October 27, 1878 letter to Sarah Keith from D.C. Crawford

October 27, 1878

To:  Sarah Keith

From: D.C. Crawford, Denver, CO

They arrived home safely on Saturday. While in Chicago D.C. met with Hiram and Prosper to discuss Mother and the difficulties in managing her care. He would like Sarah to destroy the letter after it is read, because he would not wish to have Mother see it.

PS do not read before Mother if there. D.C.C.

D.C. Crawford

State of Colorado

Auditor’s Office

Denver, October 27, 1878

Dear Sister,

We arrived home on Saturday all safe. Had a pleasant trip home and thinking over our visit we came to the conclusion that we had a very pleasant time and feel to thank you all for your effort to make our stay pleasant. Amanda[1] joins me in the hope that we may be permitted to visit you at some future time and hope it may be next year. We had a pleasant time @ Mary Henry’s in Chicago. We had a nice time. I could have been very much interested. Its a big city and I could live there very well if I had money enough. As to our Dear Mother[2] she at the last felt very bad of course. We felt very bad to leave her. Mother is to be pitied. And yet she is certainly very difficult to manage. We had a talk, Hiram[3] Prosper[4] & myself at Hirams. Found her very obstinate still am inclined that after she gets at home again and finds things more pleasant will be better contented. I believe now we have had several talks that she will be more quiet. I feel that she feels terribly because she cannot attend church. If some of you would go to church with her once in a while that would help to make her better contented. I enclose five (5) dollars for you to invest in Wood. She complains that if the room was fixed and a stove put in she would have no would to burn and be obliged to go to the kitchen to keep warm. I promised Hiram I would send you five (5) dollars and request that you have Luke[5] go to the Burg[6] and get her a load of nice stove wood all cut up or if he cannot, get Mr. Brown[7] or some one that can and have it piled up at her door so that she will not have that to complain of and when that is gone we will get more. I hope that you will be able through the efforts of Luke and Ethen[8] to have the room completed just as soon as possible as she is getting so uneasy again that she may start home at anytime. I hope she will not until you get ready for her. Hiram or Prosper cannot make her comfortable and she knew it before she went there still I think she was of the opinion that she would remain this winter. I think she has decided to the contrary. I received Ethen letter and will give it some attention soon as I get over my hurry. We all join in much love and good wishes to you all. Please destroy this letter as I would not like for Mother to see it.

As ever your Bro.

D.C. Crawford

Write soon as convenient


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

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Hiram Crawford Jr., their brother

[4] Lucius Prosper Crawford, their brother

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

[6] Galesburg, Michigan,

[7] Ambrose Brown, the father of Henry Brown, Sarah’s son-in-law, who lived near Sarah and Luke

[8] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

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. 


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

June 7, 1876 letter to Nancy Betts from Robert Crawford

June 7, 1876

To:  Nancy Betts

From: Robert Crawford, Omro, WI

Robert has just returned from the Boom and is going away in the morning. Saw Prosper this evening. He is going to work on the Boom also.

1876-06-07 1876-06-07B

Omro June 7 1876

Dear Mother

I am very busy just now and not much time to write. I am just down from the Boom[1] and am going away in the morning. We are all well. Saw Prosper[2] this evening. He is going to work on the Boom. His folks are all well. I made out to make a turn so I got that of Ed Harms which is $7.00. I will send som for my self in a few days. Money is so hard to get now that I cannot do as I would like. We send our love to you and Sarah[3] & Family.

From your affectionate Son

Robt Crawford

Please write soon

[1] Bay Boom was where the lumber companies sorted out their lumber

[2] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Robert’s brother

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Robert’s sister

January 3, 1876 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

January 3, 1876

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Mrs. Cynthia Long came with her husband at Christmas hoping to find Robert at home but he wasn’t there. She gave Edna and Kit a dollar and Lizzie a gold locket. Received a letter from David over Christmas. He never forgets her. She hasn’t heard from Hiram but expects to soon; nothing from Henry. Hiram said in his last letter that Henry talks of visiting her but she feels that it is all talk with him. She doesn’t expect to see any of her children again unless they come and visit. She has no money to travel and visit any of her children. She would like her children to provide enough money for one visit.

