May 20, 1901 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Brown

May 20, 1901

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Nancy is quite concerned about her husband Hank’s continuing illness. The doctor is uncertain as to the cause, but thinks Hank is suffering from fever with strong typhoid-like symptoms. Hank was very discouraged when he received the news. Nancy and Hank are thinking of asking Bess to come home, if necessary, to help with the business. Nancy ends the letter by giving her sister, Hannah, advice in dealing with Ettie (relationship unknown).

Scan of 1901-05-20 Nancy Brown to Sarah Keith

Monday Morn 3 P.M.[1]

Dear ones at home

I cant write just as I wish I could for Hank[2] is quite sick yet though the Dr says unless he eats or _____ some way dont think he will have appendicitis although there is some inflamation there yet but now the trouble is fever. Says he wont pronounce it typhoid but a continuous fever with strong typhoid symptims. But we are going to dam that. Hank was pretty much discouraged when Dr told him what he was fearful of but he has braced up and says he is going to get along all right. I tell him we must think how much better for him to be sick now than any time I can think of for we have two good men to run the business. Lela[3] works down town. We could use Bessie[4] to petty good advantage. Hank says she could work in either place and any thing he told her to do she could do & do it as well as he. But we wont have her come home unless nessary. It has cost a good deal to get her ready to go and I hope she can make all her visits. I get some tired but I know of others that do too and this week our family will be small and house can go, its dirty any way but I’m going to tend to Hank and see that he comes out all right any way. Julius[5] went this morning. I hope he will have a good time. He has talked about it for weeks. We will have quite a doctor bill. Dr charges 1.50 a visit and has been twice every day & some of the time three times. Thats just his visits. The medicine we get at drugstore he writes the perscriptions.

Hannah,[6] I know you are feeling better than when Ma[7] wrote. I dont blame you for feeling bad over Ettie, but as Lela says what is she in comparison to Auntie.[8] She says we will go to work and dam what Ettie has done and Auntie will feel all right. Ettie is stronger physically than you but mentally & spiritualy you are so far above her she can do you any harm if you just wont let her. I should want to have a talk with her and tell her how I feel & then let her go. You will get some one better than she to help you out.[9] I dont know who but it will come out all right. Seems to me the quicker she gets away the better for you for now she depresses you. But just throw it off and rise above it & her. You can do it. I will let you know if Hank gets worse. Will write last of week any way.

I must get to doing something either about the work or for Hank.

With love



[1] The envelope is addressed to Mrs. C. L. Keith and is postmarked May 20, 1901. On the envelope is written “Nancys last letter before Hank died.” Hank died May 22, 1901

[2] Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[3] Nancy’s daughter, Lela Brown

[4] Nancy’s daughter, Bess Brown

[5] Julius Recoschewitz, Bess’ boyfriend, was a concert violinist

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

[7] Sarah (Crawford) Keith, Nancy’s mother

[8] Referring to Hannah

[9] Hannah was a dressmaker

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