June 25, 1918 letter to Winona Keith from Minnie White

June 25, 1918                                      

To: Winona Keith, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Minnie White, Shelbyville, MI

Minnie fed Winona’s kitten while she is visiting family. Said that they would try to bring her home.

Scan of 1918-06-25 Minnie White to Winona Keith

Dear Winona[1]

I want you to know I feed your kittie and I surely do miss your noise but have a good time. We will try and go down and bring you home. Be good.

Love from Aunt Minnie[2]


[1] The postcard is addressed to Winona in care of H. G. Rice so she is apparently visiting her aunt and uncle, Marion (Meredith) & Harlow Rice

[2] Ermina (Francisco) White was the daughter of Ellen (Johnson) Francisco, who was the sister of Winona’s grandmother, Malvina (Johnson) Meredith

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June 12, 1918 letter to Nancy Brown from Mabel Williams

June 12, 1918

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Mabel Williams, Paw Paw, MI

Advising of her mother’s death.

Scan of 1918-06-12 Mabel Williams to Nancy Brown

Wednesday Morning

Dear Cousin[1]

I have very sad news to tell you. Mother[2] passed away yesterday afternoon about half past three. It came very suddenly at the last.




[1] Nancy’s father, Charles Luke Keith Jr., and Mabel’s grandfather, Harvey Keith, were brothers

[2] Frances Catherine “Kate” (Keith) Chaffee

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November 29, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Jim Keith

November 29, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Jim Keith, Shelbyville, MI

He is grandfather to a baby boy, Keith Brouard, born about an hour ago. Wants to know if Nancy would like a pig. He is going to butcher four of his pigs as he hasn’t got enough corn to feed them.

1917-11-29 James Keith to Nancy Brown

Shelbyville Nov 29, /17 9.30 P.M.

Dear Sister

Rec’d check to day. Did every thing get through all right. I sent them by express as you said, as near as Kirk[1] and I could get at it. It cost about $2.00 more then by freight. You said to send them that way if there was not to much differance. I did not know what you called to much, so I sent them by express. Well I am Grandad to a baby boy[2] about an hour old. All fine so far. Kirk just phoned down. Ruth[3] has been here all day with Wilma & Winona.[4] They are all to bed. Walter[5] has gone to Bradley to a dance. Took a Grass widow[6] (Jessie Doxey). Would you like a pig. I have four I am going to butcher will weigh about 100 to 125 I think. If you want one you can have it at just what I can get here for them dressed. Will butcher them in about two weeks. Have not got the corn to feed them. Will say good night.

Yours J. C. K.

P.S. Expect this yound fellow is Keith Brouard that has been the talk all the time if it was that kind.


[1] His son-in-law, Kirk Brouard

[2] Keith Brouard, born to his daughter, Winifred (Keith), & Kirk Brouard

[3] Winifred & Kirk’s daughter who was 4 years old

[4] His daughters, Wilma, age 12, and Winona, age 8

[5] His son, Walter Keith, age 20

[6] The term has several meanings: A woman who is divorced or separated from her husband; A woman whose husband is temporarily absent; An abandoned mistress; or, The mother of a child born out of wedlock

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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.

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

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October 25, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Ethan Keith

October 25, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Ethan Keith

Thanks Nancy for the records she sent and names the different songs and what he likes about each one. Writes about the bad weather and the difficulty he has in digging up his potatoes and that the bean crop is a failure.

Scan of 1917-10-25 Ethan Keith to Nancy Brown

Thursday evening.

Dear Sister,

Now I am agoing to get myself in shape to go to sleep. Perhaps can write a little before I loose myself though. The records and album came to day and have just played them through twice. I did not stop to play them when they came for I was digging potatoes and would have to hurry to get them picked up by sundown. I played them as you suggested and wondered each time what was coming next. We like the pieces real well. The Midnight Fire Alarm is tip top, lots of vim, and nice sounds. “Where the River Shannon flows” and “Anna Laurie” are both good. “Aloah Oe” starts out like “Rock beside the Sea” and “I Left Her on the Beach at Honolulu” to finish so it is Hawaian and is nice. “Loves Old Sweet Song” is played in all string instruments I think. Hannah[1] thinks has some of “Warblers Farewell” sounds. We like it. Would be my second choice in the lot. The Album is nice and there are eight Little Wonder Records in it with room for twelve more. We are very much obliged to you for sending them, and certainly will enjoy them. Wish you all could hear them. Think I will retire or I’ll be writing over and over.

