April 17, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

April 17, 1924

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

Has been trying to write letters but there have been several interruptions as well as her neuritis which kept her from writing. Recounts various visitors they have had as well as the conditions they are suffering from and/or the trips they are taking or planning to take. Wishes Lela and the girls could come for a couple of weeks or that she could take the girls over their summer vacation to give Lela a break. Writes about the predicament Ethan and Hannah are in as far as not having the money or ability to fix up the old home.

Shelbyville Apr. 17-1924

Dear Sister:

I hope you’ve not given up hearing from me this week, but I’ve been writing to Aunt Kate[1] and for some reason every time I sat down to write some thing would happen so I’d have to stop, for instance last Fri. Mildred[2] and I had work done early after dinner. She wanted to sew and I to write and I’ll be jiggered if Stella did’nt come when I had only four lines written. Had’nt been here in four weeks, she staid until supper time. After that was over with and dishes washed I said, Now I’m going to write all the evening, had been at it less than ten minutes and Cora and Mr Kitchen[3] came – returned home Sun. eve. I was all in then and did not do a thing at writing until Tues. Some of the time the neuritis gets my right wrist and it is hard work to use my hand. Hannah[4] wrote me you had had a spell at it and was very bad. I hope you are all over it and wont have any more. Think you were all more or less afflicted, Bess[5] with lumbago, Lela[6] all used up, sick head ache, and in the midst of candy making. It’s a big problem for all but I dont see how Lela can hold out – if she has to go and see Lou[7] every week. I’m awfully sorry for him but it is worse for her. Too bad he is down again. Do the doctors account for it in any way and do they think he will get up again. I wish his uncle[8] would do what he ought to and give her a few thousand. I dont see how he can have the heart not to when he knows just how every thing is with her. Wish she and the children[9] could come down here for two weeks, and Bess too, you see I did’nt include you, but I know you’ll come any way, and Dorothy, Robert and Joe.[10] It is nice D. & J.[11] can have their home all ready to go right to housekeeping. I’d give a lot to see it. They must be in the 7th heaven these days. Fred & Mildred[12] start on their trip the 28th. She is very busy getting sewing done for Leone[13] & I, she only has to make a dress for her self tan colored silk krepe-de-chin. Guess I wrote you they’d go to Bourbon[14] by auto, Helen[15] lives there, then they’ll have it to use while they are there. Will go to Warsaw,[16] decoration day,[17] that was his home and where those who are gone are buried. Will come that way on return trip, and get auto – stop at Galesburg over night with Hannah & Ethan.[18] I’m going down to see them before the kids go. Yes our housecleaning has to be done too. The three rooms below papered. So you see we’ve got to hit the high spots before the last of May and now I can hardly hit the low. You know all about LaVernes[19] trip down home so theres no use writing about it. Last week we sent a box of vegetabls “mostly” to them.  They’ve not had an onion this winter. They[20] never said a word & I never thought, but it wont happen again. I’ll keep my thinking cap on. Hannah has said quite a good deal to me about a hat, and I wrote her I would see she had one. I could’nt go any where to get it until now even if I had’nt have been lame. The roads have been so bad in places, one got such awful jolts, which I can not stand. Now they are being repaired and are smoth & level once more, but it will be a week and a half before I can go and I know she will get fussed, but I can not imagine why she could’nt wear her last summers hat in case she had a chance to go out. This is the 6th summer for mine. I know hers is not as old as that.

Cora and Mr Kitchen came down (I just forgot I had mentioned it). Well it was partly to see about selling his place, but he is not going to. She is getting better and will not have an operation yet the swelling is there yet but much smaller. Thinks it will gradually be dissolved.

Roy[21] is in hospital with mumps. Has to stay there a month yet, and has been there three weeks. Cora is afraid he has had a set back of some kind, though says nothing about it.

