June 24, 1912 letter to James Keith from Nancy Brown

June 24, 1912

To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Their company is leaving one day sooner than they expected, so if Winifred can be reached, tell her they would be glad for her and Kirk to come for a visit.

Scan of 1912-06-24 – Nancy Brown to James Keith

Monday Aftern[1]

Dear brother & sister[2]

Our company leave tomor one day sooner than we expected. If you can reach Winnifred[3] by letter, please do so and tell them we will be very glad to see them. We fell so badly that we could not have them as they planed. Now they are both maried[4] hope they will all be very happy. Let us know if they can come and have them do so if possible.

In haste. Love to all.



[1] The envelope is postmarked June 25, 1912; Monday was the 24th

[2] James & Cora (Meredith) Keith

[3] Jim & Cora’s oldest daughter, and Nancy’s niece

[4] Winifred married Kirk Brouard on June 19, 1912

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

June 24, 1912 letter to James Keith from Ethan Keith

June 24, 1912


To: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI


From: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI


Is writing to give him Henry Keith’s address; doesn’t know what Ray Keith’s address is. Received the announcement of Winifred and Kirk Brouard’s marriage. Mr. Brouard seemed like a nice man. Uncle Hiram is visiting; will go to Uncle Henry’s tomorrow. Hiram has neuralgia in his right eye and kidney trouble. Lela Brown and Lou Mueller were married Saturday. “It’s quite a good deal for one to have two nephews in a week.”

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blogsite. Click here to read the letter.

Posted in 1910 Letters | Leave a comment

May 19, 1912 letter to James & Cora Keith from Nancy Brown

May 19, 1912

To: James & Cora Keith, Shelbyville, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

These are sad anniversary days for Nancy as it has been 11 years since her husband, Hank, died. Lela is going to be married soon, probably around the middle of June as her future mother- and sister-in-law are sailing for Europe around the 29th and they want them to be married before they go. Lou is boarding with them and it is nice having a man around to do the heavy work. Writes about Harold Brown’s accident.

Scan of 1912-05-19 Nancy Brown to James Keith

Sunday May 19” 1912

Dear ones all,

These are sad anniversary days for me. Eleven years to day you were with us. Hank[1] lay on the lounge, the last day he had his clothes on. This has been a very busy spring with us. I guess its the same with nearly evry one. I hope you dont think my writing for the money for Lela[2] as I did was a bluff. We were just as sincere about it as could be and we expected and planed for that. The one she was going in business got a man with plenty of money so took him. Lela understood the business pretty well but of course could not put up the cash. I presume you know she is going to be married soon.[3] I think about the middle of June, though there is nothing posative. Lous mother[4] and sister[5] sail for Europe about the twenty ninth. They want them to be married before they go. We wont have a wedding. We are so far from home, those we would want could not all come and we dont care to make a splurge any way. Lou[6] is boarding with us. Came when Bess[7] moved. It was nessary for us to have some one & he would pay same as any one else. Beside helping with our cleaning and doing a lot of things a man can do to help if they want to & have the time. He is quite handy to help, and as we had lots of heavy hard work to do in the way of house cleaning and getting settled again after Bessies moving I have found it very convenient to have a man around who could drive a nail or help move some heavy piece of furniture. Seems more like living again. I am planning to go to Michigan[8] after they are married, but dont think I can go till some time in July. Lizzie, Harold and Ruth[9] are in Michigan I suppose though Will[10] said he expected Lizzie and Harold home the last of the week. I wrote home[11] of Harolds terrible accident.[12] Told Hannah[13] to send the letter to you and Lou,[14] as I could not write it again. He is disfigured for life. He feels it to, dont like to have any one look at him. He was a brave thoughtful boy with all his sufferings.

Here it is Thursday. Bess, the children[15] and I went out to Claudes[16] Sunday after dinner. I had to leave this and there has been some thing to keep me from finishing since.

Sunday the 26. This is like a diary. Will finish and send to night. Hannah wrote Winnie[17] was home with a bad arm caused from vacination. Had to go home. That is all I’ve heard. Hope she is all right again. How is your mother[18] since Marion[19] went away. I know its awful lonesome for her & I would think Marion would be lonesome. I have not seen Ruth since she was married[20] but Winnie says she is very happy, has a nice home, five room flat out on Leland Ave. Winnie is with Alice. I am invited there to lunch one day this week. Uncle Hi[21] is getting better, so he is up, but has been very sick, no hopes of him some of the time. Mary Herten[?] & Gladys are with Jen & “Trat.” She is helping Jen. Expect to stay all summer. This is quite a letter (for length). Dont know as you can read it. Will let you know when Lela is to be married when it is decided. Jay McIntyre is to be married the twelvth of June, maries a Vicksburg girl.[22] I see by the paper Frank Ford & Edna Townsend are to be married in June.[23] I hope this finds you all well. With love from us all to all.