Friday 10.35 A.m. Began raining about 6.30 this morning, and is still at it. This beats all falls. Have not had any Oct.– Has been cloudy wet, and cold, such a catching time to do the fall work. Now the ground is so wet that it is heavy and sticky makes hard digging potatoes. But a very few of them are dug, farmers cant get help and they are afraid of a hard freeze. The ground being so wet the potatoes would surely freeze. The bean crop is a failure and there was quite a large acreage planted. I intend to send your canned fruit as soon as I get my potatoes out of the ground. I am very much obliged for my share of the apricots, apples &c. These Johnithans were real nice. Suppose you have bought some bonds. Wish I was able to.

Love to all


In my hurry forgot to put the card in.[2]


[1] Their sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[2] This last sentence was written by Hannah on the back of the envelope and was referring to the remark she made in her letter of the 24th that she would “send a card I got from Nellie.” Her letter was included in the envelope with Ethan’s letter

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October 24, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

October 24, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Hannah Towne

Thanks Nancy for the records she sent. They are enjoying listening to them. Lots of news of friends, family, crops and canning.

Scan of 1917-10-24 Hannah Towne to Nancy Brown

Wednesday Eve – Oct 24[1]

Dear Sister

It is Thursday eve in stead of Wed – this has been a very nice day. All the week has either rained or snowed – the paper says rain or snow to morrow. I wish it would keep pleasent until all of the potatoes are out of the ground. Ethen[2] dug Monday what he could and this after noon. The quack grass has formed a sod right in the tops so it is awful hard work to dig them. Lots harder than cutting corn. He cant stand it to dig all day. They aren’t turning out very good. The Peaks dug theirs at the corner Sunday and Monday. Guess they have a nice lot of them and nice potatoes. We have a third when they divide them. They put them in a pile put the tops all over them and then threw dirt all around the pile. I guess all that saved ours from freezing last night was the quack grass. I expect you are alone now. It must seem good. Sorry Robert[3] is so poorly. The package came all right. Many thanks for all you sent. The veil, where did you get it? The meat I am saving for Sunday. The spread I have not fixed yet but have it planned[?] out. The glasses Ethen cant wear dont fit him or his eyes rather. We are having apricuts for supper last night and to night. The _____ suit looks nice. The records came to day. Ethen is just agoing to play them. We have not looked at them are doing just as you said for us to do. I will listen now to the music then report. He has played them all and they are pretty. He is running them through again. I like the Midnight Fire Alarm. It gets right there. They are all good. Anna Laurie I am glad to have that.

How does J[4] stand it to have Al[5] talk against the Germans? Did Al ask for the over coat? I suppose Donald Keith[6] is on his way to France. Mr Will Earl was buried at Oak Grove yesterday.[7] Herbert[8] came out to the funeral. “Wills wife was Clara Batey.”[9] Herbert told Levi[10] at the cemetery and Cal told me to day he had pictures of Donald. He went right home last night. Will lived at Scotts[11] and Lillie Earl, Eph Earls daughter[12] kept house for him. Clara passed away several years ago.[13] He had only Stella and she is married.[14] The stove pipe smoked and after breakfast “this was Sunday morning” he took the step ladder and tried to fix it push it up a little. He fell and broke his neck. He was such a nice man to bad to have him go now. I’ll bet Herbert & Allie feel bad to have Donald go to France. I am fixing the silk dress for Sadie that she had to finish putting silk lining in the sleeves. I cut a skirt and made what I could for Katherine Franklin Sat charged $1.00 will get $1.00 for this job and _____ owes me 75¢. You see I am not getting rich but then I expect my money in a bunch. Nellie phoned me to day about what she owes me, so she has’nt forgotten it. I have kept her right in my mind and I am keeping John S in my mind. Cora is failing. Mrs Salon[?] dont get along very well. One of the girls have to stay with her. I think Mr S- would like to have her take D- out of school. Ethen and I dont think he likes her very well. It was a good deal for her to help cut 80 shocks of corn one day. She has to take her mothers place. She dont look very well. Charlie about the same cant talk or help him self.