Evening. Stella came at 4 oclock & shut me off. She had spent the day at Josies “listening in” a part of the time. They have a new radio, this is their second one. This is much nicer than the other. Every thing perfectly plain. She heard some very nice singing from Chicago, also other places. D[22] is getting crazy to have one, but I want a new kitchen, can go to the neighbors and “listen in.” Jim[23] has had another poor spell is not working out side of home, has to get up at a certain hour every night and fight for his breath until morning. The Star runs just the same – movies at Wayland four nights a week they average going two right along. Cora[24] is so lame. Wilma[25] has to give up her job at Hurds to help her mother, yet Cora can go to the shows, and then are not many days pass that she does not go some where. Will & Luella have bought the Hope place. Will move the cafe part back for a garage, raise the rest of the house and put a porch across front. Bert Hope has moved in with Ed Knapp on the farm and gone in to chicken business. Marian[?] Harris had her hair bobbed yesterday. She will be 46 in Aug. May be you know Will Clark[26] visited us in March – staid from Wed. until Sat noon. We had a nice visit. Cora brought me a lovely white hyacinth.

Sat. You know it was our wedding anniversary 42 yrs.[27] and Uncle Henrys[28] 91st birthday. Just think Aunt Kate planning a trip to Detroit in Aug. She wrote me she was getting ready. What would I give to possess the youthfulness she has.[29] She has me beaten to a finish. Ruby and her husband are going to move in to Mr Kitchens house next week. Then will buy Mrs Harding out when the time comes “if ever” she wants to sell. Mrs Harding is all used up over Leon’s marrying and the circumstances connected with it. She is nearly crazy some of the time. I dont know what she would do if she could’nt come to us with her trouble. Dont know whether I wrote you Doc[30] bought some Gun[?] marsh land. I dont know how much but he has six 6 acres of onions put in. Come down & we’ll go over and see them when they are out of the ground. I must write card to Carrie to night and begin letter to Hannah so will close. I hope you are feeling better and the girls too. Wish I could do something for you to help out. If we could keep Helen & Jean over every Sunday t’would be a little let-up of the tension for Lela. After school closes put them on the train in care of conductor and send them down. We’ll keep them as long as they’ll stay. Tell me when you write how much material Lela gets for their dresses. It is getting quite like spring, though we saw snow flakes Tues.  No the old back porch at home is just the same only getting worse. LaV–[31] says there is the Custer pile would do them so much good if Ethan would only think so. LaV– said she had to watch her step every time she went out there more than ever. Can’t think how it will be by middle of summer. Yes I’ll do as you said help pay Will or any one who can be hired to fix it and she also says, how can they stay there alone all other winter. And I say how can that house be left alone if they could be persuaded to come here and live for 4 or 5 mo’s. It’s a big problem.

Good Bye

Hope this wont make you sick. Hope to hear you the girls & Lou are better. Would Lou care for some honey. I’ll send some in a pail if Lela thinks he would like it.

Love to all

Lou

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

[2] Mildred (Harris) Cripe, Louese’s daughter

[3] Louese’s sister-in-law, Cora (Harris) Hogeboom Kitchen, and her second husband, John Nelson Kitchen

[4] Louese’s and Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[5] Nancy’s daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

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

[7] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller, who suffered brain injuries when hit by a streetcar

[8] Charles August Ficke, who was a wealthy man

[9] Lela’s daughters, Helen and Eda “Jean” Mueller

[10] Bess’ children, Dorothy and Robert Recoschewitz, and Dorothy’s fiance, Joseph Langmayer; they married on May 29, 1924

[11] Dorothy & Joe

[12] Mildred married Fred Cripe on November 23, 1923

[13] Louese’s daughter (and Mildred’s sister), Leone Harris

[14] Bourbon, Indiana

[15] Mildred’s sister-in-law, Helen (Cripe) Tyrrell

[16] Warsaw, Indiana

[17] Civil War dead were honored on Decoration Day

[18] Louese’s and Nancy’s brother, Ethan Keith; Hannah & Ethan lived on the family farm where they all grew up

[19] Louese’s oldest daughter, LaVerne (Harris) Boyer

[20] Ethan and Hannah; both of them were aging and in poor health and money was hard to come by

[21] Roy Harris Hogeboom, Cora Kitchen’s son by her first husband, Aaron Hogeboom

[22] Louese’s husband, Daniel Harris, who was referred to as D.D. or D.

