June 1, 1919 letter to Lela Mueller from Kate Crawford

June 1, 1919

To: Lela Mueller

From: Kate Crawford

Kate is describing their country home and the decorating she has done. Would like Lela to sell back “the old black chair” to them if she is willing.

Sunday, June 1st, 1919

Dear Lela,[1]

I am sitting out under the trees this morning trying to get a little of the wandering breeze – it has been very hot for a week and a thunder storm threatening for two days – but has not materialized as yet. I have driven tacks until my head is buzzing. Climbed up on chairs and down again – like the King of France marched up the hill with his army and then down again. Such a time as we have had losing and finding. I lost a paper of tacks. For a week I hunted for them. Just found them yesterday. Papa[2] lost the key to the door and I hunted every where for it. Yesterday he looked in the pocket of his store pants & found it. Country was saved once more.

We think we look quite nice in our country home. Considering what we have to do with. We covered the largest part of the porch with the Linoleum & the rest with rugs, two cots, an improvised bookcase. I had Papa put the crate that our bed stead came in right across the narrow end of the porch. I lined it with paper, curtained it and converted it into a clothes closet. Put my sewing machine out there. A comode Nell[3] gave me, one of those frog flower dishes & I have it filled with lilies of the valley. They grow on our bank. Papa put a strip on our porch inside for pots of plants. I have quite a nice collection. An old dressing case & my large glass hung over it & the wall covered with pictures I cut out of the magazines & Sunday Tribune all winter. Even you I think would concede it was quite artistic. At least it is more attractive to the eye than the wall. Yesterday I recd a package from New Orleans from Walt Greene. On opening it found a cute Kasasas – a bale of cotton ready to ship – a little darkey sitting on it with cotton all around him, a bunch of oats waving over his head and a big slice of watermelon in his hands – which (apparently) he is about to devour with great delight. We have hunted the town over for a rocker. We have only one. It is an old easy cane seat & back. I have cushioned it back & seat & it is awful comfortable, but we are sadly in need of another. There are plenty of chairs but as you know, they are short backs & straight uncomfortable things. A good reed chair I could not touch for less than $15.00 & of course it was out of the question. Now Lela, I am going to make a proposition to you. If the old black chair is in tack would you sell it back to me. I will give you $2.00 for it. And if you dont feel happy about it just say so and if you do would Lou[4] put a crate on it sufficient to satisfy the law or get someone to do it & send it to the depot. You can do that by telephone so it will not put you out too much. Now Lela if it does not strike you favorable, just forget it. If it does, just send us the bill & we will remit. Has you mother[5] gone away yet? I had a touch of rheumatism in my knee yesterday. I was quite a cripple, but it is better today. I went to look for two van[?] pins yesterday and found I had neither of them. Do not know where I could have left them. One had green stones in & the other was a sterling with rhine stones. Have you tumbled on to them. I have written to Nancy see if I left them there. Will you look in that satchel I sent over, perhaps they might be loose in that.

Hope to hear from you soon

Love to all

Aunt Kate

[1] Lela (Brown) Mueller; Kate was the wife of Hiram Crawford Jr., Lela’s grand-uncle

[2] Hiram Crawford Jr.

[3] Nellie (Sullivan) Crawford, the wife of Kate’s son, Harry

[4] Louis Mueller, Lela’s husband

[5] Nancy (Keith) Brown

November 14, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

November 14, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Kalamazoo, MI

Ethan is writing about the year’s potato crop. Also mentions that their record player broke. It was 68 years ago that their parents were married.

Scan of 1917-11-14 Ethan Keith to Nancy Brown

68 years ago to day Luke Keith and Sally Crawford[1] rode behind “Old Doll” to Battle Creek on a wedding trip, and Sally carried a parasol. That was before the cantenment.[2]

Kalamazoo, Mich. Nov 14, 1917.

