February 22, 1859 letter to Luke Keith from D.C. Crawford

Footnote #6 updated 02-11-2017

February 22, 1859                

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI              

From: David (D.C.) Crawford, LaCrosse, WI

Describes where he lives in LaCrosse by the Mississippi River. Received a letter from Robert who spoke of James’ death and also his wife’s death and that there might have been something wrong in regard to him dying so suddenly. Received a letter from Platt Betts. Mentions Stanley Crawford.

Scan of 1859-02-22 D C Crawford to Luke Keith

La Crosse Feb 22nd 1859

Mr C L Keith

Galesburgh Michigan

Dear Sir

In answer to your last letter I would say in asmuch as you described to me your wherebouts it would be no more than fare for me to give you a little information on that point but there would be no danger if you should wish to come and see me because the trees are all spotted on or along the Old Territorial Road. We live in Wis near La Crosse on the pleasant Banks of the Raging Missippi the “Father of Waters.” We have a Flourshing and Enterprising R Road making their regular trips Daily between Milwaukee and La Crosse the (La Crosse and Milwaukee R Road) which makes a vast difference here in the Winter season I assure you. The toot of the Iron Horse or Whistle sounds good up in this County you had better believe only a few years ago hardly dreamt of. You say there is no sleighing their quite the contrary here. We have had a very pleasant and gay Winter this way. I re’d a letter from Robert[1] stating that sleighing was good in the Pinery and he was doing well. He spoke of James[2] and of His Death[3] and also His Wifes[4] and as though that there might have been something wrong in regard to Him dying so suddenly. It seems to be rather lamentable fact to realize a near kindred Blood a beloved Brother folded in the arms of Death so near us and none to say a kind word or smooth His Dying pillow. I was expecting to pay them a visit this comeing season.

I re’ed a letter from the Rev. Mr. Betts[5] the other Day for the first time. I should judge that He was and odd Old chap (allow me). He invites me to come and see them which I should like to do very much and shall soon probably.

Stanley[6] said that He called on you but did not stay but a few moments. He said that He was used well and was much pleased.

Please ask Sarah[7] if She knows or Lois[8] (Miss Sarah Hall). If so please inform Her that Stanley Crawford wishes to be remembered to Her. Stanley says He saw more pretty Girls in Galesburgh and vicinity then He has seen in this Country for a long time that is when He was Home this last time. Tell Sarah if She does not write me I will think she has forgotten me. My love to all.

Yours truly David [to] C L Keith

Write Soon again please


[1] Brother, Robert Crawford

[2] Brother, James Crawford

[3] An entry in Luke’s dairy shows that James died December 15, 1858

[4] James’ wife, Ann (Rogers) Crawford, who died October 26, 1858

[5] Stepfather, Platt Betts

[6] Stanley Crawford. At this stage his relationship to David is unknown Believe this to be George Stanley, who operated a jewelry store with David “D.C.” Crawford under the name Stanley & Crawford from approximately 1856/1857 to 1860

[7] Sarah Keith, Luke’s wife and David’s sister

[8] Luke’s daughter, Lois Keith, who was his daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

July 26, 1858 letter to Luke Keith from David (D. C.) Crawford

July 26, 1858

To: Luke Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: David (D. C.) Crawford, LaCrosse, WI

David is writing his brother-in-law to thank him for sending along the local Galesburg paper. He also mentions that his business in LaCrosse looks promising, particularly since the Milwaukee & LaCrosse Railroad will extend to LaCrosse in the next couple of months, which will serve as the railroad terminus for some time. David traveled to Black River Falls on a business matter. On his return he passed through beautiful sections of farming country which have a prospect of a plentiful harvest. David received a letter from Mother. Her recent remarriage seems to suit her. She apparently had a difficult time getting along with her son Robert’s wife when they were all living under the same roof.

Scan of 1858-07-26 D C Crawford to Luke Keith

LaCrosse July 26th _____[1]

Mr L C Keith, Galesburgh, MI

Dear Sir

Your welcome favor came duly to hand and was perused with interest. Galesburgh and inhabitants apparently is about the same as in Days of Yore except a few necessary changes which would naturally occur such as matrimonial alliances &c.[2] Your health I was glad to hear was improving. I think the West would agree with you much better. Mine is (par excellence) no fault to find. Our business is very good and prospects much better this Fall as the Milwaukee and LaCrosse Rail Road will reach this point in about two Weeks (months) and terminate here. For the present the Iron Horse will soon be bowing its Head over the Banks of the Broad Mississippi and then there will be fun (Hurrah for __emont). As regards the agricultural interests in this vicinity is very flattering. I understand Crops looking well and prospects of a plentiful harvest. I was up to Black River Falls some fifty miles above here where we had a small store conducted by Mr Stanley[3] for a short time and was doing well. I had a journeyman to assist me here but having enough for three to attend to at Home consequently had to close that up. I passed through beautiful sections of Farming Country with Glowing Fields of Grain and far as my experience would teach me everything looked finally finely especially Wheat and Oats. Corn rather delinquent. Your Watch please send that in most any morning Rep[?] free of Charge (regular Watch makers) the Best the City affords (so say the Journals). Should be glad to see you up this way some time perhaps would not suit you at all though (tell Sarah).[4] I received A letter from Mother[5] the other Day. She seems to be well contented. She seems to enjoy herself better since putting on the Bridle robe. The (Old Elder[6]) just suits her I guess). She can go to meeting all the time if she choses. Well, I am glad of it. Nothing suites me better. She had lots of trouble before. Her and Lousea[7] did not Hitch exactly living under the same roof. Louise is A Good Girl though (I liked her much). Please remember me to all and answer soon again.

To Luke


[1] D. C.’s handwriting is hard to decipher and so could not make out the date. Someone had written 1857 on the envelope; however, the mention of his mother’s recent marriage, which was November 8, 1857, would place this letter in 1858

[2] Et cetera

[3] David was in partnership with George Stanley selling watches, clocks and jewelry (see business card, the back of which reads “Compliments of the Firm, D. C. C.”)

[4] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Luke’s wife, and D. C.’s sister

[5] Nancy Comfort (Crawford) Betts

[6] Nancy’s husband, Platt Betts

[7] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, his brother Robert’s wife