From sister Nan


[1] Her husband, Henry Brown, who died May 22, 1901

[2] Her daughter, Lela Brown

[3] Lela and Louis Mueller were married June 22, 1912

[4] Augusta (Ficke) Mueller

[5] Most likely Alice Mueller

[6] Louis Mueller

[7] Her daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[8] Where her siblings lived

[9] Her brother-in-law’s family: Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown and her children, Charles Harold Brown and Ruth Brown

[10] Her brother-in-law, Willis Brown

[11] She often referred to her childhood home as “home.” Her brother, Ethan, and sister, Hannah, lived in the family home

[12] Charles Harold Brown skipped school one day and went downtown. He got on an elevator and the doors closed on him and tore his ear, scalp and forehead. He was taken to a downtown hospital where they just lapped the skin over to hold it together. After that healed his eye and ear were out of shape and it had to be reopened and his skin grafted to put them in the right position. He was around 13 years old at the time

[13] Her sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[14] Her sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[15] Bess’ children, Dorothy and Robert Recoschewitz

[16] Her son, Claude Brown

[17] Jim & Cora’s daughter, Winifred (Keith) Brouard

[18] Cora’s mother, Malvina (Johnson) Meredith

[19] Cora’s sister, Marion. She had recently married Harlow Rice on April 10, 1912

[20] Her cousin Ruth Crawford. She married Arthur Franckenberg on April 27, 1912

[21] Her uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[22] Michigan marriage records show that he married Bessie Ramsdell in Vicksburg, Michigan on June 12, 1912

[23] Michigan marriage records show they were married June 12, 1912 in Galesburg, Michigan

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March 3, 1912 letter to Ethan Keith from Louese Harris

March 3, 1912 To: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI Blog Date: 06-28-2022 Louese is sending her idea for an improvement to kitchen cabinets and she would like Ethan to consider helping her get a patent for it. 1912-03-03 Louese Harris to Ethan Keith Sunday 3.40 P.M.[1] Dear Bro. I happen to be all alone excepting that Floyd[2] is up stairs. And I want to write this letter before any body comes. My new Kitchen Cabinet has been the means of developing an idea in my head that I wish to transmit to you and then will expect you to help me out in bring the thing in to visibility and use, after which we’ll make our fortunes out of it providing there is nothing like it in the Patent offices. I’m not much of a hand at drawing but hope to do well enough at it so you will understand. I will send a cut of a cabinet nearly like mine – the object being simply to show you where the flour bin is. That being fastened on each side of bottom to a spiral spring which is fastened to back of cabinet or rather the sides. You can pull it over on to the floor or nearly so when you wish to fill it. Then it easily swings back in to place with a little lifting on your part. After the flour has been put in the bin it soon packs so closely that after what was in to the sifter has been sifted out you have to pull the bin out enough to reach over in there with a long spoon and stir it up so it falls in to the center again. Once in a while a little knock on the bin will jar it down but not very often & I dont like to do that for fear of breaking the glass. Now what I want is an arrangement that will revolve in the center, stirring the flour up and can be put in motion by having a little handle at top of door fastened to a rod that works on the same principle as an egg beater does. Then have a spiral run the whole length of the rod that runs up & down on three or four fans at the lower end of rod just which you would think the best. Now if you’ll find out if there is any thing like it on the market I mean in the patent office, and if there is’nt let me know what you think about it and if you’ll make a model. Then I’ll trust to luck to getting it patented. I’ve got a buggy here I’ll sell & I think D[3] would help out on it too. Maybe with this & the comb[4] you’ll get rich before you know it. I’ll stand the expense and then you name what share you want. I’ve not told any one of it but Mildred[5] so they can’t have any fun yet at my expense & of course you’ll keep it under your hat. You can burn this up. [see drawing] This does not open. The front of my flour bin is glass with little frame work about 2 in wide. [see ad] This is not nearly as nice as mine but shows where the flour bin is. I’ve marked at the top of bin where the little knob & crank would be – but would it do just as well to have the arrangement just in the lower part of the bin then have knob at the bottom as I have _____. ——- [1] While the letter isn’t dated, the envelope bears a postmark of March 8, 1912, and though not signed, it was written by Louese Harris [2] Her son, Floyd Harris [3] Her husband, Daniel “D” Harris [4] See November 6, 1910 letter from their half-brother Henry Keith regarding a patent for a curry comb [5] Her daughter, Mildred Harris
Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

March 2, 1912 letter to Daniel & Louese Harris from Parsons Mining Company

March 2, 1912

To: Daniel & Louese Harris

From: Parsons Mining Company, Mishawaka, IN

Letter to Stockholders.