Am glad Jack and Marion[15] are happy hope she will behave her self and I hope Jessie and Kathie[16] will stay there. I never would ask Harry and Nell[17] to visit me again. It is nothing for us to get _____ down but we have got to stand with hat in hand, bow, scrape and bend and invite or the _____ is to pay. I am looking your letter over that is the reason this is crazy. I am in Michigan then back to Chicago. Ethen got his watch right a way. It keeps good time and is warrented one year. What is “rarebit.” I know potatoes bread & butter. Did you tell Helen[18] that I expect she and Jean[19] to come with you next spring. I think Mr Hiner told her he was coming. If you or Lela[20] could only of asked her some question about him before the spell was broken. If she saw him or how she knew he was coming. I only have the 7½ quarts of tomatoes. Have made one gallon of green tomato pickles. I had four quarts of grapes “Delamore” I took the skins and seeds out. Ethen likes it with his pan cakes. We must have cabbages for our own use. Nothing has done well. Then the early frost hurt every thing. I will send a card I got from Nellie. I have fixed my hat and got the fur piece made. The hat looks better but the fur dont look extra good. I have taken Charlie Ecks[21] over coat cut it off to about the length of the short work coats and am fixing it for Ethen. I took the cordroy collar off of his old coat and will put it on that. It dont look very well but it is wider and he thinks it will look more like the work coats. It is a hard job and will take two days any way to fix it but I know he had got to have something warmer than just his light weight coats. This wont be as warm as his old one for that had sheep skin for interlining. I thought of it one night when I could’nt sleep. I told him in the morning and he fell right in with the idea. Guess he did’nt know what else to do.

Friday 8:5 A.M. It is raining hard commenced before daylight. Ethen cant dig potatoes. I dont need any cans. I guess Ethen is writing you quite a letter. Perhaps we have written the same things. To bad Leone[22] could’nt of gone to Chicago this month just because some thing may prevent her going next month but it may be a nice month and you may be alone.

Good bye with love


Tell Helen and Jean I wish they were here so I could kiss their hands.

I am making a “conserve”
2½ pounds of grapes
” ” sugar
1 orange
1 pound of seedless raisins
Pulp the grapes, put the pulp through the cullender, put the skins and orange through the meat grinder, then put all to gather and cook until thick like jelly.


[1] She apparently started the letter on Wednesday, October 24, but never got further than writing the date as she then writes that it is Thursday, which would be the 25th. She mentions later in the letter that Will Earl was buried “yesterday” and his death certificate shows that he was buried October 24

[2] Their brother, Ethan Keith

[3] Nancy’s grandson, Robert Recoschewitz

[4] Nancy’s son-in-law, Julius Recoschewitz

[5] Alphons Recoschewitz, Julius’ son from a previous marriage

[6] The son of John “Herbert” & Altha (Struble) Keith

[7] William Earl died October 21, 1917 in Pavilion Michigan

[8] John “Herbert” Keith was their first cousin once removed

[9] Clara (Batey) Keith was Herbert’s aunt

[10] Assume this is Levi Struble, Herbert’s brother-in-law

[11] Scotts, Michigan

[12] Lillian Earl was the daughter of William Earl’s brother, Ephraim & Mariam (Eberstein) Earl

[13] Oak Grove Cemetery records show she died December 19, 1903

[14] Will’s daughter, Stella Earl, married Daniel Taylor on August 31, 1898

[15] Charles “Jack” Meiss and Marian Eck

[16] Marian’s mother, Jessie (Crawford) Eck, and sister, Kathryn Eck

[17] Harry & Nellie (Sullivan) Crawford. Harry was Hannah and Nancy’s first cousin; Harry and Jessie were brother and sister

[18] Nancy’s granddaughter, Helen Mueller

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

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

[21] Jessie (Crawford) Eck’s late husband

[22] Their niece, Leone Harris

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September 4, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

September 4, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Louese Harris

Writes about a visit they had with Will Clark’s family, who were supposed to go to Jim Keith’s home, but how that had turned into a fiasco.

Scan of 1917-09-04 Louese Harris to Nancy Brown 

Tuesday 9.30 A.M.[1]

Dear Sister:

Will send the whole bunch as I do not remember which page you ordered from or even the titles of the pieces, which if I had remembered the titles could easily find the page. Too bad if it is your mistake.

