September 7, 1876 letter to Sarah & Luke Keith from Henry Brown

September 7, 1876

To:  Sarah & Luke Keith 

From: Henry Brown, Lawton, MI

Hank describes his plans for Chicago and his new job as a conductor on the street cars. He seems to be somewhat bittersweet about this move, but is hoping that the change will provide happiness for his family, although he is not sure. He also gives Luke his recipe for varnish.

1876-09-07A 1876-09-07B

Lawton Mich

Sept. 7/76

Dear ones at home

Nancy[1] and Hannah[2] are abed and Claude[3] is asleep so I will try and write a few lines. We received two letters from Ma[4] to day. Sorry to hear that Eugene[5] is sick. Guess Aunt Kate[6] will think her trouble is not at an end if Eugene is taken there and Grandma[7] stayes there too. I expect to start for Chicago next Wednesday morning. Did calculate to go Monday but cant on account of weather being so cloudy. I am going on the street cars as conductor and if I can get a job at Photographing I will take it or any thing else that will pay better than it (railing) does. I shall moove out there if I can rent rooms to suit us for $10 or $12 per month and I think we can at leaste. I could when I was there before and if we can do that we can do better than to stay here and do twice as much work as we have for the last 2 years or more and it is getting worse and worse every day. We talk some of takeing boarders. If we do Hannah will go with us if she wants to and if we dont do that and she wants to go and sew she can do so and I think it would pay her. But dont make any calculations on what we are going to do as we cant tell until after I get there and see what is what.

Now I will tell Pa[8] what that Varnish is made of before I foget it. “Alcohol 5 oz White” Shelac 1 oz Sandarac l/4 oz. Dissolve Shelac in Alcolol. Then filter and add Sandarac. Filter again and you have a varnish that will varnish any thing. If you neglect to filter it you will not find it very good!!

Friday morning five o’clock. I am up got a fire built and called the girls now I will try and finish this letter. I am packing the things at the Gallery and shall moove them down here and then if we go to Chicago I shall have to store them some where. Maybe I will send them home if you can find a place to put them. It is not very pleasant to think about but thank God there will be a change in about 50 years with us and that change will probly come a great deal sooner with you than us. I hope in the next world we can have some of the sweets as well as the bitter but dont suppose we will. I dont care a darn for myself but those that are counting on me is the ones I pity. I would gladly work myself to death if it would or could possibly make others happy. Well I guess I have went it about long enough so will close hopeing that this will find you as well as it leaves us. We are all as well as usual. Nancy & Hannah will probly be home about middle of October.


Henry Brown


[1] Henry’s wife, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[2] Nancy’s sister, Hannah Keith

[3] Henry and Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

[4] Nancy’s mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[5] Nancy’s cousin, Eugene Crawford. Eugene was the son of Edwin Crawford, Nancy’s uncle

[6] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, wife of Nancy’s uncle Hiram Crawford Jr.

[7] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[8] Nancy’s father, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Another Letter | Crawford/Comfort Family Letters
  2. Trackback: September 7, 1876 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Henry Brown – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s & 1870s
  3. Barb Triphahn
    Sep 27, 2018 @ 13:52:29

    Footnote #6 has been corrected to show correct spelling of Atcheson



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: