August 29, 1921 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

August 29, 1921                               

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Lela Mueller, Chicago, IL

Mr. Dee is getting married and has packed his trunks, given the kids lost of stuff and gave her and Lou a photo of himself in uniform. Aunt Kate had a hard substance removed from her face. Harry didn’t call her while she was at Lela’s and Lela doesn’t know where Kate and Jessie will go when they return from Lake Mills. Lou had another spell and had to come home. Mr. Bonnet told Claude that Lou couldn’t even talk when he left the office. Lou has slept all day and Lela doesn’t know what to do for him.

 

Monday 6 P.M.

Dear Ones All:[1]

Will start a letter now and finish it to-morrow. Dinner is all ready but “getting” done – have a baked chicken, fresh corn, cut off the cobs, cucumber. Next week we wont have to eat at all if we dont want to. It will seem good in one way and in another way I’m awfully sorry. We never can get another Mr Dee,[2] and I’m not going to give meals to any one even if I rent the room, at least I dont intend to.

Mr Dee packed his trunks yesterday, gave the kids[3] lots of stuff and gave us an elegant photo of himself, head and shoulders, in uniform. They are coming over to dinner soon after they are married. We are anxious to see the bride. The kids dont seem to care much about his going, but Martha[4] is some blue.

Received your card this A.M. thanks for the napkins, Edie[5] sent me 3 and is going to do my table cloth after decoration Day.

Aunt Kate[6] and Jessie[7] got here about 3 oclock Friday. Aunt Kate came from Oak Park that morning to Rose Hill, watered the grave,[8] then went down town and did several things, then to the Dr. (alone) and had her face taken care of. He took out a hard substance like stone, very small. Harry[9] didn’t call her up while she was here, and when they come back I dont know what they are going to do. They cant go there and Aunt Kate won’t go to Marions,[10] says she will never eat at Jacks table, and I cant have them here. I think they ought to have some one looking for them, but I suppose they’ll trust to luck. Jessie told me 2 or 3 times how much she thot of me. Aunt Kate said I ought to feel honored as there were very few people she cared for. I think they would have staid here till the first if I had asked them, as they cant have the cottage.

Tues. Eve.

We received your letter and the napkins to-day much obliged. I was washing so put them in – they look so nice.

Lou[11] came home about 10 oclock this morning, another spell.[12] Mr Bonnet[13] told Claude[14] he couldn’t talk when he left the office. We fixed a bed on the porch and another in the dining room, as I was washing and it would make so much running for me. He has slept all day and is still sleeping only when I rouse him. I dont think he suffers as much as before – but seems dazed. I wish I knew what to do. Claude was just here says he’s got to let go somewhere.

I wont attempt to answer your letter to-night or write much more. Dont think I’ll let Jean go to Davenport[15] even if Lou goes. I dont know as he would be able to take care of her. I know he wouldnt if he should have a spell. I hate to disappoint mother[16] but may have to. Claude said he thought he shouldn’t go.

Want Martha to mail this so will say good-night.

Lots of love to all

Lela

——-

[1] Lela was writing to her mother who was apparently visiting her brother and sister

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

[3] Lela’s daughters, Helen and Jean Mueller

[4] Martha Lueder, another boarder

[5] Lela’s sister-in-law, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[6] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford. Kate was the widow of Hiram Crawford Jr., who was the brother of Lela’s grandmother, Sarah (Comfort) Crawford

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

[8] Kate’s husband, Hiram, was buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago

[9] Kate’s son, Harry Crawford

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

[11] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller

[12] 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

[13] Lou worked as an accountant at Bonnet-Brown; Arthur Bonnet and Claude Brown were partners

[14] Claude Brown was Lela’s brother

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

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

August 24, 1921 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

August 24, 1921

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lela Mueller

Has been so busy she didn’t have time to write, but will lay low until school starts so she can get her sewing done. Went to Deer Grove with Claude & Edie on Saturday and then again on Tuesday to help pick vegetables. Aunt Kate and Jessie came on Monday and wanted to know if they could come back on Tuesday and stay till they left for Lake Mills. When they got back from the farm on Tuesday they found Aunt Kate on the porch crying. Harry hadn’t offered to help her to the car or even show any concern about her going or coming back.

Wednesday eve.

Dear Ones All:[1]

I have been on the go so much for the last week havent had time to write or hardly breathe but I’m going to lay low now till school starts or I wont get any sewing done.

I’ll go back to last Thursday. I took the 3 children[2] down to Wiebolds for a hair cut, then went to Bessies[3] for dinner. Martha[4] staid at Aunt Helen’s all night (they didnt go on the boat) then Friday Helen and Jean were invited to Katherines for the day, so I had to leave here before eleven, then went down town from there, got home at 5:30. When I got home found my electric flat-iron still connected and a hole in my ironing sheet, but iron is all right it was lucky.

Saturday morning I go

Lou[5] called for the children Friday but they didnt want to come home so they staid all night. We had a terrible rain and some tornado wind that night – water about 2 inches deep in the basement. Mrs Cady told the children it was fireworks from Heaven she had asked for especially for their entertainment that eve. so they were happy.