Dear Sister,

Hannah[3] says I will have to write you about the potatoes. I dont know what to say, but will tell you what we have got. I wish you could have had the potatoes that Peake sold in Kal- for us. They were nice to eat and looked nice. He got the top of the market Kent was paying $1.00. and he got $1.25. He dug them before the hard freeze. So many of the potatoes are frosted people will have a lot of trouble with them, they wont be good, and lots of them will rot. Some of ours were touched a little. I have not sorted them yet. Could not do it when I dug them for I had to get them in the cellar as soon as I could, for I was afraid they would all be frozen. Our potatoes are quite scabby. Will have to sort them pretty close. Will have to sell what I call Hunters New Yorkers, and some of Rowlands New Yorkers. Dont know as you know what they are. The Rowlands were what we used while you was here. Dont know how I would get them to freight house unless I could hire the Peake’s to take them. Will look them over as soon as I can and find out what I have got then if Jim[4] does not send you any perhaps I can if you want them. Of course what there are more than we need I want to sell.

We are not listening to the little records any more. Over a week ago I was playing one, and the thing made an awful noise and stopped playing. Have not had a chance to take it apart but think it has stripped coggs on one of the gear wheels, dont think the spring is broken. I have been afraid of the coggs for some time they have run a good while. Daisy and Fannie are standing together for the first tonight in the stanchions.[5] I hope you are having a let up from that torment. I think the Witch Hazel did relieve me, but I was not bad. Tell Helen[6] Auntie[7] and I would like to see her.

Love to all. Ethan.

——-

[1] Ethan and Nancy’s parents, Charles Luke Keith Jr. and Sarah Crawford, married on November 18, 1849. Early records refer to Sarah as Sally, as does their marriage certificate; however, in later years she was always referred to as Sarah

[2] A cantonment refers to a military garrison or camp. It is believed Ethan was referring Camp Custer which was located near Battle Creek, Michigan. It was built in a little more than five months in 1917 during World War 1 and was named after General George Armstrong Custer, the Civil War General most famous for his death at the Battle of Little Bighorn. During World War I, more than 100,000 soldiers in the U.S. Army trained at Camp Custer which was one of the sixteen camps that the United States Army developed for the rapid training of soldiers during the War

[3] Ethan and Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[4] Their brother, James Keith

[5] A frame that holds the head of a cow in place, especially to facilitate milking

[6] Nancy’s granddaughter, Helen Mueller

[7] Hannah was very often referred to as Auntie

This was updated on 8-16-2022 to include footnote #2 which contains information on the meaning and history of cantonment

September 15, 1913 postcard to Dorothy Recoschewitz from Hiram Crawford Jr.

September 15, 1913

To: Dorothy Recoschewitz, Chicago, IL

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., North Yakima, WA

Postcard from North Yakima, Washington.

Scan of 1913-09-15 Hiram Crawford to Dorothy Recoschewitz

No Yakima[1] Sept 15/13

Dear Dorothy[2]

Mount Adams is about 12600 feet high and as seen from here shows about 1/3 of its height. A great snow bank the year around. I am not well yet but am gradually gaining. Love to Papa Mama and Brother[3] with lots for yourself.

Your Uncle[4]

H Crawford

——-

[1] Hiram was most probably visiting his daughter, Blanche (Crawford) Hessey

[2] Dorothy was not quite ten years old

[3] Julius, Bess (Brown) and Robert Brown Recoschewitz

[4] Hiram was the brother of Dorothy’s great-grandmother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

June 24, 1912 letter to James Keith from Ethan Keith

June 24, 1912

To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Is writing to give him Henry Keith’s address; doesn’t know what Ray Keith’s address is. Received the announcement of Winifred and Kirk Brouard’s marriage. Mr. Brouard seemed like a nice man. Uncle Hiram is visiting; will go to Uncle Henry’s tomorrow. Hiram has neuralgia in his right eye and kidney trouble. Lela Brown and Lou Mueller were married Saturday. “It’s quite a good deal for one to have two nephews in a week.”

