April 25, 1921 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

April 25, 1921

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

This is the seventeenth anniversary of their father’s death. She thinks that Eda has a cancer of the colon and hopes that the treatments will destroy it. Uncle Henry came for a visit and “can do all he said he did.” The money that Nancy sent apparently was stolen from the envelope. She had a very strenuous week and was kind of nervous. She didn’t sit up much on Saturday and was doing only what had to be done.

Monday 1:37 P.M. Apr 25 – 1921

Dear ones all –

This is the seventeenth anniversary of Pa’s[1] going a way. You have made a mistake about aunt Jule.[2] Bess[3] was 40 last Feb and she was born the Feb 1881 before aunt Jule went in Apr.[4] aunt Alfleda[5] went to Oscars[6] the 22nd the day she passed away. Ethan[7] and I talked about it that day. Seventeen years has gone quick in a way. Lots has happened in the time. I read in the paper three or four weeks ago that _____ wed [to] “I know who she married but cant think” has a baby. If I remember right it is a boy. When you first wrote about Eda[8] and said there was a stoppage of the large colon I said to Ethan it looks like a cancer to me. Then when you wrote she was agoing to take the medicine treatments I thought so more than ever. I believe the doctors know but are agoing to try and distroy it and I hope they will what ever it is. Dont let she or Claude[9] know what I have written. Clara[10] is the one who dont know what Uncle Henry[11] does. “Did she put his rubbers on.” A man as smart as he is and take a trip crooked trip from S.B. to G. and stop off at Kal-[12] and get is lunch so not to make me any trouble can do all he said he did. He wiped my dishes that morning – there were a lot of them and I was pretty _____ over the _____. It had been a very strenuous week week for me. I know I did’nt sit up much Saturday. I was kind of nervous as you will see by my letter. I wrote about Pa then aunt Jule and then Pa again. The reason I am writing this letter is. Your letter came to day but no money. It was registered so I think we will get the money all right. It has been opened in the end about two thirds of the way. Then did Lou[13] seal it with some red sealing wax? I will put in envelope in this and show you just how for it was opened and where the wax was. He wrote in the back

Mrs L. A. Mueller
4445 N. Francisco Ave.
Chicago, Ill.

Some one opened the letter and took the money out and we think sealed it. Mr Carr[?] spoke about its being torn on the end so I took the letters out so he could see there was no money. He will take the envelope and letter to morrow to Sam Faltz. Ethan has been waiting for the money for the C______issors papers have got to go to Hollender right off will have to go to morrow. He has’nt got but a little money and he dont know but he will have to give H- some but if he has to and dont have enough H- will have to wait until he goes again. I have just read this over and it will worrie you the way I have written it because you have’nt sent it before but we have’nt needed it before and to day was soon enough. You or one no one else is to blame for the money being taken only the one who did it. So dont let it worrie you because you did’nt send it last week. The way my head is I cant think how to write and have it sound all right. (My nervousness[?] is all right)

I did the washing last week a few pieces at a time so now I have been a lady laying around and doing just what has to be done. I dont see how Bess can do our washing with all she has to do. I wont have to send clothes until next week and she wont have to wash them before the week after and I will send as few as I can. Wish we could of seen Dorothy.[14] I know she looked nice. Let me know when the Orchestra comes to Kal-. I told Ethan I hoped we would have some fresh butter milk for J[15] if he comes up here.