Sat. I had a big washing and had just gotten every thing going when Lou phoned we were to go to Deer Grove (Palatine) with Claude and Edie[6] so I had some hustling to get my wash done and dry and get ready. Claude stopped on the way over and got the children. We changed their clothes and started – had a lovely time only slept cold. Sunday was a beautiful day and we enjoyed it. Monday Jean was sick all day, vomited. When we got home Sunday eve. found a note from Aunt Kate.[7] She and Jessie[8] had been here, said she would come again Mon. A.M. Got here about ten and staid till one – wanted to know if she could come here Tues. and stay till they went to Lake Mills Sat. Said she wanted to get every thing away from Harrys[9] Tues. and so came here. I gave her the key as we were going to the Farm Tues. She has gone to Oak Park will be back to morrow and asked if Jessie could come too so they could go to the train to-gether. Its too bad they ever gave up their flat. Katherine[10] moved from Harrys about 2 weeks ago. They were with her just as they were with Jessie. Katherine went to Omaha to visit Aunt Pet Atkinson I guess.

When we got home from the farm Aunt Kate was on the front porch – had been crying. When she came away Harry didn’t offer to even help her to the car – nor show any concern about her going or coming back.

We went to the farm Tues. to get the rest of the beans and corn. Martha, the kids and I went on the train. Left here at 1200 and the train we expected to take only runs Sat – so we had to wait over 3 hours. Got out there about 4:30 – tired, hungry and provoked. So much to do there and here and just sat there waiting. I tried to get paper so I could write to you – but no chance.

Lou came out on the 6 oclock train and Claude and Edie about seven in the machine. We couldnt pick all there was it got dark so early.

Hillmans had a sale of Wilson’s dried beef last week 5 pounds for 1.55 – 35¢ a pound – we pay 80¢. Lou got a box and it was fine. Another sale to-day so he is going to try and get over and get a box for you folks. If he does I’ll send it in the morning.

I had a crate partly filled with beans and a little corn so it wouldn’t shuck. Martha took it over here and they wouldnt accept it. Said the paper was torn. She was on her way to Bessies so took it there. Dont know whether you’ll get it or not.

This is a terrible jumble but I’ve gotten so behind with every thing I cant think till I get cleared out a little. Have cleaned up stairs good to-day and now I’m going to iron. Mrs Leuders is having her vacation, Martha has gone to Lincoln Park but will be home tomorrow Sat & Sunday.

Helen had the same trouble yesterday that Jean had Monday, only was sicker and it lasted longer – is all right to-day.

Lou feels better, is taking a tonic, goes over again to-night. Mr Dee[11] about the same.

Love to All

Lela

——-

[1] Lela was writing to her mother who was apparently visiting her brother and sister

[2] Presume she means her two daughters, Helen and Jean, and Martha Lueder

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

[4] Believe that this was Martha Lueder, who boarded at Lela’s house

[5] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller

[6] Lela’s brother, Claude Brown, and his wife, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[7] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford. Kate was the widow of Hiram Crawford Jr., who was the brother of Lela’s grandmother, Sarah (Comfort) Crawford

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

[9] Kate’s son, Harry Crawford

[10] Jessie’s daughter, Katherine Eck

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

November 2, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

November 2, 1920

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Lela Mueller, Chicago, IL

Aunt Lizzie expected to take June to St. Louis but Lida fell and sprained her ankle so they won’t go. Had a “queer deal” from Harry Crawford. They placed an order for coal with him but when Lela called to confirm she was told he didn’t work there any more. Bess made a very cute cake, shaped round like a pumpkin, for the children’s Halloween party. Wrote details about the party. Helen wanted to play a song on the piano like one of her friends but told Lela, “I havent got her voice and this isnt the tune she plays and I cant remember her words.”

 

Tues. Eve.

Dear Ones All –

I’ll start a letter this evening but wont finish it till to-morrow as I’m tired and sleepy. Mrs Geezy was here this forenoon so we were busy all morning, then I had to go and vote. As soon as Martha[1] got home and had lunch I took the 3 kids[2] down town – left them at Fields’ play room while I shopped. We didn’t get home till after six. I got the 3 children each a pair of golf gloves, had to pay 1.25. Also got Helen and Jean each a sweater – Helen’s pink with turquoise blue trim to match a tam o shanter Mother Mueller[3] made her, and a turquoise blue with tan trim for Jean. Got my self a beaver (pressed) hat – perfectly plain – sort of sailor – but rolled rim.

We were going to Aunt Lizzies[4] to-morrow for the day but she just phoned. The furnace is being fixed so we wont go till Thurs. or Fri. Esther[5] goes to Rockford Sunday to stay. Aunt Lizzie expected to take June to St Louis this week but Lida[6] fell down stairs and sprained her ankle so they wont go. Perry[7] may go to Rockford to work for Ray[8] – if so June will stay here till they are settled.

We got a queer deal from Harry Crawford.[9] I wrote you what he said. Last week Lou[10] called him and told him we were out of coal – must have something to-day sure. He said he would take care of us. This morning to be sure I called Mr Chatum[?] and asked for Harry. He said he wasnt with them yet and didnt know when he would be as they had no business for him to take care of, so I told him about our order. Said he hadnt heard about it. I said probably he is taking care of us thro the Edgewater Coal then. He said I hardly think so as he hasnt been with them for some time.

