February 4, 1874 letter to Sarah Keith from Pros Crawford

February 4, 1874

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Prosper Crawford, Shawano, WI

At the present Prosper is living in a shanty among the Pines about seventy miles from Winneconne (home) and four miles from Shawano. His business is to scale the loads, keeping account of the same and the company books. The total number of feet rafted last season amounted to 213 million. This year the highest estimate is 80 million. This great reduction owes partly to the money panic and partly to the depletion of the pinerys in this section of county. It is estimated that in three years the pine on the Wolf River and its tributaries will be exhausted and in twelve years all the Pine this side the Rocky Mountains. Many lumbermen are now looking to Puget Sound as their next place “of rendesvou.” David wrote news of Hiram’s promotion to the office of secretary and treasurer of his company. Has heard but very little of Henry of late. “Don’t write to him, not but that I think of him, but the Worleys are a terror.” Thinks it a very unfortunate circumstance “when Cupid dart did pierce their heart since it killed not a single Worley and almost used up a Crawford good boy but in hard luck.”

1874-02-04 1874-02-04B 1874-02-04C 1874-02-04D

Shawano Wis

Feb 4th 1874

Dear Sister

About five moments ago the thought came to my minde that I would write you letter and concluded I would act upon it before the spell lost its grip. I have thought many times that I did wrong in not writing to the only sister if I neglected the numerous Brother and so if you please this may be considered significant of penitence and a strong desire to learn of you and all of my connection in your locality. At the present writing I am in the shanty among the Pines a point on the earths surface about seventy miles from Winnecon (Home) and four miles from Shawano. It is noon. The men are eating their dinner. There are about forty men of us and it takes a world of Pork and Beans to satisfy the stomach of a lumberman. I asure you I wish Luke[1] was here. I think I could interest him showing him the wonders of the woods. We have thirty four Horses and ten Oxen. The Oxen are used to load the sleds only. The sleds are seven feet in width. The largest load hauled scaled four thousand feet. The largest log masuered (1480 feet). If you should see one of our mountain loads of logs standing in the streets of Galesburg you would declair that no pair of Horses could budg it and in fact they could not unless their mussels had been gradualy hardened to the work. Our Horses weigh from twelve to fifteen Hundred apiece with mussels like iron. Now and then one dies from over work but then no matter they say he hadnt ought to be a Horse. These Horses have to move their loads twelve miles every day with the return trip making twenty four or six miles travel per day. My buisiness is to scale the loads keeping account of the same and the company books. This is all I do. Last winter I worked very hard which affected my health some. This winter I go very light on the mussel. The total number of feet rafted last seson amounted to the large number of two hundred and thirteen million. This year the highest estimates place it at eighty million. This great reduction is owing partly to the money panic and partly to the depletion of the pinerys in this section of county. It is estimated by good judges that about three years will nearly exhaust the pine here on the Woolf and its tributaries and twelve years all the Pine this side the rocky mountains. Many lumbermen are now looking forward to Puget Sound as their next place of rendesvou.[2]

Well I have written much that I thought perhaps might interest Luke, if not you, knowing his propensity for a pine tree and camp life. I reccolect well of him the strong desire he had to visit work in the Pinery when here which I believe he never did.

I suppose mother[3] has written you of the surprise David[4] made her. I am sorry that I could not have been at home and seen him. It was a great disappointment. My wife[5] was out to her Fathers[6] who was not very well at the time and she did not get to see him. He left word for my Boys[7] picture which I suppose you would like to have which favor I shall in time be most happy to confer on all my relatives. My only excuse now is the money Panic[8] which on the whole I dont seem to notice much since the disease struck me very early in life (Perry Davises pain killer dont seem to have aney effect on it) and dont seem to abate in the least. I would write to you more particulers respecting myself and Family but suppose that Mother posts you, however we live in Winnecon. Have purchased a Home there. Have prospered in the past year. Cannot do as well the coming season but if I keep my health will finish paying for my place. My wife says she would be glad to make your acquaintance. She think from what she has heard that she would like you very much. I tell that would not be singular since every body does. She writes me that David brought the news of Hirams[9] promotion to the office of secretary and Treasury of the road[10]. Well I am glad. Hiram is worthy. Eighteen hundred a year sings well. Success in this world is a great thing since so many fail. I have heard but very little of Henry[11] of late. I dont write to him, not but that I think of him, but the Worleys[12] are a terror to me and though I may never tell him so still I think it a very unfortunate circumstance when Cupid dart did pierce their heart since it killed not a single Worley and almost used up a Crawford good boy but in hard luck. You dont wanto read this to any body but Luke since no one can appreciate it as well. Perhaps Henry he is satisfied. Well then I shall not complain. Well Sarah tim is passing. Allready grey hairs are putting in their appearance in my Black head and am reminded now in the thirty first year of my pilgrimage on earth that changes are constantly taking place that must eventually end in the dissolution of body and mind. Am I prepaired, you say? Well, I believe in Spiritualism which means much that is good to me and the human race a place for all that they may eventuely work out their own selvation. Much I could say about this but space forbids. Write me at Winnecon as soon as you get this and oblige your affectionate Brother

L P Crawford

Write me about Eugene[13], Ethan, Henry Keith, Nancy, Hannah[14] and all. I want to hear how all all.

I have written very fast. If you can make out to read this I will try and write a worse one next time.

L P C

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

[2] There are records with the Bureau of Land Management showing that two tracts of land were sold to Lucius P. Crawford near Port Angeles, Washington, in 1891 and 1894

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford, Prosper’s brother

[5] Isabella (Steele) Crawford

[6] Joseph A C Steele

[7] Leo Ashton Crawford, who was born April 16, 1872

[8] In the fall of 1873, Jay Gould & Company, a government bond agent and backer of Northern Pacific Railroad construction, failed causing a number of Wall Street failures and forcing the Stock Exchange to close

[9] Hiram Crawford Jr., Pros’ brother

[10] North Chicago City Railway Company

[11] Henry Clay Crawford, Pros’ brother

[12] Henry’s wife was Virginia Worley. Her family settled in La Porte, Indiana, in the 1830s having moved from Amherst County, Virginia. Virginia Worley had seven brothers and sisters, one of whom, John Worley, worked as an apprentice for Henry

[13] Eugene Crawford, the son of Edwin and Louesa (Hall) Crawford

[14] Sarah’s children, Ethan, Nancy and Hannah Keith; Henry Keith was her stepson, the son of Luke and Minerva (Payson) Keith

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