September 10, 1869 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

September 10, 1869  

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Nancy has moved again. She rents three rooms from Mrs. Henderson and pays ten shillings per week. Prosper left for Michigan last Wednesday hoping to make boxes for peaches with William Willcox and family. She doesn’t know whether he will get to Sarah’s place or not. Robert and family are well with the exception of the baby who has a hard cold. Eugene left six weeks ago for Brandon and has not been heard from since. Nancy feels quite uneasy about him. She told him to write when he found work but he has not. Nancy has not received a letter from Henry in a long while and doesn’t know why. Prosper received a letter from David the other day. He was well. The last letter Nancy had from Kitt had a likeness of the baby. He is very fleshy and quite good looking. Nancy took two letters out of the post office for Eugene and thinks one of them was from Ethan.

Scan of 1869-09-10 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro September 10th 1869

Dear Sarah,

I thought I would write you a few lines this after noon to let you know that we have ben moveing a gain. It will be two weekes to morrow sence we move on water Street. We rented three room of Mrs Henderson. We pay ten shillings per week. She is a nice old lady and I think I have a good place. Prosper[1] left here for Michigan last wendsday to St Joes County where William Willcox and fafly (family?) is to get in the peach bissness a makeing boxes if he can. I dont know wether he will get to your place or not. I told him I wish he would go if he could. He thought it would cost to much. My health is good as useal. It is quite sickly here with fevers and bowel complaint. Robert[2] and famly is quite well with the exception of the baby. It has a hard cold. Eugean[3] left here six weekes a go and for Brandon and we have not heard from him sence. I do feal quite unesa about him. He whent away with his working clothes on. I told him to write to me when he got in to work but he has not. He is a singular Josy(?). He is so peculiar in som things. I think it is in his bringing up. I have not received a letter from Henry[4] in a long while. I dont know what is the caus of it. Prosper received one from David[5] the other day. He was well. The last letter I had from Kitt[6], she sent me the babys[7] likeness. He is very fleshy and quite good looking. I hope the girls[8] has got there healths a gain and you are all well. I took two letters out of the post office for Eugean. I think one of them is from Eathen[9]. When you receive theas few lines write soon. Dont wait so long before you write a gain. I would like to see you all a gain but I dont know when that will be. I wish you and Luke[10] could com or would com and make us a viset. We would be glad to see you. I have nothing more to write that is very interresting so I must bring my letter to a close. My love to you all. Your mother

N B Betts


[1] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s youngest son

[2] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[3] Nancy’s grandson, Eugene Crawford, Edwin and Louisa (Hall) Crawford (Edwin’s first wife)

[4] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

[5] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford, Nancy’s son

[6] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Nancy’s son Hiram’s wife

[7] Harry A. Crawford, Hiram and Katherine’s first child

[8] Sarah’s daughters, Nancy and Hannah Keith

[9] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s eldest son

[10] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband

September 1869 letter to Sarah Keith from Kate Crawford

September 1869

To: Sarah Keith

From: Kate Crawford, Chicago, IL

Enjoyed her visit with Sarah very much, also with Mary and at Henry’s. Since she got home she has been canning peaches and making catsup. Would like to know if Sarah can send them a crock of butter for winter. It is so hard to get good butter. They will pay market price and the expense of shipping it. Would also like her to ship her shawl and to look for an earring she lost.

Scan of 1869-09-00 Kate Crawford to Sarah Keith

Sept – 1869


Dear Sister,

It has been my intention to drop you a line and let you know how we were ever since my arrival home, but I have found so much to occupy my mind and time I have post poned until to day. Sarah I enjoyed my visit with you very much. My only regret was the brevity of my stay. I had a pleasant time at Mary’s[1] and enjoyed myself well at Henry’s[2], but Harry[3] began worrying and I felt as if Saturday night must find me in Chicago and so it did. Prosper[4] had been here while I was away. If he is with you when this reaches you give him my love and tell him to bring back that picture he stole.

