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, 1902 letter to James Keith from Robert Crawford

November 14, 1902

To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Robert Crawford, Neenah, WI

After visiting relatives in Shelbyville, Robert went to Chicago with his nephew, Ethan, to visit his niece, Nancy, and his brother, Hiram, before returning home in Neenah, Wisconsin. He received a letter from his sister, Sarah, who was getting weaker and was gradually failing when he saw her. He was planning to spend the winter with his daughter, Lulu, and her family in Oelwein, Iowa. Heard about the marriages of Cora’s sister, Josephine, and also his niece, Bess, to Julius.

Scan of 1902-11-14 Robert Crawford to James Keith

Neenah Nov 14 1902

Mr J C Keith
Shelbyville Mich

Dear Nephew

As you are aware by this time I came through with Ethen[1] to Chicago over the M C. We had a pleasant trip and was met at the depot by Nancy[2] and your Uncle Hiram[3] and I was pleased to meet them. I came through to Milwaukee the next day and here shortly after. My folks are usually well.[4] I have re’d a letter from your mother[5] since I came home but it was all she could do to write to me. I have written to her twice lately. I expect to go to Milwaukee next Tuesday on my way to Oelwein Iowa to stop with my daughter Lulu[6] this coming winter and return in the spring if possible. Well James how are you and Cora[7] and the children.[8] I hope that you are all well. I heard about Coras sister getting married[9] all right. I hope that she is happy. Please give her my regards and the family. Hope they are well. How many potatoes did you have JC[10] and have you a team yet.[11] You need one there is no doubt about that. If not it will come in time and you will appreciate them more perhaps. I did not see much change in your mothers condition JC from the time I saw her when I first came till I came away last. I think she is getting weaker and is gradually failing. I expect to go to Chicago by the 23 of this month and shortly after will leave for Iowa. I recd cards announcing the marriage of Miss Besse[12] to Julius[13] & we hope they will be happy. I am feeling quite well now and I think my trip to Mich done me good. I hope that I may come again to visit you all. It has been raining quite hard this forenoon and it makes it disagreeable and unpleasant. I wrote to your sister Mrs Lou Harris[14] but I have not heard from her yet. I hope they are all well. If I hear from you my nephew I will write you again when I get to Iowa.

Regards & love to you and Cora and the Children & relations friends

Your Uncle

Robt Crawford

Address me at 102½ 31″ Street
Milwaukee, Wis

——-

[1] James’ brother

[2] James’ sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[3] Robert’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[4] Robert lived with his daughter, Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar, and her family until his death, April 13, 1903

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith. Sarah was Robert’s sister; she died November 18, 1902

[6] Lulu (Crawford) Witte

[7] James’ wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[8] Mary “Winifred” (age 10) and Walter Keith (age 4)

[9] Josephine Meredith had recently married Fred Dean on October 22, 1902

[10] James’ middle name was Clinton

[11]James and Cora had just recently moved back to Shelbyville after having lived in Chicago for approximately ten years

[12] Bess Brown, daughter of Henry and Nancy (Keith) Brown

[13] Bess married Julius Recoschewitz November 6, 1902

[14] Louese (Keith) Harris

June 6, 1902 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

June 6, 1902

To: Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Chicago, IL

Hiram is writing Sarah to tell her that the letter sent mistakenly to Colorado had been forwarded to him by Amanda. Hiram has just moved to a new home at 1521 West Adams Street, which has a large back porch and good-sized yard. He has heard nothing from Prosper, but Robert expects to visit next month.

Scan of 1902-06-06 Hiram Crawford to Sarah Keith

Anthracite=Bituminous Coal Co.
Miners and Dealers in Coal.
Office and Yard, 1619 1634 North Washtenaw California Avenue,
On C. & N.-W. RY.

Telephone … West 575.                                                    Chicago, June 6th, 1902

My Dear Sister

Your letter which went to Golden reached me all right. When I opened the envelope and found Amanda’s[1] letter in it, I knew what had happened. And immediately forwarded her letter and requested her to mail mine to me, but she returned it to you. Which is the woman of it.