I cant half write – have got the distemper good & proper. My eyes & nose run so my head is thick & is pretty near sneezed off, so if you can’t make out what I write dont wonder at it. Mildred[2] has got it too but is washing her clothes, hand kerchiefs, napkins, etc. This is a fine summer day & yester day was too. Also Sunday was ideal for an auto trip. D[3] went to the farm Sun– morning on 6. oclock. Evry thing killed then. Can save corn by cutting right up & putting in silo. I told him I’d sell the stock & then the farm. He’d make money by getting rid of it. Jay[4] & Kitchen[5] hav’nt got the little house done yet, been boarding with Stewarts folks. The first week they could not work it rained two or three days & they went to a pic-nic & laid off the rest of the time. Mildred talks about her trip all the time. Would liked to have staid this week with Lela[6] but did not ask to as she thought she was needed at home. She had our grand time any way. Van said he would be here about the 22nd. Introduced her to Miss Beran as his Michigan girl. M-[7] had rather he would’nt have done it if they are engaged. She thinks Cathy pretty slow in appearance or rather her movements and dress for a city girl. No one Mildred would take to. Said Uncle Hi[8] was looking fine. When he started back for Lake Mills[9] he said he bet there was a fat old lady[10] up there who would be glad to see him to night. Bess[11] said I’ll you & Aunt Kates minds will be as free now as they’ve been in a long time. He said yes, we are too old to have the care & responsible of those girls[12] or words to that effect.

We had a nice time Sun– only that Jims folks[13] were disappointed & that spoilt it all. When they arrived at Shelbyville[14] Harlow[15] drove into Merediths[16] yard, & said where do you want to stop, to Will.[17] I’m going over to Freds.[18] Wills folks were some what surprised as they supposed they were going right to Jims, but Will said – well we will go over to Harris’s[19] a while & call. So when they came in at a little after 10, Lizzie & Caroline[20] would not take their wraps off as they said Harlow & Marian would be a long in a few minutes to go to Jims & they believed Marian wrote Cora[21] they would all be their. And M[22] said yes she did & Cora expected them to dinner. Tho we told them we’d like to have them stay here only we did not want to disappoint Jims folks. After a half hour I got them to take their wraps off which as the folks had’nt showed up. At 11.30 Will says guess I’d better go down to Jims & find out what the arrangements are. Floyd[23] took him in the car. Got there & they were just sitting down to the table. So Will did not say any thing about their coming to dinner as it would hinder them then to come back & get the girls. Mind you H– & M–[24] had only just gotten there. Had staid to Josies[25] all that time but Kirk[26] had told Jim at 11. oclock that Clarks had been over here an hour & a half. Well Jims folks are some mad & they say Harlow Rice is the one to blame for it which of course he is. Cora had hustled all day Sat–. LaV–[27] said she had the house in order & a nice dinner. She was about sick too, but had gotten all ready for them. Paid $1.50 for meat Sat– so she’d have enough for all and then to have it turn out this way.

Well Will & Floyd came back. Will said I guess we will get our dinner here so the girls hustled & we had it about 1.15 tho our pork roast was nearly done when they got here & Leone[28] had dressing made ready to bake and we would have had dinner at noon had we known they were going to be here but as we did’nt we sat down & visited supposing they were going to Jims. We had enough for them any way. Roast, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, bread, butter, but pickles, pine apple, honey tea and for dessert ice cream & cake. Would have had pie in place of cream if we had had time. We all had a good time at this end of the line but I’m sorry for Jim & Cora. Jim any way wanted to visit with Will & they were there barely an hour. Had to start home at 4. Abbys folks from Kal–[29] got there almost as soon as Wills folks did so there was not much satisfaction. Lizzie or Will spoke about our good butter. I had to tell them it was some of Hannahs.[30] Lizzie said why does she sell butter to you. I happened to think quick enough that maybe she had tried to get some of you or you did not have it so I said Hannah sent some when I was sick because we could not good any get any good here & I could not eat oleo. So you are on now if there is any thing said. Awful glad your corn is not hurt. 1st page.[31] D returned home Sun at midnight. Am glad Ethen[32] can go to the Fair. Wish he could come down & stay over on a car.[33] We will all be up to the car Thursday morning. Guess Floyd will go to the Fair that day. Hope it will be pleasant. I must stop & I guess you’ll be glad to have me.

With love


Guess you ordered piano player records. Mildred folded the sheets you ordered from inside the phonograph records.