Love

H[16]

[1] Hannah’s and Nancy’s father, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[2] Julia Ann Allen, the sister of Matilda (Allen) Brown who was the mother of Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[3] Nancy’s daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[4] Julia Ann Allen died April 22, 1881 in Comstock, Michigan

[5] Alfleda (Starr) Keith was married to Harvey Keith, Charles Luke Keith Jr.’s brother

[6] Alfleda’s son, James Oscar Keith

[7] Hannah’s and Nancy’s brother

[8] Nancy’s daughter-in-law, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[9] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

[10] Clara (Crawford) Hopkins Hammatt, Hannah’s and Nancy’s cousin (daughter of Henry Clay Crawford)

[11] Henry Clay Crawford (age 88), the brother of Hannah’s and Nancy’s mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[12] South Bend, Indiana, to Galesburg, Michigan, and Kalamazoo, Michigan

[13] Louis Mueller, Nancy’s son-in-law

[14] Dorothy Recoschewitz, Bess’ daughter

[15] Julius Recoschewitz, Bess’ husband, who played second violin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

[16] Hannah (Keith) Towne. Hannah’s handwriting is hard to decipher and we may have made some assumptions that are not correct

November 14, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

November 14, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Kalamazoo, MI

Ethan is writing about the year’s potato crop. Also mentions that their record player broke. It was 68 years ago that their parents were married.

68 years ago to day Luke Keith and Sally Crawford[1] rode behind “Old Doll” to Battle Creek on a wedding trip, and Sally carried a parasol. That was before the cantenment.

Kalamazoo, Mich. Nov 14, 1917.

Dear Sister,

Hannah[2] says I will have to write you about the potatoes. I dont know what to say, but will tell you what we have got. I wish you could have had the potatoes that Peake sold in Kal- for us. They were nice to eat and looked nice. He got the top of the market Kent was paying $1.00. and he got $1.25. He dug them before the hard freeze. So many of the potatoes are frosted people will have a lot of trouble with them, they wont be good, and lots of them will rot. Some of ours were touched a little. I have not sorted them yet. Could not do it when I dug them for I had to get them in the cellar as soon as I could, for I was afraid they would all be frozen. Our potatoes are quite scabby. Will have to sort them pretty close. Will have to sell what I call Hunters New Yorkers, and some of Rowlands New Yorkers. Dont know as you know what they are. The Rowlands were what we used while you was here. Dont know how I would get them to freight house unless I could hire the Peake’s to take them. Will look them over as soon as I can and find out what I have got then if Jim[3] does not send you any perhaps I can if you want them. Of course what there are more than we need I want to sell.

We are not listening to the little records any more. Over a week ago I was playing one, and the thing made an awful noise and stopped playing. Have not had a chance to take it apart but think it has stripped coggs on one of the gear wheels, dont think the spring is broken. I have been afraid of the coggs for some time they have run a good while. Daisy and Fannie are standing together for the first tonight in the stanchions.[4] I hope you are having a let up from that torment. I think the Witch Hazel did relieve me, but I was not bad. Tell Helen[5] Auntie[6] and I would like to see her.

Love to all. Ethan.

[1] Ethan and Nancy’s parents, Charles Luke Keith Jr. and Sarah Crawford, married on November 18, 1849. Early records refer to Sarah as Sally, as does their marriage certificate; however, in later years she is referred to as Sarah

[2] Ethan and Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[3] Ethan and Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[4] A frame that holds the head of a cow in place, especially to facilitate milking

[5] Nancy’s granddaughter, Helen Mueller

[6] Hannah was very often referred to as Auntie

Obituary of Charles Luke Keith Jr.

Luke died April 25, 1904. The following was taken from an unknown newspaper.

 

Keith, Charles Luke Jr - Obituary

Keith, Charles Luke Jr – Obituary

December 24, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

December 24, 1902

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Ethan is writing his sister about their Christmas, which has been empty without their mother. Pa seems to have her on his mind much of the time and wishes they could have both died at the same time. He was sorry that Lela couldn’t join them for Christmas.

Galesburg, Mich.

Dec 24, 1902.
8.10 P.m.

Dear Sister,

This is the first Christmas eve that we have ever known that Ma[1] was not with us. How we would like to see her. There are so many things to keep reminding us of her. I dont want to forget her but it is hard to keep thinking. It was a sad time for us last friday evening and Sunday was a hard day. Will Clark[2] came over and staid a couple of hours. Ma is on Pa’s[3] mind most of the time I think. He will take a long breath or say something about her every once in a while. I went over to see Geo Monday eve and Hannah[4] said Pa talked a good deal about Ma and cried. Said as he has before that no one could say but she had done her part here. Said he always hoped Ma would live as long as he. She asked if he had rather went first. He said no, but wished they could have went together. Pa sleeps as well as I expected he would. Two nights he has come out to my bed and looked at me to see if I was there. Think he was afraid I had gone up stairs.

