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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2 Responses to July 1, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

  1. Margaret Williams says:

    Dear Barb,

    Thanks for sharing these interesting glimpses into the past! You are quite the slueth, and we are the beneficiaries of your magnificent talent.

    Sincerely, Margaret



    • Barb Triphahn says:

      Thanks so much, Margaret. I enjoy doing this and hope that by doing so someone out there who is looking for an insight into their ancestors will find the blogs and learn more about their families and perhaps even find connections they didn’t even know about.


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