April 14, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

April 14, 1920

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

Hannah’s health is still a concern and Louese isn’t able to help as much as she wants as she is still recovering from the flu. Mildred is playing some new records and they confuse her. They are so jazzy that she can’t think of what she wants to write. Jim Milham will be buried Sunday. His sister Stella is confined to bed and unable to attend so his sister Mary will have to go alone. Both of their husbands are also sick.  


Shelbyville. Apr. 14-1920

Dear Sister:

I wonder if you are sick again. A letter from Hannah[1] yesterday said she had rec’d a letter from Dorothy[2] but none from Nancy and she hoped she was not worse. I hope I did not misconstrue her meaning. Your letter arrived in due time and I should have answered it before this but I’m so tired when the work is done it seems as if I just can’t write. Mending, sewing and so many things had to go undone when Mildred[3] and I were laying off that now it seems like a double dose and it’s hard to see our way out. Then I think of Hannah and Ethan[4] all the time, and you know that that is. I hav’nt set a time yet to go down there because I’ve not been able to do what would have to be done to say nothing about the rest of the work that should be done but that would have to go until I could get to do it. Hannahs letter did not sound very good. I think she spends most of her time on the couch. She certainly has some friends down there. She wrote me of all the eats she had rec’d since she was taken sick from home people and of Bessie’s[5] having the washing to do which she was so thankful for, but sorry too because Bess has enough to do and her health not good. Well it’s awfully good of her to do it. We’ve helped out some so far as baked goods & meat is concerned in the box I sent last week Fri. LaV–[6] sent sausage. Hannah said she told Ethan Sat. morning she wished she had some sausage, and when Fisher came she got her wish. Our “bus” is in running order now. You probably think we’re slow, but you know we’ve had a lot of snow here. A week ago last Mon. a drift 8 ft. deep at our south door. Wed. a blizzard actually it snowed so hard some of the time we could just see Hensens house. Dexa[7] sent me a clipping from the “Examiner.” Easter in Cal was a golden Poem. ” [Easter] here was ushered in with a different kind of poem – a lot of “the beautiful” which lasted several days, but Cal was a veritable garden of Eden. I would liked to have been there and seen it or a small part of it but just the same when our old ash pile and a few other unsightly things are covered with snow it’s a beautiful sight to me – just as much as if covered with Cal. flowers. Mildred is playing some new records, and it confuses me some what. Dont know whether I’m writing sense or not. The pieces are Napoleons Last Charge, Battle of the Nations, Introduce Me, Sky Scraper, Fox Trots, Bola-Bo, Life in the Harem. The last four are so jazzy I cant think what I want to go write. I’ve looked this over and found I’ll have to go back to the “bus.” I was going to say, now that it is doing business again I’m going to Galesburg[8] in it. Think the matter will be settled in a few days and I’m going to try and be well enough to go and see how things are. They take Jim Milham[9] to G–[10] next Sunday. Expect to arrive there so as to have burial at 2. P.M. Hannah wrote me Ethan would go. Mrs Salon stay with her. Stella[11] can not go to G– is sick in bed, has an abces on (sit-down) close to rectum. Its an awful looking swelling about as large as ones fist. Bartholomew says caused from piles. His verdict is “the bed for from 2 to 6 weeks” and possibly an operation which Stella says she’ll never have. It’s too bad Mary[12] has to go alone. Grant[13] has been in bed over two months. I was over to see S– Tuesday eve. Ought to go to day but am pretty near all in. My stomach so weak. I over did yesterday. Cooked then fried three chickens, made & baked 42 biscuits, so I could send out two dinners to the sick. Alice & Bert Hope & his mother all sick. Then Stella & Fremont,[14] he too is sick. Neighbors are taking care of Stella. Dr wont let any one go in to Hopes as they have the “flu” so eats are left at the door. The folks on Pearl St. Ida, Hilda & Grace and LaV–, Leone[15] & Mildred all keep tab on S– to wait on her. LaV was up yesterday combed her hair & done what was to be done at that time – I mean just for her. Hilda & Grace made her bed in eve and rubbed her, got her ready for the night, LaV was over this morning but there was nothing to do. Hilda had been there ahead of her. They expect one of Fremonts sisters to come but she is not here yet. Now I’ll go back to the chickens. I did not send them all away but the most of two of them and over half the biscuits with gravy on them. Mildred had our ironing to do and had to hustle as she was going to the dentists in the afternoon so she could not help me. I ought to be able to do such a stint and get away with it but I’m not strong enough yet. What I cook or bake to send home[16] I take plenty of time for.

