April 17, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

April 17, 1924

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

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

Shelbyville Apr. 17-1924

Dear Sister:

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

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

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

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

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

Good Bye

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

Love to all

Lou

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[11] Dorothy & Joe

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

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

[14] Bourbon, Indiana

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

[16] Warsaw, Indiana

[17] Civil War dead were honored on Decoration Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[27] They were married April 12, 1882

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

[29] Aunt Kate was 83 years old

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

[31] Shorthand for LaVerne

April 7, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

April 7, 1924

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne

From: Nancy Brown

Nancy is writing about the tragic death of a friend, Harold Gibson, who had been killed in a car accident. Harold was coming home from work with his employer’s nephew in the car. The nephew wanted to drive but because he had been drinking, Harold refused. However, to save himself some trouble, he at last gave in. The nephew crossed onto the other side of road and smashed into a big car. Harold was killed and the two men in the other car were not expected to live. Harold was in World War I with the First from Illinois and went through every major battle. He said the best sleep he ever had was after days of fighting when he was so worn out he pushed the dead aside, laid down between them in blood and mud and slept like a baby for a number of hours, with bombs whistling over his head the whole time. Thought they might get a letter from Joe telling something about Lou as she supposed they went to see him yesterday, but nothing came. She thinks Dorothy will be married on the 29th of May but it hasn’t been finalized yet. She thinks they will be married at home with just family and a few friends as guests. It will be less expensive than going to Claude’s and having a larger wedding. Their apartment is almost finished; walls papered and floors varnished last week. It is new and their furniture is all new, so it will look nice. Even though they can’t be near Bess Nancy is glad they will be near her.

Monday April 7″ 1924

Dear brother and sister

If I had known the hens were laying I would tried and had the crate there but in your last letter Hannah you said they had laid three. I thought we would send it this week and it would be there plenty of time. If Robert[1] has time to get it this aftern will send tomor. I dont know why it was put back and under so much truck[2] last fall. Lela[3] has advertised her rooms again. Not one answer. That makes 40.00 in adds (not paid) rec’d no results. No one can understand it. We have not heard from Lou[4] since Lela was there Thursday so he is not able to write. Dorothy[5] had a letter from Wilma.[6] She wrote Ruby Curies husband had bought Mrs Hardings place. Its too bad. I’m sorry for Lou.[7] Harold Gibson[8]. I guess you know who he is. The ones that used to go to Mrs Ogdens[9] with Lizzie.[10] Mr Gibson spent his vacation three or four years ago in Shelbyville boarded at Jims.[11] Harold was going home from work (he is married[12] lives on Winnemac Ave north of us) last Wednesday in his car. His employers nephew[13] was with him. He wanted to drive but he had been drinking a little. Harold refused but at last to save trouble let him. He went zig zag and across on other side of road. Before H– could stop him or get the wheel smashed in to a big car. Two men in that. Killed Harold. The driver was only shook up good. The other two men are in hospital not expected to live. The driver in jail waiting the out come. He is only 19 is married has one child. Harold is 23[14] maried last October. He went to the world war with the first from Illinois went through evy one of the big battles. I think I told you he said the best sleep he ever had was after days of fighting at Chateau-Thierry when he was so worn out he pushed the dead aside laid down between them in blood and mud and slept like a baby for a number of hours the boms whisteling over his head all the time. After all of that to come home and be killed. He was ___ when the war closed but wanted to go right on into Berlin. They all take his death very hard. Lizzie & Will[15] move the 22nd. I cut the picture out of yesterdays paper. It made me feel homesick. I was back in the Burg[16] ___ ___ I said I could almost imagine it was taken in front of our house, the picket fence and and the men. I dont remember the medallions and the cars.

The Crooks family[17] are about all gone, guess Sarah[18] is the last. Of course there are a good many nieces & nephews. Postman just been here. Thought we might get a letter from Joe[19] telling something about Lou as I suppose they went to see him yesterday but nothing came. I think Dorothy[20] will be married the 29″ of May, not just decided yet and guess will have the families and a few girl and boy friends, be married at home. It will be less expensive than to go to Claudes[21] and have a larger wedding. Their appartment is about finished papered & floors varnished last week. That is new & their furniture is all new so thing will look nice. As long as they cant be near Bess[22] I’m glad they are so near us. Time to get lunch. Cold & windy this forenoon. Im writing to LaVerne.[23] I get so homesick to hear from them. Hope to hear from you soon.

With love,

Nan

Will send letter when we send crate.