I have been busy since I got home doing up peaches and makeing catsup. Sarah we did not either of us ask you how many cows you milked but High[5] wants me to ask you if you could not put us up a nice crock of Butter for winter use. We will defray all expense and pay you good market price. It is so hard to get good butter. It would be a great treat. Will you tell me the expense of expressing my shawl. I will remit it to you immediately. I lost a gold earring somewhere. Have you seen anything of it? Sarah, please excuse the looks of this. I have my most convenient writing desk (a book on my lap) and Harry is standing up in front of me trying to pull it away. Tell Luke[6] – Oh! for one apple. Give my best love to all the family and I remain with much affection.

Your Sister


[1] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Edwin’s widow

[2] Henry Clay Crawford, Kate’s brother-in-law

[3] Harry Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s eldest child (age 9 or 10 months)

[4] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Kate’s brother-in-law

[5] Hiram Crawford Jr., Kate’s husband

[6] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

July 12, 1869 letter to Sarah Keith from Henry Crawford

July 12, 1869

To: Sarah Keith

From: Henry Crawford, Niles, MI

Henry’s business took him to Chicago last week and he called on Hiram. Hiram’s wife is coming to visit about the first of September and then they are all going to visit Sarah and her family. Times are hard, money scarce & there is plenty of rain. Virginia’s health is very poor.

Scan of 1869-07-12 Henry Crawford to Sarah Keith

Niles, July 12th, 1869

Sister Sarah,

I suppose it will suprise you to get a letter from me but I cant help it if it does. I must write once in a while. Well to commense, I dont intend to write a verry long one for I can talk bette then I can write. My business took me to Chicago last week & I called on Hiram[1]. Found them all well. Hiram Wife[2] is coming to mak us a visit about the first of September. Then we are all going to se your selfe & faimily. Times is hard, mony scarse & we have a plenty of rain.

Virginia[3] health is verry poore. She was confined to her bed all last weeke. She is better today. The children is all well. I am away from Home the most of the time except Sundays. Good By for this time. Our Love to all the Children.

Your Brother

HC Crawford


[1] Hiram Crawford Jr., Henry’s brother

[2] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[3] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, Henry’s wife

March 7, 1869 letter to Sarah Keith from Kate Crawford

March 7, 1869

To: Sarah Keith

From: Kate Crawford, Chicago, IL

Found her letter in Hiram’s pocket so wanted to answer it. She has a baby boy four months old.

Scan of 1869-03-07 Kate Crawford to Sarah Keith

Chicago, Ill

Mch 7” 1869

Sunday Evening

My Dear Sister,

Looking in Hirams[1] pocket one day I found a letter from you marked unanswered and I told him I would do the honors. I have often thought I would open a correspondence with you for I have heard Hiram speak of you so much, I do not feel strange at all. But procrastination is one of my great evils. And consequently I neglect a great many things I ought not to. Since I have had a baby[2] to take up my time and attention it is nothing strange for me to go until the middle of the afternoon without washing my face or combing my hair.

My grandmothers health is very poor. High[3] is well and the Baby is growing finely. He will be four months old Wednesday.

I have not heard from Mother[4] in some time. I was very sorry I could not have made her visit pleasanter, but she happened here at an unfortunate time.

I will not write much this time, Sarah. My eyes are not very strong to write in the Evening, but I will break the ice and I hope to hear from you soon and often.

Remember me in much kindness to your Husband and give my love to the children, all. And accept much for yourself and allow me to subscribe myself until we meet.

Your Sister


P.S. High sends love to all

[1] Hiram Crawford Jr., Katherine’s husband and Sarah’s brother

[2] Harry A. Crawford, born November 10, 1868

[3] A nickname for Hiram

[4] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

January 30, 1869 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

January 30, 1869

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Was afraid to open Sarah’s letter because of the bird on the envelope. She thought someone had died. Louisa received a letter from Robert and also from David, Hiram and Kitt. Their little boy is growing. Would like Sarah to send the letter she got from Alfred Comfort. Also she can’t find her picture of Emory Crawford. Robert and Prosper had gone into partnership on a house and lot, but it fell through. Prosper was without work a good part of the winter.

