May 19, 1901 letter to Sarah Keith from Robert Crawford

May 19, 1901

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Robert Crawford, Neenah, WI

Robert is writing Sarah in response to the news of D.C.’s death. Robert went to visit his daughter Lulu who is to be married in July. He is helping his son-in-law on the farm.

1901-05-19 Robert Crawford to Sarah Keith

Neenah, May 19″, 1901

Dear Sister Sarah,

I read you letter hastily & Papers[1] announcing the Death of our dear Brother DC Crawford.[2] It was quite unexpected to me and very sad news. I deeply sympathize with his wife,[3] her son[4] & daughters[5] in this great affliction but it is my dear sister that comes to us all. I can hardly realize Sarah that DC is dead. I have not met him in 25 years and he has not written to me in 3 or 4 years but that is his way business of course. I dont have any unpleasant feelings that way. I read Amanda letter by the way of Henry.[6] It is very sad. Poor woman. I have written to her a letter of condolence & sympathy. I will return to you Sister the Paper & Statement and letter of DC death.

We are all usually well. My work on the River will not commence till in July some time owing to the drought. It keeps the Logs back. I shall not get till in Oct next perhaps. We have not had any frost yet to hurt fruit but it is quite cool this morning. I was down to see Lulu[7] last Sunday. Her School will close in 3 weeks. She expects to be married in July[8] if she dont change her mind in regard to it. I am helping my son in law[9] on the farm some. He is going to put in 2 acres of tomatoes for a canning factory. Good bye for this time Sister dear. Regards & love to you all.

Brother Robert

Robt Crawford


[1] Unfortunately the whereabouts of the “Papers” is unknown and an online search has not yet come up with D.C.’s obituary

[2] David Caleb Crawford

[3] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford

[4] Harold Valentine Crawford

[5] D.C. only had one living daughter, Ida (Crawford) Kelley; two daughters died in infancy/childhood

[6] Henry Clay Crawford, Robert’s brother

[7] His daughter, Lulu Crawford

[8] Lulu married Edward Witte on July 18, 1901

[9] Jackson Tullar, the second husband of Robert’s daughter, Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar

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

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

September 26, 1875 letter to Sarah Keith from Robert Crawford

September 26, 1875

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Robert Crawford, Omro, WI

Louisa has gone to Minnesota to visit her folks. He expects her home this week after an absence of three weeks. Mother is getting along about as usual. She cannot keep a cent of money. Will has been coughing this summer and we are getting alarmed about him.

1875-09-26 1875-09-26B 1875-09-26C

Omro Sept 26/75

Dear Sister

I hear from you occasionally by the way of Mother[1] and I thought as I had some leisure moments I would pencil a few lines to you. We are all well. Louesa[2] has gone to Minnesota to visit her folks[3]. Her sister Cynthia Mrs Long[4] went out with her. We re’d letters last eveing from them and expect them home this week after an absence of 3 weeks. I have been engaged at River Work this season but I have not done as well as usual as the Lumbering Business is quite dull this season.

I should like to have come out to Mich this fall but but I dont see my way clear. Money is not plenty here and it is hard to collect but if I live will try and come another fall. I should like to see you Sarah and your Family. It would give me pleasure and to see the old burg[5] and some of my old Friends. I send you my photo. Mabe that will do some good. Sarah you see that I am getting old but I cannot help that. Mother is getting along about as usual. She cannot keep a cent of money. She had a spare dollar the other day went a bought a map of Washington. Her health is quite good. I wish you could come out and see her and us, you and Luke[6]. How is Ethan[7] now? Our Will[8] has been coughing this summer and we are getting alarmed about him but we got some medicin for him and he has got about over it. Please to write Sister and mabe I will find something to write when Louesa comes back. Accept our regard and love to you Sister & Family.

From your affectionate Bro

Robt Crawford

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

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

[3] John and Rachel McCann

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

[5] Galesburg, Michigan

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

[7] Ethan Keith, Sarah and Luke’s son

[8] Robert’s son

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

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

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.