[1] Robert Recoschewitz, Nancy’s grandson

[2] Under so much miscellaneous stuff

[3] Lela (Brown) Mueller, Nancy’s daughter. As a result of injuries sustained by her husband, Lou, in a street car accident, Lela tried to take in boarders to supplement their income

[4] Louis Mueller, Lela’s husband, who sustained a brain injury in the streetcar accident and was institutionalized

[5] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[6] Wilma Keith, the daughter of Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[7] Believe Nancy is referring to her sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[8] Charles Harold Gibson, Jr a friend of the family

[9] Amanda (Brown) Ogden, Lizzie’s mother (see next footnote)

[10] Nancy’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown

[11] Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[12] He had been married less than a year to Margaret (Johnson) Gibson

[13] William B French

[14] While both this letter and a search at the homicide.northwestern.edu database listed his age as 23, the 1910 Census listed his age as 13, which would make him 27 when he died

[15] Lizzie’s husband and Nancy’s brother-in-law, Willis Brown

[16] Galesburg, Michigan, the family farm where Nancy grew up and where her brother and sister still lived

[17] This referred to Joseph Crooks, who died April 5, 1924. His sister, Minnie (Crooks) Crawford, had been married to Nancy’s cousin, Eugene Crawford, and she died January 25, 1921. See also the April 6, 1920 letter which had the obituary of Joseph and Minnie’s brother, Smyth Crooks

[18] Sarah (McCloskey) Searles was actually the half-sister of Joseph, Minnie and Smyth Crooks

[19] Joseph Langmayer, Dorothy Recoschewitz’s fiance

[20] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz, married Joseph Charles Langmayer on May 29th, 1924

[21] Claude Keith Brown, Nancy’s son. As it turned out Dorothy and Joe were married at Claude’s home in Wilmette, Illinois

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

[23] Nancy’s niece, LaVerne (Harris) Boyer

January 3, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

January 3, 1924

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

This letter was Nancy’s first letter of the New Year. She is sending $5.00 and the girls are sending $5.00 of Nancy Keith money. Writes about the candy business; Edna has ordered 15 pounds in the last two and a half weeks.

Thursday Jan 3rd 1924

Dear brother and sister

My first letter of the new year. If I had one dollar for every letter I have sent home the first of the new year we could buy two horses. I am enclosing five dollars and the girls[1] are sending ” ” [five dollars] of Nancy Keith[2] money (your first installment hope it will get so they can do the same every week. I told Lela may be this was where your four million is coming from.) You can call part of it butter money or “candy” money just as you wish. I think of you all the time. This cold weather dont know how you stand it Ethan, when I think of the wood, no horse. While I know it makes the chores easier it is hard not having a horse. Lela is getting ready to go down town will mail this. We have not sent the candy yet, may tomor.  Not much doing with candy these days. Will make again tomor. The girls needed the rest. Lela spent New Years with Lou[3] or rather Monday. Alice[4] went with her. She only stayed about two hours. Lou felt awful bad not to come home. Lela says he seems all right. I would not be surprised if he did come home, dont know when. How are your teeth Hannah. I think of their aching all the time. Try to think they are not. Alice gave Lela & Lou each 10.00 and the children[5] 2.50 each. Jessie[6] just phoned, had a letter from her mother[7] this A.M. she is sailing arond feels fine. She had better stay where she is for it would be ____ for her here. Marian[8] and family still there. I disipated[?] New Years night. Mrs Laff invited the remnants of our old club to see the old year out & the New Year in. When it started the first year we were here there was five tables now only three. I went with Wills folks. Did not get back to Wills till “three oclock in the morning.” Will brought me home Tuesday none of us went away to dinner. Jean[9] has not been to school this week. I am afraid she has pin worms the way she looks and acts. Jessie says to give her sage tea. A few lines from Edna,[10] has ordered two more pounds of candy. That makes fifteen pounds they have ordered in about two & one half weeks. This goes to California. Lela is ready to go so must stop. Wish I could come and stay a few days. I want to write to Mildred[11] but cant find her address. Seems to me its 1024 N. Edward but I’m not sure.

