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


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.


[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Battle Creek, Michigan

April 6, 1877 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford

April 6, 1877

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Chicago, IL

Henry and family are well and Louese Keith, who was living in Chicago with Hiram and Kate, weighs 139 pounds. “Gaining on her mother aint she.” Sends $4.00.


Chicago, Apr 6, 1877[1]

My Dear Sister

I have written to Mother[2] about evrything of information concerning things around here. Henry[3] and family are well and Louisa[4] weighs one hundred & thirty nine pounds (139). Gaining on her mother aint she. Enclosed find four (4) dolls[5].

Affectionately Your Bro

H. Crawford


[1] On North Chicago City Railway Company stationary showing V. C. Turner as President and H. Crawford as Treasurer

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Henry Clay Crawford, Hiram’s brother

[4] Sarah’s daughter, Louese Keith.  She was living with Hiram and Kate Crawford while attending school in Chicago

[5] Dollars

Spring 1877 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Brown

Spring 1877  

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. he will send for his family in a couple of months. 


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 1877 as it refers to Louese not going to school. Louese stayed with Hiram and Kate while attending school in Chicago

[2] Katherine (Atcheson) 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 Hiram 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

March 23, 1877 letter to Sarah Keith from D.C. Crawford

March 23, 1877

To:  Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: D.C. Crawford, Denver, CO

D.C. is writing to inform Sarah about the death of his daughter, Allie. There had been a great deal of scarlet fever and diphtheria and he feels that the doctors did not appreciate the seriousness of Allie’s case until it was too late. He then writes about the difficulties that people encounter when they “go away from old and tried Friends and places made dear by associations for new and untried Fields & Friends.” Many do well but thousands lose all they have and have to endure many hardships. Many who have tried farming in Colorado are so poor and hundreds are flocking to the Black Hills. If he had not been elected Auditor, he probably would have “gone on a wild goose chase somewhere either to California or Black Hills.”

1877-03-23 1877-03-23B 1877-03-23C 1877-03-23D 1877-03-23env

D.C. Crawford
State of Colorado
Auditor’s Office

Denver, March 23d 1877

Dear Sister

Your most welcome leter reached me in conjuntion with Mothers[1]. You may be assured we were very happy to receiv them as they brought words of consolation from those whom we knew wrote them in no meaningless way, but emenated from hearts brim full of heartfelt feeling and sympathy in this our time of sore tribulation and great trial. Still we feel that Providence knows best how to deal with His Earthly Children for their good and therefore we bow in submission in this affliction that He has seen fit to bring upon us. Trusting in His Wisdem and Goodness for consolation in this our seemingly irreparable loss our little darling Allie[2]. She was a sweet child and just beginning to be so interesting. She was very pretty and affectionate, always with me evenings and of course I miss her very much. With her mother[3] of course she is in her thoughts all of the time as she is reminded of her all of the time as she was in her mind continually being with her all of the time. Our little Ida[4] keeps speaking about her little sister having gone to Heaven and is now a little angel. There has been a great deal of sickness about here with children Scarlet Fever & Diptheria prevaile alarmingly. I presume however you have such diseases with you only in a more aggravated State our Diseases of such a character are generally handled by our physicians but in the case of our Baby it seems as though they did not understand her case or did not think she was so sick until it was to late. I never have been sick to speak of since I had the Typhoid Fever at Galesburgh[5] when a boy. Except sick head ache I have been troubled with that for years. I sometimes I think I inherited it from Mother as she has been more or less troubled with her stomach for years. Dear Sister I deeply feel for poor Ethen[6]. Poor boy. He must be very miserable with such poor health & Luke[7] also. I am so sorry for both of them and you to. You must have it hard at times. I hardly know how to advise. I know Luke and you must feel greatly discouraged but the question arises where can you go to better yourselves. Most every man that has tried Farming in Colorado has made a loosing thing of it. The great majority of them are so poor that they cannot get away and are ekeing out a miserable exestince. Hundreds are flocking to the “Black Hills” country. No doubt some will do well but Thousands will loose all they have in the world and all will have to suffer many hardships. Many will be murdered and hundreds will be killed by Indians. With me I am inclined to the opinion that as a general thing People are foolish to go away from old and tried Friends and places made dear by associations for new and untried Fields & Friends. I have witnessed it in this county so much where People have come amongst us seemingly well to do and after several years having elapsed they have become disheartened living out in some by way place trying to farm. “Hoppers”[8] eat them out of house & home. No neighbors near for generally sickness & misfortune overtake them an after having exhausted their means are obliged to leav the country and not an uncomm thing have to procur means from friends at home to get away. This of course is not so in every case because some do well anywhere but the great majority are living from hand to mouth in this country and especially during the past few years as it has been extremely dull. We hear of rich strikes now and then in the mines but when you go there its a “humbug” often. (Not always) as there are some rich mines here. I have a friend visiting with me for a few days from the mines that has lived in this country as long as I have & mined all of the time & cannot pay his debts today & been in a good Mining District all of the time & so it goes. I used to think I would be well off sometime but have about given that up as the time for making money is gone past here. That is to make it big speculation as this country has assumed something like the condition of the states when I lived there & of course you know about how things are here. If I had not been elected[9] I should have gone on a wild goose chase somewhere either to California or “Black Hills.” Love to you all in which we all join. Pleas say to Mother I shall write soon.