We received your letter yesterday containing the money order. Were not very much disappointed to hear that Lela[5] could not come christmas for it didn’t seem to me that business[6] had been as good as she would want it to be for her to come. I am sorry. We would have been very glad if she could have come. Hope it wont be a very great while before she can.

Christmas night. 7.20. Will try and finish this tonight. Well the first christmas is about drawing to a close. Ma has not wished us a Merry Christmas (as we know of) something she never failed to do. Hannah sent by Mrs Blake last night to get us some oysters for to day, so our dinner was got in a hurry. We would not have wanted a big dinner if we could have had it. Mrs Blake and Carrie both sewed. Yesterday and to day have both been pretty rough, snowed, and wind has blown so hard that it made the snow fly. Carrie has walked over both mornings. She has been doing first rate lately Hannah says. Mrs John Allen sent her dress skirt and a note over tuesday told Hannah she had ruined her dress.  She did not know how to loose it. A nice dress in their family meant a good deal. She wrote quite a letter. You can imagine Hannahs condition after reading it and ever since. She had to go to the Burg[7] that evening to see the lady. Got Mrs Struble to stay with Pa. Mrs Allen was nice but she is bound not to be satisfied, I guess. She did not get an invitation to the wedding and has been disappointed about going to Hastings and Grand Rapids a visiting so probably has got to act out Windy some way. I must write a little to Lou[8] so will close.

Love to all

Ethan

No letter from Henry[9] yet

[1] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[2] Will Clark, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner’s son from her first marriage to Byron Clark

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] Hannah (Keith) Towne, Ethan and Nancy’s widowed sister. Both Ethan and Hannah lived at home with their parents

[5] Lela Brown, Nancy’s daughter

[6] After Nancy’s husband, Hank Brown, died in 1901, Lela and her sister, Bess Recoschewitz, appear to have helped with the operation of the family photographic business

[7] Galesburg, Michigan

[8] Nancy and Ethan’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[9] Nancy and Ethan’s half-brother, son of Charles Luke and Minerva (Payson) Keith

November 14, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

November 14, 1902

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Ethan is writing his sister describing the poor condition of their mother. He is having much difficulty caring for her as her condition fails.

Nov. 14. 1902.

Dear Sister,[1]

Fifty-three years ago now Pa[2] and Ma[3] were in Battle Creek on their wedding tour and now Pa is lying on the and Ma is in the wheel chair west side of the stove. She is coughing a good deal this P.m. For the last three or four days there has been quite a rattling in her throat when she breathed but has been worse to day. We have given her Hulls cough balsam and this P.m. have given her Shoops croup cure that you left here. Cant see that it does much if any good. Ma looks bad and is getting poor. It is getting to be an awful job to get her to bed. She seems to loose the use of her limbs. Last night after we got her in the bedroom I thought she would get down on the floor in spite of us. We had to drag her. She could not stand up or move her limbs. She is so heavy we cant lift her.[4]

We will be very glad if you can come. Ma would like you or Lou[5] here all the time but of course knows that cant be. I’ll be glad for your sake when you get moved. Will have to stop. Mrs Blake wants to go.

Love to all.

Ethan

[The following was written sideways on the first page:]

H L Keith[6]
870 Castro St
Oakland

[1] The envelope is addressed to Mrs. H. A. Brown

[2] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[4] Sarah died just four days later on November 18, 1902

[5] Ethan’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[6] Ethan’s half-brother, Henry L. Keith

November 22, 1901 letter to James Keith from Ethan Keith

November 22, 1901

To: James Keith, Chicago, IL

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Hannah does her sewing work from 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 or later at night. Ethan thinks it is too much for her and worries that she just can’t keep at that pace. She only earns $1.00 per day. Their father sings most of the time and as he is in the same room where Hannah does her sewing, it annoys her. Ethan wishes Nancy and the girls could have stayed at 736 as it was home to them and close to the gallery.