Scan of 1869-01-30 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro   Jan the 30 1869

Dear daughter Sarah,

I received you kind and welcom letter to day wich was dated the twenty fourth and I hast to answer it. I have ben thinking of you a grate eal for a month past. You or your family hasent scarcely ben out of my mind. When I received your letter I trimbel to open it seeing the bird on the envelop[1]. I was afrade some of you whare ded. In reading your letter I was thank full to hear that your where all so well as you are. I hope you all will continue a gitting better till you all are well. We have had a very pleasent winter. It looks the most of the time like spring wether but littel snow so the sleighs keep runing most of the time till thursday night it took to snowing and blowing and it stormd dredfull all the day yeasterday, and this morning is a beautofull as a spring morning and the snow is a foot deep on a level. It has drifted in large snow banks all a ronds us. Theare has not been as much snow in the wood this winter as useal. Some of the men in the camps had to leave the woods. Theare was not snow knoghf to draw the logs. We did not know but what our men folks would have to leave thear Camp to but now we are satistfide that they have snow knuff at present. They are a bout seventy miles from heare. Lousie[2] received a letter from Robert[3] yesterday. They whare all well and in good spirets. My health is quite good at present. Lousia and children is injoying present the same blessing. I have received a letter from David[4] and one from Hiram[5] and likewise one from Kitt[6]. They whare all well. Theare littel boy[7] grows finely but I have not heard from Henry[8] and famly sence I left thear in the fall. You said in your letter the one before the last that you had received a letter from Alford Comfort. If you have found it I wish you would send it to me. I cant write to him. I dont know what his post office adress is. I have lost Emry Crawfords likeness. If I have left it to your hous I wish you would send it to me. You remember I told you that Robert and Prosper[9] had whent in parding ship[10] conserning hous and lot. Well it is all fell through. Robert talk to me about and I told him I was willing to give it up. Prosper was without work a good share of the winter. It is tow weeks last thursday sence he first whent to the woods. L think her part is to small for her famly and I think so to Lousia is July we will have to find a nother hous in the spring. I often wish I could stept in and see you all. I am glad to hear that Lucy has got along so well and like wise Lousa Blake. I am glad they have don so well for old Mr Fuller for he is a good man. Remember me to Mr and Mrs burdic for the whare very kind to me and all inquiring friends. I expected to hear that Eathen[11] would be sick but I think if he sas not been sick he is perty tuff. Tell Sis and Jimme[12] that granma would like to see them very much. They are a holdding protracten meeting in all the Churses but I have not been but very littel. It is so far I could not go very often. They say theare is a good deal of intrest in the Churses thear is such good attindents. Write soon. O may the blesing of God atend you all and restore you all to perfect health. Your mother. My love to you all.

N B Betts

[to] S C Keith


[1] A bird, or a border, on an envelope usually meant there had been a death in the family.

[2] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Nancy’s daughter-in-law

[3] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[4] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford, Nancy’s son

[5] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[6] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[7] Harry Crawford, who was less than a year old

[8] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

[9] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s youngest son

[10] Partnership

[11] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[12] Luke and Sarah’s two youngest children, Louese J. Keith and James C. Keith

September 27, 1868 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

September 27, 1868

To: Sarah Keith 

From: Hiram Crawford, Chicago, IL

Mentions Kate, also his mother’s visit with Henry and Mary. Hoped that Henry was making money out of his roofing – it would be refreshing to see a Crawford make money and keep it. David had written that he had made and lost three fortunes since he had been “in that country.”