[23] Louese’s and Nancy’s brother, James Keith, who suffered from asthma

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

[25] Jim and Cora’s daughter, Wilma Keith

[26] The son of Louese’s and Nancy’s half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[27] They were married April 12, 1882

[28] Henry Clay Crawford, Louese’s and Nancy’s uncle, was born April 12, 1833

[29] Aunt Kate was 83 years old

[30] Samuel “Doc” Boyer, who was married to Louese’s daughter, LaVerne

[31] Shorthand for LaVerne

March 10, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Edna Tullar

March 10, 1924

To: Nancy Brown

From: Edna Tullar

Edna Tullar is making arrangements to purchase a box of candy from her cousins. She is certain that her nephew, Robert Carlson, will love the candies more than anything else. She is also updating her cousin on the activities of her family, including the desire to visit California to see her nephew, Donald Carlson, who is begging for Edna and her husband, Jack, to visit. She also mentions her Aunt Kate Crawford, her cousin, Jessie Crawford Eck, and wonders when Jessie’s daughter will marry. Edna is concerned about a growth on her son, Ted’s, neck. It had been growing for six months and seemed to be affecting his hearing. After a thorough examination and x-ray, it was determined to be a stone in the gland and needed to be operated on immediately. Although it is not a serious operation, it is a tedious one that will take about two hours with nothing but local anesthesia. Poor Ted is worried sick over it. Her other son, Frank, is traveling for the week and will be missed. The company is doing very well and Frank brings in most of the business. Edna is bringing Nancy up to date on her sisters, Kit, Lizzie, Lulu and Bird. Lulu and her husband, Ed Witte, have had a struggle this winter. His insurance business has not been doing well and it has created financial problems for them. In the midst of all this trouble, Aunt Kate wrote and wanted to visit Lulu. Lulu never answered the letter; however, Edna filled Aunt Kate in on Lulu’s situation. Aunt Kate could appreciate the position Lulu was in for she had been there herself. Bird & family well.

Monday Morn March 10-1924

Dear Nancy

Your good long letter came this A.M. and I am ans. right back for I am going to city and I will enclose money order for $3.00 and tell you the card box, will be all right. I am sure now if this amount isnt enough, you be sure & tell me, for if I can afford to do this, I can pay the price. I know Rob.[1] will like the candy more than anything else I can afford to send him & he can share it with Melisse.[2] Mrs. Fraser called me up Friday, said they had just gotten a letter from you, said she had called me before, but could not get me. Well I will admit that I am some what of a gadder[3] & possibly I might have been away from home. She will have news to tell you when they ans. He is to be retired this yr. & their Calif. _____ theirs. So you can see how nice it will be when we all get there. Sure you can go with Jack[4] & I and we will all find something to do when we get there, keep house for Don,[5] he is begging us to come in every letter he writes. I tell him to get married & have a home of his own. He say “no wedding bells for him.” Now Nancy you will just have to plan on coming to us this summer for you must visit the Frasers once more. We expect to go to Wis in June & on our way back we will stop over a day & you come on home with us. Now if the girls have Dorothy[6] this summer they can spare you for a while. Isnt it just fine Dorothy is to be so near you and I am so pleased for her. I guess she is as old as you & I were when we were married[7] – & age don’t mean anything. It’s just how sensible they are, and I am sure she has is that all right. That is a mighty fine start. We didnt have that either did we? I cant tell, Nancy, how Uncle Harry worked father[?] for. I was going to say $50.00 when I first thought, but I am not sure. $50.00 was a lot of money in those days. Is he up to something more now? When will Jessies[8] daughter[9] get married. Aunt Kate[10] wrote me about her engagement. Also I hope she will do differently than the other one,[11] get a better man I mean. We are a little worried and worked up at our house. Ted[12] has had a buncle[13] on his neck for over 6 months. Pearle[14] and all of us have tried to have him attend to it. Well he asked his doctor at factory about it & he could not tell him much, but advised Ford Hospital for thorough examination. It has kept growing & seemed to affect his hearing so last wk. he went – had Xrays & all. They tell him it is what is called a stone in his gland. Said from neck down he was perfect – physically – but this must come out immediately or would cause cancer. So next Sat. he is to be operated on & while it is not a serious operation it is a tedious one about two hours & nothing but local anesthesia done from inside & can work much better when one is concious. Poor Ted, never a thing before this matter with him. He is about sick over it & I do feel sorry for him. When we think of all the operations you have had for your self & family this seems silly but just the same I cant help but wish it were over. Ted will be 39 next Monday. He said he would clebrate in Hospital. I am so thankful they are fixed so it wont mean much to him in a financial way or if Ted has to stop work for a while. Pearle is spendid about it & wants everything done right, no money spared. Frank[15] has gone to Lansing & those[?] town for a part of the wk. We are lonely with out him. Factory doing spendidly – biggest months income in Feb. they have ever had & Frank brings in most of it but Chester[16] is doing well by him & Frank seems quite contented and happy he is getting to be such a big fellow. Dear Hannah & Ethan.[17] How I wish I could go to them when they have such a long lonely winter or they could come to me. I am going to write Hannah & very soon. Did you ever hear how Madge[18] came out with her suit? It would be so much easier if Bessie[19] could live near Lela[20] and it is fine they mean so much to each other. Oh I know how it is. Kit[21] and I were just that way & it was so hard when Kit was married & went away. She never was Kit again to me and then after Louise came she was so near and dear & we used to visit and talk like sisters and now I am so far from them all. Poor Lizzie[22] has a nice new house, new furniture, new Buick car and was sick in bed with no one to do a thing for her. They have done splendidly in a financial way but Lizzie says she can not make C.S. make him well any more & is so tired trying. Lulu[23] & Ed[24] have had a hard struggle this winter. Ed in insurance business for him self & not doing much. Lu wrote me at Xmas time said they were in debt. She had no shoes, hat or gloves not much else. Could I send $50.00. Well I had a Xmas fund of $50.00 so I sent her $35.00 then wrote to Lizzie & Bird.[25] Lizzie sent her $25.00, Bird $10.00 & a hat & I sent gloves & stockings. Well after that they got $1,000 from Ed’s mothers estate so they will fly high for a little while but Lu has gone to taking borders. Just in the midst of all this trouble Aunt Kate wrote & wanted to visit Lu. Well Lu never ans. the letter, said she was to near crazy but I told Aunt Kate some thing of situation & told her Lu would write someday. I guess Aunt Kate can realize the position Lu was in for she has been there herself. Bird & family well. Donald, her second son, has been in Seattle but comes home this mo. Carol[26] in Normal school, now home. Nancy, send some more of your cards.[27] Bird wants one & some more I know I want to send to. Well I must ring off. Do hope Lou[28] get so he can come home. Poor fellow, such a home & he has to be away.