1872-11-19 1872-11-19B 1872-11-19C 1872-11-19D 1872-11-19env

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

October 12, 1870 letter to Sarah Keith from Pros Crawford

October 12, 1870

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Prosper Crawford, Omro, WI

Making arrangements to go in the pinery this winter. Expects to be on the Peshtigo River north of Green Bay. His job will be at the landing tending the scale and keeping records for thirty dollars per month. Robert expects to manage a concern for McArthur in Minnesota near Lake Superior where Eugene is working (and has been the past four months). Uncle Pat Hamilton died the 27th of August. No letters from Mary. Prosper heard from another source that Pat Hamilton willed all his property to Mary and her brother Emmett, “who in all probability will not live another year.”

 Omro   October 12th/70

Dear Sister,

I received your letter bearing Date Oct 2, and was happy to hear from you. Am glad to know you are not particular as to which owes the letter, but I think I wrote you last. And now I am going to be promt once in my life if I fail ever after and give you a short history of thing in general and myself in particular. Of course you wont expect me to write very legibly for it is so seldom I write that an attempt almost results in a failure. My health has been very good the past year. Still there has been times when I was obliged to lay by from my work a day or two but as a general thing have been blessed with health. Mother[1] has likewise enjoyed unusual good health for one that has passed through the hardships she has. I think she holds out remarkably[2]. What a comfort it is to those who after living a life long of trial and suffring are in the evening of their existence crowned with this priceless boon.

I am allready making arraignments to go in the pinery this winter. I expect to go in on the Peshtigo river north of Green Bay. This company expect to put in three million feet of Pine. My business will be at the landing takeing the Scale and keeping acct of the same for which I get thirty Dollars per month. It will be an easy job and I am quite anxious to secure it. I shall know in a few Days. Robert[3] expects to manag a concern for McArthur in Minnesota near Lake Superior where Eugene[4] is at work (and has been the past four months). Verily the past year has wrought a wondrous change in the physical ability of that man. No longer can he wade the cold watters of the pine laden wolf (river) in spring time or at any time expose his person to the inclement weather. That time has past. Nature has sumed up with him on this point. Should he be careless at aney time he is gently reminded by sharp pains in his joints or a contraction of his mussels in the hip which by the way naturaly makes him holler out O. Och. Nature is a strict accountant. She never makes a single mistake or misses a single thing and if we run in debt to her in the way of violating the laws of health we must pay the penelty which would be added loss to us always, were it not for the rich experience that it sometimes brings to us.

I am sorry to learn that your Family have been so sorely afflicted with disease. It must be a heavy burden for you to bear the care of the whole upon you. I suppose you would be sick to if you had time. Never mind, your turn will come, you will not be overlooked. The present diseased condition of your Family, the difficulty in rearing them to their present stand point, must have furnished you with abundant material for serious reflection as to the cause. Climate alone could not produce these results for other Families in your vicinity have grown up comparatively healthy and robust. It is a habit with some to charge God with their ailments and losses and say that if such is a special visitation of his Providence but away with such libelous utterances for they are false. However he has instituted laws that are fixed and unvarying, the obedience of which brings us health happiness. But so long as we remain in stolid ignorance of these laws what can we expect but that which we experience every day of our lives in some form namely pain, premature decay, discord, death. It is a statistical fact that one half of all the children born die before they reach the age of seven. This one half of the tenderest and fairest of humanities flowers are niped in the bud of their existence. Should this be? What think you? The inadaption or unfitness of parties in the married life and the consequent transmission of inharmonious qualities of mind and body to that of their children is said to be the prolific sourse of disease. Would that it were my mission to assist as a teacher in the matters of reform. It seems as though my happiness would be complete but I must rest satisfied in a humbler sphere of action and try and reform or correct the mistakes of my life, my view not only of the pleasure it brings here but its relation to a glorious future which crowns the efforts of all who live true to their best intentions of right. I sincerely hope that some agency may be pointed out to you that may be applied with beneficial effect as a health restoration. There is Nancy[5] who possesses much natural taste and refinement so as this is her nature who loves music and all those things that tend to elevate and develop character. And Hannah[6], may I never forget her fun loving rollicking nature who sees everything in a ridiculous sense. Verily we need all such characters to chase the shadows from this suffering, saddened world. And Ethen[7], who possesses inventive genus. His work should not be laborious. Farming is distastful to him. His mussels do not relish the harsh exercise. Give him the opportunity and his success is certain. Sarah, pleas to pardon the foregoing. I have written as I thought without aney particular arraingement as I do not write very often. Perhaps you can stand it but if you cant write me and I will try and do better next time. How is Luke[8]? Has he forgot me? How I would like to see you all again, but the thought of Mich makes me sick. My respects to Streeter[9], may he never want for a watch for every thief needs one.

