January 3, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

January 3, 1924

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

This letter was Nancy’s first letter of the New Year. She is sending $5.00 and the girls are sending $5.00 of Nancy Keith money. Writes about the candy business; Edna has ordered 15 pounds in the last two and a half weeks.

Thursday Jan 3rd 1924

Dear brother and sister

My first letter of the new year. If I had one dollar for every letter I have sent home the first of the new year we could buy two horses. I am enclosing five dollars and the girls[1] are sending ” ” [five dollars] of Nancy Keith[2] money (your first installment hope it will get so they can do the same every week. I told Lela may be this was where your four million is coming from.) You can call part of it butter money or “candy” money just as you wish. I think of you all the time. This cold weather dont know how you stand it Ethan, when I think of the wood, no horse. While I know it makes the chores easier it is hard not having a horse. Lela is getting ready to go down town will mail this. We have not sent the candy yet, may tomor.  Not much doing with candy these days. Will make again tomor. The girls needed the rest. Lela spent New Years with Lou[3] or rather Monday. Alice[4] went with her. She only stayed about two hours. Lou felt awful bad not to come home. Lela says he seems all right. I would not be surprised if he did come home, dont know when. How are your teeth Hannah. I think of their aching all the time. Try to think they are not. Alice gave Lela & Lou each 10.00 and the children[5] 2.50 each. Jessie[6] just phoned, had a letter from her mother[7] this A.M. she is sailing arond feels fine. She had better stay where she is for it would be ____ for her here. Marian[8] and family still there. I disipated[?] New Years night. Mrs Laff invited the remnants of our old club to see the old year out & the New Year in. When it started the first year we were here there was five tables now only three. I went with Wills folks. Did not get back to Wills till “three oclock in the morning.” Will brought me home Tuesday none of us went away to dinner. Jean[9] has not been to school this week. I am afraid she has pin worms the way she looks and acts. Jessie says to give her sage tea. A few lines from Edna,[10] has ordered two more pounds of candy. That makes fifteen pounds they have ordered in about two & one half weeks. This goes to California. Lela is ready to go so must stop. Wish I could come and stay a few days. I want to write to Mildred[11] but cant find her address. Seems to me its 1024 N. Edward but I’m not sure.

Good-bye with love

Nan

[1] Her daughters, Lela (Brown) Mueller and Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[2] The girl’s candy business

[3] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller, who had been admitted to a sanitarium

[4] Lou’s sister, Alice Mueller

[5] Eda “Jean” and Helen Mueller

[6] Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Nancy’s cousin

[7] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, the widow of Nancy’s Uncle Hiram Crawford

[8] Marian (Eck) Meiss, Jessie’s daughter

[9] Lela’s daughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[10] Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar, the daughter of Nancy’s Uncle Robert Crawford

[11] Mildred Harris, the daughter of Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

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September 5, 1921 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

September 5, 1921[1]

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Lela Mueller, Chicago, IL

She tried to keep Lou from going to Davenport, but he was so anxious to go and to take Jean that she thought it might be good for him to go. Wrote about Mr. Dee getting married and how he told her how much it meant to him to have lived with them the past year.

Monday 5 P.M.

Dear Ones All:[2]

I feel as though I could draw a long breath for once. Have hustled all day but the washing is done and a good deal of the ironing, the house in pretty good shape and things ready for school to-morrow morning. It has been a strenous week for every one I guess.

I did quite a bit of sewing last week, made Jean[3] a black suit, bloomers and top in on piece, also her net dress, a pair of panties and finished her coat, then forgot to send her coat but she hasn’t needed it. Her net dress looks real pretty. I bought a light blue silk slip for her to wear under it. Got her a pretty little shirred blue lawn hat, and black suede oxfords – or rather got brown (on sale) and had them dyed. It almost broke her heart when they came home black but she got over it. She looked cute and happy as a lark when she went. Lou[4] wasn’t himself[5] and I tried to have him not go, but he seemed to want to and was so anxious to have Jean go, otherwise I should have kept her home but when I saw how he felt I thought it might be better for him to have her to take up his mind. He wired as soon as they got there, said every thing was fine and mother[6] met them.