1901-11-22A

1901-11-22A

1901-11-22B

1901-11-22B

1901-11-22C

1901-11-22C

1901-11-22-env

1901-11-22-env

Galesburg, Mich. Nov 22, 1901

Dear Brother

Will begin a letter to you this evening but probably will not finish it as it is most time to go to bed. The alarm will call me at 4.45 Am. (fast time) and I’ll have to get right out for I am working in and around a dressmaking shop. Hannah[1] is crowded with work. She is ready to go to sewing at seven most every morning and works until nine or after in the evening. It is too much for her. She cant always hold out at such a gait. If she was reasenably paid for her work but she does’nt make a dollar a day for her time. Pa[2] and Ma[3] are usually well. Pa has a great hobby for singing. Some of the time it is a tune and then it wont be any thing but he is at it most of the time. It annoys Hannah for he is in the room where she is sewing most of the time. Will Barber and I have worked at the pump part of two days this week. It had got a hole rusted through the pipe somewhere so it pumped sand. We pulled the pipe up and found the hole down most to the point. Have got it so it works all right to night. Nancy[4] writes you are having boils and muscular rheumatism. Seems as if it is’nt one thing its another. It’s too bad and very discouraging to have to be sick so much. Mrs Streater is sick had a light stroke of paralysis. Harry said this morning she was better physically, but was worse mentally. Clara Clark[5] is pretty bad off. Is troubled with gall stones, suffers a great deal. Has been sick over ten weeks. Charley[6] wrote his mother[7] Wednesday that he and Edna[8] sat up with her the night before. They had to fan her a good deal of the time she was so weak. A month yesterday I came from Chicago. Seems more like three of them. I enjoyed the trip and visits if they were short. Would liked very much to have staid longer. Wish Nancy and the girls[9] could have staid at 736.[10] That had got to be like home to them, and then they were so pleasantly situated, and handy to the gallery.[11] She sent me a Heurst Chicago American this week cuts, and write up of the elevated road collision. They were fortunate in not getting some of the cars off on the ground. Have not heard from Charley Eck[12] since he went from here week last Monday. We all liked him. Too bad he has such poor health.[13] The protolacea[14] Winnie[15] set in the tin can has just died. Will close for lack of news. Love to Cora,[16] children[17] and yourself.

Your brother Ethan

[1] Ethan’s and Jim’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[2] Charles Luke Keith Jr., who is 88 years old

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, who is 80 years old

[4] Ethan’s and Jim’s sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[5] Clara (Youngs) Clark was the wife of Charles Clark, the son of Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner and her first husband, Byron Clark. Lois was Ethan’s and Jim’s half-sister, the daughter of Charles Luke Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva Payson

[6] Charles Clark

[7] Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[8] Charles and Clara Clark’s daughter

[9] Nancy (Keith) Brown’s daughters, Lela and Bess Brown

[10] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown, died May 22, 1901 and the family moved from 736 North Hoyne Avenue in Chicago, Illinois

[11] Henry Brown was a photographer and according to the 1899-1900 Chicago City Directory had a store at 749 Robey Street and/or 574 Lincoln Avenue. Bess continued working at the gallery for awhile, but whether it was to try to make a go of it, to take care of unfinished business, or to sell the business is unknown

[12] Charles Eck was the husband of Jessie Crawford, who was Ethan’s and Jim’s first cousin. Jessie was the daughter of Hiram Crawford Jr., the brother of Ethan’s and Jim’s mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[13] Charles Eck died May 23, 1904, just shy of his and Jessie’s 6th wedding anniversary

