September 11, 1873 letter to Sarah Keith from Katherine Crawford

September 11, 1873

To:  Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Katherine Crawford, Chicago, IL

Since they bought the house they won’t be able to make a visit to Michigan. Eugene spent two nights with them. Their son, Harry, looks just like him. Henry and Johnny visited them. Hasn’t seen Jenny since before the fire. Sorry to hear Nancy is down on her luck and wants to know where they’re living. Their children are well; the baby is almost 11 months old.

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Chicago, Illinois

Sept 11th, 1873, Thursday


Dear Sister,

I have long promised myself I would write to you, but have never got about it untill now. I hope you will not think I have forgotten you by my seeming neglect. We promised ourselves a treat in the shape of a visit to your place this fall if it had not been for buying this place. I do not know when it will happen now. I hope you are all well and enjoying good health. We like our home very much. When we first moved in we all took heavy colds. Grandmother[*] was very ill. Indeed, some days I had very little hopes of her recovery, but she has rallied and is feeling pretty smart. Although she has not regained her usual strength.

Hiram[1] had a letter from Mother[2] a few days ago. She was feeling pretty smart. Eugene[3] spent two nights with us – he is a nice boy. Our Harry[4] is the perfect picture of him. Henry[5] and Johnny[6] were over the first of June. Johnny is a very pretty boy. I like his appearance very much. I have not seen Jenny[7] since before the fire[8]. I was sorry to hear Nancy[9] had such poor luck, however she must not be discouraged. Where are they living? Tell Luke[10] I do wish I could come and roll on his grass and eat some of those nice apples & potatoes. Our children keep well. Baby[11] is almost eleven months old but has no teeth yet. I will send you one of her pictures.

Remember us all kindly to the children & I hope sometime soon to see you all.

Good night.

Kate E. Crawford

396 Dayton St

Chicago, Illinois

[written at top of first page] Please answer soon.



[*] Elizabeth McGrath

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

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Hiram’s nephew, Eugene Crawford, the son of Edwin and Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[4] Harry Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s oldest child

[5] Henry Clay Crawford, Hiram’s brother

[6] John H. Crawford, Henry’s oldest son

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

[8] The Great Chicago Fire, which started Oct 8, 1871 and burned through the 9th. As many as 300 people were believed killed and 90,000 left homeless with damages totaling $200 million

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

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

[11] Jessie B. Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s second child

January 17, 1871 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

January 17, 1871

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Received a letter from Henry. They have been very sick. Jenny is not able to do much of anything and John, their oldest son, has had the fever this fall. Henry has been working at his trade making carriage wheels this winter. He says it has been very sickly in South Bend this year past. Poor Henry is having a hard time of it. John Worley, Jenny’s brother, has buried his wife. He said she died very happy. Received a letter and a Colorado paper from David announcing his marriage to Miss Amanda Thornton. Hopes he has got a good companion and they may enjoy each other’s comfort as long as they live. Received a letter from Hiram. He and his family enjoyed Christmas very much. Got letters from Robert, Prosper and Eugene. They are all well.

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Omro   January the 17 1871

My Dear Sarah,

I received your kind and welcom letter afew days ago. I was happy to heare from you and yours. I wish that Nancy[1] was here. I think Doctor Clap could help her. He has helpt a good meny difficult cases. It is very singular thing that your family has the ague[2] so much. I don’t remember when I lived with you of any one a having the ague. It seams to me that your family has ben afflicted more then any other famly around in that neighborhood. I wish Luke[3] could sell and get a way from there and get in a more healthily place. I received a letter from Henry[4]. He writes that they have ben sorely aflicked with sickness for months pasts. Jenne[5] is not abel to do much of anything and John[6], there olds son, has had the fever this fall. He dont get along very well. He is quite febel yet. Henry, he has been working at his trade a makeing Carriage wheels this winter. He sais it has ben very sickley in South Bend this year past. Poor Henry is lik your self. He is having a hard time of it. John Worly[7], so Henry sais, has buried his wife[*]. He said she dide very happy. He is Jennes youngest brother[8].

I received a letter and a Colorado paper from David[9] stateing his marrige with Miss Amanda Thornton[10]. All of that Peace the old Bach is marrige at last. I hope he has got a good companion and they may in joy each other society and take solled Comfort as long as they live.

I received a letter from Hiram[11]. He and his family had in joy Christmas very much. They had a present of a turkey for thear Dinner and they got lots of presents and Kit[12] got a half donzen of napkins rings. This is from him with lots of other things and Hite[13] got a nice pair of slippers from her and she received from her cousin, a young gentelman that is living in the city, a very beautiful round Lilly in wax set in a glass case worth twenty dollars and granma[14] got lots of things and little Harry[15] he got his stockings full of cande and nuts. It is to tedious to tell and name all of the articals they got. He sent me four dollars. I got a letter from Robert[16] and one from Eugean[17]. They both are well and like wise from Prosper[18]. He was well. Then I received from Emily Tomson, your Aunt Jane[19] hiard girl. She is a good writer. She writes for her. She sais sister Jane husband[20] is dead. He dide last June. Wallis[21] her son is aliving in Navada. She received a letter from him telling her that Mr Sunderlin died the beginning of that month. It was of consumption. Wallis is ago to move to Waukegan as soon as he can dispose of his properaty. Sister Mary Wickersham[22] is there. Ben there for severl months. Her health is good this winter. What was the matter of Mrs Jacobs[*]? I wish you would tell me in your next who is the man that married Adda Swadel. I hope thoes few lines will find you all in better health. Write soon as conveant. My love to you all. From your Mother.

So good night

Its is truely minets a past 9

Nancy B Betts

[to] S C Keith

P.S. I send one of Alice[23] letters to Nancy


[1] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[2] A form of malaria characterized by stages of chills, fever, and sweating. Popularly, the disease was known as “fever and ague,” “chill fever,” and “the shakes”

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

[4] Henry Crawford, Nancy’s son

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

[6] John Crawford, Henry and Virginia’s eldest son, age 16

[7] John Worley, who was Virginia’s younger brother, lived with Henry & Virginia Crawford when they lived in Niles, Michigan, and worked as an apprentice wagon maker with Henry

[*] Alice (Alexander) Worley died at the age of 25

[8] Actually, Virginia’s youngest brother was Oscar Worley

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

[10] David married Amanda Thornton, December 21, 1870 in the Calvary Episcopal Church in Golden, Colorado

[11] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

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

[13] Hiram’s nickname

[14] Kate’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth McGrath, who was living with Hiram and Kate

[15] Harry Crawford, Hiram and Kate’s eldest child

[16] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[17] Eugene Crawford, Nancy’s grandson

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

[19] Nancy’s sister, Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[20] Peleg Sunderlin, who died May 31, 1870 in Carlin, Nevada

[21] Wallis Sunderlin, Jane’s son

[22] Nancy’s sister, Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

[*] A December 17 entry in Luke Keith’s diary mentions “Mrs Jacobs Died to day.” A search of shows that Julia A. Jacobs, age 38, wife of B. Jacobs, died December 17, 1870, and is buried in Galesburg City Cemetery, Galesburg, Michigan

[23] Alice Crawford, Nancy’s granddaughter