I am glad to know that at least things are not any worse with you than usual. And would be much more so if I could know that they were better. We sent a box of chop to you this week. Dont send any money for it. We can furnish you all the chop you need without any trouble.

Charley[2] has given up the Docters and is couping(?) himself to taking “Germcide” and is gradually growing better. The maker of it says that he is perfectly confident that if he sticks to it, that it will cure him. It is the only medicine that he has ever taken that would agree with his stomach over ten days, which certainly is a good sign. He is commencing to do a little work, but not much. Has to go very slow.

We have got settled in our new abode, 1521 W. Adams Street. It is a two story flat. 1st floor, large back porch and good sized yard. We all enjoy it, particularly Marion[3], who is out much of the time. It is the first time the poor child has had a chance to be out of the house, except in the streets and she enjoys it very much. The Baby[4] is thriving and is getting to be quite interesting, although Miss Marion dont allow me to have much to do with her. I had a nice visit with Nancy[5] and Lelia[6] a couple of Sundays ago. Bess[7]and her German friend[8] was out. I think that if it wasnt for that man, Nancy would feel quite contented, but he makes life miserable for her.

Blanche[9] and family are well and happy. We dont hear anything from L.P.[10] Robert[11] writes me that he is coming to Milwaukee next month and will probaby see us a visit. Love to all.

Affectionately Your Brother

H Crawford

——-

[1] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford, D.C. Crawford’s widow and Hiram’s sister-in-law

[2] Both of Hiram’s daughters were married to men with Charles as the first name. Jessie was married to Charles Eck who is mentioned in previous letters as being in ill health

[3] Marian Eck, the oldest daughter of Charley and Jessie (Crawford) Eck and Hiram’s granddaughter

[4] Katherine Louise Eck

[5] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Sarah’s daughter and Hiram’s niece

[6] Nancy’s daughter, Lela Brown

[7] Bess Rae Brown, Nancy’s daughter

[8] Julius Recoschewitz, Bess’s future husband

[9] Blanche (Crawford) Hessey, Hiram’s daughter

[10] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Hiram’s younger brother

[11] Robert Crawford, Hiram’s older brother

July 18, 1901 letter to Louese Harris from Sarah Keith

July 18, 1901

To: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

From: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

Sarah is writing her daughter with general news about the family and the weather. Sarah’s niece, Lulu (Robert’s daughter), was married today. The weather has been extremely hot and dry. The corn and potatoes are suffering for want of water. A neighbor’s barn was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Henry C visted and brought two bottles of spirit, a product that he is selling for all kinds of skin diseases. He sells it to barbers and thought it might help heal the sores on Sarah’s legs.

Scan of 1901-07-18 Sarah Keith to Louese Harris

Galesburg July 18 1901

Dear Lou

How do you all stand this hot weather. We do because we have to. Lulu Crawford[1] is married today. Pretty warm to have much finery on. Thursday three p.m. Ethen[2] took Hannah[3] to Gallushas the forenoon for an all day visit. We had Monday and yesterday two terrific electric storms. We did not get rain enough to lay the dust. We need rain bad. Corn and potatoes are suffering for the want of it. Charley Wilson, whose farm is across from Jane Blasses, had his barn struck by lightning and burned his out buildings and crops. All went up in the flames. Ethen says buildings were in first class order. We saw the fire from here. Yesterday day about four oclock, when Henry C— was here he left me two bottles of (spirit) he called it. It is what he is selling. It is manufactured at South Bend, by a chemist that has been to work at it five years. Thinks now he has it perfected. Is sending it out. It is for all skin deseases. Sells it to Barbers to put it on the face after shaving. He wanted I should try it on my legs. He thought it cure them. I have used it most two weeks. Ethen says they look better and the sores are closeing up. I have thought about D[4] – wish he had some to put on his leg. Henry thought he would be here in four or five weeks. I asked him what he asked a bottle. He said it did not make any difference. I could have it. Your pa[5] thinks he never saw such hot weather. It does effect him. Got a letter from Jim[6]. He said Cora[7] and Children[8] would be at Kal[9], next tuesday. He wanted Ethen to meet them. He will. They will come home with him.