Lovingly

Edna

Nancy you might send this to Hannah & Ethan it will tell them about Ted & girls. I’ll write you a card as soon as Ted is opered on.

[1] Believe this is her nephew, Robert Carlson, whose birthday was March 17. He had lived with the Tullars at the time of the 1920 Census

[2] Melissa P Keiser, who married Robert on August 4, 1920

[3] To move about restlessly or with little purpose

[4] Edna’s husband, Jackson Tullar

[5] Believe this is her nephew, Donald Carlson

[6] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[7] Dorothy was engaged to Joseph Langmayer; she was 20 years old. Nancy was 20 and Edna was 22 when they were married

[8] Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Edna’s cousin

[9] Believe this is Katherine Eck, although Katherine did not actually marry until 1944

[10] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, widow of Hiram Crawford Jr. who was Edna’s and Nancy’s uncle

[11] Edna is referring to Jessie Marian Eck, who was married to Charles Meiss

[12] Edwin Dale Henry, Edna’s son by her first husband

[13] Edna appears to be referring to a carbuncle

[14] Ted’s wife, Pearl (Shelly) Henry

[15] Franklin Tullar, Edna’s son by her second husband

[16] Chester Wagner Tullar, Edna’s brother-in-law and President of the Tullar Envelope Company

[17] Nancy’s sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith

[18] Madge Allen, granddaughter of Edna’s & Nancy’s Uncle Edwin Crawford

[19] Nancy’s daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

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

[21] Edna’s sister, Katherine (Crawford) Birkland

[22] Edna’s sister, Melissa (Crawford) Smith

[23] Edna’s sister, Lulu (Crawford) Witte

[24] Lulu’s husband, Edward Witte

[25] Edna’s sister, Cynthia (Crawford) Carlson

[26] Carol Carlson, Bird’s daughter

[27] Presume she is referring to business cards for Nancy Keith Candies

[28] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller. 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 had been admitted to St. Mary of the Hills in Milwaukee, Wisconsin


June 21, 1923 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

June 21, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Another update on Lou’s condition. He wants to come home but they could not take care of him. The Ravenswood Manor Association has offered to pay Lela $150.00 for collecting dues from the membership. She will have to go door to door, but can do it in her own time, but Nancy doesn’t know where she will find the time to do so.