Joe, Bob and Anna[7] expected to drive there Sun. and return Monday. Was sorry about that, but they didn’t want mother to know they were coming.

Dorothy[8] came up Fri night and is still here. She and Helen[9] have gone to the train to meet Lou and Jean. Joe[10] is coming up after supper and they are going to a show and then home. He was up last night.

I took Jean to the 11 A.M. train then went over and had lunch with Aunt Lizzie.[11] After that I shopped, got home at 5, just as Mr Dee[12] was getting into the taxi. He seemed to feel very badly about leaving, he filled up 2 or 3 times Friday eve. and said he couldnt show his feelings but they were deep. Also said “and I love those children.” He told me Friday A.M. that so many thot he was a confirmed bachelor and he said I thot so too; “but after living in the environment I have the past year I feel different.” He says “You dont know what it meant to me when those children would run to the corner to meet me, and the few evenings I staid home to hear their chatter, play the victrola and then tap on my door with a dish of pop corn. I made up my mind then that I wasn’t getting what I should out of life. His brother came for some of his things Fri eve, and he said you never will know how much my brother appreciated the home he had here and the nice things he always had to say about all of you. Mr Dee said all the men at the office knew Helen and Jean.

I have told a whole lot that wont interest any one but you, but I know you will be interested. He wanted me to remember him to you and he said he had become so attached to you, thought you were one of the finest “old” ladies he had ever known. Helen said my Grandma is not an old lady – she she said it right from the shoulder. We dont know where they were married, I mean the address, but were married at her home, and went from there to the Edgewater Beach Hotel. They are going to board this winter over on N. Washtenaw, near Lawrence. Said he was so glad they could stay here in Ravenswood Manor. He is near where he lived before he came here. I said you’ll feel you’re back home. He said this is all home to me. He went all over the time he came here to see the room, the first time he met Lou, said he never felt the least bit strange, said we had always done so many nice things for him.

Burn this up – It sounds foolish to any one who doesnt know him.

I looked every where for a hat for you but didnt find any thing. Can you fix yours as Bess[13] said. If not we are planning to go down town Thurs. A.M. and will try and get one then. I sent you a waist. If you dont like it return it to me. I thought it would be prettier with your sweater than a flat front, and the material is fine and pretty. If you want I’ll send a lace to put around the collar, cuffs and frill. [Written in the margin: blue waist sold wholsale for 500]

Dorothy, Martha[14] Helen and I went out to the farm Sat. with Uncle Will[15] and Aunt Lizzie, came back Sunday night. Brought in a big basket of beans. Uncle Wills folks have lots of cucumbers and tomatoes gave us some of those. We didn’t rest very good. Would have done us more good to have staid home and loafed and we could as we had no meals to get except as we pleased.

When I wrote last week I was so broken up over Lou’s being sick and so much to do. I dont think I even mentioned receiving the pillow cases napkins and the candy and nuts. Every thing was lovely and the children enjoyed their candy. They kept it up on the pantry shelf, and broke off a little at a time. We took all the nuts, I mean all that werent eaten and put them into some fudge – it was certainly good. Dodo[16] made it Sat so we took it out to the farm. Uncle Will enjoyed it too.

Bess has her money and mine for the eggs – 2 crates – 900 and will send it Tuesday – to-morrow is that right.

Sadie Crawford[17] is married again.

I wont write about the Davenport[18] trip till the next time – will not seal this till they phone they are here and if Mother came with them.

Mrs Leuders has been here most of the day. When she came said Helen and Louise were coming in the afternoon, but when she saw how busy we were she phoned them not to come.

One day Jean was talking about Michigan and said I wis I could go to Auntie Ethans[19] house and see the child cow.

I’m enclosing Aunt Kates[20] letter. When your beef is gone let us know and we’ll get more if we can. We’ll pay for this.

Lou just phoned. Mother didn’t come. Said he felt all right. We must get supper – rarebit.

Lots of love to all.