1876-01-03 1876-01-03B

Omro Jan the 3, 1876

My dear daughter

I sit down with pen in hand to adress a few lines to you hoping they will find you all in good heath. My health has not ben very good for som time but am fealing better for a week past. I feal to bless God for his grate merces to us all as a famly. We have ben spaird to see a nother New year while menny for the past year have ben call to try the reality of eternty and we are yet spard to seek God and live to his Honor and glory and O may the Lord Jesus help us do it and prepare us for that upper and better kingdom whare we may see his face without a glimmering vail between.

Mrs Cyntha Long[1] came here with her husband[2] a Chrismas hoping to find Robert[3] at home but he wont be home till next week. They was som dispointed. She gave each Edna[4] and Kit[5] a dollor and Leizy[6] a gold locket. The two oldest girls whent home with her. They expect Kit home this week to go to school but Et is a gone to stop with them awhile. Her uncel told her if she would stop with them two or three months and take music lessons he would pay half of the expences. Louse[7] and the two children is well. I havent heard from Prosper[8] in one week. They whare well then. He couldent be from home this winter very well. He got a chance with another man to furnish the railroad with three hurndred cords of wood so now he can stay with his famly and I am glad of it. I received a letter from David[9] a Chrismas. He never forgits his Mother. They where all well with the exception of bad colds. I havent heard from Hiram[10] yet but expect to soon. None from Henry[11]. Hiram said in his last letter about the time Kit[12] left your place she maid Jenne[13] a visit that Henry talk of making me a viset but it is all talk with him. I dont expect to see any of you a gain with out you come come and see me for I have no means to go and viset any of my children. I think som times that you mite be help with monny knoff to make me one viset. Dident you say that Mr. Wats is ded? How is William? Does Peter Jonson live with his wife? Who preaches in the Baptest Church? We have a splended minster. Has ben preaching for us for one year. I dont know as we can keep any longer. If the church can rais the salary we will keep him another year. This is the week of prayer but I cant a tend the meeting because it is to fare for me to walk after night. We had a hard rain last week thunder and lighten. The snow has left us and we arr in the mud. It is a very plesent day. The sun shines warm. Lousea and Syntha had a plesent viset with thear folks[14]. You remember little Hatta has two boys and a pare of twins.[*] Tell Jemme[15] to write to me then I will answer it. I took Auges flower some time before. It seam to help. It has help me but it will never cure me. Except my love to you all. From your Mother.

N B Betts

I have the palpatation of the heart som times very bad. I have ben takeon Dr. Fitch heart corrector.


I received letter Sister Mary[16]. She is at Waukegan with Sis Jane[17] rents her hous and is a living with Marget How[18] the girl that lernt the trade of her and poor Mary hasent no home nor cant get work to do because thear is more woman than work. I feal sorry for her. Febe Cathrine dide last march[19] going out there it through her out of her place of work sence she has no home. Write soon.

N B Betts

Write soon. Write all bout the old folks in Gales burg. Give my love to Mrs Birget and all of old friends.



[1] Cynthia (McCann) Long, Louisa (McCann) Crawford’s sister

[2] Leonard Long

[3] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[4] Edna Crawford, Robert’s daughter

[5] Katherine Sarah Crawford, Robert’s daughter

[6] Melissa Crawford, Robert’s daughter

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

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

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

[10] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[11] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

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

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

[14] “The folks” most likely refers to Cynthia’s and Louisa’s families

[*] Louisa and Cynthia’s sister was Harriet. She married George Knight and they had sons, Calvin and Herbert, and twin girls, Bertha and Stella

[15] Sarah’s son, James Keith

[16] Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

[17] Jane (Comfort) Nelles Sunderlin

[18] The 1880 Census shows Orrin & Margaret Howe listed at 117 Utica Street, Waukegan, Illinois, which is the same address listed for Mary, however in separate households

[19] Mary’s daughter, Phebe Catherine (Wickersham) O’Connor, who died March 17, 1875

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

February 11, 1875 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

February 11, 1875

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Had a great snowstorm last week. The snow drifted ten feet in Oshkosh and they sent to Ripon for the snowplow and engine. It piled four or five feet high on the porch. It has been real Canada weather. Robert is in the woods and will be till next month. Louisa was in last evening; her health is not very good. Prosper wrote last month that they were all well. His wife and children are with him. He has rented a room or two from an old farmer. His work is scaling logs. Eugene is working on the streetcars. He doesn’t like it very much. Says he will leave as soon as he can get another job.