Several members of the family invested in the Parsons Mining Company. The following was found at thediggings.com/mines: The Parsons Gold Mine is near Nogal, New Mexico. Historically the site has been associated with the Nogal Mining District which is now part of the Lincoln National Forest. The site was first discovered in 1886 by R. C. Parsons. The Parsons Gold Mine was closed at the time of data entry with no known plans to re-open. Past operations took place from 1887 to 1933. Production size when active was considered to be small. According to Wikipedia, it was historically known as the Hopeful Lode.

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

February 19, 1912 letter to Ethan Keith from James Keith

February 19, 1912

To: Ethan Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: James Keith, Shelbyville, MI

Jim has been working on the mail route. The weather has been pretty bad; was 28 below on Saturday. Walter went to Kalamazoo Saturday afternoon. It was his first trip alone. Winifred gets pretty homesick. She doesn’t like where she is as well as she did on the farm.

Scan of 1912-02-19 James Keith to Ethan Keith

Shelbyvill Feb 19/12

Dear Brother

Well try and write you this eve. I onley wish that I was better about writing but somehow I can not get at it. I Suppose of course you know I have been on the mail rout. Started the 26th of Jan. got through Sat. some pretty bad days week last Saturday morning was 28 below at gun lake, 22 at Shelby.[1] I have been and all of us real well this winter. Never was the children as free from cold as thay have this winter.  Walter and Wilma[2] have not missed a day at school this year yet. Walter went to Kalamazoo Sat. afternoon come back on the eveing train. He would of liked to went to the burg[3] and stayed over sunday with you and Hannah[4] but this was his first trip alone and we thought he had better wait and see how he made this one. I got the coat all right and many thanks for it, it fit me fine. I have a rooster for you and if I ever come down I will bring it. The one I had saved for you got hurt some how and died. This one is out of the same lot onley he is not quite as large. If it is so I can get away I may be down Sat. I have set a time so many times since last fall to go and something would happen. I made up my mind I would not set any time again. Dont look for me. If I do come will phone you from Kal.[5] Winifred[6] I guess gets pretty homesick sometimes dont like it where she is as well as she did at the farm. Walter just got home 10. PM been out with his girl. Will try and see you before long. Good bye.



[1] Shelbyville, Michigan

[2] His children, Walter, who was 14 years old, and Wilma, who was 6 years old

[3] Galesburg, Michigan

[4] Hannah (Keith) Towne, Jim and Ethan’s sister. Ethan and Hannah lived together on the family homestead

[5] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[6] His oldest daughter, Winifred, who was 19 years old

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

February 19, 1912 letter to Oscar Keith from Florida Laramore

February 19, 1912  

To: Oscar Keith, Bloomingdale, MI

From: Florida Laramore, Cartersville, GA

An in-depth account of her branch of the Keith family and requesting information from Oscar. The first mention she has of a Keith is when King Malcolm Knighted the Prince of the Charter as Sir Robert Keith in 1005 for killing the Danish Gen. who had invaded Scotland.

Scan of 1912-02-19 Oscar Keith to Ethan Keith

Cartersville, Ga
Feb. 19th 1912

Mr James O. Keith[1]
Bloomingdale, Mich.

Dear Sir:

Your most kind letter of Jan. 17th was received and was of much interest to me. I had never heard of the two brothers William and Matthew Keith you tell me about who came to Mass in 1635. As William and Matthew both are names that occur in almost every family record I have [of] my family of Keiths it seems probable that these were also my ancestors too. John and Amos were names also that appear often in my family. I have two uncles now living in California one is John Matthew Keith and the other William Amos Keith. In my family also it was uncommon for there to be ten to fourteen children and accualy any of my older generation had less than eight. There were preachers among mine too and there is now living in a neighboring town one of my relatives a young Baptist preacher named Matthew Keith and there was invariably was a Matthew in the older generations – also John, William, George, Allen, Cornelius, James and Amos were the most common in our family.

