January 2, 1900 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Oscar Keith

January 2, 1900

To: Luke & Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Oscar Keith, Bloomingdale, MI

Congratulating them on their 50th wedding anniversary.

Scan of 1900-01-02 Oscar Keith to Luke & Sarah Keith

B,dale Jany 2d 1900

C. L. Keith and Wife

Dear Uncle and Aunt

I thought I would write a few lines to you and congratulate you on your Golden Wedding[1] and on your happy privilege of living in two centuries 1800-1900. That is a privilege that but few have especially when considering your age. If I mistake not you are in your 87th year.[2] We are well as usual and hope that you are the same and hope that you will continue to enjoy the blessings of life for manny years yet. We received the Galesburgh paper Ethan[3] sent to us. Was glad to hear of the happy family gathering you had at your home the 14th of Nov. I can immagine somewhat of your feelings and emotions as you looked around upon your children, Grand children and Great grand children who came to you with their offerings of love and affection. I am sorry that James[4] and Henry[5] were not with you. It would have been so pleasant to have greeted the one who has been so long away in the far west.[6] I should have felt as though you had been more than blessed if they all could have been with you but you had a goodly number as it was. I would have like to have looked in upon you and enjoyed the happy fellowship of meeting kindred and friends. How are the Milhams?[7] Are there any more of the children married yet? When you see them give them our love and respects. I trust that you had a Merry Xmas and Happy New Years. I will close with love and friendship to all. Write soon. Good by for this time. Come and see us when you can. May blessing be showered upon you is my prayer.

Your Nephew



[1] They were married on November 14, 1849

[2] Luke was born October 15, 1813

[3] Luke & Sarah’s son, Ethan Keith

[4] Luke & Sarah’s son, James Keith, who lived in Chicago, Illinois

[5] Henry L. Keith, Luke’s son by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[6] Henry moved out to California in the fall of 1880

[7] The family of Martin & Lucy (Lee) Milham. Lucy was the daughter of Luke’s sister, Catherine (Keith) Bradley Lee, and she and Martin had 9 children before she died September 22, 1884

[8] James “Oscar” Keith, the son of Luke’s brother, Harvey Keith, and Alfleda Starr

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Changes to This Site

This blogsite was originally for letters from the 1920s, however as I have completed my other blogsites containing letters from the 1800s, I am now going to be posting letters and diary entries starting with 1900 here. As the site progresses, I will review posts previously entered here and make any needed corrections or add footnotes and then update so that all posts are in chronological order.

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September 10, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from LaVerne Boyer

September 10, 1924

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: LaVerne Boyer, Shelbyville, MI

LaVerne’s 40th birthday. She received many nice gifts. Mildred likes her rooms. Carol stayed with her for a few nights. Mamma would like to visit Mildred but doesn’t think she can climb the stairs. Winona started school. Papa is okay but tires easily. Uncle Jim had a hard cold.

Sept. 10th. 1924.

Dear Aunt Nan.

Considering that its my 40th birthday anniversary I thought that I ought to do something unusual to celebrate the occasion & I can’t think of anything more unusual for me to do than to answer your letter promptly and I think you’ll agree with me.

Your letter arrived this A.M. I thought I had got some birthday card allright but the letter suited me best. When you get this you’ll know that you havn’t got anything on me when it comes to stationery. The girls gave it to me for Xmas & it certainly is the limit for size. I won’t be sorry when it is used up.

I received two very nice presents. Mamma[1] gave me a cedar chest & Papa[2] a string of pearl beads. I was surprised all right & I felt as tho they hadn’t ought to have done it.

 I told them they had got something ahead of them for the next 10 years if they do as well by the rest. Louese[3] gave me a bottle of perfume & Carol[4] a teapot. I guess Doc[5] hasn’t selected a present yet but he’s promised me $100.00 if the onions turn out all right, or the price, rather, so I don’t care.

Well the visit the folks made seems like a dream. We were sorry they couldn’t have stayed longer. Dorothy[6] will think that was a bluff as none of us urged them to stay as Lela[7] said they ought to go home on Tuesday. I should think Joe[8] would have been too tired to work.

