September 5, 1870 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

September 5, 1870

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Nancy received a letter from David last week. He said he had not received a letter from any of his folks. He would like to hear from Sarah. She also received one from Hiram. Prosper came home a few weeks ago. He had a cold and was very sick, although he is better now. She also received a letter from Henry. The family has been sick, including himself and Jenny. He was very bad last spring and Jenny was sick all winter and all summer and is just now getting better. Nancy is thinking of visiting Hiram. Henry says he wanted to see them all very much. He would like her to come and stay with them awhile. She would like to go but doesn’t want to stay long. Wants to see Henry and all of his family as well as Sarah and her family and Hiram and his family. Received a letter from Alice Crawford, James’ daughter. She would like to hear from her aunts, uncles and cousins.

Scan of 1870-09-05 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro  Sept 5 1870

Dear Sarah,

You kind and wellcom letter came to hand a few days ago. I was glad to hear from you all. I have ben looking for a letter from you this sam time. I am sorra to hear that all have ben so flicked with sickness. I hope you all will get your healths again. Where is Ethen[1] now? You did not say anything about him and Sis[2]. Tell Jimme[3] that granma would like to see him very much and all of you. I received a letter from David[4] last week. He was well. He said he had not received a letter from any of his folks but me. He would like to hear from you and yours. I received one from Hiram[5]. He said they whare all quite well. The old lady[6] hasent got home yet. I dont bleve she is a coming home. Prosper[7] came home a few weekes ago. He took a cold and was very unwell. He is better now so he can work. Robert[8] has got quite well. He can do all the work he can get to do. It is hard to get work to do. There is so meny that wants work and cant get it. His famly is well as usual. I received one from Henry[9] the other day. He sais they have ben sick, himself and Jenna[10]. He was very bad last spring. He thought he was a going in the quick consumption. He got relief at last. Jenna was sick all winter and all summer, gest agetting better so she thinks of makeing Hiram and wife[11] a visit. He said he wanted to see us all very much. He wish I could come and stay with them awile. I would like to go and stay and make a visit but I dont wanto stay a grate while. I do want to see him very much and all of his famly and all of you and Hiram and famly. O Sarah I wish I could step in and see you and famly. If I had the monny to go and com back I should do it. I pict up a littel adversing thrown in at the door. I pic it up and read it though[t] I would it put in the letter and send it to you. Perhaps you have the same there. If she that is Nancy[12] was I mean was withe me, I should get it for her. I wanto make the trial it mite help her. Your father[13] was a grate hand to try those paten medicines and he beleived there was more virture in those syrups then there was in th Dr medicines.

This is the second letter I have written to day. I am so nervis that I cant write ver well. I wish you and Luke[14] could com here and see us. We all would be glad to see you. It would do you both good to travel. It all ways done me heep of good. My health is quite good at present. Write soon as convent. I received a letter from Alice N Crawford[15] your brother James[16] daughter. She wants to hear from her Aunts and uncels and cousans. She inquired about Nancy. She said she hope she was well. She said if I would send Nancy adress she would write to to her so I will. When you write to me again remember Pros in your but dont let him know that I said anything. The boys dident say anything about him ether. He thought it was singler Glen Haven grant co. I hope these few lines will find you all. I received a letter from Eugene[17]. He was well. He said he got a letter from Eathen. My love to you all. Kiss Jimme and Sis for me.

From your mother

N B Betts

[to] S C Keith

——-

[1] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[2] Louese Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[3] James Keith, Sarah’s son

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

[5] Hiram Crawford, Jr., Nancy’s son

[6] Hiram’s wife Katherine’s grandmother, Elizabeth McGrath, who had been living with them

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

[8] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[9] Henry Crawford, Nancy’s son

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

[11] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[12] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[13] Hiram Crawford Sr.

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

[15] Her granddaughter

[16] James Crawford died December 15, 1858, just seven weeks after his wife Ann died. At the time of their deaths, Alice was 5 and her brother, Rollin, was 3

[17] Eugene Crawford, Nancy’s grandson

February 22, 1859 letter to Luke Keith from D.C. Crawford

Footnote #6 updated 02-11-2017

February 22, 1859                

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI              

From: David (D.C.) Crawford, LaCrosse, WI

Describes where he lives in LaCrosse by the Mississippi River. Received a letter from Robert who spoke of James’ death and also his wife’s death and that there might have been something wrong in regard to him dying so suddenly. Received a letter from Platt Betts. Mentions Stanley Crawford.