Tuesday June 21- 23
3-40 P.M.

Dear ones at home

Seems as if we dont know any thing about you. Have wished a good many times we knew if Lou[1] was there. Such hot weather. I think of you Ethan working out in the hot sun drinking hot tea and so tired. I was not intending to write till tomor, but Lela[2] just got a letter from Dr Wern[?] (Lous[3] doctor). It has about used Lela up and of course I am more or less nervous. He said Lou had two convulsions Tuesday and this morning between three and five oclock had _____ but has come out of them but left him in a weakened dazed condition. He wants she should come up there as he wishes to have a talk with her. She will go tomow morning. Bess[4] or Claude[5] will go with her. She feels bad. Every letter she has had from Lou, only a few lines at a time, but he wants she should come and get him but that cant be. We could never take care of him and he could not have the treatments he needs. We feel like a funeral all the time. Dont or cant make any plans but let each day take care of itself. The Ravenswood Manor association of which Lela & Lou are members have offered her the business of collecting the dues. Has to go from house to house here in the Manor. Will let her take her own time, do as much or little as she can when she can. She will get one hundred and fifty dollars for doing it. Of course she has axcepted it. None of us can see when she will find time to go out. I was going to send crate yesterday then it rained so hard Martha[6] could not take it and now she wont have time as Mr and Mrs Eckles[7] are coming here to supper. This Manor Association takes care of the park ways, keeps shrubry, trees and lawns in fine condition. I wish you could all see how pretty it looks. Its like a big park, nice lawns, shubbry & trees and the flowers. We have four large rose bushes. There are hundreds of flowers and birds. So many others have the same beside so many Peonies, all colors, and all kinds of flowers. Our quince tree is full of fruit but no garden. Lou thinks he made and has as fine a garden as ever was he tried to. The morning he went away he called me to come to the back door and told me to see how even the rows of every thing was and so free from weeds. Showed how much more he knew and understood gardening than any one else. Said in about five days we could have all the beans we could eat and our neighbors culd to. Not a thing out there but weeds and a few radishes, but he saw them all right.

Friday 3.45. As you see this did not get finished last night. Mr & Mrs Eckels came but the empty crate went. The girls went on ten A.M. car this morning, dont know when they will be home. Train leaves Milwaukee every hour, takes two hours to make the trip. They wont be home before eleven or twelve. Will let you know Monday how they found and left Lou. Did you get the last money order 15.00 I think you ought to have had it last Saturday. Hannah I wish I could hear your rheumatism was better. I think about you and Ethan evry minite. If I dont write of any thing. June[?] phoned. She is going to have Uncle Henry, Virginia[8] and myself over for lunch before Aunt Kate[9] goes. I think she will ask Clara.[10] I have planed to go home the 30th but Lela wants I should wait a little longer till we know a little better how Lou is. Hope this finds you all feeling better.

Nan

[1] This could be referring to their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

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

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

[4] Nancy’s daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[5] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

[6] Martha Lueder, one of Lela’s boarders

[7] Lela’s next door neighbors

[8] Henry and Virginia (Worley) Crawford, their uncle and aunt

[9] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford

[10] Henry and Virginia’s daughter, Clara (Crawford) Hopkins Hammatt

June 8, 1923 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

June 8, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

They are all upset about Lou having to go to the sanitarium but it is a relief as they had to watch and worry all the time. They have been very busy with candy orders.

1923-06-08A1923-06-08B1923-06-08C1923-06-08D1923-06-08E

June 8th 1923
4-10-P.M.

