November 14, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

November 14, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith, Kalamazoo, MI

Ethan is writing about the year’s potato crop. Also mentions that their record player broke. It was 68 years ago that their parents were married.

Scan of 1917-11-14 Ethan Keith to Nancy Brown

68 years ago to day Luke Keith and Sally Crawford[1] rode behind “Old Doll” to Battle Creek on a wedding trip, and Sally carried a parasol. That was before the cantenment.[2]

Kalamazoo, Mich. Nov 14, 1917.

Dear Sister,

Hannah[3] says I will have to write you about the potatoes. I dont know what to say, but will tell you what we have got. I wish you could have had the potatoes that Peake sold in Kal- for us. They were nice to eat and looked nice. He got the top of the market Kent was paying $1.00. and he got $1.25. He dug them before the hard freeze. So many of the potatoes are frosted people will have a lot of trouble with them, they wont be good, and lots of them will rot. Some of ours were touched a little. I have not sorted them yet. Could not do it when I dug them for I had to get them in the cellar as soon as I could, for I was afraid they would all be frozen. Our potatoes are quite scabby. Will have to sort them pretty close. Will have to sell what I call Hunters New Yorkers, and some of Rowlands New Yorkers. Dont know as you know what they are. The Rowlands were what we used while you was here. Dont know how I would get them to freight house unless I could hire the Peake’s to take them. Will look them over as soon as I can and find out what I have got then if Jim[4] does not send you any perhaps I can if you want them. Of course what there are more than we need I want to sell.

We are not listening to the little records any more. Over a week ago I was playing one, and the thing made an awful noise and stopped playing. Have not had a chance to take it apart but think it has stripped coggs on one of the gear wheels, dont think the spring is broken. I have been afraid of the coggs for some time they have run a good while. Daisy and Fannie are standing together for the first tonight in the stanchions.[5] I hope you are having a let up from that torment. I think the Witch Hazel did relieve me, but I was not bad. Tell Helen[6] Auntie[7] and I would like to see her.

Love to all. Ethan.

——-

[1] Ethan and Nancy’s parents, Charles Luke Keith Jr. and Sarah Crawford, married on November 18, 1849. Early records refer to Sarah as Sally, as does their marriage certificate; however, in later years she was always referred to as Sarah

[2] A cantonment refers to a military garrison or camp. It is believed Ethan was referring Camp Custer which was located near Battle Creek, Michigan. It was built in a little more than five months in 1917 during World War 1 and was named after General George Armstrong Custer, the Civil War General most famous for his death at the Battle of Little Bighorn. During World War I, more than 100,000 soldiers in the U.S. Army trained at Camp Custer which was one of the sixteen camps that the United States Army developed for the rapid training of soldiers during the War

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

[4] Their brother, James Keith

[5] A frame that holds the head of a cow in place, especially to facilitate milking

[6] Nancy’s granddaughter, Helen Mueller

[7] Hannah was very often referred to as Auntie

This was updated on 8-16-2022 to include footnote #2 which contains information on the meaning and history of cantonment

December 26, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Robert Crawford

December 26, 1902

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Robert Crawford, Shell Rock, IA

Robert is writing about his last visit with his sister in October and about Ethan and Hannah’s devotion to their parents. He is staying with his daughter Lizzie and her husband, Jay Smith, through the Christmas holidays and then spending the winter with his other daughter, Lulu, in Oelwein, Iowa.

Scan of 1902-12-26 Robert Crawford to Nancy Brown

Shell Rock             Dec 26″ 1902

Mrs Nancy Brown
Chicago, Ill

Dear Niece

I suppose you are waiting for me to write you and I should have sooner but my eyes has been very bad. I cannot read or write but little but I wrote to Leila[1] quite a while ago as you were in Mich then you came there when your Mother[2] died, Nancy, and see her pass away very quietly I think without much suffering. Dear Old Sarah. She had enough of that before. I realized Nancy your mother could not stay much longer here when I was there last. I thought she could not pass away so soon or I would not have come away at the time I did. I expressed my self quite freely Nancy in regard to Ethen[3] & Hannah[4] devotion to your Ma & Pa[5] and how they had taken care of their parents so long and faithfully that was good and kind for them to do it and I think Nancy you or Lou[6] would have done the same if placed in the same position they were. I know Nancy my sisters children always thought kindly of their parents and loved them. I am here at Shell Rock to visit Lizzie and Jay her hubby and Paul their son[7] and spend Christmas with them. They are well. I intend to stay here till a week from tomorrow and then return to Oelwein and stay with Lulu[8] this winter. I intend to come to Chicago in the Spring some time & will visit you then. I rec’d a letter recently from your Uncle Hiram[9] saying that he had not heard from Mich by letter since he came away from there. Also that Charly Eck[10] his son in law was very poorly and hardly expected to recover. Excuse me now Nancy for my eyes are giving out and write me here at Shell Rock Iowa. Lizzie & Family join with me in love & regards to you & yours. Nancy I did not hear from Leila yet. I will write to Bessie[11] next.

