March 10, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Edna Tullar

March 10, 1924

To: Nancy Brown

From: Edna Tullar

Edna Tullar is making arrangements to purchase a box of candy from her cousins. She is certain that her nephew, Robert Carlson, will love the candies more than anything else. She is also updating her cousin on the activities of her family, including the desire to visit California to see her nephew, Donald Carlson, who is begging for Edna and her husband, Jack, to visit. She also mentions her Aunt Kate Crawford, her cousin, Jessie Crawford Eck, and wonders when Jessie’s daughter will marry. Edna is concerned about a growth on her son, Ted’s, neck. It had been growing for six months and seemed to be affecting his hearing. After a thorough examination and x-ray, it was determined to be a stone in the gland and needed to be operated on immediately. Although it is not a serious operation, it is a tedious one that will take about two hours with nothing but local anesthesia. Poor Ted is worried sick over it. Her other son, Frank, is traveling for the week and will be missed. The company is doing very well and Frank brings in most of the business. Edna is bringing Nancy up to date on her sisters, Kit, Lizzie, Lulu and Bird. Lulu and her husband, Ed Witte, have had a struggle this winter. His insurance business has not been doing well and it has created financial problems for them. In the midst of all this trouble, Aunt Kate wrote and wanted to visit Lulu. Lulu never answered the letter; however, Edna filled Aunt Kate in on Lulu’s situation. Aunt Kate could appreciate the position Lulu was in for she had been there herself. Bird & family well.

Monday Morn March 10-1924

Dear Nancy

Your good long letter came this A.M. and I am ans. right back for I am going to city and I will enclose money order for $3.00 and tell you the card box, will be all right. I am sure now if this amount isnt enough, you be sure & tell me, for if I can afford to do this, I can pay the price. I know Rob.[1] will like the candy more than anything else I can afford to send him & he can share it with Melisse.[2] Mrs. Fraser called me up Friday, said they had just gotten a letter from you, said she had called me before, but could not get me. Well I will admit that I am some what of a gadder[3] & possibly I might have been away from home. She will have news to tell you when they ans. He is to be retired this yr. & their Calif. _____ theirs. So you can see how nice it will be when we all get there. Sure you can go with Jack[4] & I and we will all find something to do when we get there, keep house for Don,[5] he is begging us to come in every letter he writes. I tell him to get married & have a home of his own. He say “no wedding bells for him.” Now Nancy you will just have to plan on coming to us this summer for you must visit the Frasers once more. We expect to go to Wis in June & on our way back we will stop over a day & you come on home with us. Now if the girls have Dorothy[6] this summer they can spare you for a while. Isnt it just fine Dorothy is to be so near you and I am so pleased for her. I guess she is as old as you & I were when we were married[7] – & age don’t mean anything. It’s just how sensible they are, and I am sure she has is that all right. That is a mighty fine start. We didnt have that either did we? I cant tell, Nancy, how Uncle Harry worked father[?] for. I was going to say $50.00 when I first thought, but I am not sure. $50.00 was a lot of money in those days. Is he up to something more now? When will Jessies[8] daughter[9] get married. Aunt Kate[10] wrote me about her engagement. Also I hope she will do differently than the other one,[11] get a better man I mean. We are a little worried and worked up at our house. Ted[12] has had a buncle[13] on his neck for over 6 months. Pearle[14] and all of us have tried to have him attend to it. Well he asked his doctor at factory about it & he could not tell him much, but advised Ford Hospital for thorough examination. It has kept growing & seemed to affect his hearing so last wk. he went – had Xrays & all. They tell him it is what is called a stone in his gland. Said from neck down he was perfect – physically – but this must come out immediately or would cause cancer. So next Sat. he is to be operated on & while it is not a serious operation it is a tedious one about two hours & nothing but local anesthesia done from inside & can work much better when one is concious. Poor Ted, never a thing before this matter with him. He is about sick over it & I do feel sorry for him. When we think of all the operations you have had for your self & family this seems silly but just the same I cant help but wish it were over. Ted will be 39 next Monday. He said he would clebrate in Hospital. I am so thankful they are fixed so it wont mean much to him in a financial way or if Ted has to stop work for a while. Pearle is spendid about it & wants everything done right, no money spared. Frank[15] has gone to Lansing & those[?] town for a part of the wk. We are lonely with out him. Factory doing spendidly – biggest months income in Feb. they have ever had & Frank brings in most of it but Chester[16] is doing well by him & Frank seems quite contented and happy he is getting to be such a big fellow. Dear Hannah & Ethan.[17] How I wish I could go to them when they have such a long lonely winter or they could come to me. I am going to write Hannah & very soon. Did you ever hear how Madge[18] came out with her suit? It would be so much easier if Bessie[19] could live near Lela[20] and it is fine they mean so much to each other. Oh I know how it is. Kit[21] and I were just that way & it was so hard when Kit was married & went away. She never was Kit again to me and then after Louise came she was so near and dear & we used to visit and talk like sisters and now I am so far from them all. Poor Lizzie[22] has a nice new house, new furniture, new Buick car and was sick in bed with no one to do a thing for her. They have done splendidly in a financial way but Lizzie says she can not make C.S. make him well any more & is so tired trying. Lulu[23] & Ed[24] have had a hard struggle this winter. Ed in insurance business for him self & not doing much. Lu wrote me at Xmas time said they were in debt. She had no shoes, hat or gloves not much else. Could I send $50.00. Well I had a Xmas fund of $50.00 so I sent her $35.00 then wrote to Lizzie & Bird.[25] Lizzie sent her $25.00, Bird $10.00 & a hat & I sent gloves & stockings. Well after that they got $1,000 from Ed’s mothers estate so they will fly high for a little while but Lu has gone to taking borders. Just in the midst of all this trouble Aunt Kate wrote & wanted to visit Lu. Well Lu never ans. the letter, said she was to near crazy but I told Aunt Kate some thing of situation & told her Lu would write someday. I guess Aunt Kate can realize the position Lu was in for she has been there herself. Bird & family well. Donald, her second son, has been in Seattle but comes home this mo. Carol[26] in Normal school, now home. Nancy, send some more of your cards.[27] Bird wants one & some more I know I want to send to. Well I must ring off. Do hope Lou[28] get so he can come home. Poor fellow, such a home & he has to be away.