Scan of 1868-09-27 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith


Sept 27” 1868

Dear Sister,

Your very unexpected but welcome letter of the 15th inst.[1] was received all right. Sarah I had really forgotten all about owing you a letter. Though I had answered yours long time ago. Told Kate[2] I thought you must be mistaken and she like all good and obedent wives said she guesses not. That in the matter of corresponding she had as soon believe you as me and a little sooner. I guess she knows me. —I am sorry to learn that Mother[3] has been poorly and am glad that she is getting around all right. Also am pleased to know that her short visits at Henry’s[4] and Mary’s[5] was pleasant and agreeable. I have not heard from Henry since he was here. I think sometime in July. I suppose he has been making money out of his Roofing. At least I hope so. I would like to see a Crawford make mony and keep it. It would be refreshing.

I haven’t heard from David[6] in sometime. He wrote me that he had made and lost three fortunes since he had been in that country and was going for another one. Good for him. I hope he will make it and keep it. I am expecting a little to see him along here this fall, just for the simple reason that he has not said anything about it in his letters. I trust Luke[7] has come out all right. Chicago is tolerable sickly this fall, principally Billious[8] fevers and congestive chills. The weather is very cold and wet this month. Have had to have a fire most of the time. The principal topic of interest here is politics. Our Tanner demonstrations are immense. Ten thousand torches in a line is a sight worth seeing[9]. The people of Galesburg[10] ought to insist on Bill & Lucinda staying there as the place would probably sink if they should go. Kate says she would like to get into your Mrs K melon patch. She would make it look sick, of course I wouldn’t eat any. Kate and Grandma[11] joins in love to Mother, yourself and family.

Your Brother


P.S. I wish when Mother came back you wold send those framed Pictures of mine. And don’t wait a year or two before you write again.

H. Crawford

430 North Clark St

Chicago, Ill


[1] Instant, meaning of the present month

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

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Henry Clay Crawford, Hiram’s brother

[5] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Edwin’s widow and Hiram’s sister-in-law

[6] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford, Hiram’s brother

[7] Luke Keith, Sarah’s husband

[8] Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis

[9] Republican Ulysses S. Grant, who ran against Democrat Horatio Seymour in the 1868 presidential election, was the son of a tanner and while he worked in the tannery occasionally as a child, he swore that as an adult, he would never do so. Noted in A History of Chicago, Volume II: From Town to City 1848-1871 by Bessie Louise Pierce, was the following: “The campaign was enlivened by Tanner Clubs patterned after the Wide Awakes of the early ‘sixties (the Wide Awakes were a youth organization and, later, a paramilitary organization cultivated by the Republican Party during the 1860 presidential election in the United States). By September, enthusiastic young Republicans lighted the streets in their torchlight parades to demonstrate their will to put the ‘Tanner” in the White House.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the first Tanner club of torchlight soldiers was organized in Chicago on July 24, 1868. The name ‘Tanner’ took like wildfire; 1,000 Tanner clubs sprang up within two weeks, and within two months there were fully 10,000 Tanner companies.*

The name Tanner came from the fact that General Ulysses S. Grant had worked for a time as a tanner as a young man and that he had been able to “tan” the secessionist rebels who in the Civil War had taken up arms to destroy the nation. Their intent was to increase voter turnout on election day by marching in torchlight parades dressed in uniforms reminiscent of the Union armies.

A typical duty of the torchlight soldiers in every city was to march to the local railroad station to meet visiting political celebrities and escort them to their hotel. A delegation of the most prestigious local dignitaries would join in meeting the celebrity and the combined procession then marched through the city streets to the hotel. The celebrity customarily made a brief speech, thanking and complimenting his escort, then retired to change his clothes, have dinner, and confer with local party personalities before the evening political meeting.*

Later when the speaker was ready to proceed to the meeting place, the torchlight soldiers paraded through such major streets of the city as the political meeting managers had time for. Military bands, fireworks, bonfires, and booming cannon added heightened excitement to the occasion. Once arrived at the county courthouse square or meeting hall where the speakers were to give their orations, the appearance of the torchlight soldiers in their colorful uniforms, their cheering, their singing and their patriotically impressive presence added to the political excitement of the evening.*

Probably the highest ceremonial honor torchlight soldiers could confer on a visiting celebrity was to form two lines and permit him to “pass through.”*

