June 12, 1879 letter to Hannah Keith from Edna Crawford

June 12, 1879

To:  Hannah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Edna Crawford, Omro, WI

Edna writes about her responsibilities at home with housework and caring for her mother. Louisa had been doing better, but yesterday she was trying to walk with her crutches when she slipped and fell and hurt herself quite badly. Eugene is in Leadville, Colorado working with Uncle D.C.

1879-06-12 1879-06-12B 1879-06-12C 1879-06-12D 1879-06-12env

Omro June 12, 1879

Dear Cousin

You long letter was recd. some time ago & I have commenced to ans. it twice but some thing happening did not finish. We have been having real warm weather & with it company – first some young ladies from Oshkosh & lastly Mr. Birkelund from Chicago. You know how hard it is to do house work without a mother to go a head especially when you have company & I had to be in school & do what I could mornings and nights but they have all gone & we are to rest until Saturday, when there is some more coming to stay over Sunday. Mother[1] has been feeling pretty well until yesterday. She was trying to walk with her crutches when she slipped & fell and hurt her quite badly.

I had a letter from Eugene[2]. He is in Leadvill with Uncle D.C.[3] Likes it very much. Say if he makes a hundred thousand will be out to see us this fall. Do you expect him?

I have two week more of school and then a long vacation. How I do wish I could come and see you all or you were coming to to see us.

Edna[4] was going to be awful smart when she was first married. Wouldn’t catch her in any such fix &c, but they are always the first ones.[5] Are you going to stay with her? I would have good pay for it if I did. How are all of your folks[6], Henry[7], Nancy[8], babies and all? Father[9] and Will[10] are both away to work.

I don’t think I shall ever give my Auntie Bell[11] a chance to speak to me again. I wish she would come up here this summer. I would make her visit as pleasant as she did mine. You know you & I can do such things.

I suppose there isn’t any the rest of them as ugly as we. How does Grandma[12] get along? Is she moved yet?

Yes, you and I will visit our rich sisters & cousin, be old maids[13] and take care of the young ones. Goodby. Love to all.

Ed[14]

Write soon.

[1] Louisa (McCann) Crawford. According to the 1880 census, Louisa had consumption and was “unable to attend to normal business or duties” as she was “maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled”

[2] Eugene Crawford, son of Edwin Crawford and his first wife Louesa (Hall)

[3] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford

[4] Edna Alice (Crawford) Allen, daughter of Edwin Crawford and his second wife, Mary (Hamilton)

[5] Edna Alice was pregnant with her daughter, Madge Allen

[6] Luke and Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[7] Henry Brown, Hannah’s brother-in-law

[8] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Hannah’s sister

[9] Robert Crawford

[10] Edna’s brother

[11] Isabella (Steele) Crawford, Prosper’s wife

[12] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[13] Edna is approximately 20 years old and Hannah, 24 years old, at the writing of this letter

[14] Edna Crawford, daughter of Robert and Louisa Crawford

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Spring 1879 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Brown

Spring 1879

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Haven’t seen much of Hiram and Kate, who appear to be rather unfriendly lately. Uncle Hi did stop in to see Nancy a couple of times while she was sick. Aunt Kate kept Louese out of school and now if she goes back in the fall she will have to repeat the year. Lou does not want to go back to the country as she likes city life. Uncle Pros stopped in and read some of Aunt Bell’s letters to Nancy. If Pros stays, he will send for his family in a couple of months.