Lovingly

Edna

Nancy you might send this to Hannah & Ethan it will tell them about Ted & girls. I’ll write you a card as soon as Ted is opered on.

[1] Believe this is her nephew, Robert Carlson, whose birthday was March 17. He had lived with the Tullars at the time of the 1920 Census

[2] Melissa P Keiser, who married Robert on August 4, 1920

[3] To move about restlessly or with little purpose

[4] Edna’s husband, Jackson Tullar

[5] Believe this is her nephew, Donald Carlson

[6] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[7] Dorothy was engaged to Joseph Langmayer; she was 20 years old. Nancy was 20 and Edna was 22 when they were married

[8] Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Edna’s cousin

[9] Believe this is Katherine Eck, although Katherine did not actually marry until 1944

[10] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, widow of Hiram Crawford Jr. who was Edna’s and Nancy’s uncle

[11] Edna is referring to Jessie Marian Eck, who was married to Charles Meiss

[12] Edwin Dale Henry, Edna’s son by her first husband

[13] Edna appears to be referring to a carbuncle

[14] Ted’s wife, Pearl (Shelly) Henry

[15] Franklin Tullar, Edna’s son by her second husband

[16] Chester Wagner Tullar, Edna’s brother-in-law and President of the Tullar Envelope Company

[17] Nancy’s sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith

[18] Madge Allen, granddaughter of Edna’s & Nancy’s Uncle Edwin Crawford

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

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

[21] Edna’s sister, Katherine (Crawford) Birkland

[22] Edna’s sister, Melissa (Crawford) Smith

[23] Edna’s sister, Lulu (Crawford) Witte

[24] Lulu’s husband, Edward Witte

[25] Edna’s sister, Cynthia (Crawford) Carlson

[26] Carol Carlson, Bird’s daughter

[27] Presume she is referring to business cards for Nancy Keith Candies

[28] 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 had been admitted to St. Mary of the Hills in Milwaukee, Wisconsin


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

Nancy Keith Candies

24

Nancy Keith Candies

Lela (Brown) Mueller and her sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz, needed a way to support their families.  Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller, had been hit by a streetcar and sustained a brain injury. As a result he would have seizures and wasn’t able to work. They took in boarders which helped bring in some money, but it wasn’t enough. Bess’ husband, Julius Recoschewitz, was a musician and played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but it wasn’t enough to cover their living expenses. The sisters decided to open a Tea Room near the downtown area. They found a place which had equipment – chairs, tables, etc. They didn’t know why the previous owner left it all, but it was exactly what they were looking for. They were given keys to the place and so they went in and cleaned everything so that it would be ready for business when the deal was consumated. On the day of closing they went to the store to look over the place and make sure everything was in order, but were shocked to find that the place had been emptied of all the furniture and equipment. Since they hadn’t signed any papers they were able to get out of the deal.

Bess enjoyed cooking and one of her specialties was candy. Lela and Bess decided to make candy for Christmas. Their brother, Claude Brown, told them to make as much candy as possible and he would buy anything left over to give to his friends. He also told people they could order the candy. All of the candy sold and Lela and Bess didn’t have any left for themselves. And so Nancy Keith Candies was born. Originally the name of the business was Nancy Lee Candies but it was changed to Nancy Keith Candies using their mother’s maiden name.

Most of the time the candy was made in the basement at Lela’s home, although sometimes Bess would make the fondant at her house, jump on the streetcar and bring it to Lela’s home to flavor, mold and dip. Otherwise the cooking of the fondant was done on the first floor and then carried up to the third floor to flavor, mold, dip and pack. Orders started coming in so Claude gave Lela and Bess money to fix up the basement. They cleaned and painted it and put in two doors so the heat of cooking wouldn’t interfere with the dipping. Claude also bought them a candy-cooking stove and a marble slab which was used to pour the fondant on. After the fondant cooled to the proper temperature they would work the batch (spade) to the point where it could be flavored and then molded into balls ready to be dipped in chocolate.

The business took off and while they continued to make the candy at Lela’s home, they opened a store at 1123 Argyle in Chicago. As the business grew they moved it to 1021 Argyle and finally to 5240 Sheridan Road. Various family members worked in the business and it thrived. Bess died in 1950 and her daughter, Dorothy (Brown) Recoschewitz, and Lela (at this time she was 72 years old) continued running the business. In about 1953 Lela and Dorothy decided to close the store.

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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