[14] Portulacea, a succulent plant, possibly a jade plant

[15] Jim’s oldest daughter, Winifred Keith

[16] Jim’s wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[17] Winifred (9 years old) and Walter (almost 4 years old)

December 7, 1899 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from D.C. Crawford

December 7, 1899

To: Luke & Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: D.C. Crawford, Cripple Creek, CO

Speaks of their Golden Wedding Anniversary. The great Cripple Creek fire put him in a financial bind. Before the fire his income was $30 a day clear. All outstanding accounts were valueless and there was no business for over two years. His family lives in Golden. They lived in Cripple Creek for three years but the cost was too high. Ida is teaching school at Fort Collins. Amanda and his son, who he thinks will be nine on February 14, are at home. A handwritten note on the envelope reads “Uncle D. C. Crawford’s last letter to Ma”

1899-12-07A 1899-12-07B 1899-12-07C 1899-12-07D 1899-12-07E 1899-12-07env

Cripple Creek, Dec 7, 1899

Dear Brother and Sister
Galesburg, Mich.

When I opened my Box at the P.O. and tore open the wrapper exposing a newspaper and I read the word Galesburg, I commenced to hunt for items and was pleasantly surprised when I read of your “Golden Wedding Anniversary”[1]. Surely it must have been a joyful meeting of so many of you under the old homestead roof and to one and all must brought to mind many many of the reminiscences of by gone days at the eventful time full of the joys and hopes of youth. I note all were present except H. L. Keith[2] and James[3] – that was to be regreted as on such an occasion all should have tried hard to have been present. I would liked to have been present myself. Well, My Dear relatives we are getting along in years and these reunions should be encouraged as it brings us together, renews our friendships so to speak as we are apt to become unmindful of each other when long separated as in my own persenal experence. I do not know just when but has been years since we have exchanged letters. Why simply because we just neglected it. Other cares and duties have daily taken up all of our time (and absent friends and relatives have been to a certain extent almost forgotten.) This should not be, yet I am “guilty”. My time for past ten years has been almost incessently taken up. The great Cripple Creek Fire put me in such a financial shape that my whole time was taken up to exist for along time after the fire. At the time of the fire my income was about $30.00 per day clear and all outstanding accounts were valuless and there was no business for over 2 years. We are experencing better times but nothing to compare (at that time). While this is a great mining camp there are a great many poor people here. We have to put forth the same effort to make a dollar here as elsewhere. My family do not live here. They live at Golden, Colo. They lived here for three years but little to high here and having a home there, and Ida[4] is teaching school at Fort Collins 75-miles beyond Golden. (Amanda[5] and the Boy[6], who is coming 9-years of age, I believe February 14th are at home and Ida and myself are out restling for bread and butter. Of course, I would be very glad to see you all. Yet, I cannot promise that I can. “Darne fortune” has all to say about it. I find the battle of live much harder task in last twenty years then previous to that. Many a lucky fellow has made fortunes here but think of the thousands that expended their little all and went hungry and walked out of camp while his more fortunate Brother rides in and out in Palace cars. Now that I have commenced, I must write to Brother Robert[7] and Brother Hiram[8]. Both have written me and I do not quite remember if I have answered either of them. As stated, I am getting quite advanced in years and cannot move around as in former years. Yet I do get around all right and have the name of being the leivliest man of my age on the street. I will enclose one of my pictures as I look now. Well in conclusion will say that please remember me kindly to all the children and their parents, both present and absent. I had forgotten Louis[9] husbands Name. I note now Mrs Skinner[10] and her son C I Clark, wife[11] & 3 children[12]. He has done well, very nice man. He was with us awhile. Well dear Luke and Sarah, may God continue to bless you and yours and if it is our destiny never to meet on the shores of time may we hope to meet in the great hereafter if it be the will of him who doeth all things well.[13]

Your loving Brother

D.C. Crawford
Box 34

[1] Sarah Crawford & Charles Luke Keith Jr. were married November 14, 1849 in Comstock Township, Michigan