Your Bro. D.C. Crawford

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Allie Crawford, who was about two years old

[3] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford

[4] D.C.’s eldest child, who was approximately four years old at the time

[5] D.C. was born in Canada. The family left Canada in the early 1840s with the intention of settling in the Grand Rapids area, but were forced to stop in Galesburg, Michigan when D.C. developed Typhoid Fever

[6] The eldest son of Sarah and Luke Keith

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

[8] Grasshoppers

[9] D.C. was the first Auditor of the newly formed State of Colorado. His picture now hangs in the State Capitol building

January 19, 1877 letter to Sarah Keith and Nancy Betts from Henry Crawford

January 19, 1877

To:  Sarah Keith & Nancy Betts, Galesburg, MI

From: Henry Crawford, South Bend, IN

Henry is sending a brief note along with $2.50. The shop reopened on the 2nd, but it was so cold during the first week that not much was done. The children have not been well. Henry hopes to visit his mother in the spring.

1877-01-19 1877-01-19B 1877-01-19env

South Bend, Ind.     Jan 19 1877

Sister & Mother

You will pleas except a few lines written with my thumless hand. I cant write with my pen as yet but I guess you can read this for it wont be very long. Every thing is about the same with us as when I was with you. The children are not well. The factory started up the 2d of this month. It was so cold the first week that we did not do much but I have order for thre hundred set wheels per week & more if I can mak them. Mother as soon as spring comes I am going to send for you & as long as you feel like staying we will mak it pleasant for you.


You will find two ___

Our love to all


November 29, 1876 letter to Luke Keith from Nancy Brown

November 29, 1876

To:  Luke Keith

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Arrived at Chicago Friday evening. Hank got on at 22nd Street and rode down to the depot. They stayed one night in Dowagiac. Edna came with them. They all went up to Uncle Hi’s and stayed Friday night. Saturday morning Louese came down to help get them get settled. She stayed until Sunday night. Eugene, Edna & Uncle Hi were all there Sunday. Gene was there almost all day. Edna went home Monday afternoon. Enclosed Martin Keith’s death notice.