Bess[11] made the cutest cake for our party – made it round like a pumpkin, made a stem out of flour and colored it green, covered the cake with mocha then marked the ridges and put paper eyes, nose and mouth. It was a dandy. Lida Fick (2nd house south of here) invited Martha there Sunday to a party. She had a little green costume, then I used the crepe pumpkins we had for decorations and put around the bottom and neck of her dress, and she wore the cap I made for our party. She looked cute and is pretty.

Must go to bed.

You’ll see by the enclosed where I found the spelling of the word.

Our party wasnt very large, but guess the children had just as good a time.

Ruth Atkins had another invitation that day. Mrs Eiden felt it would be too much for her mother to get Katherine and Jane ready so I didnt invite Junior Bittman. I’ll wait and have Mrs Bittman over when you get home.[12] She said she fell in love with you and the blue coverlid[13] the day she came to look at the house.

So June, Katherine Cody Martha, Helen, Helen and Jean were all we had. Then Martha and Helen had to leave at 3:30 for another party so it left the 4, but they had a good time. Bess, Aunt Lizzie and Ruth[14] were here. I had cold roast ham, scalloped potatoes, lima beans, fruit salad, olives, coffee, sandwiches and cake ice cream. We grown ups ate in the kitchen. They came for a 1 oclock lunch. Mr Dee[15] wasnt home Sat. Mon. or to-night. We like him just as much as ever. Also like Martha just as well. She is so nice to the children and they like her so much. You’ll have to put barbed wire around your bench when you get home as they play there every day – dress and undress their dolls. Martha too. She takes her doll to bed every night I guess as I often find it in the morning. When they go to the store she and Jean put their dolls in the little go-cart and Helen takes an express wagon Mrs Richee gave them.

The other Evening Helen went to the piano and says “mama this is the way Katherine Eiden sings only I havent got her voice and this isnt the tune she plays and I cant remember her words.”

Wed. 5 P.M.

I wont have time to write more and send to-day so will close and let Martha mail it when she goes to see her mother.

I have your things packed ready to send – dress, hat scarf and outing flannel sacque. They are in the egg crate so as soon as you get it send the crate to Uncle D.[16] Thought they wouldn’t crush in that. Will have insured for 40 or 50 dollars.

Lots of love to all. Will finish this in next. I’ve been working on my coat all day and have got to keep at it as I need it to wear.

[1] 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

[2] Helen and Jean Mueller, Lela’s daughters, and June Brown, who was also staying with Lela and Lou (see footnote #1 in October 19, 1920 letter)

[3] Lela’s mother-in-law, Augusta (Ficke) Mueller

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

[5] Esther (Carlson) Brown, wife of Lizzie and Will Brown’s son, Ray Brown

[6] Lida (Reno) Brown, second wife of Lizzie and Will Brown’s son, Perry Brown

[7] Ray Brown, Lizzie and Will Brown’s son

[8] Perry Brown, Lizzie and Will Brown’s son

[9] The grandson of Kate and Hiram Crawford; Hiram was Nancy’s uncle

[10] Louis Mueller, Lela’s husband

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

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

[13] A bedspread

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

[15] One of Lee and Lou’s boarders

[16] D. Harris, husband of Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

June 17, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Kate Crawford

June 17, 1920

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Kate Crawford, Chicago, IL

Kate writes that they are a good ways off from being settled. The bottom fell out of the money bag, so she and Hiram must wait. Tomorrow is Taylor’s & Helen’s 15th birthday and next Thursday night they graduate. She expects to witness the ceremony and then the aunts and uncles and cousins will repair to the house and all talk at once and eat ice cream and cake. They are going to give Taylor a watch and Nell had given Harry a diamond stick pin before they were married and they have had it set in a ring for Helen. Hiram bought Taylor a real leather belt with monogramed sterling buckle. All these various things coming along is the reason they cannot get settled.

5412 Underwood Ave

6-17-20

Dear Nan

I am sitting in the gloaming and thought I would draft you a line or two to let you know we were here as yet. I hardly need tell you about the weather. I fancy there is not much difference between this place & yours. It was so in L.M.[1] What ever we were there, I knew it was about the same here. There was a radical change last night and today it has been uncomfortably cold. Papa[2] started for down town & he was so cold he came back and changed his underwear. Jessie[3] went to work yesterday and that leaves Papa and I alone and I find the work exceeds the cottage. I am so glad I had three quiet years. I wish I had enjoyed them even more. Jessie has to leave at half past six & I get up and help her and about the time she is gone, K[4] comes on the scene so I am up about an hour. Then I lie down but seldom sleep. I am almost as much of a stranger as if I had never lived here. I do not go out much. I have been down town twice, to a funeral in Rogers Park, a lady 70 years old I knew when she was a girl, and out to Mr Dewey’s in R.P. one evening. We are a good ways off from being settled. The bottom kind of fell out of the money bag, so we must wait. Tomorrow is Taylor & Helen’s 15th birthday[5] and next Thursday night they graduate. We are expected to witness the ceremony and then the Aunts & Uncles & cousins will repair to the house and all talk at once and eat ice cream and cake. They are going to give Taylor a watch & Nell[6] had given Harry[7] a diamond stick pin before they were married and they have had it set in a ring for Helen. Papa bought Taylor a real leather belt with monogram sterling buckle. All these various things coming along is the reason we cannot get settled. We thought we would get H[elen] a camasole, so Papa said. Now Jessie Saturday aft– you go and get the carousal for Helen. We had quite a laugh over it. We have not seen or heard from Lela.[8] We have no phone service as yet. The landlady is real good. Anyone who has her number calls there for us. She touches our bell and then they can use this phone, but no one can call us here. The man emptied the box this morning of the last tenant’s nickles and he said they were up against it every where.