[1] While the letter is not dated, the reference to the “titles of the pieces” in the first sentence perhaps refers to records that Nancy sent to her brother Ethan and sister Hannah (see October 25, 1917 letter). Also, Louese mentions that Mildred “talks about her trip all the time” and the August 27, 1917 letter refers to Mildred visiting the family in Chicago. I have taken the liberty of dating this letter as September 4, 1917

[2] Her daughter, Mildred Harris

[3] Her husband, Daniel D. Harris, Jr.

[4] Her brother-in-law, Jay Harris

[5] Perhaps this is referring to Nelson John Kitchen, who was married to Louese’s sister-in-law, Cora Belle Harris

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

[7] Mildred

[8] Hiram Crawford Jr.

[9] Lake Mills, Wisconsin

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

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

[12] In a November 18, 1914 letter to Mildred Harris from Nancy Brown, Nancy wrote that Hiram didn’t go with his wife, Kate, out west as he wanted to stay at home with Jessie. Jessie’s husband, Charles Eck, had died in 1904 when their daughters, Marian and Kathryn, were just 5 and 2 years old, and perhaps that is why Hi didn’t want to leave Jessie alone at that time and perhaps this is what Bess was referring to in this letter

[13] Louese and Nancy’s brother’s family, Jim & Cora (Meredith) Keith

[14] Shelbyville, Michigan

[15] Harlow Rice, who was married to Cora (Meredith) Keith’s sister, Marion

[16] Presume she was referring to Marion’s parents’ home, Walter “Burton” & Malvina (Johnson) Meredith

[17] William Clark, Louese and Nancy’s half-nephew

[18] Fred & Josephine (Meredith) Dean

[19] Louese & D Harris

[20] Will Clark’s wife and daughter, Elizabeth (Allerton) and Caroline Clark

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

[22] Marion

[23] Her son, Floyd Harris

[24] Harlow and Marion

[25] Cora and Marion’s sister, Josephine (Meredith) Dean

[26] Kirk Brouard, who was married to Winifred Keith, Jim & Cora’s daughter

[27] Louese’s daughter, LaVerne (Harris) Boyer

[28] Louese’s daughter, Leone Harris

[29] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[30] Louese and Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[31] Believe she was referring back to the top of the first page where she continued writing

[32] Louese and Nancy’s brother, Ethan Keith

[33] Presume she means railroad car

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August 31, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

August 31, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lela Mueller

Writes of the visits they have had from family members and friends and also about Ray and Esther (Carlson) Brown’s wedding.

Scan of 1917-08-31 Lela Mueller to Nancy Brown

Friday Evening 9:30 P.M.[1]

Dear Mama:

Intended to write so you would hear to-morrow – but no chance so will try and write now. Mother and Alice[2] decided this morning to go to Sycamore[3] to-day so they went, will be back to-morrow. They had planned to go to Davenport[4] to-morrow but have decided now to wait till next week – but they may change their minds any minute. Aunt Johanna[5] seems very nice and seems to enjoy her self when we are alone – but Alice almost drives her crazy. Guess they have had some plain talks.

Last evening Claude & Edie[6] came for us about 5 oclock – we took supper and went out in the country. Lou[7] didn’t go so we took Aunt Amelia.[8] All had a nice time. Wed. went for supper then afterwards to Evanston, Rogers Park and Lincoln Park. Claude, Ede & Bonnets[9] go to Grand de tour to-morrow for Labor Day.

Aunt Lizzie and Ruth[10] were just here to say Good-bye. Ruth goes to-night. She feels so badly about it – could hardly say good-bye. Think it will be pretty lonesome over there with Ray[11] & Ruth gone and Perry[12] has about decided to go to Omaha to live so they[13] will be alone. Its awfully hard for Lizzie now as Mary[14] takes no responsibility at all, has lots of company and goes where she pleases & leaves June.[15]

Buck has been called – he & May go to Fort Leavenworth to-morrow for 3 months. They will have a 4 room cottage – will close their house here.**See 8-16-22 note below

Dont know what Bess[16] will write about the wedding[17] – but will write what I can any way. You, Claude, Bess & we got a mahogany clock & candle sticks [drawing of clock] $1600 very pretty. They got lots of nice things but I can’t tell what they are. Ed & Elsie were there, of course Uncle Wills[18] folks & us. Edie played the wedding march. Esther looked very pretty, wore a white satin dress & a veil. Ruth wore a silk mull[19]  – figured made over yellow silk – Esthers sister white crepe de chine.[20] They were married with the ring (2) ceremony. The 3 girls had beautiful big boquets of roses. There were about 40 guests – had a lap lunch – creamed chicken patties, cucumber salad, ham sandwich, ice cream cake & coffee. They were married in the parlor. Our family all sat in there. Edie wore her gray dress. Bess wore her chiffon waist[21] and a very pretty white skirt. I had a new georgette crepe waist and a brown satin skirt.

