July 18, 1901 letter to Louese Harris from Sarah Keith

July 18, 1901

To: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

From: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

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

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

Galesburg July 18 1901

Dear Lou

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

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

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

Best wishes, Mother

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

[2] Ethan Keith, Sarah’s son

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

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

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

[6] James Keith, Sarah’s youngest son

[7] Cora (Meredith) Keith, Jim’s wife

[8] Mary “Winifred” and Walter Keith

[9] Kalamazoo, Michigan

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

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

[12] Claude Brown, Nancy’s son

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

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

[15] Bess Brown, Nancy’s daughter

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

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

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

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

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

 

May 17, 1901 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Brown

May 17, 1901

To: Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Brown

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

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

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

Dear ones all

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

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

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

With love from Nan

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

Nan

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

——-

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

[2] Nancy’s daughter, Lela Brown

[3] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[4] Hank was a photographer

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

[6] Nancy’s daughter, Bess Brown

[7] Nancy’s niece, Mildred Harris

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

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

[10] Husband of Lois’ daughter, Ina

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

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

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

[14] Hank’s brother, Willis Brown

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

[16] Marian Eck, Hiram’s granddaughter

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

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

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