This Mr Almer Keith[2] of Lincoln Nebraska is not Mr A. L. Keith who was originally from ___ ___ Kans. and later of the University of Chicago but stil later a Prof in a college in Northfield Minn. is he? I have letters from A. L. Keith the latest dated Mch. 26th 1911 and written from Northfield. I did not know if he might have changed his residence to Lincoln Neb. since the date of his last letter to me. This A. L. Keith seems to be well posted in Keith history but he has never mentioned to me that he had been in Scotland. If he and Mr Almer Keith are two different men, then I will be glad to write to Mr Almer Keith, as you suggest.

Another thing you mention that fits my family of Keiths is that I have never heard of one of them who are not good heirs of upright honor and truthful even to bluntness sometimes. One of my mother brothers was an officer in the Mexican War when he was just of age and four other brothers still younger than _____ the Mexican _____ officers were officers in the war between the states & there was at least a half doz of her relatives who were also officers in this same war some Maj some Capt & Cols. The Cornelius Keith who was born in 1743 was and officer in the Revolutions War and some of his sons were in the war of 1812. So the last Earl Marachals were not the only fighters in the Keith name. But in time of peace there has never been more law abiding and gentler _____ men & women than my people and several have held most responsible positions that were in the gifts of their fellow men. Most of the older ones especially and still is to be noticed in the younger ones of my family of Keiths have a partilarly bright blue an gray blue eyes that often take on a steely look in excitement or anger there hair is usualy bright color.

I had never heard of the Keiths of the such century you mention as a nobleman of Norway, the first mention I have any history of a Keith is when King Malcolm Knighted the Prince of the Charter as Sir Robert Keith in 1005 for killing the Danish Gen. who had invaded Scotland. The tradition in my family is that our ancestors came from Loch Lomond in Scotland but I am unable to find out the name of the first one who came over or where he first settled though it has been generaly stated that he came first to Va. and then to N.C. and on to S.C. I have learned that in St Marys Co Md in 1697, James, son of George Keith was heir of Cornelius Walkinson so it is possible that this James Keith would name a son for the man who left him an estate – then in Bristol Parish Va. I find this – “Sam son of Cornelius & Elizabeth Keith was born 13th Dec. 1725.” This may be where the Cornelius name started in my family but while George and James are common enough with me I have never heard of a Sam Keith. Can you give me any names of your ancestors or relatives of early date who went to Md and Va.? And do you know from what part of Scotland the first William and Matthew came from? I have and old letter from Mrs Merrell of 3/ Minars who was Miss Addie Keith the letter was written in 1898 and she is a cousin of Walter J. Keith the architect of Minneapolis Minn. She claims as her ancestor a Rev. James Keith of Bridgewater Mass who came to America from Aberdeen College Scotland in 1662 at the age of eighteen. He was pastor of the Bridgewater church 36 years. He married Susanna Edson and they had eight children.[3] This lady enclosed a small piece of the Keith plaid she had procured in Edinburgh Scotland she said after much search.” It was not large enough to show full plaid* but the colors are dark blue and greens very pretty. She may have been mistaken about this Rev. James coming himself from Scotland and he may have been a cousin of your ancestor Matthew who came to Mass. in 1635. Possibly you will be able to clear this up. I believe you can told my husband[4] that you have a Keith coat-of-arms.** Will you describe yours to me. I have seen the different kinds both called the Keith coat-of-arms. Did you have yours painted or how did you secure it. You did not say if you knew anything of the history or traditions of William and Matthew before they came to America or from what part of Scotland they were from. I will not bother you further this time but as you can see I never know when to stop when I start genealogy.

I am Most Sincerely

Florida L Laramore[5]

Mrs. W.P.L.

Cartersville, Ga.


[1] James Oscar Keith; he went by the name of Oscar

[2] See January 9, 1890 letter to Ethan Keith from Aylmer Keith and May 25, 1908 letter to Oscar Keith from Ethan Keith

[3] Rev. James Keith & Susanna Edson were Oscar’s 4th great-grandparents

[4] William Packingham Laramore

[5] Lucinda Florida (Stephens) Laramore. The relationship between Oscar and Florida is unknown at this time

This letter is among several which were loaned to Jim & Ruth (Stankey) Keith, probably back in the 1980s, by Ella Nola (Curtis) Eaton, whose husband, Clifford Eaton, was the great-great-grandson of James “Oscar” & Mary Ann (Batey) Keith. This is a photocopy of Ruth’s handwritten copy of the letter. Note: Jim Keith is the great-grandson of Charles Luke Keith Jr., who was James “Oscar” Keith’s uncle.