1875-02-11 1875-02-11B 1875-02-11C 1875-02-11D

Omro Feb the 11 1875

My Dear Daughter

I received your kind and wellcom letter this week a Tuesday and was glad to hear from you all and from Nancy[1]. I am glad that Nancy has got a long with her trobles so far. I hope she will git up well and have good health and her babe[2] may live and be well and healthy. We have had a grate snow storm last week. The snow drifted in som places they say ten feet in Oshkosh. They sent to Rippen for the snow plow and Engin to drive through. It pild on our Porch four or five feet high. It has ben extrem cold wether. It was real Canada wether. Last week I was very un well. I had caught a very hard cold. It seand to me that I never had such a hard cold before but through the goodness of kind Providence I am giting better of it. I was so un well and had to get up in the mornings and build my firs. I thought som times I could not stand it. Robert[3] is in the woods yet and will be till next month some time. Lousea[4] was in last eveing (her health is not very good) to let me know that she had received letter from Robert. He and his son Wille was well. He has so large Camp of men it makes him so much cair it make him feal some times that he would like to get out of it.  I havent heard from Prosper[5] sence last month. He wrote me a letter then and I answers it. They were all well. He has his wife and children[6] withe him. He has hired a room or two of a old farmer. They took a knoff things to do while they stay. His work is a scailing logs. They expect to be at there home next month. I dont remember the name of the place where he is at work. I look for his letter but could not find it. I havent hear from Hiram[7] this month. Hiram wrote to me last month that Kitt[8] had furs that her brother had sent to his granmother. She would like to send them to me if I would have them so I wrote to him and told him I would received and thank her to so they have and I have receive them. They com by exspress. They are nice furs. They are all well. Eugene[9] is on the street cars. He dont like it, the bissness, very much. He sais he will leave as soon as he can get a nother place.  He sais he dont get time to write. You write a good letter to him and tell him to be carrful of him self and advise not to go far a way. I am afrade he has lost all he has put in the firm. And dont say any thing to any one about it but your own famly. I feal sorra for he has no Fathe nor Mother[10] to go to. Direct the same as Hirams, 430 North Clark St. I received a letter from your Aunt Jimia Comfort[11]. Thay was all well as useal but brother[12] head trobles him very much. I havent room to tell you the perticulars. I wish Ethen[13] could come out here and maby his health would be better. We all like to see him.

I thank you for your likeness. I think it is a good likeness of you. It looks jest like you. My love to your self and famly. Write soon a gain. If I could see you I could tell you a goodeal.

From you Mother N B Betts

I dont expect that I can go to mishigan but if the boys would all put in thear visits I mite go but I dont know as they will but if you can com I wish you would.



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

[2] Claude Keith Brown who was born January 23, 1875. Nancy had twin boys on May 30, 1873; one was stillborn and the other only lived two hours

[3] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

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

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

[6] Isabella (Steele) Crawford and their two sons, Leo and Byron

[7] Nancy’s son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

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

[9] Nancy’s grandson, Eugene Crawford

[10] His mother, Louisa (Hall) died sometime before 1854 and his father, Edwin Crawford, died in 1866

[11] Jemima (Wilcox) Comfort; wife of Nancy’s brother Francis Comfort

[12] Francis Comfort (see also Nancy’s letter of March 18, 1872, which also mentions Frank’s head pain)

[13] Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

April 10, 1874 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

April 10, 1874

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Her health is quite good this spring; has been taking the electric health restorer. D.C. sent his photograph in a splendid frame and sent Robert and Prosper a photograph each in a smaller size. Robert has trouble with rheumatism a good deal of the time, but his family is well. Received a letter from Eugene a short time ago. Received a letter from David to say that Amanda joined the Episcopal Church. Hiram wrote that they were all well, that they had a dreadful snowstorm a week ago and that Clem Crawford had visited and stayed two days. Edna is still going to school in Oshkosh. They want her to be a teacher. Willie is almost as tall as his father.