Your Uncle Robert

Robt Crawford

My address when at Lulu is Oelwein Iowa Box 280

——-

[1] Lela Brown, Nancy’s daughter

[2] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[3] Nancy’s brother, Ethan Keith

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

[5] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

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

[7] His daughter, Lizzie, and her husband and son, Jay and Paul Smith

[8] Lulu (Crawford) Witte, Robert’s daughter

[9] Robert’s brother and Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[10] Charley Eck was married to Hiram’s daughter Jessie Blanche (Crawford) Eck

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

December 24, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

December 24, 1902

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Ethan is writing his sister about their Christmas, which has been empty without their mother. Pa seems to have her on his mind much of the time and wishes they could have both died at the same time. He was sorry that Lela couldn’t join them for Christmas.

Scan of 1902-12-24 Ethan Keith to Nancy Brown

Galesburg, Mich.

Dec 24, 1902.
8.10 P.m.

Dear Sister,

This is the first Christmas eve that we have ever known that Ma[1] was not with us. How we would like to see her. There are so many things to keep reminding us of her. I dont want to forget her but it is hard to keep thinking. It was a sad time for us last friday evening and Sunday was a hard day. Will Clark[2] came over and staid a couple of hours. Ma is on Pa’s[3] mind most of the time I think. He will take a long breath or say something about her every once in a while. I went over to see Geo Monday eve and Hannah[4] said Pa talked a good deal about Ma and cried. Said as he has before that no one could say but she had done her part here. Said he always hoped Ma would live as long as he. She asked if he had rather went first. He said no, but wished they could have went together. Pa sleeps as well as I expected he would. Two nights he has come out to my bed and looked at me to see if I was there. Think he was afraid I had gone up stairs.

We received your letter yesterday containing the money order. Were not very much disappointed to hear that Lela[5] could not come christmas for it didn’t seem to me that business[6] had been as good as she would want it to be for her to come. I am sorry. We would have been very glad if she could have come. Hope it wont be a very great while before she can.

Christmas night. 7.20. Will try and finish this tonight. Well the first christmas is about drawing to a close. Ma has not wished us a Merry Christmas (as we know of) something she never failed to do. Hannah sent by Mrs Blake last night to get us some oysters for to day, so our dinner was got in a hurry. We would not have wanted a big dinner if we could have had it. Mrs Blake and Carrie both sewed. Yesterday and to day have both been pretty rough, snowed, and wind has blown so hard that it made the snow fly. Carrie has walked over both mornings. She has been doing first rate lately Hannah says. Mrs John Allen sent her dress skirt and a note over tuesday told Hannah she had ruined her dress.  She did not know how to loose it. A nice dress in their family meant a good deal. She wrote quite a letter. You can imagine Hannahs condition after reading it and ever since. She had to go to the Burg[7] that evening to see the lady. Got Mrs Struble to stay with Pa. Mrs Allen was nice but she is bound not to be satisfied, I guess. She did not get an invitation to the wedding and has been disappointed about going to Hastings and Grand Rapids a visiting so probably has got to act out Windy some way. I must write a little to Lou[8] so will close.

Love to all

Ethan

No letter from Henry[9] yet

——-

[1] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[2] Will Clark, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner’s son from her first marriage to Byron Clark. Lois was Nancy and Ethan’s half sister

[3] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[4] Hannah (Keith) Towne, Ethan and Nancy’s widowed sister. Both Ethan and Hannah lived at home with their parents

[5] Lela Brown, Nancy’s daughter

[6] After Nancy’s husband, Hank Brown, died in 1901, Lela and her sister, Bess Recoschewitz, appear to have helped with the operation of the family photographic business

[7] Galesburg, Michigan

[8] Nancy and Ethan’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[9] Nancy and Ethan’s half-brother, son of Charles Luke and Minerva (Payson) Keith

Obituary of Sarah (Crawford) Keith

Keith, Sarah Crawford

Sarah (Crawford) Keith

December 26, 1821 – November 18, 1902

OBITUARY

From an unknown newspaper clipping.