The prospect for canning is very poor. We had to stop buying berries they were so poor & so high. Potatoes way out of sight. We used to say to people we invited to dine with us (they would say don’t do a lot of work for us) & we would reply – oh we will just drop two or three extra potatoes in the pot. But now, nothing doing. I hope Hannah[9] is feeling better now you are there. I tell you it is lovely for anyone who has a garden. Oh how I miss L.M. Plenty of everything. Milk & cream 12 cts instead of 15 & 16, ice box filled to overflowing, plenty of eggs. We got 12 doz four weeks ago from Leroy’s. Almost gone now. We could get lots of fruit & fresh vegetables. When you are enjoying all these luxuries, just think of us.

I had a nice letter from Laura[10] a few days ago. She is very lonely. Mays husband[11] sprained his ankle just after L.P.[12] passed away and was confined to the house about three weeks. Did you know Leo & his wife[13] were separated?

You can hardly imagine how different it is here from L.M. Last Saturday I listened to pianos of all grades, victrolas, Auto horns, babies crying and sundry other sounds. Not agreable to any ears, but who am I in this motley crowd. If you get the Chicago news, you must be startled with the killings going on and 9 out of 10, a woman at the bottom of it. The last time I heard from M[14] she was getting along. She had to have two or three stitches. Baby was a fine healthy fellow.[15] She had plenty of milk, which is a great blessing. When she was in the hospital, she wrote to her mother[16] & it did not reach her, but was returned. She wrote on the envelope, see what Jack[17] did, directed it wrong. He wrote under it, could not help it, so excited at being a father, Jack.

I am sorry you are going to be gone all summer. I am very lame at times. It is with difficulty I can get around and to add to my joy, the middle finger of my right hand has been crippled with rheumatism, but is so now I can use my hand. Now I have told you all my ills. And it seems by the way my eyes feel it is bed time so I will close by sending love to all from all and hoping to hear from you soon.

Aunt Kate

Got muddled with the paper

[1] Lake Mills, WI where Kate and Hiram had had a summer cottage

[2] Hiram Crawford Jr.

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

[4] Katherine Louesa Eck, Kate’s granddaughter

[5] The twin children of Harry and Nellie (Sullivan) Crawford and Kate’s grandchildren

[6] Kate’s daughter–in-law

[7] Harry Crawford, Kate’s son

[8] Lela (Brown) Mueller, Nancy’s daughter

[9] Hannah (Keith) Towne, Nancy’s sister

[10] Laura (Hands) Blake Crawford, the second wife of Lucius Prosper Crawford, Hiram’s brother

[11] Believe she is referring to James MacDermott, the husband of her daughter, Laura May (Blake) MacDermott

[12] Lucius Prosper “Pros” Crawford, who died in Berkeley, California on March 4, 1920

[13] Pros’ son, Leo Crawford, and Ella (Drew) Crawford

[14] Kate’s granddaughter, Marian (Eck) Meiss

[15] Jack Meiss Jr., Marian’s son

[16] Jessie (Crawford) Eck

[17] Jack Meiss, Marian’s husband

July 24, 1882 letter to Sarah Keith from Kate Crawford

July 24, 1882

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Kate Crawford, Chicago, IL

Kate is writing to inquire whether Jessie can come visit Sarah while Kate is on a trip home. Harry is hoping to start work soon for Marshall Fields.

1882-07-24 1882-07-24B 1882-07-24C 1882-07-24D 1882-07-24env

Chicago, Ill

July 24th 1882

Monday Morning

Sarah,

Dear Sister,

Perhaps you will be surprised to hear from me at this time, but you know strange things are happening all the time. I would write you oftener but as Hi[1] writes once a month I feel that you hear from us and I excuse myself from the responsibility. I expect to start for my home[2] on Thursday 27th. I had intended to leave Jessie[3] at the boarding house as long as Hi was here and while he was away I thought I would let her stay with Kit Crawford[4] but in thinking the matter all over we have thought (if it is agreable with you) best to let her go down and stay with you and we will stop there on our way back and make you a short visit and take her home with us. Saturday was the day we thought best for her to start. And now Sarah if this does not meet your approbation do not hesitate to let us know by return of mail. If you are situated in any way so that it would not be convenient dont fail to say so. Harry[5] is hoping to get into Marshal Fields wholesale house soon. And I hope he will. Hi will come East about the middle of August if all is well.

