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.


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

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: November 27, 1871 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s & 1870s

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