verry sickly. In the past four weekes she is so as to be up but not very strong. These trials is hard to bare but if we believe thar are for our good, it makes the burden light.

I have a contract making wheels for the Studbaker Brothers Manufacturing Co[3]. I am making two hundred set per weeke. I employ nine Hands. Thare is over three hudred men employd. It takes Eight Thousand dollers to pay off every two weekes. I will send Luke[4] a paper that will tell you more than I can write. The Boys[5] are with me in the shop. They are almost men.

We would like to make you a viset or we would like to have you viset us. I think if we all keep well this summer Virginia & the Boys will supprise you some time in July. It will bee almost imposable for me to get away. I think Luke would fat on the ribs some if he could see how we make a Waggon every fifteen minuts. Luke, come to South Bend. Bring the whole family. It will do you all good. Sarah, I would like to have a chat with you. I would say things to you in a better light than I can write you. We unite in our Love to you all. Com & see us.

Good By you Brother.

H. C. Crawford

Excuse poor spelling for I presume I have made (Lots) of mistakes.


[1] The year of this letter is not given, however, it is believed that it was written sometime between 1870 to 1872. Prior to 1870 Henry and family were living in Niles, Michigan. His letter refers to all five children having the measles at the same time. Henry’s sixth child, George E. Crawford, was born July 26, 1872. In addition Henry’s description of the level of activity at Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Co. generally corresponds with the growth of the company in the early 1870s (see below)

[2] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, Henry’s wife

[3] In 1852 the Studebaker brothers built their first small business. It was a blacksmith shop located in the heart of South Bend but soon they began building farm wagons and the business grew slowly until the Civil War. Over the years the company’s name changed several times. The Civil War’s demand for wagons, ambulances, etc. put a strain on Stubebaker’s production and they began to look for labor outside of the city. They also moved their manufacturing facilities to the southwest end of town, encompassing an area between Western Avenue and Sample Street, and Main Street to Walnut Street. By the 1870’s the westward migration required sturdy covered wagons and farm wagons and Studebaker was a major manufacturer with sales offices all throughout the West. The need for more workers caused the company to go overseas to find a workforce. Many who came were German or Polish. The company continued to make farm wagons until shortly after 1900 when they began to make automobiles. For more detail on the Studebaker Company see the following web site:                        

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

[5] Henry’s two eldest sons, John H. and Robert Clement (Clem), who were both in their mid teens

1871 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

Winter 1871

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Chicago, IL

Hiram is writing Sarah to tell her that his family is well and that he is glad to hear that Nancy is feeling better. They are experiencing a major snow storm and the company is having difficulty keeping the trolley cars running.

Scan of 1871-02 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith

Dear Sister,

I have written to Mother[1] about all the news. Will only say that we are all well and are being visited with a N East Snow Storm. It is about all we can do to keep the cars[2] running. Am glad to hear that Nancy[3] is feeling better. Enclosed please find Nine dollars (9). Love to all.

Your Brother

H Crawford


[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Hiram worked for the North Chicago City Railway Company

[3] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter. While the letter is not dated, because of the reference to Nancy feeling better it is believed to have been written in February of 1871 as previous letters refer to Nancy being sick

January 17, 1871 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

January 17, 1871

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Received a letter from Henry. They have been very sick. Jenny is not able to do much of anything and John, their oldest son, has had the fever this fall. Henry has been working at his trade making carriage wheels this winter. He says it has been very sickly in South Bend this year past. Poor Henry is having a hard time of it. John Worley, Jenny’s brother, has buried his wife. He said she died very happy. Received a letter and a Colorado paper from David announcing his marriage to Miss Amanda Thornton. Hopes he has got a good companion and they may enjoy each other’s comfort as long as they live. Received a letter from Hiram. He and his family enjoyed Christmas very much. Got letters from Robert, Prosper and Eugene. They are all well.

Scan of 1871-01-17 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro   January the 17 1871

My Dear Sarah,

I received your kind and welcom letter afew days ago. I was happy to heare from you and yours. I wish that Nancy[1] was here. I think Doctor Clap could help her. He has helpt a good meny difficult cases. It is very singular thing that your family has the ague[2] so much. I don’t remember when I lived with you of any one a having the ague. It seams to me that your family has ben afflicted more then any other famly around in that neighborhood. I wish Luke[3] could sell and get a way from there and get in a more healthily place. I received a letter from Henry[4]. He writes that they have ben sorely aflicked with sickness for months pasts. Jenne[5] is not abel to do much of anything and John[6], there olds son, has had the fever this fall. He dont get along very well. He is quite febel yet. Henry, he has been working at his trade a makeing Carriage wheels this winter. He sais it has ben very sickley in South Bend this year past. Poor Henry is lik your self. He is having a hard time of it. John Worly[7], so Henry sais, has buried his wife[*]. He said she dide very happy. He is Jennes youngest brother[8].

I received a letter and a Colorado paper from David[9] stateing his marrige with Miss Amanda Thornton[10]. All of that Peace the old Bach is marrige at last. I hope he has got a good companion and they may in joy each other society and take solled Comfort as long as they live.