1876-11-29 1876-11-29B 1876-11-29C

Chicago, Illinois

Nov 29, 1876

Dear Pa

We arrived at Chicago Friday Evening as we expected. Hank[1] got on at 22nd Street and rode down to the depot with us. We stayed one night in Dowagiac. Edna[2] came here with us. We all went up to Uncle His[3] and stayed Friday night. Saturday morning Louese[4] came down here with us to help get settled. She stayed untill Sunday night. Eugene[5] Edna & Uncle Hi were all here Sunday. Gene was here most all day. Edna went home Monday afternoon. Saturday she got herself a silk velvet cloak. Paid $85.00 for it and a dress for $38.00. She is going to Detroit this winter to study painting. Uncle His folks are all well. Louese has not changed any, only perhaps a little larger. I like it here quite well. Street cars pass here constantly. Hank passes here every 42 minutes. He went to work this morning at six worked till half after twelve then off till four thirty five. Went on then and works till after eleven. Then tomorrow works from six in the morning till six at night. Has an hours nooning. Has tomorrow night to himself and next forenoon, then goes on and works till nearly midnight and so on. I dont like to have him gone so much nights but he has to be so we must stand it. We have been invited out to dinner tomorrow but dont think we shall go for Louese said perhaps she would come down. There is going to be a surprise party for one of the clerks in the office tomorrow night. We have had an invitation. There was quite a fire Monday night on the corner of Canal & Madison Streets. There were eight persons burned to death.

Thursday Eve Dec 7th

You will see I began this aweek ago and am just finishing it. I rec’d your postal Tuesday. We had a letter from home the other day. Ma[6] said they had not got any letter from you so you see it is probly in the office at the Burg. Ethen[7] has had two severe attacks of the P. Aunt Fleda[8] has been very sick. When we came to unpack our goods we found only a few of our dishes so we had to send for them. Our letter laid in the office abut a week so the things did not come till to day. Fathers[9] folks have killed their hogs so they send us lots of meat – sausage and two chickens. I like it here real well. Claude[10] is quite worrisome a good deal of the time. He talks of you all evey day. He calls you grandpa Bill. Think he means bill horse. He will put his wagon and wheal behind a chair and then go to your picture and tell you he has put bill in the barn. He talks to that a good many times a day just as if it was you. He talks quite a good deal more than when we came from home. He is writting to you now sits in his high chair here by the table. It was Hanks night off last night so he and Claude and I were going to hear Moody[11] and Sanky[12] but he worked for an other man and so George (the young fellow that roomed with Hank) went with us. He boards here. I dont think they are any smarter than common people. I like Sankys singing better than Moodies preaching. George is going to be married next Tuesday. He seems like a nice young man. Neither smokes, drinks, chews or sweres and is most always home by six or a little after. He has gone to his fathers to night at Evanston  twelve miles from here. He says there is a family lives there by the name of Keith. I thought it might be Almer. I seen the death of Martin Keith. Will send it to you[13]. Dont know as it is any of our folks. Write wen you can. Our love to all. I am going to ______ home tonight.


[1] Henry Brown, Nancy’s husband

[2] Nancy’s cousin, Edna Crawford, the daughter of Edwin & Mary (Hamilton) Crawford

[3] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s uncle

[4] Louese Keith, Nancy’s sister

[5] Nancy’s cousin, Eugene Crawford, Edna’s half brother, the son of Edwin & Laura (Hall) Crawford

[6] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[7] Ethan Keith, Nancy’s brother

[8] Nancy’s aunt, Alfleda (Starr) Keith

[9] Henry’s father, Ambrose Brown

[10] Claude Brown, Nancy’s son

[11] Dwight L. Moody, the American evangelist and founder of Moody Bible Institute

[12] Ira Sankey, who worked with D. L. Moody

[13] MARTIN KEITH. At about 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon, an old gentleman 76 years of age, named Martin Keith, residing at No. 981 Indiana avenue, got aboard of a Cottage Grove avenue car at the corner of Twentieth and State streets, and after riding a short distance fell suddenly dead in the car. He was carried into a drug-store at 472 State street, and attended by Dr. Kishlein, but he was already past all medical skill. Heart disease is the supposed cause. Deceased was the father of the Keith brothers doing business in this city. (Chicago Daily Tribune, 12-3-1876)

November 24, 1876 letter to Nancy Betts and Sarah Keith from Henry Crawford

November 24, 1876

To:  Nancy Betts & Sarah Keith

From: Henry Crawford, South Bend, IN

Henry is using his left hand to write the letter because his right hand was caught in a machine and he lost his thumb. He wasn’t able to send any money to support his mother but hopes to start again soon.