I wondered why they did not get home earlier but as you did not mention their having any trouble I decided they must have had to stop at Bessies[9] quite a while to get Robert[10] out of the car, that is, if it was as difficult to get him out as it was to get him into it.

The little fuss that there was over the G R[11] trip did not amount to anything. Everything is lovely now.

Carol went to Kazoo.[12] Thur. & stayed until Sunday P.M. Mildred[13] wanted someone with her the first few nights. Carol thinks her rooms are pleasant & that she (Mildred) will like it there.

Mamma received a letter from M. yesterday said she slept fine Sunday night so I guess she will be all right. Aunt Em & Etta[14] came up Sunday. Mildred let us know so Mamma was ready for them. Otherwise it would have been hard for her. I hope she can go to Kal. & take some treatments before cold weather. She thinks she can’t get up the stairs to M’s rooms but perhaps she can if she takes a treatment first. I think she feels quite well except for the lameness. She is making cucumber pickles this afternoon. Papa is feeling better but tires easily.

Uncle Jim[15] had a hard cold last week & it affected his breathing so that he sat up Sunday night. Did not work Monday, but Tuesday said he was feeling all right again.

Winona[16] started in school at Martin Monday. I hope she can go until she finishes.

You did not say anything about your eyes so I take it for granted that they are better. I hope so anyway.

I am so sorry about Lou[17] I don’t know what to say only that I hope conditions will change for the better before many months for it is so hard for Lela.

I presume Helen[18] was too sleepy to run the music box when they got home. Didn’t it make you have a home sick feeling? It did me when it went.

I think I had better bring this to a close or you won’t want me to write again. I hope you will be out here for a visit before many weeks.

Thank you for your birthday greeting.

With love to all

from LaVerne


[1] Louese (Keith) Harris

[2] Daniel D. Harris

[3] LaVerne’s daughter, Louise Boyer

[4] LaVerne’s daughter, Carol Boyer

[5] LaVerne’s husband, Samuel “Doc” Boyer

[6] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy (Recoschewitz) Langmayer

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

[8] Dorothy’s husband, Joseph Langmayer

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

[10] Bess’ son, Robert Recoschewitz

[11] Grand Rapids, Michigan

[12] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[13] LaVerne’s sister, Mildred (Harris) Cripe

[14] Relationship is unknown at this time

[15] Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[16] Jim’s daughter, Winona Keith

[17] Nancy’s son-in-law, Louis Mueller

[18] Lela’s daughter, Helen Mueller

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September 2, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

September 2, 1924 

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Nancy is writing her brother and sister to let them know that the family arrived home safely from their visit to them along with an update on what they were now doing. Also writes that Lela and Bess got a large candy order so they would be busy making 1,280 bars along with their other orders.

Tuesday Sept 2nd 24

Dear brother and sister

Carrie[1] and Bess[2] are making candy. Julius[3] is on front porch reading. Mr Laynge[4] in his room runing type writer. Jean[5] out doors playing. Thought it a good time to begin a letter home.[6] A card from Edna.[7] Jack[8] still very weak. She dont leave him at all. Has a private room with a cot for her. Gets her meals right there. Jack is gaining but very slow. She hopes to get him home soon. I would almost be afraid to take him home. It a big expense of course. A nice long letter from Helen[9] Sunday. Will look for them home to night. Jean has been just as good as a kitten. Went to school this morning. Bess and Julius go home to night. I’m sorry to have her go. She and I visit more in an hour than Lela[10] and I all the week. Lela has so much on her mind, then she cant seem to get away from Lou.[11]

