November 19, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

November 19, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Reports that she is feeling well, as are Louisa and the children. Robert is away overseeing lumber for “Mr. Siman.” She doesn’t expect him home before Christmas. Mentions that she has seen Prosper and his wife and had received a letter from Hiram announcing the birth of Jessie Blanche. Kate has taken a while to recover from the birth. Was glad to hear that Ethan’s health is better and that Nancy’s wedding had gone well. Has not heard from Henry in a long while. Eugene left three weeks ago to find work.

1872-11-19 1872-11-19B 1872-11-19C 1872-11-19D 1872-11-19env

Omro Novem 19 1872

Dear daughter

I take my pen in hand to adress afew lines to you in answer to your letter wich I received a few dayes a go. I was glad to hear that you was all well. I am fealing better at present. Lousia[1] and the children is well. Robert[2] has gone over two hundred miles away to over see lumber for Mr. Siman dont expect him home till Christmas. I dont remember the name of the place where he whent to. Lousia had a letter from him. He wont very well for he had a hard cold. Prosper and wife[3] was here last week. They were well. He talks of going to the woods. He has rented two room of a family living near town for her. I received a letter from Hiram[4] two weekes a go. He said they had a young daughter. It came to town the eighteen of October. They named her Jessie Blanche. He said Kate[5] dont get a long very fast, is up but dont get her strenth. He sais the baby is a doing well, has a magnifinch voice and knows how to use it. We havent had much rain but very plesent wether some snow but not enough for sleighing but good wheeling. I was pleas to hear you had a good time at the Wedding[6]. I hope Nancy will keep her health and in joy her self in her new home. Where is Hannah[7]? You said nothing a bout her in your last letter. How did her and Higgons[8] get long? Is his hart as warm as ever?

I made me a collar. It is to large a rond the neck for me so I sent it to you. I think it will be about rite for you. I have a neck tie. It was given to me. I thought I would send it to Jimme[9]. If the ends is to long you can make them as he wants them. Tell Lousia[10] I will send her some littel present one of these dayes. I hope Luke[11] will get his health a gain. I am glad to hear that Ethen[12] health is better so he can work som. I hope he wont over do and make himself sick a gain. Tell Jimme I am glad to hear that he is such a smat boy. I hope he will make a smat man. I would like to have his picture. Give my regards to Henry and Nancy and tell them I expect a letter from them with there picture in it and or tell them to dress as they did when they was marred. I dont know any thing about Henry[13] and famly. I havent heard from him in long wile. He dont to me any more. Eugene[14] left here three weekes ago. He was a going to try to get in bissness some where. He said he thought he would call and see you all. Hiram said he was there and staid with them two days. I havent heard from him since he went a way only what Hiram said he would write to me and Robert has ben expecting a letter before he whent a way. I received a letter from David[15] last month. They were well. It has ben quite sickley here for severl months past and a good meny Deaths and some being quite sick at present. I mus clos by giving love to you all and hoping you will write soon.

From your mother

N B Betts

[to] S Keith

What is it about Nancy a going a trance[16]? Prosper said you wrote to him that she would lay senceles. Write and tell about it how she is oprated on.


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

[2] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

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

[4] Nancy’s son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

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

[6] Sarah’s daughter, Nancy, married Henry Brown on October 5, 1872

[7] Sarah’s daughter, Hannah Keith

[8] Floyd Higgins, Hannah’s boyfriend

[9] Sarah’s son, James Keith

[10] Sarah’s daughter, Louese Keith

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

[12] Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

[13] Nancy’s son, Henry Clay Crawford

[14] Nancy’s grandson, Eugene Crawford, son of Edwin Crawford

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

[16] Nancy would go into trances and when she came out of them, she would be very weak. She had a spirit guide named Maumee. Sometimes during her trances she would create very delicate drawings. Her husband, Henry (Hank) Brown, told her to tell him when she felt a trance coming on so that he could help her fight it. It is uncertain whether these trances were a form of seizure or had its root in spiritualism, which was practiced by some family members


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  1. Trackback: November 19, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s & 1870s

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