Mother Mueller gave me the money for what I got. Made my skirt with six pleats – front & back & gathers over the hips. Its the same color as my suit – looks very nice.

Am enclosing a letter I read it – Marion[22] is at Uncle His[23] – Jack[24] has been trans ferred to north Yakima[25] and will send for Marion Kathryn later.

Lou sold two contracts in the office[26] Friday – so made $50 so we now have either 15000 or 17500.

Lou sent a man out from the office to fix your ceiling[27] – it only cost 2.50 so we feel pretty good over that. The carpenter was out from the office to-day thinks we have a bargain. Lou took the drain pipe out from under the porch & they cleaned that and Lou is cementing it where its broken.

Hope to have some pictures to send you very soon.

Just as we were ready to take photos to-day a man came along so we turned him loose – took one of the front – 2 of Mother & the children and 2 interiors. Will show us proofs to-morrow – then Alice took 6 of the children & Mother and I took 12 brownies[28] of them and took them over to be developed so think we’ll have them Wed.

Mother & Aunt Johanna go on the 10 oclock to-morrow morning. We expected Aunt Amelia – but they aren’t going to stay. Jack & George were also coming for supper – but wont now.

You can do as you think best about staying at Bessies but you can have your room if you want to come home as Alice can have the childrens room.

Must close so this can be mailed.

Lots of love to all


They all send their love.


[1] While the letter is not dated, since Esther & Ray were married on August 29th, it is assumed this was written August 31, 1917

[2] Her mother- and sister-in-law, Augusta (Ficke) Mueller and Alice Mueller

[3] Augusta’s daughter, Johanna (Mueller) Holmquist, lived in Sycamore, Illinois

[4] Davenport, Iowa, where they had lived previously and where Augusta’s brother, Charles August Ficke, and other Ficke family members lived

[5] Believe she is referring to Augusta’s sister, Johanna Ficke

[6] Her son and daughter-in-law, Claude & Edith “Ede” (Neumaier) Brown

[7] Her husband, Louis Mueller

[8] Her husband’s aunt, Emelie (Mueller) Friedholdt

[9] Arthur & Leona (Smith) Bonnet. Arthur and Claude were partners in the advertising firm of Bonnet-Brown Corporation

[10] Her aunt, Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown, and cousin, Ruth Brown

[11] Lizzie’s son, Ray Brown, who had just recently married Esther Carlson on August 29, 1917

[12] Lizzie’s son, Perry Brown

[13] Lizzie and her husband, Willis Brown

[14] Perry’s wife, Mary (Walker) Brown

[15] Perry & Mary’s daughter, June Brown

[16] Her sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[17] Ray & Esther (Carlson) Brown’s wedding

[18] Will & Lizzie’s family

[19] Mull is an extremely soft and sheer muslin fabric

[20] A kind of lightweight cloth similar to silk crepe, made with highly twisted yarns

[21] A blouse

[22] Her second cousin, Marian Eck

[23] Her great-uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr., who was Marian Eck’s grandfather

[24] Charles “Jack” Meiss. He and Marian married September 16, 1918

[25] North Yakima, Washington

[26] He worked for his brother-in-law, Claude, at the Bonnet-Brown Corporation

[27] Nancy lived with Lela & Lou but had been staying several months with her sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne, and brother, Ethan Keith, in Galesburg, Michigan, to help them out

[28] A Brownie camera was a simple black rectangular cardboard box covered in imitation leather with nickeled fittings. To take a “snapshot,” all one had to do was pop in a cartridge of film, close the door, hold the camera at waist height, aim it by looking through the viewfinder at the top, and turn a switch. Kodak claimed in its advertisements that the Brownie camera was “so simple they can easily [be] operated by any school boy or girl.” Though simple enough for even children to use, a 44-page instruction booklet accompanied every Brownie camera.

** From further research on August 16, 2022 I found the following: The 1910 Census shows Marion, together with her parents (Thomas and Ellen) and sister Lillian, living at 4124 Kenmore in Chicago, which was right next door to Nancy at 4122 Kenmore. A Lake County, Indiana, marriage record shows Marion Roney married John Buchanan on November 12, 1912. Nancy also wrote in her 1923 diary about Marion’s mother’s death and the days leading up to that and she refers to “Mae” and Lillian. Based on that all that, I believe Marion was referred to as May and John referred to as Buck.