Scan of 1912-06-24 – Ethan Keith to James Keith

Galesburg June 24, 1912

Dear Brother

I am agoing to write you this morning and answer your question. Am sorry I did not get to it last week, but I did not have a chance to breathe hardly. Henry’s[1] address is 507 E. Buffalo st Ithaca N.Y. I dont know what Ray’s[2] is. He is in Cal-. His business is in San Francisco but I think he boards in Oakland with his mother.[3] We rec’d the announcement of Winnie[4] and Mr Brouards[5] marriage friday. They and Marion called on us thursday A.m. We like Mr Brouard appearance. Seemed like a nice man. Hope they will get along nicely. It was not exactly a surprise to us for Mildred[6] said she guessed they intended to be married, and Marion phoned Hannah[7] tuesday that they were to be married Wed-. You and Cora[8] must begin to feel old. Uncle Hiram[9] is here goes to Uncle Henrys[10] tomorrow. He has neuralgia in his right eye. Has been sick since the first of May. Kidney trouble. I suppose Lela[11] and Lou Mueller[12] was married sat-. It’s quite a good deal for one to have two nephews in a week. Write when you have a chance. It’s little past time for Will so will stop.

Love to all from Ethan

——-

[1] Henry Keith, his half-brother, the son of Charles Luke Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva Payson

[2] Henry’s son, Arthur Raymond Keith

[3] Florence (Stall) Keith

[4] Jim’s oldest daughter, Winifred Keith; Winifred and Kirk were married June 19, 1912

[5] Kirk Brouard

[6] Niece, daughter of his sister Louese (Keith) Harris

[7] Sister Hannah Keith Towne; she and Ethan lived together

[8] Jim’s wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[9] Hiram Crawford Jr., his mother’s brother

[10] Henry Crawford, his mother’s brother

[11] Niece, daughter of his sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[12] Lela Brown and Louis Mueller were married June 22, 1912

1911? letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Brown

About Fall 1911

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lela Brown

Writes about clothes she and Bess are sending to Nancy. She visited Uncle Hiram. Blanche isn’t going home until after Thanksgiving so Nancy should be home in time to see her before she returns home. Writes about sharing a room with Dorothy and the two of them eating apples after they go to bed. Nancy then adds her own news and forwards the letter to Hannah.

Scan of 1911 Fall – Lela Brown to Nancy Brown

Tues[1] –

Dear Mamma,

I will send this cuff set but didnt have time to put the lawn on it and get it to you before you went to Kal.[2] so you can do that. Its my first attempt so don they are not very nice. Maybe the cuffs are too wide but you can easily change them.

Bess[3] sent your coat Monday so you will probably get it before you get this.

Let me know how Auntie’s[4] coat comes out.

I stopped at Uncle His[5] Sunday. Blanche[6] isnt going home until after Thanksgiving so you will see her. Even if we dont find a flat you plan to be here then.

I havent had any money from Claude[7] since I came home and dont know as wel we will, so if you hear any thing from Will let me know.

I havent time to write any more. Will send the cuffs and will send the collar in a day or two. I didnt have quite enough braid to finish it.

I am going to Claudes to-night to stay with Edie.[8]

Dorothy[9] talks about Michigan all the time, she remembers every one and every thing. She sleeps with me in Al’s[10] room and we have apples every night after we go to bed, and the first thing when she wakes up in the moning she asks for apples. The other night she was watching me get one ready to take, and she said to Bess “In the morning when I wake up I’ll say Aunt Lela give me some apple” and she say “O you little monkey.”

Write soon.

Love to all

Lela

The following was written to Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

Hannah, If you can get the cloth over I will go to Kazoo tomow morning, get back so as to go over home[11] in evening on Saturday, which ever will be best for you and Ethan.[12] You see Lou[13] is not coming this week. I’ll write Lou to day. I’ll get your goods & buttons. If you want any thing else send a little change with the check for the buttons. Lizzie[14] & I were invited to Ida[15] yesterday P.M. had a real good time. Mr Simonds[?] called, also ___ ___ & Stewart. I wrote Clara I’d take dinner with her tomow. Keep these letters.

