November 17, 1902 letter to Sarah Keith from Edna Allen

(This post was updated on 09-21-2021)

November 17, 1902

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Edna Allen, Kalamazoo, MI

Edna is writing her Aunt, who unfortunately died on the 18th, before the letter arrived. Edna is updating Sarah on her family. She was in Wisconsin, but missed seeing Uncle Robert, although she has received a letter from him. She saw in the paper that Hiram had been in Galesburg visiting.

Scan of 1902-11-17 Edna Allen to Sarah Keith

[Postmarked November 17th, 1902][1]

Dear Aunt Sarah,

Doubtless you will be much surprised to hear from me as I have been silent so long. You have often been in my thoughts and I have promised myself meny times to run down and spend the day with you. But my health is not very good and I go very little. Mrs Mills, boards here where Madge[2] & I are boarding so I often inquire of Mrs Dr McBeth as she visits the Mill’s. We are living in Kalamazoo since we left Sycamore. Madge finished school 2 years ago. I hear that Nancy[3] has lost her Husband[4] and that her two daughters[5] are married. She must feel quite alone in the world. Henry was a good Husband and Father. How is Hannah[6] and the rest of the family? Madge and I were in Wisconsin a few weeks last year. I did not see Uncle Robert[7] but got a nice long letter from him. I saw by the paper a few weeks ago that Uncle Hiram[8] was in Galesburg. I have been in Dowagiac some since my return from Sycamore. It’s grown to be a delightful place to live in. I had about live there as here. Emmet[9] is quite well. His mind is worse[10] I think but his general health seems to be about the same. I am here alone tonight. I wish you might step on and we would have a good old fashion talk. Madge is up to her Grandma’s.[11] She expects to stay untill Monday. She thinks a great deal of them and they of her. Her Father[12] is in South Carolina. Jolley Allen[13] wife[14] has seperated from her husband and he is South. She and her two Children[15] are living in Jackson. The youngest son, Glen[16] his wife[17] seperated from him a year ago last November. She has gone to her home in Peoria, Ill. She was a beautiful woman. Judge Macklivanes daughter, she had a little daughter but it died two years ago. They all had the same trouble that I had with O.M.[18] There is but one boy left that is living with his wife. Its strange they can not behave when they have good wives, don’t you think so? Mr Allen[19] is building several stone houses for rent. Mrs Allen[20] health is much better than it has been for several years. Mr. Allen is in very poor health. I guess I must close this letter as its quite late and I am very tired. I wish you could come and see me sometime. After a while I may run down Saturday night and stay untill Monday but I will write you the day before so you can meet me at the Depot. I should like to see you all so much. It would give me much pleasure. My love to you and the family. I remain your affectionate neice.[21]

Edna Crawford Allen
415 South West Street

P.S. Please excuse paper


[1] While the letter itself was not dated, the envelope was postmarked November 17, 1902

[2] Her daughter, Madge Allen

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

[4] Henry Brown died May 22, 1901 at the age of 51

[5] Edna was under the impression that both of Nancy’s daughters were married, however Nancy’s daughter, Lela Mae Brown, was engaged to Samuel Boyer. Nancy’s youngest daughter, Bess Rae Brown, married Julius Recoschewitz November 6, 1902. Edna probably had heard about the marriage of Josephine Meredith to Fred Dean (see the November 14, 1902 letter to James Keith) and confused the two girls

[6] Sarah’s daughter, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[7] Sarah’s brother, Robert Crawford

[8] Sarah’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[9] Emmett Patrick Crawford, Edna’s younger brother

[10] The 1880 census listed Emmett as “insane” and his uncle Emmett Hamilton’s probate records referenced Emmett as being a resident at the Asylum for the Insane in Kalamazoo; however, in later years he was able to live either with Edna or near her

[11] Her mother-in-law, Hannah (Smith) Allen

[12] Oscar M. Allen Jr. He and Edna were divorced

[13] Oscar’s brother

[14] Lizzie (Merriman) Allen

[15] Ralph and Duane Allen

[16] Oscar’s brother

[17] Priscilla McIlvaine

[18] Oscar’s nickname

[19] Oscar’s father, Oscar M. Allen Sr.

[20] Oscar’s mother, Hannah (Smith) Allen

[21] Edna’s father, Edwin Crawford, was Sarah’s brother

Death Notice of Mary (Hamilton) Crawford

Mary (Hamilton) Crawford died April 24, 1882 in Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan. The following was from the April 27, 1882 Cassopolis Vigilante.

Crawford, Mary - Death Notice

Mrs. Mary Crawford, of this city, died this afternoon.

(Further down is an earlier entry.) Mr. Emmett Hamilton was to have started for Dakota last week but will defer his journey till his sister, Mrs. Crawford, is better.

October 12, 1870 letter to Sarah Keith from Pros Crawford

October 12, 1870

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Prosper Crawford, Omro, WI

Making arrangements to go in the pinery this winter. Expects to be on the Peshtigo River north of Green Bay. His job will be at the landing tending the scale and keeping records for thirty dollars per month. Robert expects to manage a concern for McArthur in Minnesota near Lake Superior where Eugene is working (and has been the past four months). Uncle Pat Hamilton died the 27th of August. No letters from Mary. Prosper heard from another source that Pat Hamilton willed all his property to Mary and her brother Emmett, “who in all probability will not live another year.”