Thurs. 3. P.M. Mildred rec’d your letter this A.M. Can only say I’m sorry for all of you but hope it will not make any of sick. Too bad the house was in such a condition. Had foreigners lived there, though ” [foreigners] are not always dirty. When its all cleaned and settled you three will know how it was done. Am afraid Lela[17] will work too hard. Do I get your meaning in regard to it’s being new out there, that it seems like the country.[18] Such a shame the way Mrs Roneys husband has done. I thought he worshed her. I agree with you in regard to the iron cross but dont know as I’d hang it around his neck. Yes Minnie[19] wrote Jim[20] of Smythes[21] death. I owe her a letter and must write. My letter to Aunt Kate[22] was written the first week in Jan. She answered in two weeks. Then we’ve all been laid up since then & I did not answer but sent an Easter card. She acknowledged that with a 12 page letter so you see I’m in it & must get busy as soon as I can. I imagine you think Mr K–[23] the guilty one – but perhaps not. He, Cora[24] & Roy[25] were down last Sat. & Sun. She told me all about how she had the money done up & where it was. Mr. K– thinks the man across the hall or down stairs has it. And I half believe it. Cora has a new job $15.00 a week. The three are getting about $300.00 a month now. We would like to see Julius[26] if he can come up when in Kal.[27] yet if he could only go to one place I’d rather it would be G– for I think H– & E–[28] would feel it if he came here & not there.

Sugar retails 16. cts lb. here. Donly sells $1.00 worth to each person. Suppose he could sell to you, Lela & Bess though. Come to think you did not say you wanted to buy, so my name is Dennis. Eggs at present 32 cts. 38 last week. I’ve sold $28.00 worth since Mar. 1st & we have had all we wanted to eat & cook with. D[29] sent 20 hens 2 roosters up to farm. A new man there. Mr Ritter. 7 children go out & 7 goes in. Ritters have had 11, 2 dead & left 2 girls down here. She & 6 children here to dinner last Thurs. The oldest girl 15, youngest 5 mos. A boy went with his father a few days before. Mrs R & kids left here on noon train Thurs. for farm. She is 40 yrs old. Some record.

With love to all.


It is a rainy afternoon. Leone goes to Wayland to get med of Hanlon. She has to doctor for constipation.

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

[2] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[3] Louese’s daughter, Mildred Harris

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

[5] Nancy’s granddaughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

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

[7] Dexa (Strait) Harris. Dexa was married to Louese’s husband’s brother, Jay Harris

[8] Galesburg, Michigan, where Ethan and Hannah lived in the old family farm

[9] James Edgar Milham

[10] Galesburg

[11] Stella (Milham) Bush, James Milham’s sister

[12] Mary (Milham) Oatman, James Milham’s sister

[13] Grant Oatman, Mary’s husband

[14] Fremont Bush, Stella’s husband

[15] Louese’s daughter, Leone Harris

[16] Many of the family, even though they lived elsewhere, referred to the Keith family farm where Ethan and Hannah lived, as “home”

[17] Nancy’s daughter, Lela (Brown) Mueller. Nancy lived with Lela and Lou

[18] Lou and Lela’s new house was located on the northwest side of Chicago; however, when Nancy’s friends found out where they were moving, they were concerned because she would be so far out in the “country”

[19] Minnie (Crooks) Crawford, who was the widow of Louese’s and Nancy’s cousin, Eugene Crawford

[20] Louese’s and Nancy’s brother, James Keith

[21] Minnie’s brother, Smyth Crooks

[22] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, who was the wife of Louese’s and Nancy’s Uncle Hiram Crawford Jr.

[23] John Kitchen, second husband of Cora (Harris)

[24] Louese’s sister-in-law, Cora (Harris) Hogeboom Kitchen

[25] Roy Hogeboom, son of Cora (Harris) by her first husband, Aaron Hogeboom

[26] Bess’ husband, Julius Recoschewitz

[27] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[28] Hannah and Ethan

[29] Louese’s husband, Daniel Harris, known as D. or D.D.

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1 Response to April 14, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

  1. Pingback: April 14, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris | Crawford/Comfort Family Letters

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