July 25, 1902 letter to Sarah Keith from Angelina Lacey

July 25, 1902

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Angelina Lacey, Flushing, MI

Sympathizes on loss of loved ones. Hannah Comfort and her sister live in St. Catharines, Ontario, with their brother, Dr. John. He’s a widower. She wants to know if Hiram is alive. Doesn’t know if her brothers, Thomas and Edward, are dead or alive. Edward served in the war and was discharged in San Francisco. She has inquired at the Pension Department but there was no information on him.

Scan of 1902-07-25 Angelina Lacey to Sarah Keith

Flushing, July 25, 1902

Dear Cousin

I received your very kind letter. Was much pleased. Can sympathize with you in the loss of your loved ones[1] but we trust they are better of that it is our loss and their gain although we miss them so much. I never met your Brother Hiram[2] but I know him through Mother[3] and think one of the noblest of men. I wish there where more like him and his wife[4]. I hope he will yet meet with succes and regain his property or money and health. I live alone. My health is some better. I am resting from some of my trouble and excitement. Had no sleep night or day for 8 years[5] only as I could catch a little now and then and excited all the time and I think this rest has saved my life and reason I take a cold bath every day. I have not been to my Daughter[6] for a year, about 100 miles. Think I will go this summer. Her and her Husband[7] have very poor health. She has three children, all girls, the oldest 18 years old.[8] You spoke of Hannah Comfort[9]. She and her sister yonger[10] lives in St Catharines Ontario with Dr John[11], their brother. He is a widdower. I have just writen him. We corrospond some times. I have just writen to my Daughter, so this is the third I have writen this afternoon and as I am nervous, it shows in my writing. You asked me about Unkle Stevens[12] Daughter. I never correspond with her so I could not give you her address. Mother got the glasses and I paid about 2.00 dollars and got them mended for her and she wore them till she died. Then I gave them to my Daughter. She has them now but only as a keep sake as they are very old fashoned. I hope you can read this and if you let me know how to find you if I ever come that way I will call on you or make you a short visit and when you write, let me know (where) your brother Hiram lives and if I go to Chicago I would call on them. You see I am all alone, do not know anything about Brother Thommas[13], if he is living or dead, or Brother Edward[14]. He went to war and was Discharged in Sanfrancisco. I have made inquirn at the Pention Department but can not get any tidings. I will close. Will be glad to hear from you at any time it is convenient to write.

Very truly your cousin

Mrs A. Lacey


[1] Sarah’s brother D. C. Crawford and her son-in-law Henry Brown

[2] Hiram Crawford Jr.

[3] Mary (Comfort) Wickersham. Mary was a sister of Sarah’s mother, Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[5] See her March 7, 1902 letter in which she writes about caring for her invalid husband

[6] Alberta (Lacey) McConnell

[7] James McConnell

[8] Angelina, Lila and Ellena McConnell

[9] Hannah Comfort was a daughter of Francis and Jemima (Wilcox) Comfort. Francis was an older brother of Sarah’s mother, Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[10] Hannah’s younger sister was Nancy Comfort

[11] Dr. John Comfort was a son of Francis and Jemima (Wilcox) Comfort.

[12] Stephen Comfort, Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts’s youngest brother

[13] Thomas Wickersham

[14] Edward Wickersham

September 9, 1884 letter to Sarah Keith from Mary Wickersham

September 9, 1884

To: Sarah Keith

From: Mary Wickersham, Waukegan, IL

She received Sarah’s letter of July 21 telling her of Nancy’s death. She wrote to Stephen telling him. Says her “time is next by age.”

1884-09-09 1884-09-09B 1884-09-09C 1884-09-09D

Ill, Waukegan Sept 9 /84

Sarah my dear Niece,

Your most welcome letter was duly received mailed the 21 of July. It touched my feelings very much for they where so like your own only I can realise that she is dead[1]. I can picture in my imagination her body lying in the grave mouldering to dust but it always looks light there in the night. I often when awake think of her. The same light appears in my mind because I know that Jesus laid in the tomb lighten and made it a resting place for the bodies of those who has believed in and excepted Him as their salvation. Her soul is safe with Him in whom she bleived and as He arose the third day and triumphed over Death, hell and the grave, so in the morning of the resurrection we are told in Gods word that all who sleep in Jesus untill the time when He will come to Judge the world in righteousness then will the trump of the arch Angle sound forth and awake the sleeping dust. The dead in Christ will rise first, their glorified bodies like unto their saviors in the twinkling of an eye. The Apostle sais body and soul shall unite and be caught up with the Lord in the air. So shall we ever be with him. What glorious thruths such causes light to shine on my pathway of lonelyness toil and sorrow buoys up my sinking spirits and enables me to look forward with antisipated hope of rest with Jesus and all the blood washed throng which John in his vision saw standing on the sea of glass who had come out of great tribulation having washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. These truths I meditate on by day an night when awake or I would long since been in the insane Asylum or sleeping in the grave. These thoughts make it look so light to me when I look in your Mothers grave which often do. The darkest night it is always light. I seem to see her so plain always have since her death.