Hannah is making her self, Lois[10] and Jen Sherwood white waists, a cluster of pleats then incertain. Look very pretty. Lois furnished the goods for Hannah and hers, and H– makes them. We have been alone this week it seems good I thought this morning you were here. Got a letter from Nancie[11] Sat eve. She spoke about coming. I did not understand when. Said she could not stay but two weeks. Claude[12] and Edie[13] would stay whilst she was gone. I feel very sorry for her but she has a great deal to be thankful for. Her children are good to her and has some meanes to help herself with. Dont know how much she will have by the time they all get through bleeding her. I hope she will look out for them. Presume Julius[14] thinks thare will be some thing for Bess[15] and he will have to look after her interest. Seemes Bessie would see whare she was drifting with the sallery he gets to be in debt. Nothing to keep house with. What or how can he support a wife. You see if Bess keeps well, she will have to look out for the family. She will have to work in a gallery same as she does now. I wish she had never seen him[16]. Nancie said Mrs Brown[17] did not sit up near all the. Should think this hot weather would use her up.

How about the Drs[18] small pox patients. How does he manage to disinfect himself before he comes home? Of course he will take all precaution nessary. Does D get along without his crutches? Hope his leg is getting better. To bad that he should be so afflicted. So much to do. It must worry him. I asked Ottie F– how Ettie Ralph[19] was getting along. She said first rate but she did not know what ailed her. I think she knew but was told not to tell. You know Mrs Ralph[20] said here if any of her folks had an opperation it would never be known so I thought I would let her know I knew it. I think it is that cancer she had. Well, I have written if you can make it out you will do well. You and yours have a mother.

Best wishes, Mother

——-

[1] Lulu Crawford, daughter of Sarah’s brother (Robert Crawford), married Edward Witte

[2] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

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

[4] Daniel D. Harris (known as D), Louese’s husband

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

[6] James Keith, Sarah’s youngest son

[7] Cora (Meredith) Keith, Jim’s wife

[8] Mary “Winifred” and Walter Keith

[9] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[10] Sarah’s stepdaughter (Luke’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson)

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

[12] Claude Brown, Nancy’s son

[13] Edith (Neumaier) Brown, Claude’s wife

[14] Julius Recoschewitz, Nancy’s daughter Bess’ boyfriend

[15] Bess Brown, Nancy’s daughter

[16] Julius was a concert violinist but also a drug addict. While Bess probably was not aware of that at the time, she did tell family members that Julius seemed to be able to put a spell on her and make her do things against her will. She asked them to help her get away from his influence

[17] Matilda (Allen) Brown, Nancy’s mother-in-law

[18] Believe she is referring to Samuel “Doc” Boyer, who was Nancy’s daughter Lela’s fiance; he was boarding either with Louese & D Harris or with D’s sister, Cora (Harris) & Aaron Hogeboom

[19] Elsie “Ettie” Ralph, D Harris’ cousin

[20] Emaline (Stone) Ralph, D Harris’ aunt

 

May 17, 1901 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Brown

May 17, 1901

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Brown

Nancy is concerned about her husband Hank’s health. Tuesday he had gone downtown to fix a camera shutter. He had not been home two hours before she had to send for a doctor. He has been vomiting and his stomach and bowel have been very painful and sensitive. Nancy is worried that it might be appendicitis. He has had some fever and has not been dressed since Tuesday and not been able to sit up until this morning. The doctor has been there five times in the past three days.

Scan of 1901-05-17 Nancy Brown to Keith Family

Friday 1-30-P.M.[1]

Dear ones all

Will write a little while resting my feet. Lela[2] has been working down town since Monday. Hank[3] is sick but I guess now he is going to get along all right. He is very nervous and has suffered lots. I have or at least could been a little fearful of appidencitis (I dont know as thats right). He has vomited so much & his bowels & stomach so painful & sensative and it has been impossible to get a movement of the bowels till about ten mintes ago they moved a little. So we know there is an _____________. Dr has been here five times in three days. Was here about an hour ago & is coming again to night. He says if we can get a thorough movement he will be all right and we are a going to. He has some fever. Has not been dressed since Tuesday or able to sit up any till this morning. He felt better, got up and dressed and went down town to get a shutter fixed. He was doing that when taken sick so they have been without a penny plate holder & shutter all the week over here.[4] Its his own invention and no one could fix it but him self or under his instructions. So he went to see the man & tell him. Was to have it for Sunday. He had not been home two hours before we had to send for Dr. Now I wont let him go again if we have to lock him up but he worried so over the shutter & got so nervous he could not get well any way. We have good help at both gallerys and if he dont go to work too soon it may do him a little good.