Wednesday P.M. Folks arrived between twelve & one this A.M. I sat up and waited. Joe[12] phoned me as soon as they struck city limits, then it was one hour & a half before they got here. Left Robert[13] at home. They were all pretty tired. Joe and Dorothy[14] stayed here. I got up 6 A.M. put up his lunch and while I was getting breakfast he drove ver home & changed his clothes. Dorothy stayed till about 10-30. All had a good time, not much ambition to day, but have all worked. Bess is home washing. The folks brought cucumbers, I guess neary ½ bu. nice & crisp from 2 to four inches long. Will pickle some. Lou[15] sent some cheese. They all said if they could have stayed about two days longer in each place it would have quiteded down and they could done some visiting. Joe said he could enjoy staying there with you. He is quite a hand for machining and can enjoy talking with you Ethan. Is quite excited over your talk about the Cutters, what you would like to do. He is a hard working boy, willing, never idle, but does things in a crude way. He says if he could have a machine shop, and one or two good work men to help him and show him, he would not ask for any thing better. He isnt afraid of soiling his hands. You can see that all right. To bad the alfalfa got rot. Hope your back is better Ethan. Glad the girls turned your plates over. Bess & Julius are going home with Claude[16] tomorow night. Dorothy went over to see Mrs Harding. Did not see Leon and family.

Tuesday 3- P.M. Looks very much like rain. Lela has gone to Elgin.[17] She ought not to have gone she felt so bad, but could not go any other day this week, neither can Bess & Julius go to the Lake. An order came in just as Lela was about to leave from the Elevated station wanting forty boxes of bars by Sat. beside some of the pound & half pound boxes. There are 32 bars in a box, so that means to make twelve hundred & eighty bars tomorow, beside other orders, so tomorow Lela, Bess, Dodo & two dippers and Carrie will be here. Its raining, children[18] not home yet. Children are coming will have them mail this before it rains any harder. Robert left his grey shirt some where. If you find any thing any of them left send it when you can as he needs his shirt. It may be in Shelbyville.[19] Hope you both feel rested some.

With love



[1] Believe Carrie was a friend of Bess; research continues

[2] Her daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz. Bess and her daughter and son, Dorothy and Bob, all went by the last name of Brown as Recoschewitz was hard for others to pronounce and spell

[3] Bess’ husband, Julius Recoschewitz

[4] Nancy lived with her daughter Lela who took in boarders; Mr. Lang was one of the boarders

[5] Her granddaughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[6] Ethan and Hannah still lived in the family home in Galesburg, Michigan, and quite often family members would refer to that as “home” and often the visits home were to do maintenance and upkeep on the house and farm

[7] Their cousin, Edna (Crawford) Henry Tullar

[8] Edna’s second husband, Jackson Tullar

[9] Her granddaughter, Helen Mueller

[10] Her daughter, Lela (Brown) Mueller

[11] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller. Lou had been hit by a streetcar on August 19, 1922 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

[12] Joseph Langmayer, her granddaughter Dorothy’s husband

[13] Robert Brown, her grandson

[14] Dorothy (Brown) Langmayer, her granddaughter

[15] Her sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[16] Her son, Claude Brown

[17] To visit her husband Lou

[18] Helen and Jean

[19] Shelbyville, Michigan, where Lou Harris’ family lived

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August 30, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Helen Mueller

August 30, 1924

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Helen Mueller, Galesburg, MI

On the way to the Sand Dunes on Michigan Avenue, they saw a girl who threw up behind the taxi she was riding in. At the dunes, she and Robert climbed to the top of a very high hill. Robert ran down and left her at the top all alone and she was scared. They saw men who belonged to the House of David who had long beards. They had sandwiches, pop and ice cream and ate at a Chop Suey restaurant in Kalamazoo, then arrived at Auntie & Uncle Ethan’s.

Saturday, 30, August, 1924.

Dear folks,

We left Aunt Bess’s[1] at exactly five o’clock. A little later we were on Michigan Ave. when we saw a young girl about twenty or more who probly had been out alnight. She was in a taxi. When she got out and went behind the cab and through-up. Then she got in the cab and we followed them. He let her out about a block from where she lived. Last we saw of her was when she was going home with a stick in her hand hiting trees. Then we rode on and finely got to the Sand Dunes. Then we went to Waverly Beach. There was a high mountain of sand. Robert[2] and I went up the hill and down. Going up you don’t know how your going to get up all the way because you stand and puff and puff. Comeing down your scared stiff if you have never been up a high mountain. Robert ran down and left me up there alone. So I slide down part way and then ran. Then we keep agoing until we got hungry. Aunt Bess made some tenderloin sandwiches and we ate those. I was thirsty and Joe[3] too. So we each got a bottle of pop. I mean Joe and I, Robert and Dorothy[4] had an ice cream cone and mamma[5] didn’t have anything. Then we drove along. We saw the men that belong to the House of David. They have long beards and don’t shave. Next we came to a drug store in Michigan City. I got another bottle of pop and Joe, Dorothy and Robert had an ice cream cone. And again mamma didn’t have anything. Next, we reached Kalmazoo at twelve o’clock. We went to a Chop Suey place on S. Burdick St. Robert and I each had a small steak and Dorothy the same. Mamma and Joe had Chow Mein and Dorothy had so kind of funny looking potatoes. Soon we reached Auntie and Uncle Ethens.[6] He was over to Mr. Brockies help putting hay in the barn. Robert and Joe went right over to help. Will right more next time. Joe, Dorothy and I are going to Will Clarks.[7]