Dear Niece dont think because have been slow in answering your kind letter that it was carelessness or lack of sympathy. No far from that. I am as anxious to keep up correspondence as you and will as long as able so to do. Was sick in the spring, sick spells often, over worked some times, because of age alone. None to do a chore but myself. Last winter had nine correspondence, now have five. Will drop more. The lady who lives in part of the same house with me has been sick for nine weeks. Three weeks and half since she was taken to a friends house to be nursed. For five weeks I done her work and mine and and waited on her throug the day. Now I have the care of her house, also watering her plants with my own. It is hard for me so you can see why I have not written sooner. Br S.[2] wrote to me as he said. I answered and told him of your Mothers death. Hope you are all well as usual. Write soon. I like to hear from you. It will not be long. My time is next by age. Oh I long to rest. With much love to you all.

Yours Affectionately

M W Wickersham

[to] Sarah Keith

[1] Mary is referring to her sister, Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts, who died June 4, 1884.

[2] Brother, Stephen Comfort

Winter/Spring 1884 letter to Nancy Betts and Sarah Keith from Stephen Comfort

Winter/Spring 1884

To: Nancy Betts and Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Stephen Comfort, Northboro, IA

Was glad to hear that Nancy’s health was improving. Is thinking of going back to Canada. Last July a tornado destroyed all the crops. In February he helped his grandson move to Nebraska by driving his team while his grandson drove the stock. They were on the road six days in cold weather and it affected his health. He is getting better now.



Dear Sister

Your letter of the 20th January last was duly received written by your daughter[3], my respected niece, which informed me of your sickness but that you was slightly better when she wrote which I was rejoiced to hear. We cant expect to get up as soon as in youth but even though the constitution may long hold out and health continue yet advancing years bring with them infirmity and decay which point in no doubtful manner to the close of life. I myself am very sensible of it. Yes, the flattened eye, requiring the opticians aid; the ear failing in its sensibility to sound; the palate loosing its keen relish to savory viands and the olfactories of sweet odours; the blood coursing sluggishly along the vains; the brain torpid and heavy in its movements; and the shrunk mussels easily tired and moving heavily the failing limb – all, all tell the traveller that he has almost reached the end of his journey. But we know that there is a world where there is no sickness and we trust it will be our inheritance. O, with what earnest desire do the Christians thoughts stretch forward and anticipate the time when he shall enter the building of God – the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Once, in the buoyancy of health and youth this world put on enchanting smiles, but now the dream is passed by and heaven only is clothed in beauty.

I have some idea of going back to Canada soon. And when I do I shall see you all once more.

To My Dear Niece

I do assure you your letter of 20th Jany last was received and very welcome though unexpected as we had never corresponded though I was none the less gratified to hear from you all particularly.  Sorry to hear of your ill healths but anxiously hope you have all fully recovered. I presume the weight of years is beginning to tell on him. Mr. Keith[4], I am refering to, hopeing his health has improved. Now Dear Sarah C, I beg you will [not] let the thought enter your mind that I am forgetting you in consequence of my negligence in not writing sooner or when I should have done so. The only palliation I have to offer is that we are three miles from store or post office. I have frequently written and dated letters and not have an opportunity to get them mailed until they would become too old and then thrown asside, but beg your forgiveness knowing to err is human; to forgive divine. I will try to be more punctual in future.

We have had a very severe winter here but not over two inches snow at any time though frequent flurries but would go off before any more come. The lowest the mercury indicated with us was 28° below zero. I have realized the cold here as much if not more than in Canada. This Prarie wind is what plays the duce with me. We had on the eleventh of last July a sweeping tornado with heavy hail cutting all the crops to the ground. Elias[5] had about sixty acres of corn literally destroyed. Also wheat and oats. He gathered of corn about eight hundred bushels when a common yield would have given him four thousand. The storm was so severe we fled to the cellar for safty.

My health has been only midling not having been serious ill at any time. I took a trip of to Nebraska in February. Elias’s son[6] sold out and went there. I drove his team out while he drove his stock. We were six day on the road. It was rather too big an undertaking in cold weather. It set pretty hard for a while but I am comeing up again. It is getting warm and that agrees best with me.

Now Dear Niece I have stretched this out pretty well and conclude to wind up by requesting to be rembered to all enquiring friends. And my highest esteem to your self & husband. And regards to sons and daughter though not having had the pleasure of meeting her.

And may the blessing of God rest upon all is the sincere wish of your most affectionate uncle.


To my respected Niece Mrs. Sarah C. Keith Galesburg, Mic

[1] Believe this might have been written in late winter or early spring 1884 based on other letters concerning Nancy’s ill health

[2] Northboro, Iowa

[3] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

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

[5] Stephen’s son, Elias Woodruff Comfort

[6] Charles Comfort. Charles’ son Merton was born in March 1882 in Iowa, while his daughter Minnie was born in April 1885 in Nebraska, which suggests this letter was written sometime between that time period. Charles’ youngest son, Claude was born in Northboro, Iowa, so it appears that the family left Nebraska and returned to Iowa sometime after April of 1885