Good-bye with love

Nan

[1] Her daughters, Lela (Brown) Mueller and Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[2] The girl’s candy business

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

[4] Lou’s sister, Alice Mueller

[5] Eda “Jean” and Helen Mueller

[6] Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Nancy’s cousin

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

[8] Marian (Eck) Meiss, Jessie’s daughter

[9] Lela’s daughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[10] Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar, the daughter of Nancy’s Uncle Robert Crawford

[11] Mildred Harris, the daughter of Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

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

June 21, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

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

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

Dear ones at home

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

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

Nan

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

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

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

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

[5] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

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

[7] Lela’s next door neighbors

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

[9] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford

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

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

June 8, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

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

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

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

Dear brother and sister

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

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

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

Love to all

Nan

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

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

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

[4] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

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

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

March 27, 1923 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

March 27, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Nancy is sending some vegetables and eggs. The girls are busy every minute. Bess goes home late at night which worries Nancy.

Tuesday 5-15-[1]

Dear brother & sister.

Time for me to start dinner. Martha[2] has just gone with the crate. There are a few little things in the egg boxes, not much, but the vegetable boy came this A.M. I got a few beans & head of lettuce, the carton eggs one ____ cocoa nut. Intended sending to kinds but did not have them so they could be packed. The three girls are hustleing every minite. I hate to have Bess[3] go home so late at night. Has to change cars once, some times wait quite a time for car. Wish I knew how you both are. Aunt Kate[4] is better so she went down town last week. Gladys Doyen came to Claudes[5] to day for two or three weeks visit. Hope you both feel better

Love

Nan

[1] Believe this is referencing the time as the envelope is postmarked March 27, 1923

[2] Martha Lueder, one of her daughter Lela’s boarders

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

[4] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, her Uncle Hiram Crawford’s wife

[5] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

February 23, 1923 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

February 23, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Writes how she has been muddled for over a week and at times things seem to be a blank. Reports on how the candy business is going. Claude is giving the girls money so they can fix up the basement and buy a stove and marble slab to make it easier for them.

Friday P.M.[1]
Feb 23rd 1923

Dear brother and sister

Every thing is at sixes and sevens or I am at least. Cant think how to even spell. I have been terribly muddled for over a week. Cant tell how only every thing seems to be a blank at times. Its so slippery out. I have not dared to go out to get a stamp and send the Argus[2] money. Lela[3] is going down town about three. If she has time will see to it if not I’ll get it as soon as I possibly can. I had a nice letter from Ina to day. Said she was going to write to you and Lou.[4] She had a nice long letter from Walter thanking us for the candy. He addressed it “Nancy Lee Cholate Co.”[5]

I wrote Aunt Jennie[6] a long letter to day it got return was returned. I took the address from the Argus.  Hedwig has been home sick all the week. Guess its the flue all right. Aunt Kate[7] only sits up about half the time. Has bronchial phenomonia asthma. Water[8] writes the medicine his father[9] is taking is helping him they think. I wrote Jim the first of week to see if he got the coat. Have not heard a word. None of them have written one word about the candy from Jims. I wish they would let me know about the coat. I think it ought to be worth a post card. Its a good warm coat. Claude[10] paid one hundred and ten dollars. Of course its worn some but not ragged. I sent it had it insured so it dont cost them one cent. When I sent it I wrote a letter and asked some of them to let me know if they got it. I wont bother Lou to let me know. It dont make any one feel like spending much time or money. Bess[11] has been home three days this week coming again ____ afternoon. To day is Carrie Svensens birthday 42 same age as Bess. Bess has fixed her up a nice box of candy. Claude is going to let the girls have money to fix up about half the basement get them a large stove and marble slab. Then they can make in one batch as much fondant as they have to now in in one batch as it takes them to make five now and much easier for them. They will make fondant in basement, mould and dip and pack in attic. Claude has been awful good to the girls and Lou.[12] The girls appreciate it too.

I could talk if I could see you. I told Lela this morning if the children[13] had two weeks vacation this spring and you were both well enough I take them and go home for the two weeks then make my visit later but she says  they only have one week. She has gone and forgot my letter but I’ll certainly send Argus money next week. How much did Will charge you.

With love

Nan

[1] Written upside down in front of the word “Friday” was the word “Quarantine”

[2] Believe she is referring to a newspaper

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

[4] Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[5] See the following page for information on the candy business

[6] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, her Uncle Henry Crawford’s wife

[7] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, her Uncle Hiram Crawford’s wife

[8] Believe she is referring to her nephew, Walter Keith

[9] Nancy’s brother, Jim Keith, who had asthma

[10] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

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

[12] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller. Lou had previously been hit by a streetcar and sustained a brain injury. As a result he would have seizures. Lela was able to care for him at home in the beginning but later had to admit him to Elgin State Hospital where he remained until his death in 1942

[13] Lela’s daughter, Helen and Eda “Jean” Mueller

October 19, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

October 19, 1920[1]

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lela Mueller

Writes about Jean telling them she was the smartest one in class but the teacher “doesn’t know it.” Also sent some of Helen’s school papers and wrote about how they learn to read. Lou made root beer. June was still there and will stay until Aunt Lizzie is sent for.