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

[2] Nancy’s grandson, Robert Recoschewitz/Brown

[3] Nancy’s grandson-in-law, Joseph Langmayer

[4] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy (Recoschewitz/Brown) Langmayer

[5] Nancy’s daughter, Lela (Brown) Mueller; Helen’s mother

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

[7] Nancy’s nephew, the son of her half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

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August 9, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith and Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

August 9, 1924

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Crystal Lake, IL

She has had trouble with her eyes so hasn’t been able to sew or read. She keeps them covered a good deal and bandages them at night using boric acid. Lela’s home in Chicago has flooded quite bad and Joe has tried to keep the water out but it is so deep that they can’t make the candy.

Crystal Lake[1] Aug 9” 24

Dear brother and sister

Seems so long since I have heard from you, only the packet last week. May be a letter has come this week, if so I’ll know tonight as Dorothy and Joe[2] are coming out. Such terrible rains, pretty hard winds. I have been in doors all the time. Eda[3] not very well for nearly two weeks. I have had trouble with my eyes so I have not been able to sew or read. They are getting better but I’ll have to be careful for a few days longer. I have kept one of them covered a good deal and at night I bandage them both use boracic acid. Have used tea grounds some. The basements in Chicago have been flooded terribly. Claude[4] said ours[5] was quite bad but Joe stayed and worked kept it out all he could but so deep cant make candy.[6] I’m going home Tuesday or Wednesday. We were going over to see Lou[7] some night but the rains have put the roads in such bad condition dont look as if we could go. We are less than fifteen miles from Elgin. Yesterday was Jeans[8] 9 birthday as you know. I dont know if she had a party or not. Dorothy said she would make a cake and lemon ade & help Lela. I hav’ent heard a thing from any one since I came Monday. Jean has at least four letters she has partly written to you but she dont get them finished to send. Will[9] called a few minutes Monday noon, they had a fine time, thinks Jims[10] feeling fine, works all the time. You see I am out of envelopes so have one of Claudes. Will write after I get home. Looks like more rain. Hope you are not having as much as we are. Did Mildred[11] go down home? If so what do they think they will do? I dont know any thing about them. My eyes are getting tired. Hope this finds you both as well as usual or better. Did the Zinc[?] get there?

With love



[1] Nancy is visiting her son and daughter-in-law, Claude & Eda Brown

[2] Her granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Dorothy (Recoschewitz) & Joseph Langmayer

[3] Her daughter-in-law, Edith “Eda” (Neumaier) Brown

[4] Her son, Claude Brown

[5] Nancy lived with her daughter, Lela (Brown) Mueller

[6] Lela and her sister, Bess, made the candy for their business in Lela’s basement

[7] Her son-in-law, Louis Mueller, who was confined to Elgin State Mental Hospital after suffering brain damage from being hit by a streetcar

[8] Her granddaughter, and Lela & Lou’s daughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[9] Believe she is referring to her brother-in-law, Willis Brown

[10] Her brother, James Clinton Keith

[11] Her niece, Mildred (Harris) Cripe

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August 8, 1924 letter to Jean Mueller from Nancy Brown

August 8, 1924

To: Jean Mueller

From: Nancy Brown, Crystal Lake, IL

Nancy is sending birthday wishes to her granddaughter, Jean, who turned nine years old, and letting her know she is sorry she couldn’t be with her on her birthday.