Keith, Sarah - Obituary

November 14, 1902 letter to James Keith from Robert Crawford

November 14, 1902

To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Robert Crawford, Neenah, WI

After visiting relatives in Shelbyville, Robert went to Chicago with his nephew, Ethan, to visit his niece, Nancy, and his brother, Hiram, before returning home in Neenah, Wisconsin. He received a letter from his sister, Sarah, who was getting weaker and was gradually failing when he saw her. He was planning to spend the winter with his daughter, Lulu, and her family in Oelwein, Iowa. Heard about the marriages of Cora’s sister, Josephine, and also his niece, Bess, to Julius.

Scan of 1902-11-14 Robert Crawford to James Keith

Neenah Nov 14 1902

Mr J C Keith
Shelbyville Mich

Dear Nephew

As you are aware by this time I came through with Ethen[1] to Chicago over the M C. We had a pleasant trip and was met at the depot by Nancy[2] and your Uncle Hiram[3] and I was pleased to meet them. I came through to Milwaukee the next day and here shortly after. My folks are usually well.[4] I have re’d a letter from your mother[5] since I came home but it was all she could do to write to me. I have written to her twice lately. I expect to go to Milwaukee next Tuesday on my way to Oelwein Iowa to stop with my daughter Lulu[6] this coming winter and return in the spring if possible. Well James how are you and Cora[7] and the children.[8] I hope that you are all well. I heard about Coras sister getting married[9] all right. I hope that she is happy. Please give her my regards and the family. Hope they are well. How many potatoes did you have JC[10] and have you a team yet.[11] You need one there is no doubt about that. If not it will come in time and you will appreciate them more perhaps. I did not see much change in your mothers condition JC from the time I saw her when I first came till I came away last. I think she is getting weaker and is gradually failing. I expect to go to Chicago by the 23 of this month and shortly after will leave for Iowa. I recd cards announcing the marriage of Miss Besse[12] to Julius[13] & we hope they will be happy. I am feeling quite well now and I think my trip to Mich done me good. I hope that I may come again to visit you all. It has been raining quite hard this forenoon and it makes it disagreeable and unpleasant. I wrote to your sister Mrs Lou Harris[14] but I have not heard from her yet. I hope they are all well. If I hear from you my nephew I will write you again when I get to Iowa.

Regards & love to you and Cora and the Children & relations friends

Your Uncle

Robt Crawford

Address me at 102½ 31″ Street
Milwaukee, Wis

——-

[1] James’ brother

[2] James’ sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[3] Robert’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[4] Robert lived with his daughter, Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar, and her family until his death, April 13, 1903

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith. Sarah was Robert’s sister; she died November 18, 1902

[6] Lulu (Crawford) Witte

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

[8] Mary “Winifred” (age 10) and Walter Keith (age 4)

[9] Josephine Meredith had recently married Fred Dean on October 22, 1902

[10] James’ middle name was Clinton

[11]James and Cora had just recently moved back to Shelbyville after having lived in Chicago for approximately ten years

[12] Bess Brown, daughter of Henry and Nancy (Keith) Brown

[13] Bess married Julius Recoschewitz November 6, 1902

[14] Louese (Keith) Harris

November 14, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

November 14, 1902

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Ethan is writing his sister describing the poor condition of their mother. He is having much difficulty caring for her as her condition fails.

Scan of 1902-11-14 Ethan Keith to Nancy Brown

Nov. 14. 1902.

Dear Sister,[1]

Fifty-three years ago now Pa[2] and Ma[3] were in Battle Creek on their wedding tour and now Pa is lying on the and Ma is in the wheel chair west side of the stove. She is coughing a good deal this P.m. For the last three or four days there has been quite a rattling in her throat when she breathed but has been worse to day. We have given her Hulls cough balsam and this P.m. have given her Shoops croup cure that you left here. Cant see that it does much if any good. Ma looks bad and is getting poor. It is getting to be an awful job to get her to bed. She seems to loose the use of her limbs. Last night after we got her in the bedroom I thought she would get down on the floor in spite of us. We had to drag her. She could not stand up or move her limbs. She is so heavy we cant lift her.[4]

We will be very glad if you can come. Ma would like you or Lou[5] here all the time but of course knows that cant be. I’ll be glad for your sake when you get moved. Will have to stop. Mrs Blake wants to go.

Love to all.