1879 Spring A 1879 Spring B

Undated[1]

Ma I haint a going to write any more to you about Ant Kate[2] for I think you have enough to worry about.  Will answer your questions in this. I have not seen her since the night we were there in Febuary. We both[3] asked them to come & see us. She did not say any thing. Uncle Hi[4] said they would. I think it is her more than him. Hank[5] says he is friendly at the office.[6] He has only been in four or five times never to have his over coat off. Was in twice when I was sick. Have not seen him since only to pass. They dont say any thing to Lou[7] about going home but Ant Kate tells Hary[8] evry day or two she is going to send him in the country this sumer for he is so ugly she cant stand it with him. Lou dont want him to go with her and I pitty you if he does. Louese does not go to school. Dont think she will any more before fall. Ant Kate did not keep her out on accont of scarlet fever. It was only so she could gad about. That was only an excuse. Lou dont never want to go any more. She is so behind she will have to go one class lower than when she came. That is in with small scholars. She said to day if she thought she should have to go back in the contry to live she could not stand it. She likes city life better than I. Mr Brown lives near them. He is going to New Orleans to spend the sumer. Starts tomorrow night. He has relatives living in Canada. He told her if she would go home he would wait till Mondy for her and pay her fair and then he would go to Canada in stead of south. I am glad he is going for she is hot foot after him and he stands right up to her but probly he only goes with her just to have some one to go with. I guess she takes petty well but of course he can get a girl that has a very diffrent chance in society from her. He is only 17. Lou gets in some petty big words once in a while and a little French and German. She can put on more style than all the rest of us put to gether. Hannah[9] Mrs Coffren wants you to send that wrap pattern. She did not offer to pay for it. She knows the least of any one I ever saw than any one that calls them selves smart. Send it to me.

Uncle Pross[10] was down here the other day. He read me Aunt Bells[11] letters. She writes a good letter. It seems as if I would like her. She wants to come here awful bad. As soon as he thinks out for certain that he is going to keep that place he will send for them[12] so if he stayes where he is they will probly be here in a couple of months at any rate and I shall be glad. They will be about five miles from here but I can go with Hank to the _________ and then with Uncle Pross so it wont cost any thing and only takes about three quarters of an hour to go out so you see the distance wont be much. Tell Hannah I have not seen those shawls as this advertisement came out Saturday. Of course the more she can pay the nicer the shawl. I will do the best I can. If she wants it now have her send as soon as possible & I can get before they are ______ silk like my hat.

[unsigned, but the handwriting is that of Nancy Keith Brown]

[1] Believe this letter was written in the spring of 1879 as it refers to Louese not going to school. Louese stayed with Hiram and Kate while attending school in 1878. The letter also refers to Nancy being sick. Sarah Keith wrote to her husband Luke on December 9 and 10, 1878 advising that she would stay until the 15th. As the letters were postmarked in Paw Paw and Lawton, respectively, which is where Hank and Nancy lived, it is possible that Sarah was helping to care for Nancy and her family while Nancy was sick

[2] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, wife of Nancy’s Uncle Hiram Crawford Jr.

[3] Nancy and her husband, Henry Brown

[4] Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[5] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[6] Both Henry and Pros worked on the Chicago streetcars

[7] Nancy’s sister, Louese Keith

[8] Hiram and Kate’s son, Harry Crawford

[9] Nancy’s sister, Hannah Keith

[10] Nancy’s uncle, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[11] Pros’ wife, Isabella (Steele) Crawford

[12] Belle and their four sons, Leo, Byron, Ernest and Albert

November 15, 1878 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

November 15, 1878

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Chicago, IL

Hiram is writing to Sarah about the difficulties they are encountering with their Mother regarding living arrangements.

1878-11-15 1878-11-15B

V.C. Turner, Pres’t.
H. Crawford, Treas.
North Chicago City Railway Co.
Office, 430 North Clark Street,
Chicago, Nov 15th 1878

Dear Sister

I dont want you to think because I have not answered your letter sooner that you have not my sympathies in your trials – for I assure you that you have, in the fullest sense. I was very much discouraged, for Mother[1] promised me faithfully that she wouldnt say any thing about what had taken place and would begin her new way of living without any further trouble or talk – but she was so full that she had to blow off and perhaps it don her good for I recevd a letter from her yesterday in which she spoke a good word for all of you. Said that you Nancy[2], Henry[3] and the neighbors was very good to her, so I am in hopes that she has commenced an era of good feeling towards all the human race. I would like to hav you keep me posted as to the true state of her affair, occasionaly. I don’t know how much it is going to take to keep her economecly. Don’t want to give her to much but would like her to have enough. Wish you would giv me your idea.