(*Excerpts taken from “Torchlight Soldiers: A Wisconsin View of the Torchlight Parades of the Republican Party ‘Tanners’ and the Democratic Party ‘White Boys in Blue’” by Charles D. Goff, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)

[10] Galesburg, Michigan, Sarah and Luke’s home

[11] Kate’s grandmother, Elizabeth McGrath

August 29, 1868 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from D.C. Crawford

August 29, 1868

To: Luke & Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: David (D.C.) Crawford, Golden City, CO

The return address on the envelope shows that D.C. was the County Clerk and Conveyancer for Golden City, Colorado. D.C. would be most happy to visit Sarah but to be candid does not know when, if ever. He may within a year and may not in five but when a railroad is completed through to Colorado and the Indian question is settled, he thinks he may be able to get away from home. Mother writes quite often. In the last letter she was in Chicago and was thinking about going to visit Henry and then Edwin’s widow, Mary Crawford. He hopes she will find a place “amongst some of our folks” where she could be contented to live and be happy. D.C. then writes about his life as “that old Bachelor Brother.”

Scan of 1868-08-29 D C Crawford to Luke & Sarah Keith

Golden City    August 29th/68

To Brother & Sister Keith

I received your letter a few days since and will answer immediately. I assure you I was very glad to hear from you. And would be most happy to make you a visit but to be candid I do not know when if ever. I may within a year and may not in five. Just as I get along with my business although when we get a Rail Road through to this country and the Indian question gets fairly settled I think I may be able to get away from home. And I predict within one year will see a Rail Road into the mines or to base of the Rocky Mountains. It is or was a great undertaking and will be a great advantage to this country when completed.

You have got back over the River again on the old place. Where is Louis[1] these times? Did you not intend moving away last spring?

Yes Mother[2] writes me quite often. The last letter I got she was in Chicago and she was contemplating going to Henry’s[3] soon and to Mary Crawfords, Edwins[4] wife. I hope she will find a place amongst some of our folks where she could be contented to live and be happy. I would be willing to do all in my power to assist to maintain her. Mrs Kenyon is dead. I learned throug Mother she was. I used to get letters from Miss Josephene[5] but do not anymore. I presume she is with her father now. I believe she is a good girl and ought to have been married long ago. I suppose you think why do not that old Bachelor Brother get married out there in the Mountains. Well I do not know myself hardly. I sometimes think I will then I think I am enjoying myself pretty well and go with all the girls and have a pretty good time generally and keep putting it off. But if I live I think I will settle down within the next ten years if I succeed in my business affairs and then I will make you a visit on my wedding tour. That may seem a good while but ten years soon rolls arround and may be sooner. I will not promise. Enclosed please find my photograph. You see I am not old and I feel as young as a French Dancing Master. Write soon. Kiss all of the girls for me and believe me as ever.

Your brother

D.C. Crawford

[1] Believe this refers to Lois Keith, Luke Keith’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Henry Clay Crawford, David’s brother

[4] Edwin Crawford, David’s brother

[5] See February 20, 1867 letter from Nancy Betts

August 1868 letter to Nancy Betts from Pros Crawford

August 1868

To: Nancy Betts

From: Prosper Crawford, Battle Creek, MI

Prosper senses that his Mother’s visit to Henry and Virginia Crawford did not go particularly well. He is sending philosophical advice to her about returing good for evil and having compassion and pity on others’ faults instead of inflaming passions by returning evil for evil. He wrote Eugene about a month ago and would like Ethan to tell Eugene that he is anxious to hear from him. He has also sent Sarah $3.00 that he accidentally carried off while he was visiting her. He ends his letter by saying “Please excuse errors and believe me when I say I love you better than I used to.”