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August 27, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Claude Brown

August 27, 1917

To: Nancy Brown

From: Claude Brown

Vacation is over and he is settling back into another year’s grind. Had a picnic up at the lot and then went to the Naval Training Station. Ede is going to Esther’s so she can practice for her wedding to Ray Brown.

Scan of 1917-08-27 Claude Brown to Nancy Brown

Aug 27 – 17

My dear Mother –

Vacation is over and have settled down to another years grind – and it seems good.

Yesterday we took Bess, Dorothy, Robert,[1] Mildred[2] and Emma Randall for a picnic and had a grand day. Went up to the lot and cooked dinner and then on up to the Naval Training Station. They certainly are doing some “mobolizing” on the north shore.

Ede[3] and I are going up to Esters[4] tonight to rehearse. Ede plays the wedding march. She and Lela[5] are buying the present today. Must get back to the office so –

Love to all


Inc. find five


[1] His sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz, and her children

[2] His cousin, Mildred Harris

[3] His wife, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[4] Esther Carlson was marrying Ray Brown on August 29, 1917. Ray was the son of Willis Brown, the brother of Nancy’s late husband, Henry Brown

[5] His sister, Lela (Brown) Mueller

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August 7, 1917 letter to Nancy Brown from Bess Recoschewitz

August 7, 1917

To: Nancy Brown, c/o E. B. Keith, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Bess Recoschewitz, Chicago, IL

Scan of 1917-08-07 Bess Recoschewitz to Nancy Brown

Helen stayed overnight. Bess wrote about some of the cute things that Helen said. Writes that she wants to write to Al as it was just two years ago that Gus was killed. Esther Carlson and Ray Brown expect to be married August 29.

Tuesday Evening

Dear Ones All[1]

There isn’t any thing to write about unless its the weather and what I think about the kind we’ve had today wouldn’t look good on paper. Its been one of those cool, muggy days, showers and then so sultry, yet if you sit down in from of open window can feel that you are taking cold. I sure love it, hope its better there.

Lela, Alice and babies[2] were here for lunch yesterday. Helen stayed until this evening. Lou[3] stopped and got her.

This morning Helen said: “I don’t see why in the dickens my mama left me here.”

To night at the dinner table Julius[4] was scolding Bob.[5] Helen looked at him real cross and said “Say who do you think you are Mr Smarty Ju Ju.” But as luck would have it Julius didn’t understand it all and I got right up with her and took her to the toilet. She has been real good all day but she wouldn’t stay any longer.

Lela said we could have some eggs. We will be awfully glad to get them. You can send them here then I will get some to Lela.

Lela and I expect to go down town Thur. Alice stay with the babies. Will take Bob with me, then will get your hair nets & Aunties[6] hat.

I want to write to Dorothy[7] tonight and really write too to Al.[8] 2 yrs yesterday Gus[9] was killed.

Lela phoned today said Ester & Ray expect to be married the 29 Aug.[10] and are talking some of having a wedding, about 50 relatives. Suppose that would include us. If they do you had better try & come then go back if necessary. Don’t say any thing about this until you hear more.

Must close & get busy with the other letters.

With lots of love to all



[1] Nancy had been staying with her sister, Hannah (Towne) Keith, and brother, Ethan Keith

[2] Bess’ sister, Lela (Brown) Mueller; Lela’s sister-in-law, Alice Mueller; and Lela’s daughters, Helen and Jean Mueller, ages 3½ and 2

[3] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller

[4] Bess’ husband, Julius Recoschewitz

[5] Bess & Julius’ son, Robert Recoschewitz

[6] Hannah (Keith) Towne

[7] Bess & Julius’ daughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[8] Alphons Recoschewitz, Julius’ son by his first wife

[9] Gustav Recoschewitz, Julius’ son by his first wife. Gus had spent 2 years 4 months in San Quentin Prison for first degree burglary and was released in 1914. He was a hobo and rode the rails. Family story is that he was killed while riding under the train to avoid detection from the train personnel

[10] Esther Carlson and Ray Brown. Ray was the son of Willis Brown, the brother of Nancy’s late husband, Henry Brown. They were married August 29, 1917

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