Just one remark abot that ever memorable “Room“. Before she left I told her I was going to give you what we had put into it and after receiving your letter I wrote her that with the consent of the Boys[4] I had given you absolutely all of our interest in that Room to do with as you saw fit and that she nor anybody else had no rights then whatsoever and that I wanted her to distictly understand it. As for you I don’t want you to entertain any foolish feelings about it. It is yours absolutely and frely given as a very small compensation for shouldering the burden which you have during the past six years. Of course Sarah this is all confidential but for your satisfaction and information I will say that the remark about us wanting her to stay here was an “Error“. It was about the only thing in which I had my way and from the first I told her that under no circumstance could she stay here this winter.

Your Brother H Crawford

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Sarah’s daughter

[3] Henry Brown, Nancy’s husband

[4] Hiram is referring to his brothers

November 13, 1878 letter to Nancy Brown from Edna Crawford

November 13, 1878

To:  Nancy Brown

From: Edna Crawford, Omro, WI

Edna is home cooking and caring for her mother, whose health is very poor. Louisa is suffering from sores on her foot and has not walked for five weeks.

1878-11-13 1878-11-13B 1878-11-13C 1878-11-13D

Omro Nov. 13 1878

Dear Cousin N[1]

Your nice long letter was recd & must tell you it was quite a surprise party to me to get your letter for I had given up all hope of ever hearing from you. Thought you had gone back on your Wis. cousin. Oh N I am so mad to think that fellow had to wait until I had gone before coming but then he come under my wish bone so of course it will be allright. In time he will go back on his other girl or she on him.

Well I am home again & it don’t seem possible that six or seven weeks ago I was away out in Mich. or Ind. I have written Lou[2] since I come home but have not heard from her yet but I know her failing so shan’t look for a letter until she get ready to write. I almost fell in love with her. She has a very pleasant house to live in. It is so nice to live with our aunts & uncles. They are so thoughtful & generous to their neices especially Chicago ones[3].

Mother[4] is very poorly. Her foot has the worst sore I ever saw. She has not walked for five weeks or steped on her foot[5]. Father[6] is not at home now. Will be gone three or four weeks. Will[7] goes away next week. Kit[8] is going up north on a visit to Ma’s sisters & they have elected me chief cook. Don’t you pity me?

Well how is Grandma?[9] All settled I presume. I suppose her granddaughter Hannah[10] stays with her most of the time. You know she was so lonesome without her when she was away to Chicago.

Mr. Allen[11] my cousin I didn’t see him but half a day. They came Monday night at ______ oclock & he went away the next afternoon. He got a nice carriage in the forenoon & took us all around the city. I think he & Edna[12] make a very good couple. They both think a great deal of themselves.

I have had one letter from Uncle D.C.[13] since they got home they were all well when he wrote. As to the pictures the neg have been taken to Chicago but we are going to send for some as soon as we can get the artist address.

How is Jim[14]? Is he at home now? Are you going to stay at home this winter?

Now don’t so long before writing again & make up your mind to come & see us as soon as possible. Yes Mr ____ knew me too well I guess. Love to all the folks. Write soon.