[2] Henry Keith, Luke’s son by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[3] James Keith, Sarah and Luke’s son

[4] Ida (Crawford) Kelley, D.C.’s eldest daughter

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

[6] Harold Valentine Crawford, D.C.’s son

[7] Robert Crawford

[8] Hiram Crawford

[9] Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner, Luke’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[10] Lois’ second husband was Adelbert Skinner

[11] Charles Ira and Clara (Youngs) Clark. Charles was Lois’ son by her first husband, Byron Clark

[12] Edna, Ethan & Charles Clark

[13] There is a note on the envelope that this was Uncle D.C. Crawford’s last letter to Ma

November 16, 1899 Newspaper Announcement of Luke & Sarah Keith’s Golden Wedding Anniversary

November 16, 1899

From the Galesburg (Michigan) Weekly Argus

Keith-Crawford - Anniversary Article

Keith-Crawford – Anniversary Article

Wedding Anniversary

Fifty years since, on the 14th day of November, 1849, in a house upon the site where now stands the fine residence of Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Burroughs, in Galesburg, the ceremony was performed which united Sarah C. Crawford and Charles L. Keith.

Since that date, the twain have lived honored lives near this village, and on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 14th, 1899, their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren assembled at the old homestead in Comstock township to celebrate their Golden wedding.

It was not a large assemblage, it being the intent to make the occasion one upon which those nearest them could unite in congratulating the old people upon having reached the anniversary which rarely comes to any.

Mr. Keith had been previously married[1], two children of that earlier union surviving, as follows: Mrs. A. R. Skinner[2], of Galesburg and H. L. Keith[3], of Oakland, Cal.

The five surviving children of the later marriage are, Ethan B. and Mrs. C. D. Towne[4], of Comstock township, Mrs. H. A. Brown[5] and James C. of Chicago, and Mrs. D. D. Harris[6], of Shelbyville. All the above were present excepting the sons in Chicago and California, who were unavoidably detained.

In addition to the above, a grandson C. I. Clark[7], his wife, with their three children[8], of Jackson, also was present, constituting a family party representing four generations.

The elder Keith is now 86 years of age while his wife is 78. The former is a native of New York and the latter was born in Canada. Mr. Keith has lived in the vicinity of Galesburg since 1837 and shares with the venerable J. Ripley Comings and Mrs. Catherine Whitcomb, the honor of being the oldest residents.

The occasion was a genuine family re-union, and will be long remembered by those participating.

Many evidences of regard were left, by the visitors, among which twenty two dollars in gold had a very appropriate significance.

All who know “uncle Luke” and his worthy wife, will join those present in the sincere wish that this Golden Wedding may be the prelude to their Diamond anniversary.

[1] Luke married Minerva Payson on April 23, 1839; she died August 29, 1843. He then married Jerusha Crittenden on July 25, 1847; she died September 23, 1848

[2] Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[3] Henry Keith

[4] Hannah (Keith) Towne

[5] Nancy (Keith) Brown

[6] Louese (Keith) Harris

[7] Charles Ira Clark, Lois’ son by her first husband, Byron Clark

[8] Clara (Youngs) Clark and Edna, Ethan and Charles Clark

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. met 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., their brother

[4] Lucius Prosper Crawford, their 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

April 23, 1868 letter to Sarah Keith from Pros Crawford

Last sentence updated on 02-11-2017

April 23, 1868 

To: Sarah Keith

From: Prosper Crawford, Omro, WI

Pros left Chicago about five weeks ago in rather poor health. The irregularity of meals and sleep was too much for him. He concluded that it did not pay for a poor man to be sick in Chicago. Mother was anxious for him to come home or else she wanted to move there to Chicago. He found Mother in poor health and rather despondent. She had been suffering from palpitations of the heart and nervousness, which reduced her strength. Soon she would not be able to do her own work. She was not very happy and his work called him away from home much of the time. He wished she had some company, someone to assist her, someone to care for her in the house. He thinks about marriage but is fearful of his ability to support another in his present circumstances.