Lela

[1] The postmark on the envelope is September 6, 1921

[2] Nancy lived with Lela and Lou, but was visiting her brother and sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith, in Galesburg, Michigan

[3] Her daughter, Eda Jean Mueller

[4] Her husband, Louis Mueller

[5] Lou had previously been hit by a streetcar and sustained a brain injury. As a result he would have seizures. Lela was able to care for him at home in the beginning but later had to admit him to Elgin State Hospital where he remained until his death in 1942

[6] Lou’s mother, Augusta (Ficke) Mueller

[7] Believe this is Lou’s sister, Johanna (Mueller) Holmquist Langhorn and her daughter, Anna Holmquist, but at this time do not know who Bob is; Bob was Johanna’s second husband, Robert Langhorn (updated 3-14-2016)

[8] Her niece, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[9] Her daughter, Helen Mueller

[10] Joseph Langmayer, Dorothy’s future husband

[11] Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown

[12] Mr. Dee was one of Lela and Lou’s boarders

[13] Her sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[14] Martha Lueder who was staying with Lela and Lou. Don’t know much about her other than that for some reason her mother wasn’t able to care for her at that point. It is unknown how old she was

[15] Her uncle, Willis Brown

[16] Dorothy’s nickname

[17] Sarah (Ruddy) Crawford Anderson. Sarah was the widow of Byron Crawford who was the son of Lucius Prosper “Pros” Crawford, Nancy’s uncle. Sarah (Sadie) married Orvis Anderson on July 19, 1921

[18] Davenport, Iowa, where Lou’s mother lived

[19] Nancy’s sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne, who was referred to as Auntie, and Ethan Keith

[20] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, the widow of Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

October 19, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

October 19, 1920[1]

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lela Mueller

Writes about Jean telling them she was the smartest one in class but the teacher “doesn’t know it.” Also sent some of Helen’s school papers and wrote about how they learn to read. Lou made root beer. June was still there and will stay until Aunt Lizzie is sent for.

1920-10-19A1920-10-19B1920-10-19C 

Tues. Eve.

Dear Mamma,

Yours received to-day. I’ve just made Helen[2] a dress out of Edie’s[3] old green cloth coat – a slip over – it measure 26 in from shoulder seam – but if you’re making a wash dress I dont think 28″ would be too long – and 26 for Jean,[4] but maybe you better not stitch the hem in till you get home.[5]

To night at dinner Jean says “Daddy do you know who is the smartest one in my room?” Lou says “no, who is?” She says “I am.” Lou says “Did the teacher say so?” Jean says “No, she doesnt know it?”

I’m sending the papers Helen brought home from school. They learn to read by the sound and family – The “at” family

at                   in
cat etc           pin
bat                 tin etc
pat                 sin
                      win

the the sounds – as sh – wh ch etc. I wish you would save these sheets.

I wrote to Aunt Kate[6] and told her to come over here a few days next week. Jessie[7] was at Bessies[8] again yesterday for lunch, said she expected her mother almost any day.

Lou[9] has been making root beer to-night. Now he is up in the attic working. Seems to feel pretty good.

June[10] is still here. Will stay until Aunt Lizzie[11] is sent for. Ruth[12] sent me a very pretty umbrella to-day.

I’m going down town to-morrow to get underwear for Helen & Jean. Must get busy. Mrs Richee isnt coming till Friday.

Lots of love

Lela          

[1] While there is no date on this letter, Lela writes that “June is still here. Will stay until Aunt Lizzie is sent for” which most likely pertains to the birth of June’s half-sister, Doris, who was born on November 3, 1920; see also November 2, 1920 letter which also mentions June staying with Lela

[2] Lela’s daughter, Helen Mueller

[3] Edith (Neumaier) Brown, the wife of Lela’s brother, Claude Brown

[4] Lela’s daughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[5] Nancy was living with Lela and Lou, but was visiting her sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith, in Galesburg, Michigan

[6] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, the wife of Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s uncle

[7] Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Kate’s daughter

[8] Lela’s sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[9] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller

[10] June Brown, granddaughter of Elizabeth and Willis Brown

[11] Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown, wife of Willis Brown, who was the brother of Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[12] Ruth (Brown) Kroscher, Elizabeth and Willis Brown’s daughter