Ethan

[The following was written sideways on the first page:]

H L Keith[6]
870 Castro St
Oakland

[1] The envelope is addressed to Mrs. H. A. Brown

[2] Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[4] Sarah died just four days later on November 18, 1902

[5] Ethan’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[6] Ethan’s half-brother, Henry L. Keith

October 29, 1902 letter to Louese Harris from Robert Crawford

October 29, 1902

To: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

From: Robert Crawford, Milwaukee, WI

Robert arrived in Chicago Sunday on the excursion train with Ethan after visiting Sarah. They had a very enjoyable trip and found Uncle Hi and his sister Nancy there at the Central Depot. All were well except Charley Eck who was in very poor condition. “Your Mother is in a very poor condition and gradually failing.”

Scan of 1902-10-29 Robert Crawford to Louese Harris

Milwaukee, Oct 29″ 02

Mrs Lou Harris
Shelbyville, Mi

Dear Niece,

I came to Chicago Sunday on the excursion train with Ethan.[1] We had a very enjoyable trip and found your Uncle Hi[2] & your sister Nancy[3] there at the Central Depot to meet us. We found them all usually well but Charly Eck.[4] He is in a very poor condition. Your Mother[5] dear Niece is in a very poor condition and I think she is gradually failing. I hope that may get the better of this but it is a poor consolation to live and suffer as she does.[6] We hope for the best. I expect to go to Neenah (to Ednas[7]) next Friday the 31″ to stay awhile there and to Omro, my old home. Will return to Milwaukee later. Expect to go to Chicago about the 20″ of November & visit relations there and then to go to my daughters at Oelwein.[8] I ____ to stay there through the winter. I forgot to mention that I found Bird[9] & Hers well and I am feeling well myself. I hope that you & yours are well Lou & JC[10] and family. Tell Jim[11] I will write him later. I suppose that he has got through his County Business by this time. I hope that he is feeling much better then he was when I was there. I heard recently that Miss Meredith[12] was married a few days ago.[13] Please give my congratulations and my regards to Mr Meredith[14] & Family and love and regards to you dear Niece & your husband and children and JC & family. Your Uncle Robert

Robt Crawford

Will be pleased to hear from you any time Niece

——-

[1] Ethan Keith, Louese’s brother

[2] Hiram Crawford Jr., Robert’s brother

[3] Nancy (Keith) Brown

[4] Charles Eck, the husband of Jessie (Crawford) Eck, Hiram’s daughter

[5] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[6] Sarah died on November 18, 1902

[7] Robert’s daughter, Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar

[8] Oelwein, Iowa, where his daughter, Lulu (Crawford) Witte, lived

[9] His daughter, Cynthia (Crawford) Carlson

[10] Louese’s brother, James C. Keith

[11] James Keith

[12] Josephine Meredith, who was the sister of Cora (Meredith) Keith (James Keith’s wife)

[13] Josephine married Fred Wilbur Dean on October 22, 1902

[14] Cora’s and Josephine’s father, Walter Burton Meredith

January 4, 1902 letter to Sarah Keith from Robert Crawford

January 4, 1902

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Robert Crawford, Neenah, WI

Robert is writing Sarah to see how she is getting along. He has not heard from Henry or Hiram recently, but understood that Prosper had remarried.

1902-01-04 Robert Crawford to Sarah Keith

Neenah Jan 4″ 1902

Dear Sister Sarah

I have not heard from you in some time and thought that I would write you a few lines this morning. I am usually well, but cough some yet. Dont expect to get much better till some time in the Spring. Edna[1] and family are usually well, but she has a cold. Feels better this morning. I have not heard from Hiram[2] in quite a while. I dont suppose that Kate[3] has returned yet. I would like to know how they were. I must write to Hiram. Well Sister dear, how do you get along. I hope that you are no worse or Luke[4]. I had an opportunity to go in to the Pinery to locate logs, but declined and thought it best for me to stay near the fire this winter.

I just wrote to Mrs Lou Harris[5]. Hope they are well. I wrote Nancy[6] about the time they were moving from Hoyne ave[7] but have not heard from her. I want you Sarah to send me her address when you write me. I wrote to Henry[8] about Thanksgiving but have not heard from him. L.P.C.[9] I suppose has jumped the Broom Stick[10] by what I have heard. Incidentally now there will be a chance for Belle[11] if that is the case. Sister, I for one dont blame him though I think that Pros was not perfection by any means. With regards & love to you and yours. I remain your affectionate Brother.