1920-10-19A1920-10-19B1920-10-19C 

Tues. Eve.

Dear Mamma,

Yours received to-day. I’ve just made Helen[2] a dress out of Edie’s[3] old green cloth coat – a slip over – it measure 26 in from shoulder seam – but if you’re making a wash dress I dont think 28″ would be too long – and 26 for Jean,[4] but maybe you better not stitch the hem in till you get home.[5]

To night at dinner Jean says “Daddy do you know who is the smartest one in my room?” Lou says “no, who is?” She says “I am.” Lou says “Did the teacher say so?” Jean says “No, she doesnt know it?”

I’m sending the papers Helen brought home from school. They learn to read by the sound and family – The “at” family

at                   in
cat etc           pin
bat                 tin etc
pat                 sin
                      win

the the sounds – as sh – wh ch etc. I wish you would save these sheets.

I wrote to Aunt Kate[6] and told her to come over here a few days next week. Jessie[7] was at Bessies[8] again yesterday for lunch, said she expected her mother almost any day.

Lou[9] has been making root beer to-night. Now he is up in the attic working. Seems to feel pretty good.

June[10] is still here. Will stay until Aunt Lizzie[11] is sent for. Ruth[12] sent me a very pretty umbrella to-day.

I’m going down town to-morrow to get underwear for Helen & Jean. Must get busy. Mrs Richee isnt coming till Friday.

Lots of love

Lela          

[1] While there is no date on this letter, Lela writes that “June is still here. Will stay until Aunt Lizzie is sent for” which most likely pertains to the birth of June’s half-sister, Doris, who was born on November 3, 1920; see also November 2, 1920 letter which also mentions June staying with Lela

[2] Lela’s daughter, Helen Mueller

[3] Edith (Neumaier) Brown, the wife of Lela’s brother, Claude Brown

[4] Lela’s daughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[5] Nancy was living with Lela and Lou, but was visiting her sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith, in Galesburg, Michigan

[6] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, the wife of Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s uncle

[7] Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Kate’s daughter

[8] Lela’s sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[9] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller

[10] June Brown, granddaughter of Elizabeth and Willis Brown

[11] Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown, wife of Willis Brown, who was the brother of Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[12] Ruth (Brown) Kroscher, Elizabeth and Willis Brown’s daughter

November 17, 1902 letter to Sarah Keith from Edna Allen

November 17, 1902

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Edna Allen, Kalamazoo, MI

Edna is writing her Aunt, who unfortunately died on the 18th and probably never received the letter. Edna is updating Sarah on her family. She was in Wisconsin, but missed seeing Uncle Robert, although she has received a letter from him. She saw in the paper that Hiram had been in Galesburg visiting.

[Postmarked November 17th, 1902][1]

Dear Aunt Sarah,

Doubtless you will be much surprised to hear from me as I have been silent so long. You have often been in my thoughts and I have promised myself meny times to run down and spend the day with you. But my health is not very good and I go very little. Mrs Mills, boards here where Madge[2] & I are boarding so I often inquire of Mrs Dr McBeth as she visits the Mill’s. We are living in Kalamazoo since we left Sycamore. Madge finished school 2 years ago. I hear that Nancy[3] has lost her Husband[4] and that her two daughters[5] are married. She must feel quite alone in the world. Henry was a good Husband and Father. How is Hannah[6] and the rest of the family? Madge and I were in Wisconsin a few weeks last year. I did not see Uncle Robert[7] but got a nice long letter from him. I saw by the paper a few weeks ago that Uncle Hiram[8] was in Galesburg. I have been in Dowagiac some since my return from Sycamore. It’s grown to be a delightful place to live in. I had about live there as here. Emmet[9] is quite well. His mind is worse[10] I think but his general health seems to be about the same. I am here alone tonight. I wish you might step on and we would have a good old fashion talk. Madge is up to her Grandma’s.[11] She expects to stay untill Monday. She thinks a great deal of them and they of her. Her Father[12] is in South Carolina. Jolley Allen[13] wife[14] has seperated from her husband and he is South. She and her two Children are living in Jackson. The youngest son, Glen[15] his wife seperated from him a year ago last November. She has gone to her home in Peoria, Ill. She was a beautiful woman. Judge Macklivanes daughter, she had a little daughter but it died two years ago. They all had the same trouble that I had with O.M.[16] There is but one boy left that is living with his wife. Its strange they can not behave when they have good wives, don’t you think so? Mr Allen[17] is building several stone houses for rent. Mrs Allen[18] health is much better than it has been for several years. Mr. Allen is in very poor health. I guess I must close this letter as its quite late and I am very tired. I wish you could come and see me sometime. After a while I may run down Saturday night and stay untill Monday but I will write you the day before so you can meet me at the Depot. I should like to see you all so much. It would give me much pleasure. My love to you and the family. I remain your affectionate neice.[19]