Your Cousin

Ed[15]

[1] Nancy (Keith) Brown

[2] Louese Keith, Nancy’s sister

[3] Presumed to be Hiram and Katherine Crawford

[4] Louisa (McCann) Crawford

[5] It is possible that Louisa was suffering from diabetes

[6] Robert Crawford

[7] William Crawford, Edna’s brother

[8] Edna’s younger sister, Katherine Crawford

[9] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts. She has apparently left Wisconsin and moved to Michigan to live with her daughter, Sarah

[10] Hannah Keith, Nancy’s sister

[11] Oscar Allen Jr., the husband of Edna Alice Crawford

[12] Edna Alice (Crawford) Allen, Edwin and Mary Crawford’s daughter

[13] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford

[14] James Keith, Nancy’s brother

[15] Edna Crawford, Robert and Louisa’s daughter

October 27, 1878 letter to Sarah Keith from D.C. Crawford

October 27, 1878

To:  Sarah Keith

From: D.C. Crawford, Denver, CO

They arrived home safely on Saturday. While in Chicago D.C. meet with Hiram and Prosper to discuss Mother and the difficulties in managing her care. He would like Sarah to destroy the letter after it is read, because he would not wish to have Mother see it.

PS do not read before Mother if there. D.C.C.

D.C. Crawford

State of Colorado

Auditor’s Office

Denver, October 27, 1878

Dear Sister,

We arrived home on Saturday all safe. Had a pleasant trip home and thinking over our visit we came to the conclusion that we had a very pleasant time and feel to thank you all for your effort to make our stay pleasant. Amanda[1] joins me in the hope that we may be permitted to visit you at some future time and hope it may be next year. We had a pleasant time @ Mary Henry’s in Chicago. We had a nice time. I could have been very much interested. Its a big city and I could live there very well if I had money enough. As to our Dear Mother[2] she at the last felt very bad of course. We felt very bad to leave her. Mother is to be pitied. And yet she is certainly very difficult to manage. We had a talk, Hiram[3] Prosper[4] & myself at Hirams. Found her very obstinate still am inclined that after she gets at home again and finds things more pleasant will be better contented. I believe now we have had several talks that she will be more quiet. I feel that she feels terribly because she cannot attend church. If some of you would go to church with her once in a while that would help to make her better contented. I enclose five (5) dollars for you to invest in Wood. She complains that if the room was fixed and a stove put in she would have no would to burn and be obliged to go to the kitchen to keep warm. I promised Hiram I would send you five (5) dollars and request that you have Luke[5] go to the Burg[6] and get her a load of nice stove wood all cut up or if he cannot, get Mr. Brown[7] or some one that can and have it piled up at her door so that she will not have that to complain of and when that is gone we will get more. I hope that you will be able through the efforts of Luke and Ethen[8] to have the room completed just as soon as possible as she is getting so uneasy again that she may start home at anytime. I hope she will not until you get ready for her. Hiram or Prosper cannot make her comfortable and she knew it before she went there still I think she was of the opinion that she would remain this winter. I think she has decided to the contrary. I received Ethen letter and will give it some attention soon as I get over my hurry. We all join in much love and good wishes to you all. Please destroy this letter as I would not like for Mother to see it.

As ever your Bro.

D.C. Crawford

Write soon as convenient

[1] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford, D.C.’s wife

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Hiram Crawford Jr., D.C.’s brother

[4] Lucius Prosper Crawford, D.C.’s brother

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

[6] Galesburg, Michigan,

[7] Ambrose Brown, the father of Henry Brown, Sarah’s son-in-law, who lived near Sarah and Luke

[8] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

September 30, 1878 letter to Hannah Keith from Edna Crawford

September 30, 1878

To:  Hannah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Edna Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Edna recounts a conversation she had with her grandmother regarding a general review of Omro and its inhabitants, Hannah, Aunt Jenny, the room and lastly her cousin Edna’s wedding. They had a very quiet wedding, with only Uncle D.C., Aunt Amanda & Grandma attending. Uncle Henry and wife did not come. Emmett is in the asylum and has been since the 13 of August.