1874-04-10 1874-04-10B 1874-04-10C 1874-04-10D

Omro     April 10th 1874[1]

My Dear Daughter

I receive your kind letter and was glad to hear from you and yours. I hope these few lines will find you all in good health. My health is quite good this spring. I have ben taking the Electric health Restorer a Jerman Remedy to cure Dyspepsia and palpatation of heart. It has help me the most of any thing that I hav ever to taking. DC[2] my son sent me his Photograph in a splendid fraime and sent Robert[3] and Prosper[4] each one only a photograph a smaller sise. Robert is troble with the rheumatism a goodeal of the time. His famly is well. The last heard from Prospers folks they was well. I received aletter from Eugene[5] short time ago. He was a gon a way but said he would write a gain before he whent. I received aletter from David to say that Amanda[6] was Baptise and join the a Episcopal Church a short time a go. They they where only the baby.[*] She was quite un well a cutting her theeth and one from Hiram[7]. They wher all well. He said about a week they had a dredfull snow storm. Clem Crawford[8] had ben out there and staid two days. They where all well. The ice is out of the Fox river but boats has not began to run yet. We are having very plesent wether now. The roads is quite dusty. The frost is mostly out of the ground and it is very dry. Som folks has comments a making gardings [commenced making gardens?]. Edna[9] is still agoing school at Oshkosh. The wanto make a teacher of her. Wille[10] is most as tall as his Father. They say he is quite good in figuers. He is a gon to keep tally for his Father this summer. Tell Lousia and Jenne[11] I would like to write to them but I cant do it. I have so meny letters to write. It is quite a task for me.

When I commence this letter I made cuch work I thought I would have to put it a way but I wanted to send it to day so I keep at it tille I finshed it. If you can read it then it will be all right. Write soon and tell all of the news. So I will close. My love to you all.

From your Mother

to S C Keith     N B Betts


[1] It is hard to make out the year; however, it could be 1878

[2] David Crawford

[3] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

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

[5] Nancy’s grandson, Eugene Crawford

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

[*] Ida Louise Crawford

[7] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

[8] Robert Clement Crawford, Nancy’s grandson, the second eldest son of Henry & Virginia (Worley) Crawford

[9] Edna Crawford, Robert’s daughter

[10] William Crawford, Robert’s son

[11] Presumably Robert’s wife, Louisa (McCann), and Henry’s wife, Virginia (Worley)

February 4, 1874 letter to Sarah Keith from Pros Crawford

February 4, 1874

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Prosper Crawford, Shawano, WI

At the present Prosper is living in a shanty among the Pines about seventy miles from Winneconne (home) and four miles from Shawano. His business is to scale the loads, keeping account of the same and the company books. The total number of feet rafted last season amounted to 213 million. This year the highest estimate is 80 million. This great reduction owes partly to the money panic and partly to the depletion of the pinerys in this section of county. It is estimated that in three years the pine on the Wolf River and its tributaries will be exhausted and in twelve years all the Pine this side the Rocky Mountains. Many lumbermen are now looking to Puget Sound as their next place “of rendesvou.” David wrote news of Hiram’s promotion to the office of secretary and treasurer of his company. Has heard but very little of Henry of late. “Don’t write to him, not but that I think of him, but the Worleys are a terror.” Thinks it a very unfortunate circumstance “when Cupid dart did pierce their heart since it killed not a single Worley and almost used up a Crawford good boy but in hard luck.”

1874-02-04 1874-02-04B 1874-02-04C 1874-02-04D

Shawano Wis

Feb 4th 1874

Dear Sister

About five moments ago the thought came to my minde that I would write you letter and concluded I would act upon it before the spell lost its grip. I have thought many times that I did wrong in not writing to the only sister if I neglected the numerous Brother and so if you please this may be considered significant of penitence and a strong desire to learn of you and all of my connection in your locality. At the present writing I am in the shanty among the Pines a point on the earths surface about seventy miles from Winnecon (Home) and four miles from Shawano. It is noon. The men are eating their dinner. There are about forty men of us and it takes a world of Pork and Beans to satisfy the stomach of a lumberman. I asure you I wish Luke[1] was here. I think I could interest him showing him the wonders of the woods. We have thirty four Horses and ten Oxen. The Oxen are used to load the sleds only. The sleds are seven feet in width. The largest load hauled scaled four thousand feet. The largest log masuered (1480 feet). If you should see one of our mountain loads of logs standing in the streets of Galesburg you would declair that no pair of Horses could budg it and in fact they could not unless their mussels had been gradualy hardened to the work. Our Horses weigh from twelve to fifteen Hundred apiece with mussels like iron. Now and then one dies from over work but then no matter they say he hadnt ought to be a Horse. These Horses have to move their loads twelve miles every day with the return trip making twenty four or six miles travel per day. My buisiness is to scale the loads keeping account of the same and the company books. This is all I do. Last winter I worked very hard which affected my health some. This winter I go very light on the mussel. The total number of feet rafted last seson amounted to the large number of two hundred and thirteen million. This year the highest estimates place it at eighty million. This great reduction is owing partly to the money panic and partly to the depletion of the pinerys in this section of county. It is estimated by good judges that about three years will nearly exhaust the pine here on the Woolf and its tributaries and twelve years all the Pine this side the rocky mountains. Many lumbermen are now looking forward to Puget Sound as their next place of rendesvou.[2]