1868-04-23 1868-04-23B 1868-04-23C 1868-04-23D

Omro   April 23’’ 1868

Dear Sister Sarah,

I received your very welcom letter Dated Apr 2nd and wa pleased to hear from you and yours. I expected to hear from you while in Chicago but did not untill I arrived home. I left Chicago about five weeks since in rather poor health. The irregularity of meals and sleep was too much for me. I could not stand it. Aside from that I liked my buisiness well and could do it as well as aney of them. Along the latter part of February I was attacked with the bilious Fever[1] which laid me on my back about two weeks and cost me about forty Dollars. I concluded it did not pay for a poor man to be sick in Chicago. Mother[2] was anxious that I should come home or else she wanted to move there. I concluded I could not pay the rent and live decent on my salary. So I came home about five weeks since during which time I have been working (when I fell able) on the Farm of a Friend about one mile distant from Omro, but I dont seem to get strength very fast. I found Mother in poor health and rather despondent. She has been attacted with palpitation of the heart and nervousness of late which reduces her strength. The time is fast approaching when she will not be able to do her own work if she fails as she has within the past year. She is not very happy. My buisiness calls me away from home most of the time. I have no trade to depend on. Consequently I have to depend on days work when I can do the best. I wish she had some company, some one to assist her, some one to care for her in the House. I have thought sometimes that I would marry but am fearful of results, that is I doubt my ability to support another in my present circumstances[3]. I desire to obtain a few broad acres if possible before that event takes place. Now, Sarah, I have not written the above wishing to give you any trouble but inasmuch as we are alike interested in the welfair of Mother it is but just that I recite the facts. I am happy to learn that you have bought a Farm. Though it is small it will give you a home an independence a feeling of reliance and this can be bought for no paltry sum. How is Luke[4]? Is he able to work? How I would like to see him and some others I know off in Michigan. While I was in Chicago, some afternoons when I was off duty I would get to thinking of Friends living in Mich and strold off down to the Depot M.C.R.R.[5] and O how many times I was tempted to step aboard and turn my back to Chicago. But it would not do. I wish you could have made us a visit. Mother would have enjoyed it so much. Well I suppos my little Nieces are not little according to your accounts, however. We had a fine snow last night and I just wish that Hannah[6] was here. I would accept the challenge to wash my face. And Nancy[7] to has grown strong. I suppose Ethen[8] thinks he could hold me a hard one on a take down. Well you tell him to keep right on whittling and perhaps he may invent something that can do it[9]. If he does he certainly will make a pile (on the ground).

Robert[10] is on the river working for twenty shillings[11] per day. His path is up a steep hill. You spoke of Lucy[12] as if she had not done well. Do you realy think so? That would be bad[13]. Write soon.

Your affectionate Bro

L.P. Crawford

You will not have to wait six months to hear from me this time. Henry[14] is running an engine. Did he not learn to be a telegraph operator? I have received a letter from Mary[15] since I came home. She is now living with her Father[16]. The property question is settled in xxxxxxx her favor now that step marm[17] is gone to Glory.

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

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] At this time, Pros was about 26 years old

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

[5] Michigan Central Railroad, which operated passenger trains between Chicago and Detroit

[6] Hannah Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[7] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[8] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[9] Ethan was an inventor in later years and it appears from this letter that he must have been a tinkerer from an early age

[10] Robert Crawford, Pros’ older brother

[11] A shilling was worth about 12¢ to 16¢, so 20 shillings a day would be equal to $2.40 to $3.20 for a day’s wages

[12] Presumably Lucy Lee, the daughter of Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee who was Luke’s sister

[13] This might be a reference to Lucy’s marriage on February 26, 1868 to Martin Milham, who was described as a “shiftless man” (see September 21, 1873 letter)

[14] Presume he is referring to Henry Keith, Luke’s son by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[15] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, brother Edwin Crawford’s second wife

[16] Patrick Hamilton

[17] Lovina (Taylor) Hamilton

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