Scan of 1868-08-00 Prosper Crawford to Nancy Betts

Battle Creek August[1]

Dear Mother

I have just received a letter from you and have been peruseing its contents with much pleasure. Indeed it does me much good to hear from Mother once in a while. You stated you had just returned from your visit and that they were all well except Jenny[2] and sombody els, I could not make out who. Well I am glad to learn that the largest portion are well and sorry that Jenny is sick because there is aneything but pleasure in sickness, this hot weather especialy. I judg from the tenor of your letter that you did not enjoy your visit aney better than you expected to if as well, owing probably to the extreme warm weather and the inharmonies which have prevailed before. Well, I am sorry these should exist between relation aney feelings of hatred or ill-will even where Persons are so closly linked. It seemes to me that each Partie or Parties should strive to do each other good and forbear to introduce aney subject whose tendency may be other than good. Mother you are well aware that we all have our faults and that no Person exists that eschews censure of calumny and without Philosophising why it is so I will state that I find it a good rule to return good for evil and have Compassion and pity on aney fault of my Brother and instead of inflaming his Passions by returning evil for evil, I would appeal to his high nature and intellect and secure his smiles and good wishes at once. It is folly to assert that man by nature is totally depraved for science and my own conscience demonstrates to me the contrary. Phschology Proves that the mind of man is made up of Faculties vs. Organs which taken seperately produce opposite extremes of character in their manifestations. For instance Benevolence desires to do good to others while Combativeness desires to resist and defend even to the injury of its opponent and so of all the Faculties of man now the idea I wish to draw from the above is that there exists a jewel in the heart of every human Being however it may be much bemused and hid from improper treatment. Nevertheless it is there and only needs the milk of human kindness to bring it out. I would like to write a long letter about this but must defer and I do not wish you to infer from the above that I have written it to cause you any hard feelings. Oh no, quite the contrarie. I used to be a very naughty Boy and cause you much trouble but if I do now I do it now unintentionally.

About the Dictionary I would prefer you to write nothing about it as it is my loss and not yours and I have a large one and do not need it. Besides they having taken so much pains to secure it from you it would be useless for you to write because you would not get it and besides you would only set the ball of contention a rolling again. For this last reason if for no other I beg you to desist.

I wrote a letter to Eugene[3] since I have received one from him about a month ago. I wished you would have Ethen[4] inquire of Eugene whether he has received it and to tell Eugene to be sure and write to me. I also sent Sarah[5] three Dollars which I accidentaly carried off while there and wish she would write me a letter and let me know about it and how she flourishes this hot wether. I am quite happy and well and endeavor to brace the storms of adversity and the trials of life with a cheerfull hopefull countenance living each day with a desire to live the next better and by so doing live heaven on earth. I have written this letter just as fast as I could think and write. Pleas excuse errors and believe me when I say I love you better than I used to.

L P Crawford

[1] Although the letter was not dated, it is believed that it occurred in this approximate time frame. Prosper’s Mother was in Chicago earlier in the month and planned on visiting Henry Crawford in South Bend before continuing on to visit Sarah Keith in Michigan. Prosper married in the early 1870s and settled in Wisconsin

[2] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, Henry Clay Crawford’s wife

[3] Eugene Crawford, Pros’ nephew, the son of Edwin and Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[4] Ethan Keith, Pros’ nephew, the son of Sarah & Luke Keith

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Pros’ sister

August 1, 1868 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

August 1, 1868

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Chicago, IL

Arrived at Hiram’s on Thursday. Hiram and his wife Kitty met her. Her grandmother lives with them. Hite and Kitty send their regards. Expects to go visit son Henry and then Mary and then to Sarah’s. Prosper has complained of poor health this spring and the first of summer. Robert is up at the Boom weighing logs. He boards and gets over three dollars a day. He comes home every Saturday and goes back on Sunday. His children are well. Louisa is a good deal better than she was two weeks ago. One of her sisters is with them part of the time. She looks very bad.