Keith plaid      Keith Coat of Arms

* KEITH PLAID                                                   ** KEITH COAT OF ARMS

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall 1911 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Brown

Fall 1911


To: Nancy Brown


From: Lela Brown


Writes about clothes she and Bess are sending to Nancy. She visited Uncle Hiram. Blanche isn’t going home until after Thanksgiving so Nancy should be home in time to see her before she returns home. Writes about sharing a room with Dorothy and the two of them eating apples after they go to bed. Nancy then adds her own news and forwards the letter to Hannah.

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blogsite. Click here to read the letter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 28, 1911 Postcard to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

August 28, 1911

To: Nancy Brown, Galesburg, MI

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

Postcard with updates on her children, niece Winifred, and granddaughter, Louise.

Scan of 1911-08-28 Louese Harris to Nancy Brown 

Shelbyville Aug 28, 1911

Dear Sister

I’ve nothing to write about so will just send card to night. We’ve not rec’d a word from Floyd[1] this week but “no news is good news.” Mildred[2] goes to the farmers picnic at Gun Lake to morrow, it opened to day, so I expect to be alone. Did you member that yesterday was Winnies[3] birthday. The baby[4] is beginning to laugh and is very cute of course. Mildred went down about 9 oclock last night and got her. She sleeps a great deal through the day – is awake evenings but sleeps good nights. Hope you’re all well.



[1] Her son, Floyd Harris

[2] Her daughter, Mildred Harris

[3] Winifred Keith, the daughter of their brother, James Keith; she turned 19

[4] Her granddaughter, Louise Boyer, who was born July 13, 1911

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

June 9, 1911 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

June 9, 1911

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne

From: Nancy Brown

She has been at Claude’s helping take care of Eda, but she will be going home to have her teeth fixed, then will be coming to visit them. Claude is thinking of selling and then boarding until Eda gets better. Nancy wants to know if they would take Claude’s dog, Brownie, if he does sell.

Scan of 1911-06-09 Nancy Brown to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne

Friday June 10 9TH 1911

At Claudes

Dear ones all,

I dont know as if the girls[1] have written this week or not. Bess phoned the eggs came Monday, said she was going to try and write a few lines. I may not see the postman this morning if not you wont get this till Monday. Eda[2] has not been so well, has not been down stairs since Monday. I am going home tomoro, may have to come back, but have to go on acount of my teeth. Carrie will come the last of next week. I will go to Mich as soon as my teeth are fixed. I have made a hit Hannah with an other young doctor, Edas doctor, he is about Dr Rogers age. He wants I should stay here. Says I’m just the one &c,[3] but I’m not going to. I’ll be home[4] as soon as I can. I dont know just what they will do here, doctor says Mrs N[5] must not come back. I’ll tell you when I see you. She makes Eda awful nervous. Dont say any thing but Claude[6] is going to sell if he can, is going in business for him self this fall[7] wheather he sells or not, but if he sells will probly board till Eda gets better. I cant tell write you but can tell you all about it. Eda cant be left alone now, sits up some, can wait on her self but some one has to be with her or in the house. They would get a girl but she would go all to pieces to have a stranger, for no knowing what she would take or brake. I have not heard but presume Uncle Hi[8] will be with you tomoro as he planed to go the tenth. If I had been home would have telephoned him. If they leave here, would you consider we write of taking Brownie. He is an awful nice Collie dog, and they think so much of him hate to think of strangers having him. He is a small eater. They never give him meat but cooked bones[?] or bones from meet[?] some times. I dont want to get you in trouble, but he is a good watch dog, and I would feel better if you had such a dog. Always sleeps in house on the floor, never gets up on any thing. Claude would pay tax of course. Now dont think you have to. I only just suggested it. I dont suppose Lou or Jim[9] would want him. Did I tell you my teeth are going to cost $30.00 but Claude is going to pay it. Claude says the new station is great. I want to see it before I go home, then I can tell you about it. The postman is coming. Hope this finds you better. Love to all.


Hope to hear good news from you when I get home. Two weeks since I saw a letter from there. Bess said one came Monday.


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

[2] Her daughter-in-law, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[3] Etc.

[4] Ethan and Hannah still lived in the family farm where they all grew up and Nancy very often referred to it as “home”

[5] Eda’s mother, Valentina (Seifert) Neumaier

[6] Her son, Claude Brown. Eda was his wife

[7] The Bonnet-Brown Corporation. Claude’s death notice stated that he was “one of the best known commercial artists in Chicago and for twenty-five years was secretary treasury [sic] of the Bonnet-Brown Corporation.”

[8] Their mother’s brother, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[9] Their younger sister and brother, Louese (Keith) Harris and James Keith

Posted in 1910 Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment