November 13, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

November 13, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Chicago, IL

Glad to hear that Sarah’s family was comparatively well, that Mr. Brown’s health had improved and that he and Nancy had married. Received a visit from Eugene, who was on his way to visit Mary Crawford, his stepmother, and was hoping for work in Detroit. Announces the birth of a daughter, Jessie Blanche. Describes his son Harry as being “as fat as a pig.” Goes on to describe an “Epizootic” epidemic that has killed 270 horses and has affected the operation of the city’s horse cars and omnibuses. His company has been operating with steam engines after approval from the city council. The company is losing $550 per day.

1872-11-13 1872-11-13B 1872-11-13C 1872-11-13D

Chicago Nov 13th 1872

Dear Sister

I received your kind letter today and read it with mingled feelings of pleasure and shame. Pleasure at receiving the letter and the knowledge that you were all in the land of the living and comparatively well ‑ and shame that it reminded me of my short comings in the way of correspondence. I suppose I will have to lay it to the cares and troubles of an increasing family. I presume I cannot give you any information upon that subject.

The last letter I received from Mother[1] was to the effect that Nancy[2] was to have been married at such a date providing Mr Brown[3] recoverd from his sickness. I am very happy to learn that he did and that the consumation of their wishes was at last reached[4]. May they live long and happy &c &c &c.

I received a visit of a couple days duration, from Eugene[5], about two weeks ago. He was on his way to Mary’s[6] hoping through some influence to get a situation in a business House in Detroit. He seems to know what he is about ‑ I believe he intends to visit you soon.

Four weeks next Friday morning there arrived at our House, 289 Sedgwick St, a young lady supposed to be a niece of yours but having no name. So we took pity upon her and have called her “Jessie Blanche[7]“.  You see we went out of the family to name the Boy so we thought we would not show any partiality toward the Girl. She has a remarkable voice. Also a nose, two eyes, a mouth, and not much of any hair. In fact looks and acts about as much like any other baby as any thing I ever saw.

Kate[8] is up and around but don’t regain her strength very fast.

The Old Lady[9] is as livily as any woman of between eighty and a hundred summers could expect to be. Upon her and myself falls the heft of the work. Harry[10] is as fat as a Pig, and takes a good deal of Stock in his Sister.

The Epizootic[11] struck the Horses of this city two weeks next Friday and has reighened supreme ever since. Thursday night we[12] hadn’t a sick Horse and within thirty six hours we hadn’t a well one in the whole two hundred and Seventy (270). Every Horse car and omnibus in the City was hauled off Nov 2 and will resume to any great extent before next Monday. The great wholesale houses and Express companies have procured oxen, and in that way have done part of their business. This company operates a Line outside of the City Limits with small steam engines called Dummies. The Common Council gave us permission to run there inside the Limits, so we are operating our Main Line with Steam, a train of five cars leaving every hour. The companies losses foot up to about $550.00 per day. I am happy to say that my Salary is not affected by it.

There is great excitement here on account of the great Boston fire. The people are trying to repay to some extent the generous donations which Boston heaped upon us a little over a year ago.

I recollect of you asking me about my politics and I thought I told you. I have been for Grant[13] from the start and gave him a square vote. Love to all.

Your Brother

H. Crawford


[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Sarah’s daughter

[3] Henry Ambrose Brown

[4] Henry Brown and Nancy Keith were married October 5, 1872

[5] Hiram’s nephew, Eugene Crawford, who was the son of Edwin and Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[6] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Eugene’s stepmother, who was Edwin’s second wife

[7] Jessie Blanche Crawford was born October 18, 1872

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

[9] Katherine’s grandmother, Elizabeth McGrath, who lived with them

[10] Harry A. Crawford, Hiram’s eldest child

[11] An epidemic animal disease

[12] The North Chicago City Railway Company, where Hiram worked

[13] As Hiram served during the Civil War, it is assumed that his loyalties laid with General Grant for the upcoming Presidential election


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: November 13, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr. – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s & 1870s

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