Now Sarah, I will close, hoping this will find you all in good health and spirits. Give my love to Mother[6] and tell her we will come and visit her soon.

With love to all from all. I am as ever

Your Sister,

Kate

——-

[1] Hiram Crawford Jr., Kate’s husband

[2] Kate lived in Ogdensburg, New York, before she was married

[3] Jessie Blanche Crawford, Kate’s daughter

[4] Katherine Sarah “Kit” (Crawford) Birkland, the daughter of Hiram’s brother Robert

[5] Harry A. Crawford, Kate’s son

[6] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

February 21, 1878 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Keith

February 21, 1878

To:  Nancy Brown

From: Louese Keith

Louese is describing life in the Hiram Crawford household as well as the challenges of maintaining an appropriate wardrobe with limited resources.

1878-02-21 1878-02-21B 1878-02-21C 1878-02-21D

Thursday Morning [February] 21 [1878?][1]

Dear Sister — And Family

As I have got all the work done I will take an hour now and answer your letter that I rec’d week before last. Well to begin with Harry and Jessie[2] are down stairs in the kitchen raising ____. Aunt Kate[3] is in the back parlor lying on the couch (and of course most dead) but is going to prayer meeting this afternoon, and I am up stairs in my room sitting by the east window (writing to you) but if I could only see you I could tell you in 5 minutes what it will take me an hour to write but as I can not I must be satisfied with the pen. Ma[4] wrote to me last week and asked me about my clothes and told me to write to you all about them and she would see the letter. (I suppose the reason she wanted me to do that was so that Grandma[5] would not know any thing about it.) I wrote to Ma 4 weeks ago all about them and how Aunt Kate was but after I read the letter a second time I threw it in the stove for I knew she could not help me any and it would not make her feel any better, but as she has asked me to let her know I will do so. I will say, “to commence with” that she has never given me a thing since I came back “with the exceptions of what I got Christmas” and I dont hear any thing more about dress or any thing else and my cashmere sack looks ridiculous. The silk is all worn thread bare. It had commenced to wear off when Ma was here so you can imagine what it is now. Ma asked about my shoes. No they have’nt got me any but I had 75 cts and Uncle Hi[6] gave me 25 so the next time I went down town I got me a pair of $1.00 shoes but it was the next two or three days after Ma left & I have had to wear them every since then and they are pretty bad now, but I wear my rubbers when I go out so they are not seen. Now dont think by this that she is ugly & cross for she is not but is pleasing, hears me recite my lessons and seems to want me to go out and have the young folks come here but I cant go very much longer unless something turns up (about the size of a binder). There is one thing that grinds me pretty bad and that is I have every bit of the work to do. She does’nt lift her hand to do a single thing excepting to make some fried cakes and sweep the parlors once a week. Making her bed and emptying her slops is something she dont pretend to do. But she is gone every afternoon nearly and then the worst of it is when Uncle Hi comes home at night. He has to carry her up stairs almost and she will carry the idea to him that she has been to work. She has got a new black cashmere trimmed in silk and a new cloak $7.00 a yard trimmed in $3.00 silk & her brother sent her a $10.00 hat, Jessie a set of furs with cap and lots of little things but then she has them just the same. I will tell you on an other piece of paper what is all or will be the rage here this summer.

They are going to wear black & white plaided gingham or such goods as that plaid of Jules that she has trimmed in silk. I saw the pattern of one made for girls “from 14 to 18 yrs” the other day. The back is just like a breton polonaise like that picture in Hannahs[7] book that she made my overskirt by. The front is out loose like a wrapper. On the bottom of the front is a double box plaited ruffle about a foot wide. It opens in front way down to the ruffle and there is plaiting about an inch wide goes down in front. A collarette is made for the neck just like the one to my old dress only not quite as high. The sleeves are trimmed with plaiting 3 inches wide and the pockets have plaiting across the top. It is just as pretty as can be and only takes 8 yds for it is not a long dress. If Aunt Kate would only get me one I would not ask for another one (short any way).

Still if I got it I dont know how it could be made unless she would let me go up to Aunt Bell’s[8] & use her machine & that I dont think she wold let me do so I must be contented.

Dont let any one see this besides our folks.

Eugene[9] started of Mich last Tuesday. Will be at your place before long.

Harry, Jessie & I went out to Graceland[10] Saturday. It is only the second time I have been there & Aunt Kate has’nt been there but once & Aunt Bell feels awful. She told me Saturday that if you only lived on Clark Street it would be all she would ask for she would have some place to go to then. So Nancy you was not treated any worse than Aunt Bell is now.

Well I must close.

Love to all.

Lou

I rec’d a handsome box valentine the 14th. Write soon.