1878-09-30 1878-09-30B 1878-09-30C 1878-09-30D 1878-09-30env 1878-09-30envB

Dowagaic, Sept 30, 1878

Dear Cousin

I promised you I would write yesterday but Grandma[1] was entertaining me so you know how much time I had to myself. We have had a general review of the Omro subject & inhabitants. Hannah, Aunt Jennie[2], the room and lastly Edna’s[3] wedding, how she talked pretty freely to the bridegroom but then she told him she was his grandmother &c but then you know how it is yourself. Well I landed all right in Dowagaic[4] Saturday afternoon & was met at Depot by my aunties namely Mary[5] & Amanda[6] & of course I soon made inquires conserning my cousins[7] & found they had gone to Detroit on their wedding tour but they would be home Monday. That is today, so I shall have a chance to show my good clothes after all.

They had a very quiet wedding, no one here except Uncle D.C.[8] Aunt Amanda & Grandma. Uncle Henry[9] & wife did not come. As near as I can find out the wedding was very much hurried because there was another fellow after Edna & Mr Allen was going off & didn’t like to leave her to the tender mercies of her mother & the other fellow. She did not have her wedding dress done, so was married in a brown silk that she had & wore her navy blue silk for a traveling dress. Aunt Mary seems quite reconciled to the match now.

Emmett[10] is in the asylum & has been since the 13 of Aug. Uncle D.C. has not started for Colorado yet. That is all we know. Aunt A. had a telegram from him. Edna did not have any presents.

Everything is very quiet here now but I expect we will have a grand time before we leave. I see Grandma is fixing for it. She was up before daylight out making calls & I know she got snubbed somewhere for she has been crosser than an old bear all the morning.

Things don’t quite come up to my expectations but thats not to be wondered at. Any one that has been used to everything so much nicer, of course it would be hard to come down to common living.

Hannah if you & I had of come to the wedding, & worn our common clothes, I dont believe the bride would have felt out of place at all but then I dont feel bad because we didn’t come. Tell Henry[11] Aunt Amanda wants him to keep the first negative he took of her. They are well pleased with the pictures.

If you can read this you will do better than I can. Please burn this for if anyone should see it they might take me at what I have said not what I mean.

Grandma is paddling up stairs to see who I have been writing to, so I must close. Love to all. Write soon.

Your cousin

Edna[12]

[Written on the back of the envelope]:                                              

Rec’d Oct 2nd 1878

From Edna Crawford

Omro, Wisconsin

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

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

[3] Edna Crawford, the daughter of Mary and Edwin Crawford

[4] Dowagiac, Michigan

[5] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Edwin’s wife

[6] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford, D.C. Crawford’s wife

[7] Edna Alice Crawford and Oscar Allen Jr. were married in Dowagiac on September 25, 1878

[8] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford

[9] Henry Clay Crawford

[10] Edna’s brother, Emmett Patrick Crawford

[11] Henry Brown, Nancy (Keith) Brown’s husband and Hannah’s brother-in-law

[12] Edna Crawford, daughter of Robert and Louisa (McCann) Crawford

August 24, 1878 letter to Hannah Keith from Louese Keith

August 24, 1878

To:  Hannah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Louese Keith, Chicago, IL

A general discussion about Louese’s wardrobe. Aunt Bell has gone to Wisconsin.

1878-08-24 1878-08-24B 1878-08-24C 1878-08-24D 1878-08-24E 1878-08-24F 1878-08-24x

Chicago     Aug 24/78

Miss Hannah Keith

Business Letter

Dear Sister

As this is Saturday Evening and the house is quiet I will take my pen in hand to address a few lines to you. Aunt Kate & Uncle Hi[1] have gone to Choir meeting & the children are in bed so you see there is nothing to hinder me from doing so. Of course, you observed at the beginning of this letter that it was a “business” that prompted me to write as soon as this. The door bell has rung.