Crystal Lake, Illinois

Aug 8th 1924

Grandmas darling little Jean[1]

I am so sorry not to be with you on this your ninth birthday but I am sending you loads of love and best wishes. Your birthday will be past before this reaches you but no matter when you get it grandma will love you and Helen[2] just the same. I dont even know if you have a party or not. If you do I hope you all have such a nice time. So much rain all the time. No swimming, rowing, golfing, or any thing doing.  Will have dancing Saturday evening if it dont rain. We[3] have been to the Lake[4] and roads so bad cant get out much with the car. Drove over town one evening. Aunt Eda not very well, resting a good part of the time in her room. I am in living room after I get up. Cant read or sew. Keep my left eye covered a good deal. We go over to Club for dinner. Hope it will clear off so if Dodo and Joe[5] come they can get out. I hope they can come. Its very quiet here. I’ll be home by middle of week any way. Dont think we can go and see Daddy.[6] I have a little birthday card for you at home. Sorry I did not bring it but you can have it when I come home.

We all send love and best wishes as ever.

Your loving Grandma


[1] Eda “Jean” Mueller

[2] Jean’s sister, Helen Mueller

[3] Nancy is staying with her son and daughter-in-law, Claude & Edith “Eda” Neumaier

[4] Claude & Eda lived in Crystal Lake, Illinois

[5] Nancy’s granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Dorothy (Recoschewitz) & Joseph Langmayer

[6] Jean’s father, Louis Mueller, who was confined to Elgin State Mental Hospital after suffering brain damage from being hit by a streetcar

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July 1, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

July 1, 1924

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

Her teeth are a little better but they “grumble and are sore all the time.” She needs new teeth, but doesn’t have the money, or a way to get into Kalamazoo, to get new ones. The only money they have coming in is from the egg and butter money, and a little from sewing, and now that the hens are shut in, they aren’t laying. Ethan has so much work to do and he can’t get Maude to cultivate, so they need a new horse and no money to pay for one. Neither she nor Ethan are able to do all that has to be done. Three of the “old residents” were buried in the past two weeks.

Tuesday 6:55 P.M. July 1-1924 – Hanks[1] 74 birthday

Dear Sister and all –

I have had two nice days only cold. Ethan[2] will finish planting the late potatoes to morrow then the corn has to be cultivated. Garden full of weeds. Will write this before I forget it. You asked about the suit you sent if I had given it to Mrs Salon- “No.” Am awaiting for LaVerne[3] to come down and see if she wants it. If she dont will give it to Mrs S. I gave the black skirt and waist to her. She expects Louese[4] home the 18th. I do hope that Dr will help Jim.[5] About Ma’s[6] chair,[7] I dont know how it could be gotten up there if he could use it and I dont believe Cora[8] or the girls would want it around. Of course it would’nt be taken care of – the wheels has to be on or the chair would be on the floor. I am sorry for Jim not to have a chair to lean his head against. Lou[9] wrote that he can lie down most of the night now. I think the Candy business is on the gain from what you wrote. Too bad someone cant let them have money to start in on a big scale. The crate came – the candy is so good. Now about my teeth. They are a little better for a day or two – face is swollen some – but they grumble and are sore all the time. Eda[10] said if I get some teeth and they would pay for them. “I could’nt go and have teeth made and not have the money.” I could write to Walter Dewey and see what he would make them for then let you know or Claude.[11] The next thing is getting to Kal–.[12] If Fred and Mildred[13] comes to Kal to live then she could come and take me to Kal– do the running. If you think it all right to let them get teeth for me I will do my part for it dont seem as if I can stand it like this much longer. Such a time as I had all last winter. Mr Olin[?] at the burg is a good dentist. He is over the bank and I could’nt go up those steps. Tell me what you think about me writing to Walter and find out his prices. I cant go and see him so would have to write. Geo Youmans[14] was buried a week last Sunday. Friday Dell Clapp[15] – yesterday Elida Zinn.[16] Three old residents. Geo worth $2400 & 520. Pretty good. I did a big wash Monday but gave out so had to finish this morning. I dont know what ails me but cant stand much but work all the time.