Dear brother and sister

Cant write much. We had orders come in for candy. We are all so upset over Lous[1] going away and work all over the house in such condition. Thought _____ not to try to make candy to day but orders have come in so that Bess[2] and Carrie came about one oclock to make more. They will be here for dinner, also Hedwig. She has a hard cold and is home to day. That makes three extra I was not planing on. Lela[3] has been all in, could not even get the children ready for school but she finnally phoned Dr Roberts. Has been over to see him and looks and feels so much better. They took Lou yesterday, left here about 9-20. He was anxious to go. They had dinner at Waukegan. He ate hearty and enjoyed that. Was pretty tired when they got to their stopping place. He is assigned to St. Mary of the Hills. Lela says very pretty quiet and so clean. After they had been there about ten minutes the Dr told his nurse to take him to his room. They gave him a bath put him to bed then Lela was the only one who saw him. She said he looked so restful and quiet. Tears came to his eyes when she left but he was all right and willing she should go. Lela felt discouraged. Dr said he would not say what he thought for at least a week. Will keep him in bed and watch & examine him in every way. It seems hard to say it but its a relief for we dont have to watch and worry all the time. No one but Bess knows what a winter and spring it has been. We all began getting afraid. He got so he was careless about every thing. Would use the wash basin instead of toilet when he made water. Talked every thing to any body. Dr Statz[?] is sure he can be helped if he can be made to follow instructions.

Will B is bad off goes to Hospital Monday for two operations, piles & hernia. Let us know if you get crate. We sent it by a mail box Wednesday. I put 2 cucumbers[?] in. Will enclose money order for 15.00. I guess up to date.

My diner needs seeing to. A card from Lou.[4] Told me Aunt Kate[5] was going to see Blanche.[6] Train car was on the bum[?]. Hope it will be so they can go down Sunday. I could talk a mile if I was there.

Love to all

Nan

[1] Nancy’s son-in-law, Louis Mueller, who had to be admitted to a sanitarium

[2] Nancy’s daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

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

[4] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[5] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, their Uncle Hiram Crawford’s wife

[6] Aunt Kate’s daughter, Blanche (Crawford) Hessey

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.

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 (Atchinson) 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 (Atchinson) 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

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

June 24, 1912 letter to James Keith from Ethan Keith

June 24, 1912

To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Is writing to give him Henry Keith’s address; doesn’t know what Ray Keith’s address is. Received the announcement of Winifred and Kirk Brouard’s marriage. Mr. Brouard seemed like a nice man. Uncle Hiram is visiting; will go to Uncle Henry’s tomorrow. Hiram has neuralgia in his right eye and kidney trouble. Lela Brown and Lou Mueller were married Saturday. “It’s quite a good deal for one to have two nephews in a week.”

Galesburg June 24, 1912

Dear Brother

I am agoing to write you this morning and answer your question. Am sorry I did not get to it last week, but I did not have a chance to breathe hardly. Henry’s[1] address is 507 E. Buffalo st Ithaca N.Y. I dont know what Ray’s[2] is. He is in Cal-. His business is in San Francisco but I think he boards in Oakland with his mother.[3] We rec’d the announcement of Winnie[4] and Mr Brouards[5] marriage friday. They and Marion called on us thursday A.m. We like Mr Brouard appearance. Seemed like a nice man. Hope they will get along nicely. It was not exactly a surprise to us for Mildred[6] said she guessed they intended to be married, and Marion phoned Hannah[7] tuesday that they were to be married Wed-. You and Cora[8] must begin to feel old. Uncle Hiram[9] is here goes to Uncle Henrys[10] tomorrow. He has neuralgia in his right eye. Has been sick since the first of May. Kidney trouble. I suppose Lela[11] and Lou Mueller[12] was married sat-. It’s quite a good deal for one to have two nephews in a week. Write when you have a chance. It’s little past time for Will so will stop.

Love to all from Ethan

[1] Henry Keith, his half-brother, the son of Charles Luke Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva Payson

[2] Henry’s son, Arthur Raymond Keith

[3] Florence (Stall) Keith

[4] Jim’s oldest daughter, Winifred Keith; Winifred and Kirk were married June 19, 1912

[5] Kirk Brouard

[6] Niece, daughter of his sister Louese (Keith) Harris

[7] Sister Hannah Keith Towne; she and Ethan lived together

[8] Jim’s wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[9] Hiram Crawford Jr., his mother’s brother

[10] Henry Crawford, his mother’s brother

[11] Niece, daughter of his sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[12] Lela Brown and Louis Mueller were married June 22, 1912