Uncle Pat Hamilton[10] died the 27th August. We received a local from Dowagiac announcing the fact. No letters from Mary[11]. I heard from another source that he willed his property all to Mary and her brother Emmett[12], who in all probability will not live another year. Eugene[13] is working near Lake Superior in Minn. He is steady and all right. But enough this time. Write soon. Mother sends love.

Your affectionate Bro.

L.P. Crawford

PS Nancy dont break the box until I see you


[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] At the time of this letter Nancy was 68 years of age

[3] Robert Crawford, Pros’ older brother

[4] Eugene Crawford, Pros’ nephew (the son of his deceased brother Edwin Crawford and his first wife, Louisa Hall)

[5] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[6] Hannah Keith, Sarah’s daughter

[7] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

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

[9] This is believed to have been Marius O. Streator, a neighbor of Luke and Sarah Keith

[10] Father-in-law of Pros’ late brother, Edwin Crawford

[11] Mary (Hamilton) Crawford, Edwin’s widow and Pros’ sister-in-law

[12] Emmett Hamilton. In spite of Pros’ prediction, Emmett lived another 12 years; he died on August 16, 1882


February 3, 1870 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

February 3, 1870

To:  Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Eugene went to the Pinery last week. She has not heard from him or Prosper since he went away. The last letter received from the boys indicated they were all well. She doesn’t get any letters from Henry. She hadn’t received but one since he was visiting Sarah. Robert is in the Woods. His wife had a letter from him the other day. Eugene heard from Pros before he went away.  They are in the same camp about sixty miles from here and they have to work for low wages.

1870-02-03 1870-02-03B 1870-02-03C 1870-02-03D

Omro Febuary the 3 1870

Dear Daughter Sarah,

I take my pen in hand to adress a few lines to you all though I have nothing if inportence to write to. Only that my health is quite good for me at present. I feal that God is good to me. He has spaired my life and has giving me good health when menny of age has ben cut down and _____ to the towne wheare as I am yet spaird. The Lord is mersafull to us all allthough we don’t appreciate his goodness to us as we ought to. Eugean[1] whent to the Pinery last weeke. I have not heard from him nor Prosper [2] sence he whent away. The last letter I had from the boys they whare all well. I dont get any letters from Henry[3]. I havent received but one sence he was out to your place. Robert[4] is in the Woods. His wife[5] had letter from him the other day. He was well. Eugene heard from Pros before he whent a way. He was well. They are in the same camp about sixty miles from here. They have to work for low wages and have thear board in. We are having a nice winter. Good slighing and plesent wether. We have som sickness and deaths but no prevailing decease. Tell Luke[6] that Mr John E Hunger of Omro, formly superintendent of schools died at his residence January the 23. He had formly lived neare the junction on the road to Oshkosh neare the Odd Fellows Hall of wich he was a member of that Boddy. He if you relect lived in a brown hous on the left hand side a going from Omro to Oshkosh. The Methodest and Baptist have commence a protracted Meeting. I have ben very ansous about Nancy[7]. I hope she is better. I hope thease few lines will you all in good health. I received a letter from Sister Jane[8] a short time ago. She injoys good health. Answer this soon when when you received it. My love to you all. I have ben looking for a letter this some time from you. I wanto heare from Nancy. I hope she is bette. This is from your Mother.

N B Betts

[1] Eugene Crawford, Nancy’s grandson

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

[3] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

[4] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

[5] Louisa (McCann) Crawford

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

[7] Nancy Keith, Sarah’s daughter

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

January 30, 1869 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

January 30, 1869

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Was afraid to open Sarah’s letter because of the bird on the envelope. She thought someone had died. Louisa received a letter from Robert and also from David, Hiram and Kitt. Their little boy is growing. Would like Sarah to send the letter she got from Alfred Comfort. Also she can’t find her picture of Emory Crawford. Robert and Prosper had gone into partnership on a house and lot, but it fell through. Prosper was without work a good part of the winter.