Up at 4:30 Wed A.M. Clothes sprinkled or a part of them will iron when I get dinner. About the eggs – have nine doz –  hens dont lay but a few since shut up. Shall E–[17] send what he has – then he said it will be the last unless they pick up. It is too bad for we have no in come only from eggs and what little butter I can sell and from the sewing and that is mighty little. It is a blue time here – Maude[18] wont cultivate and E- cant make her. Now it is to get a horse of Mr B – and he dreads to ask for it. And no money to pay for the use of it. Well this is the last year of farming for if Ethan can manage to get through with it this year he will do better than I am afraid he will. He cant sleep just on account of the work so behind and he no strength to do it. There will be some way out of it but it is worse than death to know how the way it will be. We would like to have Jack & Edna[19] stop here but just cant. Neither of us able to do all that would have to be done. Edna must be a lot better. The Blake boys are in for it again and I guess they will be taken care of now. Ina Schuyler[20] staid here Friday night. I can see an improvement but she is far from well. Can see a little better but not much. She is at Hazels[21] yet. We dont get your letter any more until Mondays. Crazy time upsets evry thing. I hope the girls can hold out and get started in big then it wont be so hard for them. I must get busy.

Good bye

Love H


[1] Nancy’s husband, Henry “Hank” Brown; he was born in 1850 and died May 22, 1901

[2] Their brother, Ethan Keith

[3] Their niece, LaVerne (Harris) Boyer

[4] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[5] Their brother, James Keith, who suffered from severe asthma

[6] Their mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[7] Sarah had a wheelchair in her later years and it appears this is the chair Hannah is referring to

[8] Jim’s wife, Cora (Meredith) Keith

[9] Louese Harris

[10] Nancy’s daughter-in-law, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[11] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

[12] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[13] Their niece and her husband, Mildred (Harris) & Fred Cripe

[14] Oak Grove Cemetery (Galesburg, Michigan) records show that Harriet Clapp died June 24, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan

[15] Oak Grove Cemetery (Galesburg, Michigan) records show that George Youmans died June 20, 1924

[16] Oak Grove Cemetery (Galesburg, Michigan) records show that Elida (Towsley) Zinn died June 26, 1924

[17] Ethan

[18] Ethan’s horse

[19] Jackson & Edna Irene (Crawford) Tullar; Edna was their maternal first cousin

[20] Neighbor, Ina (Snyder) Schuyler; see November 11, 1923 letter

[21] Neighbor, Hazel (Beaumont) Schuyler; Hazel’s husband, Allen, was the nephew of Ina’s husband, William

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June 24, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

June 24, 1924

To: Nancy Brown

From: Hannah Towne

General news about the neighbors.