Sunday Afternoon. I went down & opened the door. The caller was Maurice. He had been here about 5 minutes when Misses Jessie & Lillie Murphy, John Perry & Walter Pritkin came. “They staid until the gentleman & lady came home.” Walter Pritkin’s sister made a birthday surprise party for him a week ago last Monday Evening. I went, enjoyed my self hugely. The dress I wore was muslin made with elbow sleeves & of course with my arms painted & Aunt Kates bracelets on I looked fine. Uncle Hi gave me a dollar to get my ribbons with. I got six yards of red. The dress looks fine (trimmed in embroidery ruffles & tucks). It is only overskirt & basque. Of course that is all very fine but when a person has not got a pair of drawers to wear it is not quite so fine. Uncle Hi & Jessie[2] are going to Galesburg next month & if Ma[3] can scare up a yard & a half of something to make me a pair of drawers I wish she would do so. Then if you have got an old pair of corset that you have thrown in the rag bag please wash them & send the two articles by Uncle Hi. My flannel drawers I wore out before the winter was over & I have worn the other ones every since then. I can take one pair & mend the other then wear them til you send me the new ones & I will wear those until I come home. Gloves are something else but I can get along with them. Aunt Kate has not got me a pair since March & their being light of course they are not fit to be seen. She has had 4 pair that I know of but then it is not to be wondered at as she has got a bay window in front of her which will open in Dec. Then perhaps things will be different but I doubt it. She is as cross as a bear & wont do a thing. I have to do all the work & then sit down & run the machine (she has got a new one) & make her babys clothes. She says that she wants twins. I asked her who would take care of them. She said you, of course. I will learn you to change them & wash their squares. I told her that I did not know how & I would not learn. She said all right (hope she will remember it).

Now Hannah I have written this to you while you are at Nancys[4] so that Ma will not see it for it will make her feel bad & she has enough to think of now. Dont you tell grandma[5] about Aunt K’s condition[6] until after Uncle Hi has been there for she would speak of it & of course he would tell his wife just as soon as he got back then she would take my head right off. If you & Nancy think best to let Ma see this (& Lois[7] excuse me for leaving you out) tell her not to say a word to Uncle Hi about my clothes for the letter she wrote to him last winder made a stiff breeze here although I have never said any thing about it before. I will tell you all about it at some future day.

Aunt Bell[8] as gone to Wis. I helped her the last three days she was here. I have not seen Gene[9] in two weeks but will see him as soon as possible & ask him. Ed Smiths Father was killed in New York a week ago last Wed. Was buried one week ago to day.

Now remember corset & drawers if you possibly can send them to me. Aunt Kate is a sight worth seeing (better come up & see the show).

[Unsigned, but it is Louese Keith’s handwriting]


[1] Hiram and Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford

[2] Jessie Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s second child

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[4] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Louese’s sister

[5] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[6] Kate was pregnant with her youngest child, Blanche, who was born in 1879

[7] Louese’s stepsister Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner, daughter of Charles Luke Keith Jr. by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[8] Isabella (Steele) Crawford, wife of Louese’s uncle Lucius Prosper Crawford

[9] Louese’s cousin, Eugene Crawford, son of Louese’s uncle Edwin Crawford

June 10, 1878 letter to Hannah Keith from Louese Keith

June 10, 1878

To:  Hannah Keith

From: Louese Keith, Chicago, IL

A general discussion about Louese’s wardrobe.

Chicago     June 10, [1878?][1]