Scan of 1859-02-22 D C Crawford to Luke Keith

La Crosse Feb 22nd 1859

Mr C L Keith

Galesburgh Michigan

Dear Sir

In answer to your last letter I would say in asmuch as you described to me your wherebouts it would be no more than fare for me to give you a little information on that point but there would be no danger if you should wish to come and see me because the trees are all spotted on or along the Old Territorial Road. We live in Wis near La Crosse on the pleasant Banks of the Raging Missippi the “Father of Waters.” We have a Flourshing and Enterprising R Road making their regular trips Daily between Milwaukee and La Crosse the (La Crosse and Milwaukee R Road) which makes a vast difference here in the Winter season I assure you. The toot of the Iron Horse or Whistle sounds good up in this County you had better believe only a few years ago hardly dreamt of. You say there is no sleighing their quite the contrary here. We have had a very pleasant and gay Winter this way. I re’d a letter from Robert[1] stating that sleighing was good in the Pinery and he was doing well. He spoke of James[2] and of His Death[3] and also His Wifes[4] and as though that there might have been something wrong in regard to Him dying so suddenly. It seems to be rather lamentable fact to realize a near kindred Blood a beloved Brother folded in the arms of Death so near us and none to say a kind word or smooth His Dying pillow. I was expecting to pay them a visit this comeing season.

I re’ed a letter from the Rev. Mr. Betts[5] the other Day for the first time. I should judge that He was and odd Old chap (allow me). He invites me to come and see them which I should like to do very much and shall soon probably.

Stanley[6] said that He called on you but did not stay but a few moments. He said that He was used well and was much pleased.

Please ask Sarah[7] if She knows or Lois[8] (Miss Sarah Hall). If so please inform Her that Stanley Crawford wishes to be remembered to Her. Stanley says He saw more pretty Girls in Galesburgh and vicinity then He has seen in this Country for a long time that is when He was Home this last time. Tell Sarah if She does not write me I will think she has forgotten me. My love to all.

Yours truly David [to] C L Keith

Write Soon again please

——-

[1] Brother, Robert Crawford

[2] Brother, James Crawford

[3] An entry in Luke’s dairy shows that James died December 15, 1858

[4] James’ wife, Ann (Rogers) Crawford, who died October 26, 1858

[5] Stepfather, Platt Betts

[6] Stanley Crawford. At this stage his relationship to David is unknown Believe this to be George Stanley, who operated a jewelry store with David “D.C.” Crawford under the name Stanley & Crawford from approximately 1856/1857 to 1860

[7] Sarah Keith, Luke’s wife and David’s sister

[8] Luke’s daughter, Lois Keith, who was his daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

October 30, 1858 Letter to Nancy Betts from James Crawford

October 30, 1858                  

To: Nancy Betts                                

From: James H. Crawford, Cassville, WI

His wife Ann died on the 26th and he is left with two small children.

Scan of 1858-10-30 James Crawford to Nancy Betts

Cassville 30 October 1858

Dear Mother

In answering your letter I have to inform you of the deth of my dear companion. Ann[1] dear wommen is gone. I am left with to little children[2] to mourn her loss. I am not well myself. I have a bad cold. The children is well. The children is at their grandfather[3] and I am to. Ann died at her father. I was with her at the time she died on the 26. Mother I was glad to here from you and yours and to here that your helths was good.

Mother I cant any more at present. I dont feel able at presant. I will write a gain as soon as I can. I want you to write as soon as you can.

My love to you Both.

James H Crawford

——-

[1] Ann (Rogers) Crawford

[2] Alice and Rollin Crawford, ages 5 and 1

[3] Thomas Rogers

May 23, 1856 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Crawford

Footnote #6 updated on 02-11-2017

May 23, 1856

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Crawford, Cassville, WI

Arrived at Cassville on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin three weeks ago. Apparently staying with son James. Describes the area and also James and his family. Speaks of Eugene being quite sick. Asks Lois to write when she is going to marry Byron.

Scan of 1856-05-23 Nancy Crawford to Sarah Keith

Cassvill May the 23 1856

Dear Sarah

We arived at Cassvill three weeks ago to day safe and sond and found James[1] and family the same. James looks quite natural. He is a vearry large stout man. Perty good looking. He has sandy wiskers, not quite so hevvy as Edwins[2]. His wife[3] is a verry good looking. She is bout Louesa bild, a verry little taller, verry fare blue eyes, lite chesnut brown hair. Thear children is large and fleshed for so yound as they be. The little girl[4] will be three years old the tweneth of next September and she [is] largear then your Nancy[5] and the boy[6] is one year old and he looks like a child two years old.

Edwin recommendation and pas that the Superitendent gave him past us all over raile and watter free. He thinks he can go to Roberts[7] without paying anything. He left hear the third day after we arrived hear and was a going to Roberts place and saide if he bought thear he wold rite to us in a few days and let us know all the perticulars. He had a grate ide of having James move thear if he bought and if not he was a going back to Hamelstons[8] and get Mary[9] and the houshold stuf and move out hear in this regeion of country to a place call Hastings and have James move with him but we havent heard from him cence he left. This is the resson that I delaid in riteing to you before.

