December 8, 1880 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

December 8, 1880

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford, Jr., Chicago, IL

Hiram is writing in response to a letter from his sister, Sarah, that their Mother’s general health has declined further. Although not surprised, he had hoped that his mother’s mind would remain clear to the end, but this seems to not be the case. He is also telling Sarah that if their Mother must remain in her home until the end, that “we must and will help you in every way that is feasible.” He would like to visit, but doesn’t feel that he can afford it at the moment unless it becomes necessary. He is also acknowledging Sarah’s anxiousness over some issue involving her daughter, Nancy.

chgo city railway

Chicago, Dec 8th 1880                                                          

Dear Sister

Your and Lou’s[1] letters reached me yesterday. I need not assure you that I was much pained to learn the unfortunate condition of Mothers[2] health, and the additional burdens which are thrown on you. It is not wholly unexpected for it was something which I knew was sooner or later to come, that is in fact. I was in hopes that her mind would keep clear to the end. Now Sarah if Mother has broken down so that she will have to stay with you until all is over, we must and will help you in every way that is feasible. I appreciate your position and burden in part, but am not on the ground and don’t know how to act, and I appeal to you frankly to state your view of what should and could be done to help you along with this trouble. Whether to hire someone to take care of her or any other way which you may think best, and I as far as I can will do my best to see your wishes carried out. I would like to come out and see Mother & you but in view of what may happen I don’t feel as if I can spare the mony, unless it should become necessary. I have just made the last payment on my house, but am in debt to other parties about three hundred dollars.[3] Nancy’s[4] case must be a peculiar one, and I don’t wonder that you feel anxious about her. The poor girl must suffer very much.[5] I presume Mr Browns[6] death had a bad effect on her. I trust she will come through all right. Please remember me in love to her.

Our family and LP[7] and family are as well as usual, nothing more than colds.

I shall expect to hear from you right off, and just as you think, plain and frank. As Mother might want to read this, probably you hadn’t better let her know anything about it. With love to all, I am

Your Broth

H Crawford

Please accept the enclosed $5

——-

[1] Sarah’s daughter, Louese Keith

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] This is $7,556 in 2017 dollars

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

[5] Nancy was pregnant at the time; her daughter, Bess, was born February 7, 1881, so perhaps she was having a difficult pregnancy

[6] Ambrose Brown, Nancy’s father-in-law, who died October 27, 1880

[7] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Hiram’s younger brother

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.

Nancy

[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)

September 21, 1873 letter to Nancy Betts from Sarah Keith

September 21, 1873

To:  Nancy Betts

From: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

Speaks of Hannah and Underwood not making up. Lucy Milham had a baby girl. Sarah thinks Lucy’s husband is a shiftless man. Thinks Lois’ husband, Del Skinner, is a good man. Eugene was there two weeks ago and he was well. She doesn’t think Mary has done the fair thing by him, but guess he will come out all right.

1873-09-21 1873-09-21B

Galesburg, Sep 21st 1873

My Dear Mother[1]

I received your very welcome letter last week, was glad to hear from you once more. I had been looking for a letter from you some time, it seemed a long while since I heard from you. I think a great many times what a privilege it is and one we ought to apreciate that we can corispond with our friends, (though separated by thousands of miles). Through the medium of the pen we can go to our friends for sympathy in our afliction and also to rejoice with us when we have cause for rejoicing. Our State Fair has been held at Grand Rappids this last week. Ethen[2] and Hannah[3] went last Tuesday. Expect them tomorrow. Mr Planks folks lives there. They wanted the children should come and stay with them during the Fair. Nancy[4] lives forty miles from them. Ethen expects to go and see her. Nancy does not write she is homesick, but I guess she would like to look in and see us all. Jane Nouge has not been expected to lieve the past three. I went and stayed all day with her last Tuesday. Deacon and Mrs Mason are quite smart. Mrs M wished to be remembered to you. Mary Lewis has got a little girl. I have got my carpet down in the front room. It looks very well. We have let a man and his wife by the name Hawley have our two south roomes. He is a going to work our place (also Aunt Pattys[5] and Aunt Katys[6]) on shares. It is a going to crunch us some for room, but I am willing to do most any way for the sake of having something done. Hannah and Underwood[7] has not made up. He has been here twice this summer. She keeps out of his way.

Lucy Milham[8] has got another baby a little girl[9]. Her health is quite good. Poor Lucy. She has lots of trouble. She has got one of the most shiftless men[10] I ever saw, a great stout healthy man as he is. Lois[11] and Dell[12] were here to day. They were quite well. I think Lois has got a good man. He seemes to think everything of her. He is a very industrious man and a good calculator, keeps his farm up in good order.

I have not felt very well the past week have had a bad cold had to work pretty hard, have been lower than usual. Eugene[13] was here two weeks ago. He was well. Think he has got a pretty chance. Dont think Mary[14] has done the fare thing by him. Guess he will come out all right. I must close and leave room for Jimmie[15]. My love to you Mother and all the rest. Please write whenever you can.

SCK

Monday morning September 22, 1873

Mrs. N. B. Betts

Dear Grandma

I thought I would write you a few lines. I am husking corn for Mr Brown[16] for 8 cents a bushel. It is vacation now. i expect to go to Dowagiac before school commences again. I shall have to stop for it is sprinkling and I have got to get the beans in write soon.

From Jimmy


[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

[3] Sarah’s daughter, Hannah Keith

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

[5] Martha “Patty” (Keith) Sprague, sister of Sarah’s husband Luke

[6] Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee, sister of Sarah’s husband Luke

[7] Hannah had been engaged to Eberly Underwood

[8] Daughter of George and Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee

[9] Catherine Samantha “Kitty” Milham was born September 2, 1873

[10] Lucy’s husband, Martin Milham

[11] Sarah’s step-daughter. Lois was the daughter of Luke and Minerva (Payson) Keith

[12] Adelbert Skinner was Lois’ second husband

[13] Son of Sarah’s brother Edwin Crawford

[14] Eugene’s stepmother, Mary (Hamilton) Crawford

[15] Sarah’s youngest son, James Keith

[16] Ambrose Brown, Nancy (Keith) Brown’s father-in-law