Well I have written much that I thought perhaps might interest Luke, if not you, knowing his propensity for a pine tree and camp life. I reccolect well of him the strong desire he had to visit work in the Pinery when here which I believe he never did.

I suppose mother[3] has written you of the surprise David[4] made her. I am sorry that I could not have been at home and seen him. It was a great disappointment. My wife[5] was out to her Fathers[6] who was not very well at the time and she did not get to see him. He left word for my Boys[7] picture which I suppose you would like to have which favor I shall in time be most happy to confer on all my relatives. My only excuse now is the money Panic[8] which on the whole I dont seem to notice much since the disease struck me very early in life (Perry Davises pain killer dont seem to have aney effect on it) and dont seem to abate in the least. I would write to you more particulers respecting myself and Family but suppose that Mother posts you, however we live in Winnecon. Have purchased a Home there. Have prospered in the past year. Cannot do as well the coming season but if I keep my health will finish paying for my place. My wife says she would be glad to make your acquaintance. She think from what she has heard that she would like you very much. I tell that would not be singular since every body does. She writes me that David brought the news of Hirams[9] promotion to the office of secretary and Treasury of the road[10]. Well I am glad. Hiram is worthy. Eighteen hundred a year sings well. Success in this world is a great thing since so many fail. I have heard but very little of Henry[11] of late. I dont write to him, not but that I think of him, but the Worleys[12] are a terror to me and though I may never tell him so still I think it a very unfortunate circumstance when Cupid dart did pierce their heart since it killed not a single Worley and almost used up a Crawford good boy but in hard luck. You dont wanto read this to any body but Luke since no one can appreciate it as well. Perhaps Henry he is satisfied. Well then I shall not complain. Well Sarah tim is passing. Allready grey hairs are putting in their appearance in my Black head and am reminded now in the thirty first year of my pilgrimage on earth that changes are constantly taking place that must eventually end in the dissolution of body and mind. Am I prepaired, you say? Well, I believe in Spiritualism which means much that is good to me and the human race a place for all that they may eventuely work out their own selvation. Much I could say about this but space forbids. Write me at Winnecon as soon as you get this and oblige your affectionate Brother

L P Crawford

Write me about Eugene[13], Ethan, Henry Keith, Nancy, Hannah[14] and all. I want to hear how all all.

I have written very fast. If you can make out to read this I will try and write a worse one next time.


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

[2] There are records with the Bureau of Land Management showing that two tracts of land were sold to Lucius P. Crawford near Port Angeles, Washington, in 1891 and 1894

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] David Caleb (D.C.) Crawford, Prosper’s brother

[5] Isabella (Steele) Crawford

[6] Joseph A C Steele

[7] Leo Ashton Crawford, who was born April 16, 1872

[8] In the fall of 1873, Jay Gould & Company, a government bond agent and backer of Northern Pacific Railroad construction, failed causing a number of Wall Street failures and forcing the Stock Exchange to close

[9] Hiram Crawford Jr., Pros’ brother

[10] North Chicago City Railway Company

[11] Henry Clay Crawford, Pros’ brother

[12] Henry’s wife was Virginia Worley. Her family settled in La Porte, Indiana, in the 1830s having moved from Amherst County, Virginia. Virginia Worley had seven brothers and sisters, one of whom, John Worley, worked as an apprentice for Henry

[13] Eugene Crawford, the son of Edwin and Louesa (Hall) Crawford

[14] Sarah’s children, Ethan, Nancy and Hannah Keith; Henry Keith was her stepson, the son of Luke and Minerva (Payson) Keith

March 13, 1873 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

Since this letter was first posted, we have tried to find out more about the relationship to the Crawford family of several of the people mentioned in that letter. While we still haven’t been able to link them to the family, we have found out more about them and will continue to search for the missing links.

