September 16, 1851 letter to Almira Nelles from Nancy & Hiram Crawford Sr.

September 16, 1851

To: Almira Nelles

From: Nancy & Hiram Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Edwin is working on the “Engine,” Louisa is boarding at Marshall with her baby, and Sarah has a little 7-month-old boy. Robert is still in Wisconsin but she hasn’t heard from James. Said she wrote to “our folks in Canada” but hasn’t heard from them. Describes Dowagiac. Expects Sally and Louisa to visit. Asks Jane, if she receives news from California, to inquire if there is such a name as James H. Crawford there and to let them know as soon as possible.

Dowagiac September 16th 1851

Dear Niece[1] Once more I take my pen in hand to inform you that our healths is all very good eccept myself which has not been very good the last three or four weeks. I have not answered your letter as soon as you expected I should. I suppose it is beause I could not find anything to write about and because my health as I said before has not been very good. Edwin[2] is working on the Engine and Louesa[3] is boarding at Marshall [Michigan] with her baby.[4] Sally[5] has got a fine little boy[6] about 7 months old. Robbert[7] is still in Wisconsin and we had a letter from him last June. He was doing well then. We have not heard from James[8] yet. We expect Sally and Louesa out here to make us a visit and I should like to have your mother[9] or yourself or your sister[10] or both of you to come out and visit with Sally and Louesa. I have written to our folks in Canada and have not heard from them since last fall. This is a fine and thriving little Village. It is quite sick around here though. This little Village contains two taverns four dry good stores two groceries and one Drug store. It has one school house which answers for a school and meeting house to the Baptist and the Congregsionalest are fixing for to build a church a piece for them. Then there is a number of dwelling houses. There is a large grist mill going up besiges many other wonders of the grat Dowagiac City. Give my love to your mother and brothers  and sisters.

and believe to be your Affectionate Aunt

[to] Almira Nellis        Nancy B Crawford

NB Sally and Louesa will be here the last part of this month or the first of next. Jane if you recieve any news from Californ[11] let us know and if you write back to them ask them to inquire if there is any such a name as James H Crawford[12] there is let us know as soon as possible.

Your Sister

Nancy B Crawford

NB Almira answer this letter as soon as you can.

Your Aunt

Nancy B Crawford

[The following portion seems to have been written by Hiram Crawford[13]]

Dear Neice

You will excuse you aunt for not answering your letter sooner as she had nothing particular to write, but I could not put off any longer as I am anxious to hear from you all. Since I last wrote our healths have been as good as usual. We are living alone in Edwins house, his wife and child is living at Marshall and he is on an Engine running from Marshall to Detroit.

Sally has got a son 7 months old and was well when last heard from. Robert is in Wisconsin yet. We are looking for him home daily. James we have not hears from our anxiety is great about him.

We have had no news from Canada notwithstanding I have written several times. There is some sickness here prncipaley among the new comers. It is much heathier than last year. Our Village is growing fast. Some twenty or thirty buildings have gone up this season. In addition the Baptist and Congregation are each intending to erect meeting houses within a year.

Jane if you have any news from your Husband & children write. Should you write to them have them enquire for James H Crawford. Answer this letter Almira and come out one and all and see us as soon as [letter ends here, however the following paragraph was written upside down after this.]

Large subscripions have been raised for the building of two meeting houses, one by the Baptists and the other by the Congregationalists.

[1] Almira is the daughter of Nancy’s sister, Jane (Comfort) and Jacob Nelles

[2] Edwin W. Crawford, Nancy’s son, worked as an engineer for the local railroad

[3] Louisa (Hall) Crawford, Edwin’s first wife

[4] Eugene Crawford

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Nancy’s daughter

[6] Ethan Keith

[7] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[8] James H. Crawford, Nancy’s son

[9] Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[10] Almira had two sisters, both born to Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin and her second husband, Peleg Sunderlin: Jane Sunderlin (born in approximately 1840) and Louisa Sunderlin (born in 1846)

[11] Jane’s husband, Peleg Sunderlin, as well as two of her sons, Wallis Sunderlin and Henry Nelles, were apparently bitten by gold fever as they were all working as miners in Empire Canion, El Dorado, California, in 1850

[12] James may have been a sailor for a time. See description of his travels in letter dated May 23, 1856

[13] Nancy’s husband

1851-09-16 1851-09-16B 1851-09-16C 1851-09-16D

September 10, 1850 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Sr.

September 10, 1850              

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford, Dowagiac, MI

Pros is sick, Edwin well. Louisa had a boy 2 weeks ago last Thursday and got a bad breast infection. Edwin tried to get a girl to help out but couldn’t find anyone. Robert stopped to see them. It is very sickly throughout the whole region but very few deaths.

Dogwhack[1]     September 10th 1850

Dear Sally[2]

I embrace the opportunity of a wet forenoon to write you a few lines and let you know our present situation. To begin your Mother[3] is at present able to be about the house an your Father[4] likewise is able to be on the track. How long he will be so is quite uncertain. Pross[5] is well with the exception of having the Ague[6] now and then. Edwin’s[7] health is good at present but Louisa[8] is bad enough off. She had a boy[9] two weeks ago last Thursday and got a long the first week uncommon fast when she took a violent cold followed by fever and than ague in the breast. She has suffered a great deal of pain and is unable to sit up as yet, her breast has broke in three places and we are in hopes that she will get better now that her inflamation is gone down. Mother has been up and down two or three times since Louise been sick from overdoing. Edwin could not get a girl he hunted three or four days far and near but every house had some sick and he could get none so that Mother had to do more than she was able and Louise too in trying to help along brought her present misfortune on.

When are you coming out to see us? It is unnecessary to say how glad we would be to see you. We shall look for you utill you come. If any thing occurs that you cant come in this month write and let us know as we are anxious to hear from you if we cant have the satisfaction to see you. Robert[10] stoped here two days he was quite unwell but was anxious to go on. We are looking for a letter from him. It is verry sickly throughout this whole region of country but verry few deaths. I hope these lines will find you and Luke[11] and children[12] well. If you do not come out soon write as Mother is getting uneasy and says she must see the children soon.

Farewell — H Crawford

Dogwhack September 11 1850

[1] Dowagiac, Michigan

[2] Sarah (Crawford) Keith. Early letters refer to her as Sally, as does her marriage certificate; however, in later years she is referred to as Sarah

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford

[4] Hiram Crawford

[5] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Sarah’s brother, who went by the name of Pros

[6] 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”

[7] Edwin Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[8] Edwin’s wife, Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[9] Eugene L. Crawford

[10] Robert Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[11] Charles Luke Keith Jr., Sarah’s husband, who went by the name of Luke

[12] Lois and Henry Keith, Luke’s children by his first wife, Minerva Payson