Dear Sister Hannah

I recieved Mas[2] letter two weeks ago to day. Thought then that I would sit right down & write to you but something happened to prevent me from doing so at the time. So I kept putting it off thinking well when night comes I will write but then the boys & girls would come for me to go some where & of course I would not think of writing or any thing else as long as I was going (on a tear) so I have made up my mind that if you ever hear from me I will have to take time to write to you and as I am going to the dressmakers this morning I take this opportunity of writing so that I can mail it to day. Uncle Hi[3] rec’d a letter from Grandma[4] last Saturday saying that Aunt Patty[5] was at our house. Give her my love & tell her she must not leave until I get there to see her. Also that you looked for me home most any day now. Well I can not say positively when I will leave Chicago. Miss Kemper, the dressmaker, is sick & can do no work for me until next week but as I have got considerable sewing to do yet in the way of underclothes & calico dresses I presume she will have my other things done by the time I am through with my work so she will not detain me. There is one thing I would like & that is to be in C–[6] until after the 4th for us young folks will have a high time then if nothing happens & they are all very anxious that I should stay until then (say nothing to Uncle Hi about it). Now Hannah I am going to talk trunk again. Tell Ma that I do not know what to do. The trunk I have will not hold one quarter of my things & if I go to South Bend & Dowagiac I will have to have a larger trunk any way so now what shall I do? I do not want Ma to say any thing to Uncle Hi about it because he is getting me lots of things now & is so good that it would be mean to ask him for any thing. She spoke of borrowing Aunt Kates[7] trunk but she has got her furs & winter clothes packed away in there so I would not want to ask her for it. Ma said that I could take yours if there was any way of getting it to me. Now I do not know as you could do this but if there was any one coming here from the Burg[8] could’nt you send it by them. I just speak of this but I do not know as it could be done.

[Unsigned, but it is Louese Keith’s handwriting]

[1] This is believed to have been written while Louese was living with Hiram and Kate Crawford in 1878

[2] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[3] Hiram Crawford Jr.

[4] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[5] Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague, sister of Louese’s father Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[6] Chicago, Illinois

[7] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[8] Galesburg, Michigan

February 21, 1878 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Keith

February 21, 1878

To:  Nancy Brown

From: Louese Keith

Louese is describing life in the Hiram Crawford household as well as the challenges of maintaining an appropriate wardrobe with limited resources.

1878-02-21 1878-02-21B 1878-02-21C 1878-02-21D

Thursday Morning [February] 21 [1878?][1]

Dear Sister — And Family

As I have got all the work done I will take an hour now and answer your letter that I rec’d week before last. Well to begin with Harry and Jessie[2] are down stairs in the kitchen raising ____. Aunt Kate[3] is in the back parlor lying on the couch (and of course most dead) but is going to prayer meeting this afternoon, and I am up stairs in my room sitting by the east window (writing to you) but if I could only see you I could tell you in 5 minutes what it will take me an hour to write but as I can not I must be satisfied with the pen. Ma[4] wrote to me last week and asked me about my clothes and told me to write to you all about them and she would see the letter. (I suppose the reason she wanted me to do that was so that Grandma[5] would not know any thing about it.) I wrote to Ma 4 weeks ago all about them and how Aunt Kate was but after I read the letter a second time I threw it in the stove for I knew she could not help me any and it would not make her feel any better, but as she has asked me to let her know I will do so. I will say, “to commence with” that she has never given me a thing since I came back “with the exceptions of what I got Christmas” and I dont hear any thing more about dress or any thing else and my cashmere sack looks ridiculous. The silk is all worn thread bare. It had commenced to wear off when Ma was here so you can imagine what it is now. Ma asked about my shoes. No they have’nt got me any but I had 75 cts and Uncle Hi[6] gave me 25 so the next time I went down town I got me a pair of $1.00 shoes but it was the next two or three days after Ma left & I have had to wear them every since then and they are pretty bad now, but I wear my rubbers when I go out so they are not seen. Now dont think by this that she is ugly & cross for she is not but is pleasing, hears me recite my lessons and seems to want me to go out and have the young folks come here but I cant go very much longer unless something turns up (about the size of a binder). There is one thing that grinds me pretty bad and that is I have every bit of the work to do. She does’nt lift her hand to do a single thing excepting to make some fried cakes and sweep the parlors once a week. Making her bed and emptying her slops is something she dont pretend to do. But she is gone every afternoon nearly and then the worst of it is when Uncle Hi comes home at night. He has to carry her up stairs almost and she will carry the idea to him that she has been to work. She has got a new black cashmere trimmed in silk and a new cloak $7.00 a yard trimmed in $3.00 silk & her brother sent her a $10.00 hat, Jessie a set of furs with cap and lots of little things but then she has them just the same. I will tell you on an other piece of paper what is all or will be the rage here this summer.