Cassvill is a smoul town, quite a hamson location with scatterd housses and few good bildings in the loer end of the town, four stores, two publick houses, three groasses and som few bourding houses. It is on the Missippa river. Som of the bildings is close to the watter age. Cassvill is surrounded by mountains on south side of the river and iowa layes on the west side of the river. In some places the mountains is one hundred and thurty feet high. The hous we are aliving in is about thurty rods from the river. To morrow we expect to move in a hous that sets on the river edge. He [James] expects to stop thear tell he puts up one for themselves. He is a going to bild soon if he dont go with Edwin. James has traveled a grate deal sence he left us at Yorkvill[10]. He has ben to liverpool, round cape horn and to the east indes and to quebeck and Newyork City and broolin and a grate menny other places that is to leigus to menchen. He traveld betwen three and four years after he left home studdy. James has a unstiddy mind of his own fore ever to keep property after he earns it. He is indurstres, hard working fellow. I wish he could git with Robert in that kind of bissniss. I think he wold do better whare he cane have Roberts consol. I think he will hear [listen?] to him but I have no apinion of him going with Edwin, but still he may do well and I hope he may let him be whan he will for he has got a good kind wife and one that thinks evry thing of him and he is a good harted fellow as ever was.

Now Sarah I think I have told you all. Now dont split your sids a laughen when your reade this wen you see how I have blundert in the perticulars. James and family is well. I have a bad cold ever cence I have ben hear and a hard cough but I am som better of it now. Eugene[11] has the ague. He was verry sik yesterday. To day is his well day but he looks bad. He saide he wanted to go and see Eathen[12] and Nancy[13] but poor boy I dont know if he will ever have that oppertunity agane in his young days.

I cant tell you much about my self and and what I will do at present. I think now I will go back to Laport the first of July if the Lord spare my life. My things is thear. James and Ann wants me to stay longer if I can be contented. This place is settled mostly by dutch and a few irish and som americans and English. Rite as soon as you can. Give my respects to the old folks. My love to Luke[14] and youslef and the children, to Lous and Henry.[15] Tell Lous that she must rite to me when she and Byron[16] is a goen to git married[17] and get those verces from Miss Taylor and to put then in letter. James and Ann joins withe me in sending our love to you. No more at present but remain your afectunate Mother till death

Nancy B. Crawford

[to] Sarah C. Keith

N B give my respects to all inquirn frinds and rite evry peticulars.

N.B. Dear Sarah

The Missippa is a beatiful stream of water. It looks verry much like the river St. Clair only the water is soft and the cullar of rain water. The large boats is a runing up and down the river consinly. They engage six aday.

NBC

——-

[1] James Crawford, Nancy’s son

[2] Edwin Crawford, Nancy’s son

[3] Ann (Rogers) Crawford

[4] Alice Crawford

[5] Nancy Keith, Nancy’s granddaughter (Sarah’s daughter)

[6] The baby’s name is unknown This was actually the second of three children born to James and Ann; name unknown. See notes below

[7] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[8] Nancy is referring to the Hamiltons, Edwin’s in-laws

[9] Edwin Crawford’s wife

[10] When the family moved to Michigan from Canada, they lost contact with James, who apparently went his own way while the family was living in Yorkville, Michigan (about 1846). See 9-16-1851 letter where they are trying to find the whereabouts of James. This is apparently the first time Nancy has seen James since he left

[11] Edwin Crawford’s son by his first wife, Louisa Hall

[12] Sarah Keith’s son, Ethan Keith

[13] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

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

[15] Lois and Henry were Luke’s children by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[16] Byron Clark

[17] Lois and Byron were married March 17, 1859

Additional note added on 08-09-2015 regarding Footnote #6 above. It is possible that this was another child who died in childhood. According to this letter, James and Ann had two children: the “little girl will be three years old the tweneth of next September and she [is] largear then your Nancy and the boy is one year old and he looks like a child two years old.” If that boy was Rollin (nicknamed Rolla), he would have been born around 1855, yet according to census records, Rollin was born around 1857 or 1858. Perhaps another boy was born to James and Ann who then died before Ann did in 1858. If Rollin was born in 1857/58, then possibly Ann died from complications of the birth.

Correction added on 10-18-2015: According to the obituary for Alice Crawford, “she was the last surviving member of a family of three children.” This confirms that Rollin was born in 1857/58 and that there was another boy born to James and Ann around 1855 and that that boy died before Ann did in 1858.