1869-01-30 1869-01-30B 1869-01-30C 1869-01-30D

Omro   Jan the 30 1869

Dear daughter Sarah,

I received you kind and welcom letter to day wich was dated the twenty fourth and I hast to answer it. I have ben thinking of you a grate eal for a month past. You or your family hasent scarcely ben out of my mind. When I received your letter I trimbel to open it seeing the bird on the envelop[1]. I was afrade some of you whare ded. In reading your letter I was thank full to hear that your where all so well as you are. I hope you all will continue a gitting better till you all are well. We have had a very pleasent winter. It looks the most of the time like spring wether but littel snow so the sleighs keep runing most of the time till thursday night it took to snowing and blowing and it stormd dredfull all the day yeasterday, and this morning is a beautofull as a spring morning and the snow is a foot deep on a level. It has drifted in large snow banks all a ronds us. Theare has not been as much snow in the wood this winter as useal. Some of the men in the camps had to leave the woods. Theare was not snow knoghf to draw the logs. We did not know but what our men folks would have to leave thear Camp to but now we are satistfide that they have snow knuff at present. They are a bout seventy miles from heare. Lousie[2] received a letter from Robert[3] yesterday. They whare all well and in good spirets. My health is quite good at present. Lousia and children is injoying present the same blessing. I have received a letter from David[4] and one from Hiram[5] and likewise one from Kitt[6]. They whare all well. Theare littel boy[7] grows finely but I have not heard from Henry[8] and famly sence I left thear in the fall. You said in your letter the one before the last that you had received a letter from Alford Comfort. If you have found it I wish you would send it to me. I cant write to him. I dont know what his post office adress is. I have lost Emry Crawfords likeness. If I have left it to your hous I wish you would send it to me. You remember I told you that Robert and Prosper[9] had whent in parding ship[10] conserning hous and lot. Well it is all fell through. Robert talk to me about and I told him I was willing to give it up. Prosper was without work a good share of the winter. It is tow weeks last thursday sence he first whent to the woods. L think her part is to small for her famly and I think so to Lousia is July we will have to find a nother hous in the spring. I often wish I could stept in and see you all. I am glad to hear that Lucy has got along so well and like wise Lousa Blake. I am glad they have don so well for old Mr Fuller for he is a good man. Remember me to Mr and Mrs burdic for the whare very kind to me and all inquiring friends. I expected to hear that Eathen[11] would be sick but I think if he sas not been sick he is perty tuff. Tell Sis and Jimme[12] that granma would like to see them very much. They are a holdding protracten meeting in all the Churses but I have not been but very littel. It is so far I could not go very often. They say theare is a good deal of intrest in the Churses thear is such good attindents. Write soon. O may the blesing of God atend you all and restore you all to perfect health. Your mother. My love to you all.

N B Betts

[to] S C Keith


[1] A bird, or a border, on an envelope usually meant there had been a death in the family.

[2] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Nancy’s daughter-in-law

[3] Robert Crawford, Nancy’s son

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

[5] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son

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

[7] Harry Crawford, who was less than a year old

[8] Henry Clay Crawford, Nancy’s son

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

[10] Partnership

[11] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

[12] Luke and Sarah’s two youngest children, Louese J. Keith and James C. Keith

February 27, 1868 letter to Sarah Keith from Pros Crawford

February 27, 1868

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Prosper Crawford, Chicago, IL

Describes his employment as a conductor on the “horse cars” through the streets of Chicago. Prosper has been staying at Hiram’s with “our new sister” since having been taken sick and has had good care. He describes her as a pretty smart little woman and thinks she makes Hiram a good wife. She speaks in high terms of appreciation of a letter Sarah wrote to Hiram since his marriage in which some good advice was given. Mother is set on moving to Chicago to live. Prosper has given her little or no encouragement and is concerned about their ability to pay the rents that are in Chicago and live as well as she would like. He thinks she is much better off where she is. Robert intends to move with his family up on the Chippewa sometime this spring. Wants to know where Henry is and why he doesn’t write. He wrote to Mary yesterday.

1868-02-27 1868-02-27B 1868-02-27C 1868-02-27D 1868-02-27env

Address 444 Sedgwick St


Chicago           Feb 27’’ 1868

Dear Sister,

You dinna ken[1] how many times I have thought write to you this winter but realy have just set about it. If there is aney one trait of character peculiar to our Family it is this carelessness about writing commencing at the head growing worse and worse as it approaches the foot (thats me) and now as I am a sort of a reformatary character I propose to stop it and that to by example, so here goes.