Scan of 1870-10-12 Prosper Crawford to Sarah Keith

 Omro   October 12th/70

Dear Sister,

I received your letter bearing Date Oct 2, and was happy to hear from you. Am glad to know you are not particular as to which owes the letter, but I think I wrote you last. And now I am going to be promt once in my life if I fail ever after and give you a short history of thing in general and myself in particular. Of course you wont expect me to write very legibly for it is so seldom I write that an attempt almost results in a failure. My health has been very good the past year. Still there has been times when I was obliged to lay by from my work a day or two but as a general thing have been blessed with health. Mother[1] has likewise enjoyed unusual good health for one that has passed through the hardships she has. I think she holds out remarkably[2]. What a comfort it is to those who after living a life long of trial and suffring are in the evening of their existence crowned with this priceless boon.

I am allready making arraignments to go in the pinery this winter. I expect to go in on the Peshtigo river north of Green Bay. This company expect to put in three million feet of Pine. My business will be at the landing takeing the Scale and keeping acct of the same for which I get thirty Dollars per month. It will be an easy job and I am quite anxious to secure it. I shall know in a few Days. Robert[3] expects to manag a concern for McArthur in Minnesota near Lake Superior where Eugene[4] is at work (and has been the past four months). Verily the past year has wrought a wondrous change in the physical ability of that man. No longer can he wade the cold watters of the pine laden wolf (river) in spring time or at any time expose his person to the inclement weather. That time has past. Nature has sumed up with him on this point. Should he be careless at aney time he is gently reminded by sharp pains in his joints or a contraction of his mussels in the hip which by the way naturaly makes him holler out O. Och. Nature is a strict accountant. She never makes a single mistake or misses a single thing and if we run in debt to her in the way of violating the laws of health we must pay the penelty which would be added loss to us always, were it not for the rich experience that it sometimes brings to us.

I am sorry to learn that your Family have been so sorely afflicted with disease. It must be a heavy burden for you to bear the care of the whole upon you. I suppose you would be sick to if you had time. Never mind, your turn will come, you will not be overlooked. The present diseased condition of your Family, the difficulty in rearing them to their present stand point, must have furnished you with abundant material for serious reflection as to the cause. Climate alone could not produce these results for other Families in your vicinity have grown up comparatively healthy and robust. It is a habit with some to charge God with their ailments and losses and say that if such is a special visitation of his Providence but away with such libelous utterances for they are false. However he has instituted laws that are fixed and unvarying, the obedience of which brings us health happiness. But so long as we remain in stolid ignorance of these laws what can we expect but that which we experience every day of our lives in some form namely pain, premature decay, discord, death. It is a statistical fact that one half of all the children born die before they reach the age of seven. This one half of the tenderest and fairest of humanities flowers are niped in the bud of their existence. Should this be? What think you? The inadaption or unfitness of parties in the married life and the consequent transmission of inharmonious qualities of mind and body to that of their children is said to be the prolific sourse of disease. Would that it were my mission to assist as a teacher in the matters of reform. It seems as though my happiness would be complete but I must rest satisfied in a humbler sphere of action and try and reform or correct the mistakes of my life, my view not only of the pleasure it brings here but its relation to a glorious future which crowns the efforts of all who live true to their best intentions of right. I sincerely hope that some agency may be pointed out to you that may be applied with beneficial effect as a health restoration. There is Nancy[5] who possesses much natural taste and refinement so as this is her nature who loves music and all those things that tend to elevate and develop character. And Hannah[6], may I never forget her fun loving rollicking nature who sees everything in a ridiculous sense. Verily we need all such characters to chase the shadows from this suffering, saddened world. And Ethen[7], who possesses inventive genus. His work should not be laborious. Farming is distastful to him. His mussels do not relish the harsh exercise. Give him the opportunity and his success is certain. Sarah, pleas to pardon the foregoing. I have written as I thought without aney particular arraingement as I do not write very often. Perhaps you can stand it but if you cant write me and I will try and do better next time. How is Luke[8]? Has he forgot me? How I would like to see you all again, but the thought of Mich makes me sick. My respects to Streeter[9], may he never want for a watch for every thief needs one.

Uncle Pat Hamilton[10] died the 27th August. We received a local from Dowagiac announcing the fact. No letters from Mary[11]. I heard from another source that he willed his property all to Mary and her brother Emmett[12], who in all probability will not live another year. Eugene[13] is working near Lake Superior in Minn. He is steady and all right. But enough this time. Write soon. Mother sends love.

Your affectionate Bro.

L.P. Crawford

PS Nancy dont break the box until I see you


[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] At the time of this letter Nancy was 68 years of age

[3] Robert Crawford, Pros’ older brother

[4] Eugene Crawford, Pros’ nephew (the son of his deceased brother Edwin Crawford and his first wife, Louisa Hall)

[5] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[6] Hannah Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[7] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

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

[9] This is believed to have been Marius O. Streator, a neighbor of Luke and Sarah Keith

[10] Father-in-law of Pros’ late brother, Edwin Crawford

[11] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Edwin’s widow and Pros’ sister-in-law

[12] Emmett Hamilton. In spite of Pros’ prediction, Emmett lived another 12 years; he died on August 16, 1882