Tuesday 8:20 A.M. June 24 – 1924

Dear sister and all –

It is raining hard and has most all night – dont know when Ethen[1] can cultivate or get the late potatoes in, or how the farmers can do haying, a lot of it cut the rains just spoil it. When time when Harry was over he said he had rather fire his money in bonds than in a farm and I think the same. Rains wont hurt the bonds. I did out a little washing yesterday – was agoing to do the washing to day but rain had put a stop to it. I worked down cellar a while but it hard to tell where to begin. If I could have my way a ton or two of the stuff down there would go in Alapacas ashpile. The coal dust is all over every thing black as night like “Chicago.” To day I have to push my self and Ethen feels the same. Am sorry you dont get to feeling better. Why dont you go and see Dr Garvey. When Claude[2] comes home he will take you. I am sorry for you all to have to have such a man in the house. Am sorry about the candy business and so in hopes by this year the girls[3] would begin to realise a lot of money from it. I guess Carrie[4] is getting better. Ethen says we dont know just how she is. One day last week I called up. Ida[5] was out so Carrie answered – first she has talked with me – her voice was just as strong would not thought she was sick. George and Bess live in the farm this summer. He is working it him self – has a tractor. Bess making butter. Their address is Kalamazoo – R #4. Mr Carr goes through to Portage St. after he turnes and comes this way going west. Am glad Jean[6] dont forget us. Jim[7] is on my mind all the time. Will send Lous[8] three last letters or one is a card. If we only had an auto would go and see him.[9] I am afraid he wont last much longer – dont see how he can. I cant send Mildreds[10] letter – sending Lous cant get any more in envelope. Mildred said when Harlow and Marion[11] came home they passed Jims but did not stop and say good bye or see how he was. M– and children were at Shelbyville a week and Harlow went after them. They staid at Jims 4 nights so M– knew how bad he off he is. Yes the Streators entertained. You remember he told me I could’nt have Sunday company. What I write dont even write to Ida or anyone. They cant tell me any thing and I be hanged if Ill tell them. The ladies were roomers she had. Ethel tell this she was there. The girls wanted to know if they did’nt have jazz music. The lady said yes so she played and the girls danced and cut up and had a good time. I dont know but she danced too. I hope she did. They went to the cemetery decoration day in the morning. She did like the way he arraigned the flowers and told him so. He said he liked it. Ethel said it tickled her to hear them. Now he did’nt enjoy the way those girls did but I am glad he had to stand it. I say fight every day right over at that house. Not very many go there so I hear. Addie says they have never seen them but the once she said he told A I that they called there one eve – but no one at home. Addie said they did’nt leave their cards so did not know it until he told Ai “not up to date.” I’ll bet ____ is no ____ scratch. I dont see their names in the Gazette. He knows he has been out here. We have never phoned. Ida told me Carrie had rec’d such a nice letter from Dorothy.[12] The Kal– P.O. is going on fast time. I must get busy. If you can remember the butter is churned in morning then at night E– makes it in the roll to fit the pail then sets it where it will be cool all night then never does it up and and put in pail until just before Mr Carr comes the next morning. Think Dorothy got a nice lot of presents.

Love H–


[1] Their brother, Ethan Keith

[2] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

[3] Nancy’s daughters, Lela (Brown) Mueller and Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[4] Neighbor, Carrie Barber

[5] Carrie’s mother, Ida Barber

[6] Nancy’s granddaughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[7] Their brother, James Keith

[8] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[9] Presume she is referring to their brother, Jim, who suffered from severe asthma

[10] Their niece, and Louese’s daughter, Mildred (Harris) Cripe

[11] Harlow & Marion (Meredith) Rice; Marion’s sister, Cora, was James Keith’s wife

[12] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy (Recoschewitz) Langmayer

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May 22, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

May 22, 1924

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Describes Dorothy’s wedding dress that Bess is making. Claude and Eda will give the wedding. She and Dorothy are going to the flat tomorrow and the children will be up there for lunch. Jean talks a lot about being in Michigan and is going back. Lou wrote Lela to come get him and said he had found out how he could get away. She was to bring a box of candy to give to the man who would be with Lou. He also wrote to Claude and said he would need a car as he was coming home. He had a scheme for the candy business and then all he and Lela would have to do would be take the money and let others do the work.