Nan

——-

[1] While the letter was not dated, it appears it might have been around the Fall of 1911

[2] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[3] Her sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[4] Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[5] Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[6] Hiram’s daughter, Blanche (Crawford) Hessey

[7] Her brother, Claude Brown

[8] Claude’s wife, Edith (Neumaier) Keith

[9] Bess’ daughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[10] Bess’ stepson, Alphons Recoschewitz

[11] Many of the family, even though they lived elsewhere, referred to the Keith family farm where Ethan and Hannah lived, as “home”

[12] Nancy’s brother, Ethan Keith

[13] Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[14] Elizabeth (Allerton) Clark. Lizzie was married to William Byron Clark, the son of Nancy’s half sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[15] Ida (Allerton) Carr, Lizzie’s sister

June 12, 1910 postcard to Nancy Keith from Minnie Crawford

June 12, 1910

 To: Nancy Brown, Galesburg, MI[1]

 From: Minnie Crawford, Shelbyville, MI

 Postcard with update on travel plans. 

Dowagiac

Tuesday June 12, 1910

 Dear Cousins All

I am here on the farm. I dont know how long I will stay but you may write me here. Send to J. J. Ritter and I will get it. Had a nice time at Lou’s[2] and Jims.[3] Promised to go back with Ruth.[4] Hope Hannah[5] is still improving. Love to all.

 Hastily

 Minnie Crawford[6]

[1] The postcard was addressed to Nancy in care of her brother Ethan, who she was visiting

[2] Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[3] Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[4] Believe this is referring to Minnie’s daughter, Ruth Crawford, who was about 15 years old

[5] Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[6] Minnie was married to Nancy’s cousin, Eugene Crawford

June 8, 1910 postcard to Nancy Brown from Minnie Crawford

June 8, 1910

To: Nancy Brown, Galesburg, MI[1]

From: Minnie Crawford, Shelbyville, MI

Postcard with update on travel plans.

 

Shelbyville

Dear Nan

Got here all O.K. yesterday. Found them all well. Staid at Lou’s[2] last night and came to Jims[3] today. Will stay here untill I go home on Friday or go to Dowagiac.[4] Love to all. Hope hannah[5] is still on the mend.

Yours lovingly

Minnie C.[6]

[1] The postcard was addressed to Nancy in care of her brother Ethan, who she was visiting

[2] Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[3] Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[4] Dowagiac, Michigan

[5] Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[6] Minnie was married to Nancy’s cousin, Eugene Crawford

Obituary of Charles Luke Keith Jr.

Keith, Charles Luke Jr.

Charles Luke Keith Jr.

October 15, 1813 – April 25, 1904

———————————–

The following was taken from an unknown newspaper.

Keith, Charles Luke Jr - Obituary

April 25, 1904 letter to James Keith from Kate Crawford

April 25, 1904

To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Katherine Crawford, Chicago, IL

Kate is repaying Jim the dollar that they borrowed from him. Charley is failing rapidly. He “has a cavity in his lung and is generally falling to pieces.”

Scan of 1904-04-25 Kate Crawford to Jim Keith

Chicago, Ill

Apr 1904[1]

Dear Jim

You will be surprised beyond measure no doubt to get this communication from me and I feel heartily ashamed of my negligence. I have owed you this dollar for a long time & I have never forgotten it but the truth is for a long time when we were so pressed when I saw you I did not have it & when I had it I did not see you. I thought of it many times when I was away and promised myself it would be one of the first things I would do on my return but the sickness and care in our family has caused me to delay writing & to night I said I would do it before I went to bed. I trust it will come in in a good place now. I shall know you recd it all right if not returned. Charley[2] is failing rapidly. Keeps his bed most of the time. He has suffered torture. About one week ago the Dr gave him some medicine that has deadned the suffering but still the disease goes on. He has a cavity in his lung & is generally falling to peices. I suppose your father[3] is in a feeble state but he has lived to a ripe old age. Charley is young and it seems hard but the Lord knows all about it & if he is trusting in the finished work of Christ which I feel he is it will be all well with him & he will only go on a little in advance. Remember me kindly to your wife[4] & I trust you are all enjoying good health. Uncle Hiram[5] is feeling pretty well now.