——-

[1] This letter appears to be written in 1878, when Louese was staying with her uncle and aunt, Hiram and Kate Crawford

[2] Harry and Jessie Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s children

[3] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

[4] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[5] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[6] Hiram’s nickname

[7] Hannah Keith, Louese’s sister

[8] Isabella (Steele) Crawford, wife of Louese’s uncle, Prosper Crawford

[9] Louese’s cousin, Eugene Crawford, son of Lousese’s uncle, Edwin Crawford

[10] Perhaps she is referring to Graceland Cemetery which is located at 4001 North Clark Street in Chicago

Spring 1877 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Brown

Spring 1877  

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Haven’t seen much of Hiram and Kate, who appear to be rather unfriendly lately. Uncle Hi did stop in to see Nancy a couple of times while she was sick. Aunt Kate kept Louese out of school and now if she goes back in the fall she will have to repeat the year. Lou does not want to go back to the country as she likes city life. Uncle Pros stopped in and read some of Aunt Bell’s letters to Nancy. he will send for his family in a couple of months. 

Undated[1]

Ma I haint a going to write any more to you about Ant Kate[2] for I think you have enough to worry about. Will answer your questions in this. I have not seen her since the night we were there in Febuary. We both[3] asked them to come & see us. She did not say any thing. Uncle Hi[4] said they would. I think it is her more than him. Hank[5] says he is friendly at the office.[6] He has only been in four or five times never to have his over coat off. Was in twice when I was sick. Have not seen him since only to pass. They dont say any thing to Lou[7] about going home but Ant Kate tells Hary[8] evry day or two she is going to send him in the country this sumer for he is so ugly she cant stand it with him. Lou dont want him to go with her and I pitty you if he does. Louese does not go to school. Dont think she will any more before fall. Ant Kate did not keep her out on accont of scarlet fever. It was only so she could gad about. That was only an excuse. Lou dont never want to go any more. She is so behind she will have to go one class lower than when she came. That is in with small scholars. She said to day if she thought she should have to go back in the contry to live she could not stand it. She likes city life better than I. Mr Brown lives near them. He is going to New Orleans to spend the sumer. Starts tomorrow night. He has relatives living in Canada. He told her if she would go home he would wait till Mondy for her and pay her fair and then he would go to Canada in stead of south. I am glad he is going for she is hot foot after him and he stands right up to her but probly he only goes with her just to have some one to go with. I guess she takes petty well but of course he can get a girl that has a very diffrent chance in society from her. He is only 17. Lou gets in some petty big words once in a while and a little French and German. She can put on more style than all the rest of us put to gether. Hannah[9] Mrs Coffren wants you to send that wrap pattern. She did not offer to pay for it. She knows the least of any one I ever saw than any one that calls them selves smart. Send it to me.

Uncle Pross[10] was down here the other day. He read me Aunt Bells[11] letters. She writes a good letter. It seems as if I would like her. She wants to come here awful bad. As soon as he thinks out for certain that he is going to keep that place he will send for them[12] so if he stayes where he is they will probly be here in a couple of months at any rate and I shall be glad. They will be about five miles from here but I can go with Hank to the _________ and then with Uncle Pross so it wont cost any thing and only takes about three quarters of an hour to go out so you see the distance wont be much. Tell Hannah I have not seen those shawls as this advertisement came out Saturday. Of course the more she can pay the nicer the shawl. I will do the best I can. If she wants it now have her send as soon as possible & I can get before they are ______ silk like my hat.

[unsigned, but the handwriting is that of Nancy Keith Brown]

——-

[1] Believe this letter was written in the spring of 1877 as it refers to Louese not going to school. Louese stayed with Hiram and Kate while attending school in Chicago

[2] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, wife of Nancy’s Uncle Hiram Crawford Jr.

[3] Nancy and her husband, Henry Brown

[4] Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[5] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[6] Both Henry and Hiram worked on the Chicago streetcars

[7] Nancy’s sister, Louese Keith

[8] Hiram and Kate’s son, Harry Crawford

[9] Nancy’s sister, Hannah Keith

[10] Nancy’s uncle, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[11] Pros’ wife, Isabella (Steele) Crawford

[12] Belle and their four sons, Leo, Byron, Ernest and Albert

August 14, 1876 letter to Sarah Keith from Louese Keith

August 14, 1876

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Louese Keith, Chicago, IL

Louese is writing her mother, Sarah Keith, and describing her adventures over the previous four weeks which have included trips to Graceland Cemetery, Lincoln Park, a visit to the city water works and a nearby Catholic church, a tour of the tunnel under the Chicago River and an ice cream festival at the church (which she got into for free).