At Bessies

May 22nd 24

Dear brother and sister

It dont seem as if I had been home yet, going to Wills[1] Thursday home Saterday, then came down here that evening. Claude[2] took me home last evening. Later Joe[3] brought Bess[4] and Dorothy[5] up to get candy that had to be delivered. It was so cold, the girls[6] decided I should come back, this weather and no fire for weeks in the house makes it so cold. I said I could stand it if the rest could. We had to wear our coats all the time. Julius[7] is in Michigan went Monday, comes home next Sunday. Is in Annarbor[?] now has been to Kazoo[8] & Lansing. Next week plays in Evenston[9] for May Festival then is through till fall. Bess is working on Dorothys dress[10] what time she gets. I will send sample, its very prettey. Katheryn Willette is going to stand up with her, her dress is a pretty shade of green. The front panel in Dorothys dress has eight folds down the front, three inches wide. The dark is wrong side of good, the light the right side. The flowers are silk roses in pastel shades, blue, green, white, yellow, lavender, pink, with silver and gold leaves. Slippers white satin, silver trimed. They are Katies.[11] She let Dodo[12] have them to _____, as she did not care for them only to be maried in, and they are quite expensive. Claude and Eda[13] give the wedding. I’ll write all about it when its over. Dorothy and I are going over to flat tomow spend the day, as their furniture is coming out and she is going to have a man come and clean windows. The children[14] are coming up to have lunch with us. Dorothy is so nervous, is home sick now, dont want to leave Bess. She got so could not sleep, twitched, hard head ache all the time, so Bess sent her to a practicioner. Is feeling some better, absent treatment to day, pesent tomow. None of the neighbours know how she is. The cord on waist to her dress is the wrong side of goods. Ethan do you remember if you mailed the letter I gave you, the day you went to the Burg.[15] Dorothy never got it, so she did now know Caroline thought of coming or about the little clover dishes. She is awful glad to have them. Will write you as soon as she can. Will have to wait now till they come there to get them. Jean[16] talks a lot about being there with you and is going back. Is so sorry Daisy did not find the little calf while she was there. You can send eggs when you can. We will take butter if it keeps cold. We pay 42 now. Will send some more beans so you can have them fixed up with cream. Nothing decided yet about Mrs Wei__en, girls want to go it alone, if they can, then it will all be theirs. Its terrible about Jim,[17] seems as if I will go wild thinking how he is. I wrote him to day, see if he could come here, see what that would do for him. Lizzie[18] and Will want he should come there for a while. This might not be change enough, but it used to help him to come from here to Mich. Lou[19] sent Lela a special delivery this week, wanting she should come and get him Thursday. Said he had found how he could get away. She was to be at big gate at such a time, have a box of candy to give to a man who would be there with him. She wrote and told him she could not come, and he must stay till the Dr said he could then there would be a way for him to come. He also wrote to Claude. Told him the time had come for him to get an Automobile for hire as he was coming home. Had promised Lela she would not do any thing but rest for three months. He said he would do as she wanted. He had a wonderful scheme worked out for the candy business that he would have to attend to him self, so he and Lela would go out every day with the car, till he got his scheme to work, then all they would have to do would be to take the money, let others do the work. Did not mention Bess in any way. He and Lela was the whole push.

Tuesday Friday p.m.

Dorothy and I came over to her flat 9-30, their bed room furniture and living room rug have been delivered. A man is here cleaning windows &c,[20] begins to look like living, has her dining room chairs & two living room chairs to come yet this afternoon, so we wont get away before five. I am going home.[21] She will go with me. Bess and Robert[22] are there. Its so cold, rained all day. I am sitting with my coat on. Can hardly hold the pen my hands are so cold. Helen and Jean were here to lunch with us. We brought it from Bessies. Had white & brown bread and butter, cold boiled eggs, cheese, cucumber pickles, cookies & water. Dorothy is only a short way from their school, right on their way home. Dorothy says they can come every day, when she gets to living here. They will want to all right, but Lela wont let them. Eda said Harold[23] was dispointed not getting in the candy business, but there realy is not business enough yet to warrant so many salrys. May be can when fall. I dont think it looks real promising for Carries being well very soon. I am so sorry for them. We are going to send them an announcement, but it dont call for a present from any one. My paper is about full so I have to stop. I want to write to Lou[24] tonight. Are you going to keep the calf a while and is the pump fixed. I think Dean done well not to go right home. That check was made out for ___ ___ ___ I looked for when home but Lela did not get around to send it so you got it.

With love



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

[2] Her son, Claude Brown

[3] Joseph Langmayer, Dorothy’s fiance

[4] Her daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[5] Bess’ daughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[6] Her daughters, Bess, and Lela (Brown) Mueller

[7] Bess’ husband, Julius Recoschewitz

[8] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[9] Evanston, Illinois

[10] Wedding dress; her and Joe’s upcoming marriage on May 29, 1924

[11] Dorothy’s stepsister, Kathryn (Brouty) Thornton

[12] Dorothy’s nickname

[13] Claude’s wife, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[14] Lela’s daughters, Helen and Eda “Jean” Mueller

[15] Galesburg, Michigan

[16] Lela’s daughter, who had been visiting Ethan and Hannah earlier in the month

[17] Their brother, James Clinton Keith, who suffered from severe asthma

[18] Will’s wife, Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown

[19] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller, who was confined to Elgin Mental Hospital

[20] Etc.

[21] She lived with Lela’s family

[22] Bess’ son, Robert Recoschewitz

[23] Harold Doyen, Eda’s nephew

[24] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

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