They are going to wear black & white plaided gingham or such goods as that plaid of Jules that she has trimmed in silk. I saw the pattern of one made for girls “from 14 to 18 yrs” the other day. The back is just like a breton polonaise like that picture in Hannahs[7] book that she made my overskirt by. The front is out loose like a wrapper. On the bottom of the front is a double box plaited ruffle about a foot wide. It opens in front way down to the ruffle and there is plaiting about an inch wide goes down in front. A collarette is made for the neck just like the one to my old dress only not quite as high. The sleeves are trimmed with plaiting 3 inches wide and the pockets have plaiting across the top. It is just as pretty as can be and only takes 8 yds for it is not a long dress. If Aunt Kate would only get me one I would not ask for another one (short any way).

Still if I got it I dont know how it could be made unless she would let me go up to Aunt Bell’s[8] & use her machine & that I dont think she wold let me do so I must be contented.

Dont let any one see this besides our folks.

Eugene[9] started of Mich last Tuesday. Will be at your place before long.

Harry Jessie & I went out to Graceland[10] Saturday. It is only the second time I have been there & Aunt Kate has’nt been there but once & Aunt Bell feels awful. She told me Saturday that if you only lived on Clark Street it would be all she would ask for she would have some place to go to then. So Nancy you was not treated any worse than Aunt Bell is now.

Well I must close.

Love to all.

Lou

I rec’d a handsome box valentine the 14th. Write soon.


[1] This letter appears to be written in 1878, when Louese was staying with Hiram and Kate Crawford

[2] Harry and Jessie Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s children

[3] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[4] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[5] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[6] Hiram Crawford Jr.

[7] Hannah Keith, Louese’s sister

[8] Isabella (Steele) Crawford, wife of Louese’s uncle, Prosper Crawford

[9] Louese’s cousin, Eugene Crawford, son of Lousese’s uncle, Edwin Crawford

[10] Perhaps she is referring to Graceland Cemetery which is located at 4001 North Clark Street in Chicago

May 25, 1877 letter to Sarah Keith from P. T. Johns

May 25, 1877

To: Sarah Keith

From: P. T. Johns, Kalamazoo, MI

Between the handwriting and the poor spelling, it was hard to transcribe this letter, but it appears that Sarah had written to Mr./Dr. Johns to obtain some relief for her mother’s health problems.

1877-05-25 1877-05-25B 1877-05-25C

Kalamazoo

May 25 77

Mrs S.C.K.

Yours of 21 is before me contents noted, Requsting a dignoces of your mothers[1] case. I require lock of Hair one or more of the leading cimptoms _______ and _____ go to exam but will do the best I can under the circstances.

As it shows its self to me thare is goodeal of _____ _____ Deseas of lim and stomach _____ Bad with tendency to Poralacis considerable catarahol affects with Pluretic affects Blood in Bad state considerable iritation of throat and Trachoteal inflamation Kidneys and urinary organs are considerable beset with General debility and _____ bad feelings in _______ small of Back thigh left-side and head & regin of Blade with Rhematism Pains all through the _____ restless nights besides torpid urine high _____ and coldness of extremities which arose from the lim and stomach and kidneys.

If so can help her. Will cost $.8.00 for_____________________________________________ or $5.00 for one will take me two or three months to restor here to eny permency of helth.

Respectfully Yrs

P. T. Jones Jr

P.S. I will go to B.C.[2] Saturdy and remen to next weak Thursday so if you want to send do so _____ or else send to Battle Creek untill next thursdy weak the 5 of June I return to ______  iIremen untill the 9 and the return here as I have settled here.

P.T.J.

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Battle Creek, Michigan

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