November 22, 1901 letter to James Keith from Ethan Keith

November 22, 1901

To: James Keith, Chicago, IL

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Hannah does her sewing work from 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 or later at night. Ethan thinks it is too much for her and worries that she just can’t keep at that pace. She only earns $1.00 per day. Their father sings most of the time and as he is in the same room where Hannah does her sewing, it annoys her. Ethan wishes Nancy and the girls could have stayed at 736 as it was home to them and close to the gallery.









Galesburg, Mich. Nov 22, 1901

Dear Brother

Will begin a letter to you this evening but probably will not finish it as it is most time to go to bed. The alarm will call me at 4.45 Am. (fast time) and I’ll have to get right out for I am working in and around a dressmaking shop. Hannah[1] is crowded with work. She is ready to go to sewing at seven most every morning and works until nine or after in the evening. It is too much for her. She cant always hold out at such a gait. If she was reasenably paid for her work but she does’nt make a dollar a day for her time. Pa[2] and Ma[3] are usually well. Pa has a great hobby for singing. Some of the time it is a tune and then it wont be any thing but he is at it most of the time. It annoys Hannah for he is in the room where she is sewing most of the time. Will Barber and I have worked at the pump part of two days this week. It had got a hole rusted through the pipe somewhere so it pumped sand. We pulled the pipe up and found the hole down most to the point. Have got it so it works all right to night. Nancy[4] writes you are having boils and muscular rheumatism. Seems as if it is’nt one thing its another. It’s too bad and very discouraging to have to be sick so much. Mrs Streater is sick had a light stroke of paralysis. Harry said this morning she was better physically, but was worse mentally. Clara Clark[5] is pretty bad off. Is troubled with gall stones, suffers a great deal. Has been sick over ten weeks. Charley[6] wrote his mother[7] Wednesday that he and Edna[8] sat up with her the night before. They had to fan her a good deal of the time she was so weak. A month yesterday I came from Chicago. Seems more like three of them. I enjoyed the trip and visits if they were short. Would liked very much to have staid longer. Wish Nancy and the girls[9] could have staid at 736.[10] That had got to be like home to them, and then they were so pleasantly situated, and handy to the gallery.[11] She sent me a Heurst Chicago American this week cuts, and write up of the elevated road collision. They were fortunate in not getting some of the cars off on the ground. Have not heard from Charley Eck[12] since he went from here week last Monday. We all liked him. Too bad he has such poor health.[13] The protolacea[14] Winnie[15] set in the tin can has just died. Will close for lack of news. Love to Cora,[16] children[17] and yourself.

Your brother Ethan

[1] Ethan’s and Jim’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[2] Charles Luke Keith Jr., who is 88 years old

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, who is 80 years old

[4] Ethan’s and Jim’s sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[5] Clara (Youngs) Clark was the wife of Charles Clark, the son of Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner and her first husband, Byron Clark. Lois was Ethan’s and Jim’s half-sister, the daughter of Charles Luke Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva Payson

[6] Charles Clark

[7] Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[8] Charles and Clara Clark’s daughter

[9] Nancy (Keith) Brown’s daughters, Lela and Bess Brown

[10] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown, died May 22, 1901 and the family moved from 736 North Hoyne Avenue in Chicago, Illinois

[11] Henry Brown was a photographer and according to the 1899-1900 Chicago City Directory had a store at 749 Robey Street and/or 574 Lincoln Avenue. Bess continued working at the gallery for awhile, but whether it was to try to make a go of it, to take care of unfinished business, or to sell the business is unknown

[12] Charles Eck was the husband of Jessie Crawford, who was Ethan’s and Jim’s first cousin. Jessie was the daughter of Hiram Crawford Jr., the brother of Ethan’s and Jim’s mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[13] Charles Eck died May 23, 1904, just shy of his and Jessie’s 6th wedding anniversary

[14] Portulacea, a succulent plant, possibly a jade plant

[15] Jim’s oldest daughter, Winifred Keith

[16] Jim’s wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[17] Winifred (9 years old) and Walter (almost 4 years old)


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