Edna Crawford Allen
415 South West Street
Kalamazoo

P.S. Please excuse paper

[1] Unfortunately Sarah died November 18th and never received this letter (see obituary next page)

[2] Madge Allen, Edna’s daughter

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

[4] Henry Brown died May 22, 1901 at the age of 51

[5] Edna was under the impression that both of Nancy’s daughters were married, however her daughter, Lela Mae Brown, didn’t marry Louis Mueller until 1912. Nancy’s daughter, Bess Rae Brown, married Julius Recoschewitz November 6, 1902. Edna probably had heard about the marriage of Josephine Meredith to Fred Dean (see the November 14, 1902 letter to James Keith) and confused the two girls

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

[7] Robert Crawford, Sarah’s brother

[8] Hiram Crawford Jr., Sarah’s brother

[9] Emmett Patrick Crawford, Edna’s younger brother

[10] The 1880 census listed Emmett as “insane” and his uncle Emmett Hamilton’s probate records referenced Emmett as being a resident at the Asylum for the Insane in Kalamazoo; however, in later years he was able to live either with Edna or near her

[11] Her paternal grandmother, Hannah (Smith) Allen

[12] Oscar M. Allen Jr. He and Edna were divorced

[13] Oscar’s brother

[14] Lizzie (Merriman) Allen

[15] Oscar’s brother

[16] Oscar’s nickname

[17] Oscar’s father, Oscar M. Allen Sr.

[18] Oscar’s mother, Hannah (Smith) Allen

[19] Edna’s father, Edwin Crawford, was Sarah’s brother

February 16, 1902 letter to Sarah Keith from Amanda Crawford

February 16, 1902

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Amanda Crawford, Golden, CO

Ida and Harold are both well. She has not been very well this winter. Had to work so much harder than ever before and misses her darling husband so much. Ida is engaged to a young student attending the university there and is in her office of County Superintendent. Everybody says she makes a good officer.

Golden, Feb 16th 1902[1]

My dear Sister Sarah,

I recieved your dear letter and was very glad to hear from you. Ida and Harold[2] are both well. I have not been very well this winter, have been miserable nearly all the time. I have had to work so much harder than I ever did before and at my age[3], it comes rather hard on me. I miss my darling husband[4] so much. Yes, I can sympathize with poor Nancy[5] and know how she suffers. Isent is strange that her husband and mine died so near and in appearently the same manner. I have thought of it so many times and they were such dear good husbands.

Our children of course are dear to us, but they soon have lives of their own and then if Father is gone, Mother is alone.

Harold is a nice good boy and loves his mother dearly. He is such a comfort to me. Ida is engaged to a young student[6] attending the university here and of course her attention is taken up with him. She is in her office of County Superintendent[7] and she makes a good officer so every body says. Sarah, I recieved a letter from brother Robert[8], but I could not make out the address. Will you please send it to me so that I may write him. I am sorry that I have not done so before this. I want to answer all the good letters that I have recieved. Am slow but try to be sure about that anyway.

Give my love to all of your family. You know I may not remember all their names and tell Nancy that her Aunt knows more than any one else how lonely her life is. Am glad to hear from you at anytime you can write me. With love to yourself.

I am your sister Amanda[9]

 

[1] The letter was written on stationery with a black border, which was used when there had been a death in the family

[2] Amanda’s children

[3] Amanda was 50 at the writing of this letter

[4] Amanda’s husband and Sarah’s brother, D.C. Crawford, died May 1, 1901 at the age of 65

[5] Sarah’s daughter, Nancy (Keith) Brown, whose husband, Henry Brown, died May 22, 1901 at the age of 50

[6] Jack Kelley

[7] Ida was the County Superintendent of Schools for Jefferson County, Colorado

[8] Robert Crawford, Amanda’s brother-in-law and Sarah’s brother

[9] Amanda (Thornton) Crawford

 

Previous Older Entries