Chicago  Aug 14th 1876

Mrs Sarah Keith

Dear Ma

Tuesday evening. You see by this that I commenced this last night but I was so sleepy that I have put it off until now so will try my luck at it. Now I will tell you where I have been since I wrote to you last. Four weeks ago last Saturday Aunt Kate,[1] the children[2] and I went out to Graceland Cemetery. We took a City limits car[3] and rode down to the dummy (that is a car run by an engine) and that took us to Graceland. I can not tell any thing about. They have Sofas, chairs and marble dogs on every lot mostly to have it look as near like a home as possible. When we enter the grounds we go through kind of a church and every time a funeral possession passes through the bell tolls. I dont know how they afford to die in that little country town (Galesburg)  after all if it is so little I would not mind it if I could get off from the train when it stops there to morrow but dont expect to very soon. I see that I have run on further that I expect so will go back. After we left Graceland we went on came back and went over on the South side got home at six. The next Monday Jessie and I went to Lincoln Park. We saw Gene.[4] He wanted us to get on his car but he had got to run up to the limits and it was so late then that we would not have time so we came home about 7 Oclock. That week a Saturday we went down to the water works, went to the top of the tower. We could see all over the City. It was splendid. I counted over 300 steps. All the water that is used in the City has to go clear to the top of this tower. It is forced by 4 of the largest and nicest engines in the world. If Ethan[5] could see them he would not have any dyspepsia or any thing else. They shine just like silver and gold. The steam is all in the basement so that it does not touch the engines. When we came back we stopped in a catholic church. It was just magnificent. The alter was marble and gold but I can not tell any thing about it with a pen. The next week Tuesday Aunt Kate, Jessie and I went down and took a Cly borne avenue car and went down to the bridge, got off and went through the tunnel on the South side. We went down two short flights of stairs to get in to the tunnel. There is about 3 ft of earth between the tunnel and river. We could hear the boats going over us. You better believe I was glad to get out. Then we took a car and went on to the west side. When we had went about 12 miles we got a dish of Ice cream and came home. The next Thursday I went to an Ice cream festival at the church. The fee was __5 cts but Mrs Smith the door tender let me in for nothing. Mrs Hollis treated me. Her husband is Superintendent of the Sunday school. We are going to have a picnic next week. I am going. We are going to take the street cars and go some where. We are in for a good time. Write soon.

Lou

Grandma[6] Mr Brown wants to know how you get along. We would like to see you out here first rate.

Aunt Alfleda[7] how do you stand this warm weather.

——-

[1] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[2] Kate’s children, Harry and Jessie Crawford

[3] Streetcar or trolley

[4] Eugene Crawford, Louese’s cousin

[5] Her brother, Ethan Keith

[6] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[7] Alfleda (Starr) Keith, the widow of Luke’s brother Harvey Keith; Alfleda was living with Luke & Sarah Keith

June 27, 1876 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Louese Keith

June 27, 1876

To: Luke & Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Louese Keith, Chicago, IL

Louese is writing her parents about an accident three weeks earlier in which she was burned by heated dish water as it was being hoisted from the basement in the home of Kate & Hiram Crawford, her aunt and uncle. She had not placed the pail properly on the hoist and it tipped over when it hit the ceiling as she was raising it. Although her face was burned, Aunt Kate treated the burns and now three weeks later there is little evidence of the accident. Uncle Hiram decided to redesign the hoist so that it can be raised from above to avoid future injury.

Dont read this before Grandma.[1]

Chicago June 27th 1876

Mr & Mrs. C. L. Keith

How is Aunt Alfleda[2] and Grandma,

Dear Pa and Ma

I recieved your letters a week ago yesterday and expected to have answered them before but have put it off until now. Aunt Kate and Uncle Hi[3] have gone out this evening, Jessie and Harry[4] have just gone to bed and as it is not very late I thought it would be a good chance to write. The weather has been fearful warm until to day which has been a little cooler. Aunt Kate and Mrs Squires went into the Country to Mr Marwoods to day to pick cherries. They got back about five Oclock and got a few cherries. I suppose Nancy[5] has written about me getting burned. It was a pretty narrow escape and if you have not heard I will tell you. It was three weeks ago this morning I went down in the basement to get the dish water before I went to school. I put it on the dummy[6] but did not set the pan on far enough so that when it went up it hit the floor and the water came down on me. I was very near to the front gate before I knew any thing and how I got out of the basement is more than I know but I run up stairs to Aunt Kate and she put some Cosmoline[7] on my face right away and covered it with batting and if I know my self it burned for the next two hours like fun.[8] My face was burned to a blister and it broke four times and the hair has come out on that the left side considerable but it is all well now and it left no scar but as Uncle Hi says a good rich color. No one would know that I had ever been burned now. Uncle Hi said that I was the last one that would get burned to death so he bought and iron rod about fifteen inches long and fastened in the top of the dummy as you see by the picture so we pull it up instead of pushing it so if the water gets spilled it will not burn any body. This is a picture of the dummy the three sides shelves in the dummy and it slides up and down in those two those sides that you see.

dumbwaiter

Well I will have to say a word or two to Jim[9] and Ethan[10] so (Good Night).

School was out last friday we had a big time it com– the last of sept.

James and Ethan

Dear Brothers,

I recieved your kind letters and was glad to hear from you but should’t wonder if you had given up ever recieving any answers, but here she goes. Gene[11] was up here last Saturday night. It was the first time that I have seen him since we went to the exposition building and that was seven weeks ago. He is running a North Clark St car now. He puts in his 13 hours a day so he does not have much time to run around. Lincoln park is on that street. I some expect to go to the park Saturday. Am going to a conversation meeting any way at the church. Ethan has Gene ever answered your letters. He told me the night that we went to the concert that he should not blame you if you never spoke to him again but he said that he run the car nights and when day time come he was so sleepy that he kept putting it off until he thought it was two late. I told him that you would not get mad at that that you knew him too well. He said that he knew it but he had used you mean. Now dont tell Grandma this for she will write to him and dont you write this to him or ever tell him of it for I dont want him to know that I told you of it. Now besure and dont tell him or Grandma. I did not say any thing to him about it Saturday night but I know that he thinks you are offended but for lands sake dont tell him that I’ve ever said a word. Aunt Kates hat or the price of it was seven dollars[12] and the price of mine six and a half. They are both real handsome and Ma how I wish you had one. Write soon. Good night.