1876-11-24 1876-11-24B

South Bend Nov 24th[1]

Dear Mother & Sister,

I will try to write you with my left hand. Clara[2] said she would write for me but I thought I would try it myself. The 12th of October I came very near loosing my right hand by getting it in a machine. I lost my thumb. The other side of the hand was badly bruised. It is all doing well now & patly heald up. I have been able to look after my work for two weeks. I am not able to work but I can earn something.

Sarah the morning I was hurt I was going to send you a few dollars but as my incum was cut of I could not but I will soone be able to do so & will send you some every month for mother support. Emma[3] has been sick about six weeks. She was taken with St Vitus danse[4]. She is better now. The rest of the family is as well usuel. The shops will close som time in Desember to invoise then I intend to drop down on you for a day. My love to all good night. Dont you think I do well with my left hand?


[1] While not included, the year was 1876

[2] Clara Crawford, Henry’s daughter

[3] Emma Crawford, Henry’s daughter

[4] Chorea, a disease of the nerves characterized by irregular and involuntary movements of the muscles of the limbs and face; sometimes associated with rheumatic fever

October 31, 1876 letter to Sarah Keith from Clara Crawford

October 31, 1876

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Clara Crawford, South Bend, IN

Her father’s hand was caught in a piece of machinery. His thumb was amputated close to the hand and the hand was badly bruised. He has suffered a great deal of pain and it is not known how long it will keep him from business. Johnny came home Monday night with a felon on his hand and was in very bad condition but is better now. Both Clara and Emma have been sick.

1876-10-31 1876-10-31B

South Bend Oct 31/76

Dear Aunt

Pa[1] received your kind letter Saterday and was veary glad to hear from you. The Doctor thinks Pa’s hand is better. He has suffereed a grate deal of pain and is in a veary bad condition yet. The thumb was amputated close to the hand and the hand was badly bruised. We dont know how long it will keep Pa from his buisness. Johnny[2] came home Monday night from his work with a felon[3] on his hand and was veary bad but is better now. And I was taken sick Thursday with simtons of Dipthereor but an better now. And Emma[4] was taken out of school with a veary bad desies and I think we ar having more then our share. Well I guess I will stop now as I am getting weak. Aunt S excuse this writing. The ink was so bad that I am a shamed to sent it but it is better then now. Come and see us all.

Love to all from

Clara Crawford[5]


[1] Henry Clay Crawford, who was Sarah’s brother

[2] Clara’s older brother

[3] A painful infection at the end of a finger or toe, near the nail

[4] Clara’s sister

[5] Henry’s daughter

October 1, 1876 letter to Sarah Keith from Robert Crawford

October 1, 1876

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Robert Crawford, Omro, WI

Robert writes that Louisa is getting her strength again but her lungs are still quite weak. His daughter, Lulu, is growing. Robert hopes that Mother is contented now that she is living with Hiram in Chicago but he is afraid that Hiram’s wife, Kate, and Mother will have difficulty getting along. He feels that it is likely that Mother will move to Omro in the spring. If she does Robert will do his best for her but he feels that she will not be contented.