Scan of 1868-08-01 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Chicago August the 1, 1868

Dear daughter,

I received your kind letter over a weeke a go and was glad to hear from you but thought I would not answer it till after I arived at Hiram[1] in Chicago. I rived thear a thursday eveing at the Depot, met Hiram and Kitty[2] his wife redy to receive me. We took the Street Car and went home. Found her old grand Mother[*] aliving withe them, seventy two year old. She is a considerbel healp to Kate. Prosper[3] has complaind of poor health this spring and the frist of the summer. He is a working in the harvest fild now a complaines of fealing a goodeal better. I hope he will keep so. Robert[4] is up to the Boom[5] a scailing [weighing] logs. He is bourded and gets over three dollors a day. He come home evry Satterday and goes back a Sunday. The children is well. Lousia[6] is a goodeal better then she was two weekes ago. She and her littel girls does the most of her work. One of her sisters is with apart of the time. She lookes very bad. Two weke ago we had exstream hot wether. Grate menny was sunstruck in difernt places. It is quite cool and plesenter now after the thunder showers it has cleard of plesent. I expct to viset Agusto the firs of the next weeke and I think the last of the weeke to go to son Herys[7] and then to Mayes[8] and then to your place. When I get redy to go to Galesburg[9] I will drop you a line to meet me at the station. The perticulars I will tell you when I see you. Tell Jimme and Sis [10] that gramma is a coming to see them. My love to all. Your Mother

Nancy B Betts

[to] Sarah C Keith

NB Hite and Kitt sends thear regards to you all NB Betts


[1] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[2] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[*] Katherine’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth McGrath

[3] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Nancy’s youngest son

[4] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[5] There were as many as five companies running logs down the Wolf River in Wisconsin which were then sorted and weighed at Bay Boom and sent to saw mills in Oshkosh.

[6] Robert Crawford’s wife, Louisa (McCann) Crawford

[7] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

[8] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, widow of Nancy’s son, Edwin

[9] Galesburg, Michigan, where Sarah and Luke Keith lived

[10] Sarah’s two youngest children

May 3, 1868 letter to Sarah Keith from Henry Crawford

May 3, 1868

To: Sarah Keith

From: Henry Crawford, Niles, MI

Henry has been away from home for the last four weeks engaged in the roofing business. He visited Mary this spring. Eugene runs the machinery and won’t go to school or do anything else. He was in Niles with a lot of boys last week. He came over to the house about dark, stayed a short time then went home. Henry was not at home at the time.

Scan of 1868-05-03 Henry Crawford to Sarah Keith

Niles    May 3de 1868

Dear Sister,

I returned home last evening. I have been away from home for the last four weekes the most of the time. I am going again this afternoon to Mishawaka Indiana. I have some roofs to put on. I would like to se Ethens[1] Couplin[2]. I hope it is a good thing, for any thing of that kind would be a big thing for him. Thar is a man here that is an Inventer. He is a good Mechanic & has Pattented severale different things. I will show it to him & will let you know what he thinks.

I will be at home the last of this week so you can send it so it will be here when I get home. I am in the roofing business & will be away from home the most of the time this summer. I suppose you feele at home now since you bought the old place. I think you done well. That is better then going in the woods. I am sorry to hear that mother[3] health is so poore. I wish she could content her selfe with us. She could stay with me as long as she could make her selfe at home if she has a mind to. I must write her this week.

I was up to Marys[4] this spring. She was feeling she said well. Ugene[5] runs the machine. He wont go to chool nor do any thing else. He was in Niles with a lot of Boys last week. He came over to the Hous about dark, stayd a short time then went home. I was not at home at the time. I have not heard from Hiram[6] since the first of last month. I received a paper from David[7] last week.

My family is all well at presant. We unite in sending our love to you all.

Your Brother

H C Crawford

[1] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[2] Ethan was an inventor in later years and appears to have been inventive even at the age of 17. In 1870 Ethan, along with his future brother-in-law Henry Brown, patented an “Improvement in Coupling-Jacks.” Perhaps this is the “couplin” he was working on

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, brother Edwin’s widow

[5] Edwin’s son by his first wife Louisa (Hall) Crawford, almost 13 years of age

[6] Hiram Crawford Jr., Henry’s brother

[7] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford, Henry’s brother

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