I received a letter from Hiram[11]. He and his family had in joy Christmas very much. They had a present of a turkey for thear Dinner and they got lots of presents and Kit[12] got a half donzen of napkins rings. This is from him with lots of other things and Hite[13] got a nice pair of slippers from her and she received from her cousin, a young gentelman that is living in the city, a very beautiful round Lilly in wax set in a glass case worth twenty dollars and granma[14] got lots of things and little Harry[15] he got his stockings full of cande and nuts. It is to tedious to tell and name all of the articals they got. He sent me four dollars. I got a letter from Robert[16] and one from Eugean[17]. They both are well and like wise from Prosper[18]. He was well. Then I received from Emily Tomson, your Aunt Jane[19] hiard girl. She is a good writer. She writes for her. She sais sister Jane husband[20] is dead. He dide last June. Wallis[21] her son is aliving in Navada. She received a letter from him telling her that Mr Sunderlin died the beginning of that month. It was of consumption. Wallis is ago to move to Waukegan as soon as he can dispose of his properaty. Sister Mary Wickersham[22] is there. Ben there for severl months. Her health is good this winter. What was the matter of Mrs Jacobs[*]? I wish you would tell me in your next who is the man that married Adda Swadel. I hope thoes few lines will find you all in better health. Write soon as conveant. My love to you all. From your Mother.

So good night

Its is truely minets a past 9

Nancy B Betts

[to] S C Keith

P.S. I send one of Alice[23] letters to Nancy


[1] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[2] 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”

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

[4] Henry Crawford, Nancy’s son

[5] Henry’s wife, Virginia (Worley) Crawford

[6] John Crawford, Henry and Virginia’s eldest son, age 16

[7] John Worley, who was Virginia’s younger brother, lived with Henry & Virginia Crawford when they lived in Niles, Michigan, and worked as an apprentice wagon maker with Henry

[*] Alice (Alexander) Worley died at the age of 25

[8] Actually, Virginia’s youngest brother was Oscar Worley

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

[10] David married Amanda Thornton, December 21, 1870 in the Calvary Episcopal Church in Golden, Colorado

[11] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[12] Hiram’s wife, Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[13] Hiram’s nickname

[14] Kate’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth McGrath, who was living with Hiram and Kate

[15] Harry Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s eldest child

[16] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[17] Eugene Crawford, Nancy’s grandson

[18] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s youngest son

[19] Nancy’s sister, Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[20] Peleg Sunderlin, who died May 31, 1870 in Carlin, Nevada

[21] Wallis Sunderlin, Jane’s son

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

[*] A December 17 entry in Luke Keith’s diary mentions “Mrs Jacobs Died to day.” A search of shows that Julia A. Jacobs, age 38, wife of B. Jacobs, died December 17, 1870, and is buried in Galesburg City Cemetery, Galesburg, Michigan

[23] Alice Crawford, Nancy’s granddaughter

November 13, 1870 letter to Nancy Betts from Alice Crawford

November 13, 1870

To:  Nancy Betts

From: Alice Crawford, Glen Haven, WI

Hasn’t heard from her grandmother in quite a while. Inquires into the whereabouts of Uncle Robert and his family. Grandpa’s health is very poor most of the time. Aunt Kitty has another little girl named Flora. She received a letter from Aunt Harriet a few days ago, who is well and likes Iowa very well. Rolla sends his love. He says he will write when he thinks he can write well enough.

Scan of 1870-11-13 Alice Crawford to Nancy Betts

Glen Haven    Nov 13, 1870

Dear Grandmother

I have not heard from you in quite a while so I thought I would write to you to let you know that I am well and hope you are the same. Is Cousin Nancy[1] any better? I have not written to her yet. I did not like to write when she was so sick. I will when I hear from her again. How is Uncle Robert[2] and his family now? It is snowing here a little to day for the first time this fall. I think of going to school again this winter. Rolla[3] is going also. School will commence in two weeks and I must be ready. We have had splendid weather here all the fall. Grandpas[4] health is very poor most of the time. My Aunt Kitty[5] has annother little girl. She has named it Flora. She has only two children. It seems so nice to have her here. I wish you could come and see us. I received a letter from Aunt Harriet[6] a few days ago. She is well and likes Iowa very well.

I have not bought any postage stamps with the money you sent me. I have kept it because you sent it to me. Send me a piece of one of your dresses in your next letter. I am a going to send you apiece of one of mine in this letter. Thank you for sending me cosins Nancys address. Well I must stop writing for this time it is getting late. My little cousin Carrie[7] who is watching me write wants me to send my Grandma her love too. Rolla says give you his love. He says he will write to you when he thinks he can write well enough.

Accept my love also and write as soon as you get this for I would like to know how you are.

Good bye from your granddaughter

Alice N Crawford


[1] Nancy Betts’ granddaughter, Nancy Keith

[2] Nancy Betts’ son, Robert Crawford

[3] Alice’s younger brother, Rollin Crawford

[4] After the death of their parents, James and Ann (Rogers) Crawford, Alice and Rollin lived with their maternal grandparents, Thomas and Mariah (Brown) Rogers

[5] Her mother’s sister, Amanda (Rogers) Braithwaite. At the writing of the letter, Amanda and her husband, George Braithwaite, had a son, Charles, and Florence

[6] Her mother’s sister, Harriet (Rogers) Shutt

[7] Daughter of her mother’s brother, George Rogers

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