May 8, 1876 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Louese Keith

May 8, 1876

To:  Luke and Sarah Keith

From: Louese Keith, Chicago, IL

Louese, who is 15, has been living in Chicago and attending school. The school, which is two miles away, contains 1,190 students and has 17 teachers and is situated in a four-story building. Louese then describes a typical week at school. The balance of the letter consists of a description of the Gilmore’s Band Concert, which she attended with her cousin Eugene.

1876-05-08A 1876-05-08B

Chicago     May 8th 1876

Dear Ones at home,

It has been such a long long time since I have written to you that I am ashamed to write now but if you get mad at me this time I will write every two weeks after this. Well to begin with I have not had time and when I have I would let that long word Procrastination come in and it would put off every thing until the last moment but you see I have commenced on this sheet of paper & expect to get to the bottom of it some time to night all though it is after nine now. I have been to school to day and had to come home on account of sick head ache but attended this afternoon. If you are absent here one after noon it is worth more than two weeks would be out there. I mean in the Country school. The school house is four story & 17 rooms. There are seventy scholars in our room and 1.190 in all besides 17 teachers and one extra German teacher which is 18. They study German in our room, but I do not think that I shall take it up. I am in the fourth grade on the top floor. No 1 is the highest. We have five flights of stairs to climb three times a day and by the time I do that and walk two miles I am tired enough to sit down. I come home after my dinner. I think I told Lois[1] that the school was a half a mile here so you see that makes the two miles. Well I study Warrens Geography, Greens Arithmetic, Sherwoods Reader & Speller Grammar, Writeing Speller, Singing by notes & Drawing. We take four lessons a week in singing Tuesday Wednesday Thursday & Friday afternoons & we recite all our other lessons in the forenoon exceping drawing so you see we dont have much to do afternoons. Schools com— in the morning at 9 recess at 10.40 out at 12 com— at 2 & out at 4 so we have no recess in the afternoon. School closes the last of June then we have 10 weeks vacation through warm weather then it will be pretty steady going withe the exception of a week or two until a year from now. Well I will let school slip now for a while & talk about some thing else. Aunt Kate[2] was sick all last week. Had a Dr for her Friday Saturday & Sunday but she is feeling first rate to day. It was her throat. She could not swallow a thing Friday exceping a little beef tea. Uncle Hi[3] bought a couple of tickets Friday for Eugene[4] & me to attend Gilmores Band Concert held at the exposition building Sat— evening. We went & Ethan[5] how I wish you could heard the music. You know it is next to the largest band in the world. The best piece they played was the Awakening of the Lion. It was splendid. Then they had a regiment of soldiers about 3.00 men I should think all dressed in uniform and they marched just as you have seen them in pictures all step to gether & carry their guns just so. I liked that part about as well as I did the music but should liked it better if I had not got scaired out of my wits. We had a fearsome storm here in the afternoon & it was terrible on the South side. It racked the building so that in the evening one of the timbers from under the gallery came down & the women were fainting away & ever body scaired to death most. There were 12.000 there Friday eve & about as many Sat eve. It is a mammoth building. It cost so I read in the papers 1.000 $ to get it ready for the occasion. It was fired splendid. If you stood at one end of it the other end would look to be about 12 feet across. We got home after Eleven Oclock & I got to bed about 12 & I have not got my sleep out yet so will stop. Good bye. Tell Jule to be patient. I will write some day but I can not write Sunday because is against the rules of Babptism. Dont let Gandma[6] hear you read that. I have not forgotten Stell and Em by a good deal. Write soon.

Grandma it is very lonesome since you left.[7]

[1] Louese’s half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[2] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, Hiram Crawford Jr.’s wife

[3] Hiram Crawford Jr., Louese’s uncle

[4] Louese’s cousin, Eugene Crawford, son of Edwin Crawford

[5] Ethan Keith, Louese’s brother

[6] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[7] Unsigned, but it is Louese Keith’s handwriting


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