I presume you have been informed ere this that I have been employed this winter in conducting a hors car through the streets of Chicago[2], yes and it has been very trying to my health. The cold and exposure connected with the irregularity of meals and sleep attending this buisiness makes it severe on one whose health is no better than mine. In the summer season it is better in some respects and in others it is not. In the place of cold we have clouds of dust following the cars, which is almost suffocating, so I am informed. But if I could only have my meals and sleep regular I could stand it pretty well. As it is, I shall be obliged to seek some other employment as soon as spring opens and buisiness takes a start. About two weeks ago I contracted a severe cold which threw me into the Fever, since which time I have done nothing and suffered a great deal. However, I am gradualy gaining my strength and am in hopes to be able soon to take my Car. I have been stop at Hiram’s[3] with our new sister[4] since I was taken sick and have had good care. She is a pretty smart little woman. She makes Hiram a good wife. She speakes in high terms of appreciation of a letter you wrote to Hiram since his marriage in which you gave some good advice. Mother[5] has set her cap on coming here to live and I hardly know why. I have given her little or no encouragment. In a letter recently received from her she inquires very earnestly what I intend to do and whether she will sell off any of her furnurture or not. Now the fact is, Sarah, we cannot live here and pay the rents that are exacted and live as well as she would like. Hirams salary exceeds mine a considerable and he lays up little or nothing and if I should be taken sick what then. And besides she would not be contented to live here one month. She could not associate with those whom she would like even in her own Church for here unlike places of less magnitude, wealth seems to be the criterion of fellowship and christianity. She is much better off where she is and I have written a very mild yet decicive letter (covering one sheet of fools cap) which I think will disabuse her mind of the idea of coming to Chicago. It is my intention to do as well for her as I can. I only wish she posessed more contentment of spirit. Robert[6] intends to move with his Family up on the Chippewain[7] sometime this Spring. It is a lumbering country. Of course I am in hopes the change will result well. Tis a fact he never can make anything in Omro. What does Luke[8] think of the impeachment[9] My old hats swinging in the air. I suppose my Friend over the river is is is, well I hope she is and done well. Where is Henry[10]? Why don’t he write? I wrote to Mary[11] yesterday. I should like to make you a visit O so much. Give my love to my little nieces and Ethen[12] Jimmie[13]. I suppose they wear long dresses and have baux [beaus].

Your affectionate Bro

L.P. Crawford

[At the top of the first page the following was written:] Write soon Sarah and let me know how you get along in the world.


P.S. Hi’s[14] wife sends her love to you.


[1] Scottish term meaning don’t know

[2] Pros’s brother Hiram was employed with the North Chicago City Railway Company and it is assumed from Nancy Betts’ December 9, 1867 letter that Hiram was able to secure employment for Pros with his company

[3] Hiram Crawford Jr., Pros’ older brother

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

[5] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[6] Robert Crawford, Pros’ older brother

[7] The pine lumber industry in the Chippewa Valley flourished in the last half of the 1800’s. Shortly before 1850, landlookers or scouts penetrated the virgin forest of the middle Chippewa and its tributaries searching for pine groves. The vast majority of the logs in the Chippewa Valley were cut in the winter. The trees were felled by axes and cut up by cross-cut saws, and the logs were hauled directly to the river banks on go-devils or placed on large sleds and moved up to six miles over logging roads. Upon the arrival of spring with melting snow and rains, the colorful and dangerous log drives began. The brightly clad drivers broke the rollways, releasing the logs which had been piled along the banks. Using pike poles and riding either in the bateau (a special boat) or on the logs themselves, the drivers strove to keep the logs moving in mid-stream. At times they had to stand waist deep in the cold water to dislodge “hung up” logs. The wanigan, a supply boat, provided food for the five daily meals

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

[9] Presumably the impeachment of Andrew Johnson

[10] Henry C. Crawford, Pros’ older brother

[11] Pros’ sister-in-law and Edwin Crawford’s wife

[12] Sarah Keith’s son

[13] Sarah Keith’s son

[14] A nickname for Hiram

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