December 24, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

December 24, 1902

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Ethan is writing his sister about their Christmas, which has been empty without their mother. Pa seems to have her on his mind much of the time and wishes they could have both died at the same time. He was sorry that Lela couldn’t join them for Christmas.

Galesburg, Mich.

Dec 24, 1902.
8.10 P.m.

Dear Sister,

This is the first Christmas eve that we have ever known that Ma[1] was not with us. How we would like to see her. There are so many things to keep reminding us of her. I dont want to forget her but it is hard to keep thinking. It was a sad time for us last friday evening and Sunday was a hard day. Will Clark[2] came over and staid a couple of hours. Ma is on Pa’s[3] mind most of the time I think. He will take a long breath or say something about her every once in a while. I went over to see Geo Monday eve and Hannah[4] said Pa talked a good deal about Ma and cried. Said as he has before that no one could say but she had done her part here. Said he always hoped Ma would live as long as he. She asked if he had rather went first. He said no, but wished they could have went together. Pa sleeps as well as I expected he would. Two nights he has come out to my bed and looked at me to see if I was there. Think he was afraid I had gone up stairs.

We received your letter yesterday containing the money order. Were not very much disappointed to hear that Lela[5] could not come christmas for it didn’t seem to me that business[6] had been as good as she would want it to be for her to come. I am sorry. We would have been very glad if she could have come. Hope it wont be a very great while before she can.

Christmas night. 7.20. Will try and finish this tonight. Well the first christmas is about drawing to a close. Ma has not wished us a Merry Christmas (as we know of) something she never failed to do. Hannah sent by Mrs Blake last night to get us some oysters for to day, so our dinner was got in a hurry. We would not have wanted a big dinner if we could have had it. Mrs Blake and Carrie both sewed. Yesterday and to day have both been pretty rough, snowed, and wind has blown so hard that it made the snow fly. Carrie has walked over both mornings. She has been doing first rate lately Hannah says. Mrs John Allen sent her dress skirt and a note over tuesday told Hannah she had ruined her dress.  She did not know how to loose it. A nice dress in their family meant a good deal. She wrote quite a letter. You can imagine Hannahs condition after reading it and ever since. She had to go to the Burg[7] that evening to see the lady. Got Mrs Struble to stay with Pa. Mrs Allen was nice but she is bound not to be satisfied, I guess. She did not get an invitation to the wedding and has been disappointed about going to Hastings and Grand Rapids a visiting so probably has got to act out Windy some way. I must write a little to Lou[8] so will close.

Love to all

Ethan

No letter from Henry[9] yet

[1] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[2] Will Clark, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner’s son from her first marriage to Byron Clark

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] Hannah (Keith) Towne, Ethan and Nancy’s widowed sister. Both Ethan and Hannah lived at home with their parents

[5] Lela Brown, Nancy’s daughter

[6] After Nancy’s husband, Hank Brown, died in 1901, Lela and her sister, Bess Recoschewitz, appear to have helped with the operation of the family photographic business

[7] Galesburg, Michigan

[8] Nancy and Ethan’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[9] Nancy and Ethan’s half-brother, son of Charles Luke and Minerva (Payson) Keith

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