We got a letter from Dr[5] this A.M. also from Bess[6] & Mildred.[7] Dr is having so many trials cant come now but will come back with Julius[8] if he is better. Julius goes to Mich Monday. Has to be back Sat night. Was to play Sunday. We got terribly worried and excited here over Lois[9] though we thought every one at home must be very good as no one wrote. If Will Holmes[10] had went and seen Will Clark[11] and told them how it was that Ina[12] was sent for he never would have gone without looking in to it more but all he knew was what I told him and all I knew was that Lois was sick & they had sent for Ina. So when he got a message that his mother was very sick & had sent for him of course he thought it was for him. Its too bad for he has been with out work so much they did not feel able to go unless nessary. Its too bad that any one will work them selves up to such a pitch that they are _______ on any one & others have to suffer for it. Did the vegatables keep fresh enough so you could eat them? Bess writes of the dutch cheese, how good it is. If you want to send any any time we will pay charges.

Dont worry over Hank. If he dont get along all right we will let you know but he is going too. I want to tell you how cute Mother[13] is. Will[14] came down yesterday and asked her to go home with him if he would come for her to day as Hank was sick and with Lela gone it would make one less. She put on a long face & all he or I could do or say she would not go. Was not well enough so of course that ended it. In the afternoon I washed out a nyhtress & some things for Hank but as I was ready to clean thing up she wanted her dress washed. I told her I was too tired and had so much to do I could not. She said she had made up her mind to go to Wills & her dress was too dirty to wear so I said if thats it I will wash it so “het” more watter & done that. After it was done & dried and in the house she told me she did not calculate to go but wanted her dress washed. If she had been a child I guess I would “shake her boots off” but as it was I could not do a thing. I told her it could have gone to the wash and saved me that much but she said she did not care she wanted it done then. Hank is asleep and feels a good deal better than he did. Will let you know Tuesday how he is. Must write a few lines to Bess.

With love from Nan

Uncle Hi[15] and Mirian[16] came on Sunday. Brough Aunt Amandas letter,[17] also paper. Guess he feels pretty bad. It is too bad Uncle D.C.[18] had to go for he was not an old man and as Uncle Hi said guessed his family needed him. I wonder if his life was ruined. There were _____ over there to Uncle His.

Nan

7 P.M. Hank is feeling some better. Has had a good movement of the bowels. It has left him quite week but he thinks he will be all right now.

——-

[1] While no date was written, the postmark on the envelope is 5-17-1901

[2] Nancy’s daughter, Lela Brown

[3] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[4] Hank was a photographer

[5] Possibly referring to Samuel “Doc” Boyer, who at the time was Lela Brown’s fiancé

[6] Nancy’s daughter, Bess Brown

[7] Nancy’s niece, Mildred Harris

[8] Julius Recoschewitz, Bess Brown’s boyfriend, was a concert violinist

[9] Nancy’s half sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[10] Husband of Lois’ daughter, Ina

[11] Will Clark, Lois’ son from her first marriage to Byron Clark

[12] Ina (Skinner) Holmes, Lois’ daughter from her second marriage to Adelbert Skinner

[13] Hank’s mother, Matilda (Allen) Brown

[14] Hank’s brother, Willis Brown

[15] Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[16] Marian Eck, Hiram’s granddaughter

[17] Nancy’s aunt, Amanda (Thornton) Crawford, wife of D.C. Crawford

[18] David (D.C.) Crawford, who died unexpectedly on May 1, 1901

(This post was updated on 2-18-2021)