The updated letter, along with notes on the research collected, is now posted in Letters & Diary Entries from the 1860s & 1870s and can be read here.


November 19, 1872 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

November 19, 1872

To:  Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Reports that she is feeling well, as are Louisa and the children. Robert is away overseeing lumber for “Mr. Siman.” She doesn’t expect him home before Christmas. Mentions that she has seen Prosper and his wife and had received a letter from Hiram announcing the birth of Jessie Blanche. Kate has taken a while to recover from the birth. Was glad to hear that Ethan’s health is better and that Nancy’s wedding had gone well. Has not heard from Henry in a long while. Eugene left three weeks ago to find work.

Scan of 1872-11-19 Nancy Betts to Sarah Keith

Omro Novem 19 1872

Dear daughter

I take my pen in hand to adress afew lines to you in answer to your letter wich I received a few dayes a go. I was glad to hear that you was all well. I am fealing better at present. Lousia[1] and the children is well. Robert[2] has gone over two hundred miles away to over see lumber for Mr. Siman dont expect him home till Christmas. I dont remember the name of the place where he whent to. Lousia had a letter from him. He wont very well for he had a hard cold. Prosper and wife[3] was here last week. They were well. He talks of going to the woods. He has rented two room of a family living near town for her. I received a letter from Hiram[4] two weekes a go. He said they had a young daughter. It came to town the eighteen of October. They named her Jessie Blanche. He said Kate[5] dont get a long very fast, is up but dont get her strenth. He sais the baby is a doing well, has a magnifinch voice and knows how to use it. We havent had much rain but very plesent wether some snow but not enough for sleighing but good wheeling. I was pleas to hear you had a good time at the Wedding[6]. I hope Nancy will keep her health and in joy her self in her new home. Where is Hannah[7]? You said nothing a bout her in your last letter. How did her and Higgons[8] get long? Is his hart as warm as ever?

I made me a collar. It is to large a rond the neck for me so I sent it to you. I think it will be about rite for you. I have a neck tie. It was given to me. I thought I would send it to Jimme[9]. If the ends is to long you can make them as he wants them. Tell Lousia[10] I will send her some littel present one of these dayes. I hope Luke[11] will get his health a gain. I am glad to hear that Ethen[12] health is better so he can work som. I hope he wont over do and make himself sick a gain. Tell Jimme I am glad to hear that he is such a smat boy. I hope he will make a smat man. I would like to have his picture. Give my regards to Henry and Nancy and tell them I expect a letter from them with there picture in it and or tell them to dress as they did when they was marred. I dont know any thing about Henry[13] and famly. I havent heard from him in long wile. He dont to me any more. Eugene[14] left here three weekes ago. He was a going to try to get in bissness some where. He said he thought he would call and see you all. Hiram said he was there and staid with them two days. I havent heard from him since he went a way only what Hiram said he would write to me and Robert has ben expecting a letter before he whent a way. I received a letter from David[15] last month. They were well. It has ben quite sickley here for severl months past and a good meny Deaths and some being quite sick at present. I mus clos by giving love to you all and hoping you will write soon.

From your mother

N B Betts

[to] S Keith

What is it about Nancy a going a trance[16]? Prosper said you wrote to him that she would lay senceles. Write and tell about it how she is oprated on.


[1] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Nancy’s son Robert’s wife

[2] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

[3] Nancy’s youngest son, Lucius Prosper Crawford, and his wife, Isabella (Steele) Crawford

[4] Nancy’s son, Hiram Crawford Jr.

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

[6] Sarah’s daughter, Nancy, married Henry Brown on October 5, 1872

[7] Sarah’s daughter, Hannah Keith

[8] Floyd Higgins, Hannah’s boyfriend

[9] Sarah’s son, James Keith

[10] Sarah’s daughter, Louese Keith

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

[12] Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

[13] Nancy’s son, Henry Clay Crawford

[14] Nancy’s grandson, Eugene Crawford, son of Edwin Crawford

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

[16] Nancy would go into trances and when she came out of them, she would be very weak. She had a spirit guide named Maumee. Sometimes during her trances she would create very delicate drawings. Her husband, Henry (Hank) Brown, told her to tell him when she felt a trance coming on so that he could help her fight it. It is uncertain whether these trances were a form of seizure or had its root in spiritualism, which was practiced by some family members

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