Robt Crawford

——-

[1] Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar, Robert’s daughter

[2] Their brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

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

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

[5] Sarah’s daughter, Louese (Keith) Harris

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

[7] 736 North Hoyne Avenue in Chicago, Illinois

[8] Their brother, Henry Clay Crawford

[9] Their youngest brother, Lucius Prosper Crawford, who went by the nickname of Pros

[10] Pros married Laura Hands September 30, 1901

[11] Pros’ first wife, Isabella (Steele) Crawford. She and Pros divorced sometime around 1900

(This post was updated on 05-06-2021)

November 22, 1901 letter to James Keith from Ethan Keith

November 22, 1901

To: James Keith, Chicago, IL

From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

Hannah does her sewing work from 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 or later at night. Ethan thinks it is too much for her and worries that she just can’t keep at that pace. She only earns $1.00 per day. Their father sings most of the time and as he is in the same room where Hannah does her sewing, it annoys her. Ethan wishes Nancy and the girls could have stayed at 736 as it was home to them and close to the gallery.

Scan of 1901-11-22 Ethan Keith to James Keith

Galesburg, Mich. Nov 22, 1901

Dear Brother

Will begin a letter to you this evening but probably will not finish it as it is most time to go to bed. The alarm will call me at 4.45 Am. (fast time) and I’ll have to get right out for I am working in and around a dressmaking shop. Hannah[1] is crowded with work. She is ready to go to sewing at seven most every morning and works until nine or after in the evening. It is too much for her. She cant always hold out at such a gait. If she was reasenably paid for her work but she does’nt make a dollar a day for her time. Pa[2] and Ma[3] are usually well. Pa has a great hobby for singing. Some of the time it is a tune and then it wont be any thing but he is at it most of the time. It annoys Hannah for he is in the room where she is sewing most of the time. Will Barber and I have worked at the pump part of two days this week. It had got a hole rusted through the pipe somewhere so it pumped sand. We pulled the pipe up and found the hole down most to the point. Have got it so it works all right to night. Nancy[4] writes you are having boils and muscular rheumatism. Seems as if it is’nt one thing its another. It’s too bad and very discouraging to have to be sick so much. Mrs Streater[5] is sick had a light stroke of paralysis. Harry[6] said this morning she was better physically, but was worse mentally. Clara Clark[7] is pretty bad off. Is troubled with gall stones, suffers a great deal. Has been sick over ten weeks. Charley[8] wrote his mother[9] Wednesday that he and Edna[10] sat up with her the night before. They had to fan her a good deal of the time she was so weak. A month yesterday I came from Chicago. Seems more like three of them. I enjoyed the trip and visits if they were short. Would liked very much to have staid longer. Wish Nancy and the girls[11] could have staid at 736.[12] That had got to be like home to them, and then they were so pleasantly situated, and handy to the gallery.[13] She sent me a Heurst Chicago American[14] this week cuts, and write up of the elevated road collision. They were fortunate in not getting some of the cars off on the ground. Have not heard from Charley Eck[15] since he went from here week last Monday. We all liked him. Too bad he has such poor health.[16] The protolacea[17] Winnie[18] set in the tin can has just died. Will close for lack of news. Love to Cora,[19] children[20] and yourself.

Your brother Ethan

——-

[1] Their sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[2] Charles Luke Keith Jr., who was 88 years old

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, who was 80 years old

[4] Their sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[5] Neighbor, Laura (Rawson) Streator

[6] Laura Streator’s son, Henry “Harry” Streator

[7] Clara (Youngs) Clark was the wife of Charles Clark, the son of Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner and her first husband, Byron Clark. Lois was Ethan and Jim’s half-sister, the daughter of Charles Luke Keith Jr. and his first wife, Minerva Payson

[8] Charles Clark

[9] Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[10] Charles and Clara Clark’s daughter

[11] Nancy’s daughters, Lela and Bess Brown

[12] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown, died May 22, 1901 and the family moved from 736 North Hoyne Avenue in Chicago. By October of 1902 she was living at 200 Evergreen Avenue in Chicago

[13] Henry Brown was a photographer and according to the 1899-1900 Chicago City Directory had a gallery at 749 Robey Street and at 574 Lincoln Avenue. Bess continued working at the gallery for awhile, but whether it was to try to make a go of it, to take care of unfinished business, or to sell the business is unknown

[14] Hearst’s Chicago American newspaper

[15] Charles Eck was the husband of Jessie Crawford, who was Ethan and Jim’s first cousin. Jessie was the daughter of Hiram Crawford Jr., their mother’s brother

[16] Charles Eck died May 23, 1904, just shy of his and Jessie’s 6th wedding anniversary

[17] Portulacea, a succulent plant, possibly a jade plant

[18] Jim’s oldest daughter, Winifred Keith

[19] Jim’s wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[20] Winifred (9 years old) and Walter (almost 4 years old)

(This post was updated on 03-21-2021)

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

——-

[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

 

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