 1876-10-01 1876-10-01B

Omro Oct 1, 1876

Dear Sister

I received your very welcome letter last week and was pleased to hear from you again. We are all quite well at present. Louisa[1] is getting her strength again but her lungs are quite weak. Baby[2] is growing finely. I suppose that Mother[3] is contented now as she is living with Hiram[4] in Chicago but I am afraid the Devil will be to pay before another spring for I dont think that Kate[5] and Mother will agree that long but they may. I hope so for Mother is so discontented. How long did Mother stay with you Sarah? Are you sufficiently paid? Write me particulars as Mother has been writing to me to send money to her now as she was living with Hiram. I will send you $2.00 Sarah for I believe it is your due and more if it is necessary. It is very dull here and I have been out of work a month nearly. Expect to go in the Pinery this winter if I get a chance. I know you have a struggle to get along Sarah and I mean to do all that I can and I had hoped that Mother would have been contented to have stayed with you. We would have known just what to do. It is very likely that Mother will come here in the spring. If she does we will do the best we can for her but she would not be contented.

Well Sarah I will close now by wishing you all well and our love and regards to you and your family.

Write as soon as you receive and oblige.

Your affectionate Bro

R Crawford


[1] Robert’s wife, Louisa (McCann) Crawford. The 1880 census indicated that she was suffering from consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis).  She died in 1883 at the age of 46

[2] Robert and Louisa’s daughter, Lulu, who was born July 22, 1876

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Robert’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

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

September 23, 1876 letter to Nancy Betts from D. C. Crawford

September 23, 1876

To:  Nancy Betts

From: D.C. Crawford,  Colorado Springs, CO

D.C. is proprietor of the Crawford House in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has been nominated as State Auditor for the upcoming election. Amanda is quite well but not strong as she is still nursing her baby.




Colorado Springs, Col., Sept 23, 1876[1]

Dear Mother

I have not heard from you for sometime and have been so busy during the final campaign that I have not taken time to do anything outside of the regular routine of business appertaining to my office and Hotel business. On next Teusday is the day of Election, Oct. 3. If I should be successful I shall go out of the Hotel business pretty soon, if not I shall probably not for the present, but close my present place of business and take the management of a large House at Pueblo on a salary as then I would know what I was doing.

Dear Mother, I have been honored with the nomination of Auditor of the New State on Rep ticket as above stated. I think I shall be elected. This leavs us all quite well. The children[2] are much better then ever before. Amanda[3] is quite well but not strong as she is nursing her baby[4] yet. Will wean her soon she says. We are having quite a nice season, but very dull for Colerado. The Centennial has done us a great deal of injury I think then the Grashoppers have taken a large portion of the crops, especially the late crops. Keeps everybody hard up. This is the poorest place to farm in, in the world I guess as we have to depend on artificial means for water. We have rains but not just as we need them. Also about every year we are visited with the grasshopper–pest. Love to you dear Mother and all of sister’s[5] family. Your Son

D.C. Crawford

P.S. I herewith Enclose Five dollars. If you need some take a part of it and give bal. to Sarah or all just as you can or think best. I am pretty hard up just now and will send some more just as soon as I can. D.C.C.

(In margin on front of letter:) Dear Mother – I have written to you but have no time to write to Sister. Now I will direct to Sister as if you are not at home. Sister can read it an send it to you. D.C.C.


[1] While the date on the letter looks like it is 1878, D.C. refers to the upcoming election of October 3, where he was running for the office of auditor, and that election was in 1876. From Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming – 1890, by Hubert Howe Bancroft, regarding the election of October 3, 1876: David C. Crawford was a native of Canada, moved to Mich. and Wis., and in 1860 came to Colorado. He first engaged in mining in Gilpin and Boulder counties, in 1862 in merchandising in Park co., and in 1865 in farming in Jefferson co. He was elected clerk and recorder for the latter county in 1867, and afterward opened a real estate office and insurance office, becoming in 1875 proprietor of the Crawford house at Colorado Springs. He married Amanda J Thornton of Golden. His opponent for the office of auditor was J. F. Benedict, whom he beat by 922 votes

[2] Ida and Allie Crawford

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

[4] Allie Crawford

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

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