How is Ma’s leg.

Louese Keith

Membr of Lincoln School

——-

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Alfleda (Starr) Keith, the widow of Luke’s brother Harvey Keith; Alfleda was living with Luke & Sarah

[3] Hiram & Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford Jr., Sarah’s brother and sister-in-law

[4] Hiram & Katherine’s children

[5] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Louese’s sister

[6] A hoist, similar to a dumbwaiter, that used rope and pulleys to lift heavy items from the basement to the first floor of homes

[7] Cosmoline was commonly used in the storage and preservation of some firearms. According to The Homeeopathic Domestic Physician, by Konstantin Hering (B. Jain Publishers, 1993), “Cosmoline or vaseline are excellent applications in burns.”

[8] The Oxford Dictionary gives its meaning as “vigorously or quickly”

[9] James Keith, Louese’s younger brother

[10] Ethan Keith, Louese’s older brother

[11] Eugene Crawford, Louese’s cousin, the son of Edwin & Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[12] Seven dollars in 1876 equals $165.00 in 2018 dollars

November 17, 1875 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

November 17, 1875

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Received a letter from Hiram. He said that Harry’s lungs were so bad they had to take him to Sarah’s. Nancy Brown wrote that Aunt Kate and Harry had been there and Harry appeared better. Went to Winneconne to visit Prosper and family. Bell is looking quite well. Leo is a smart little fellow but full of mischief. His other son runs all over and says some words. His name is Lucius Byron. Received a letter from Alice. She doesn’t like Oregon as much as Wisconsin nor does her brother.

1875-11-17 1875-11-17B

Omro Novem the 17, 1875

My Dear Daughter

I take my pen in hand to answer your kind letter. I was glay to hear from you all and to hear that you injoy usual good health. I received a letter from Hiram[1]. He said that Harry[2] lungs was so bad they was a blige to take him out of the City so Kate[3] toke him to your place and he heard he was gititing better and I received a letter from Nancy Brown[4] and she wrote that Ma[5] and Aunt Kate and Harry had ben there and maid her viset and Harry apeard to be getting better. I havent I havent received any from DC[6] this month yet but the last I received he said Amanda[7] dont like the Hotell bissness and thought som of selling ought if he had a good chance. He like it well. They where all well then and like wise one from son Henry[8]. They whare all well as usual and thought if he could spare the monny he would make us a viset the last of this month. I hope he will com but I dont much expect him. I went to Winneconne last week to viset Prosper[9] an famly. Found them all well. Bell[10] is looking quite well. She has grown quite fleshy sence her sickness. Leo[11] is a smart littel fellow but a very full of mishchief. The second one run all over and sais som words. His name is Leuchus Biron[12]. They have a very comfortabel home and Bell is a very good houskeeper. Lousea[13] and famly is well. Robert[14] whent away last week to be gone the most part of the winter. Wille[15] is a going when it comes sleighing. I have forgotten the name of the place but most a hundred miles from here.

I received letter from Alice[16]. She said she dont like Orgon as well as Wisconson nor does her brother[17] but think they may when they get better aquainted with the peopel. Nancy Brown said they where all well and her baby was we think the smartest littel fellow there is and grate compana to me. My health is better sence I have ben taking th August flower. I will send Ethen[18] a coppy of it. You did not tell wether he got the medeson so I thot I will send him this circurlar. I think it mite cure him. He is young. Tell Hannah[19] I wish when she gets marrid that her and her man come out to Omro on a weding tour to see her granmother [and] uncels. Tell Jimme[20] to write to me and I will answer it. Tell Lousea[21] that Kit[22] sais she will write wen she can get her picture takeing. I hope Harry will get well so Kitte can go home with him for Hiram sais he dont wanto live a wider all winter. Give my love to Kitty and Harry. I want to see you very much. Tell Luke[23] that I say I wish that he and you would muster up monny and courage aknough to come and make us a visit. O how glad I would be to see both. Please except of my love for your self and famly. Excuse all misstakes and bad spelling. I mus close. Write soon again and write plain. I am very nerves and tired.

From your mother

N B Betts

——-

[1] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[2] Harry Crawford, Hiram’s seven year old son

[3] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, Hiram’s wife

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

[5] She is referring to Sarah Keith

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

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

[8] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

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

[10] Isabella (Steele) Crawford, Pros’ wife

[11] Pros’ son

[12] Pros’ son, Lucius Byron Crawford

[13] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Robert’s wife

[14] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[15] Robert’s son

[16] Alice Crawford, Nancy’s granddaughter and orphan daughter of James H. Crawford

[17] Rollin Crawford

[18] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[19] Hannah Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[20] James Keith, Sarah’s son

[21] Louese Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[22] Believe this to be Katherine Sarah “Kit” Crawford, Robert’s daughter

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

Previous Older Entries