Good Bye

Yours

Aunt Kate

——-

[1] The envelope bears a postmark of April 25, 1904

[2] Kate’s son-in-law, Charles T. Eck Jr., who died May 23, 1904

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] Cora (Meredith) Keith

[5] Kate’s husband, and Jim’s maternal uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

April 24, 1903 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

April 24, 1903

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Ethan has received word of his Uncle Robert’s death from his Uncle Henry and is expressing sadness that “our folks are all leaving us.” He and his sister Hannah have been sick with colds, as has their father who has also been suffering from a severe headache. Ethan also mentioned that his Uncle Hiram’s job may be tenuous and if lost would cause considerable distress.

Scan of 1903-04-24 Ethan Keith to Nancy Brown

Galesburg, Mich.

Apr. 24, 1903
7.32 P.m.

Dear Sister

Will write a little but you wont get it this week. Neither will Lou[1] get one I dont believe. I have written to Jessie[2] this P.m. She wanted to know what advertising rates were in the Argus. Thought of putting in an ointment ad. Dont let her know that I have said anything about. Perhaps she would’nt care. She wrote particulars about Uncle Robert.[3] I received a letter from Uncle Henry[4] and in it was a letter from Lulu[5] to him. I cant make it seem as though he had gone. Does seem as though our folks were all leaving us. It almost seems as though we were living in another world. Things look so different. Ill think of something I would like to have or do, and the next thought will be what does it amount to. It wont last but a little while. That is not the right way to feel, but somehow it is a very easy matter to do so.

Will Ridler went to the nursery last Monday and Mr. Paul sent the tree by him. I went Tuesday A.m. and set it out. I mixed two wheelbarrow loads of chip, and fine barn yard manure, and carried up there and set it in. Put in a peck of potatoes. There were a nice lot of roots and I dont see why it wont live. Its a nice tree and a little larger than the other. Its called a Cut Leaf Maple. The clover has come up quite thick but it is just as full of yellow deck as it can be. Think it will have to be cut out and I dont know as one cutting will kill it. I think the deck seed must have been in the muck that we got of Rice. The Hyderanga seems to be alive.

David Morrisson was buried in the first lot east of Dee[6] & Lou’s so it may be they bought their lot just in time. Hannah[7] and I have both been about sick to day with colds and I think Pa[8] has just a slight cold. He has had quite a head ache. H–[9] expected Clara (Wilkins) Townsend and husband here to day but they did not come. Has rained most all day and that may be why they did not come. Mrs Blake, or Carrie, have not been here to day because she expected them. Will Barber and Ida both have hard colds.

I am sorry for Uncle Hi.[10] Dont know what they would do if he should loose his position with that Co. His eyes are bad and how can he do any more work than he has been doing. They need rest instead of more work. About Chappell. I received the letter from Earl Apr. 1st and if I dont hear from him pretty soon will go and see him. Will enclose a copy of his letter.

I have Mrs. Sweezy’s still ready for her. It is one inch large in diameter than mine. I tried it to see how well it worked and it distilled three pints in an hour. Hannah says if her hat costs more than two dollars let her know. Will copy Earls letter on other side of this sheet.

Love to all

Ethan

The office substantially repeated their first action in the matter. Mr. Chappel was in Wash recently and intended to take the matter up personally with the ex-owner, as it seems to us that the patents cited are not pertinent references, but he was called away before having opportunity to do so. I will take the case up, and feel confident that your claim should be allowed substantially as presented.

——-

[1] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[2] Presumably their cousin, Jessie (Crawford) Eck

[3] Robert Crawford, who died April 13, 1903

[4] Henry Clay Crawford

[5] Robert’s daughter, Lulu (Crawford) Witte

[6] Louese’s husband, Daniel D. Harris, who was commonly referred to as D. or D.D.

[7] Their sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[8] Their father, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[9] Hannah

[10] Their uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

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