October 5, 1902 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

October 5, 1902

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

Reminisces about Nancy & Henry’s wedding 30 years ago. General news about family and friends and the canning she has done. Is scheming on how to get Doc and Lela back together again over the holidays and wants to know when Bess is going to be married.

Scan of 1902-10-05 Louese Harris to Nancy Brown


Oct 5/1902

Dear Sister

I will begin a letter to you, on this your 30th Anniversary And finish when I can. This has been another day for you, for reflections on the past. We can hardly realize that so many changes can come to us during the lapse of thirty years. It seems like an other age to me as I look back through memory to that event that Sat night when you and Hank[1] were married. I was a child.[2] I remember distinctly standing by the kitchen table (the same old table now & in the same place though I have changed more than that has) watching Lois & Dell[3] dish up oysters, and wondering when I would have a chance to eat and get some of the lovely cake Mrs Plank[4] made. Then some one upset the bag of crackers on the floor and I had to pick them up. I dont remember what transpired after that, not even how my supper tasted, only that Will Brown,[5] Will Clark,[6] Jim,[7] Carrie Plank[8] & I went in the south room (shop) and played games. Then the next morning when you & Hank came down to breakfast, Hank said Good Morning Ma[9] and that tickled us children.

Well this has been a rainy day. D[10] had to go to the place and so I rode down to Jims, then rode home with Floyd.[11] I thought I would freeze while there Cellar door, Pantry window, Parlor door open all the time and both out side kitchen doors most of the time. They have no heater yet, had a hot fire in the kitchen stove but that cuts no figure when all out doors has to be warmed. Walter[12] had the croup Friday night. I did not wonder at it. The teacher told him that she nearly froze all the time she is there. I have had callers and who do you think, Mrs McIntyre & Essie. I was quite surprised to see them. They had been to see Mrs Bartholamew. Came up this morning. Mrs B– is helpless as a child, is just about where Mrs McKee left her. Essie takes to heart because Lela[13] dont write to her. They are living in Arcadia Court once more. Mr Kleinstreet[?] took tea with us Friday eve. He & D had a little difficulty a while ago, but they have kissed & made up, and have found out that Mr Hoyt, the brother in law was the cause of it all. I had a fit when I found out he was coming over here to eat, but soon got over it when they told me that he had boarded with Mr Fales folks for several weeks. Lela knows who they are. Their daughter wrote to Dr, & asked him to bring his medicine. Nancy you asked what to do about the cans. I guess we will leave them where they are for the present as the expresss on them would cost as much as new cans would. Did you get Leones[14] letter. Now I’ll write a little about the Book case. Cora[15] has a new Catalog from Mont. Ward & Co.[16] There is a cut of one I like in that pretty well and will send it to you and let you see if it is what it is represented to be providing you can with out discommoding[?] your self too much. St_____ offers the same thing I sent you from Farwells Catalogue for $26. How about Revell[?]. You sometimes go in there do you not. But no matter any way. I presume one could do as well at M.W.& Co.

About the box couch. I have never seen one, therefore can not tell whether I would like it or not. Cora Keith thinks they are just the thing as can be used every night for a bed. Just for that reason I dont fall in love with the idea for I could pull to pieces & make up every night and morning. I wish I could go & see what I want any way. But the Book case we have got to have pretty soon & we need the couch nearly as bad.

Monday Eve – Floyds colt got hurt in the pasture at Freds[17] (By the way Belle had a 9 lb daughter Sat. Eve.[18] She is getting along all right has a young girl to do the work & take care of her). We had Dr from Kal[19] to see it Friday is pretty sick. D has been over and staid with it the past two nights & is going to night. Floyd stays there through the day. Makes it awfully hard for D for he is far from being well. And has so much work to do that he ought to have his rest nights. He hired two men the first night but since then can’t get any one to go.

I have made a commencement at housecleaning to day. Cleaned cup boards in the celler & put canned fruit away. I wish you could see it. Looks so nice, but I hav’nt as much as usual this year. Not quite two hundred qts. 7 gal’s pickles 3½ gal’s jelly. And have my garden salad to make yet. I wish you had as much. Now I’ll tell you how near you came to getting some peaches. The last six bu from the place I was going to keep & send you two bu. D asked me if I had gotten all I wanted, I said I hav’nt, he thought I said I have. We talked from the store porch & the back door here so he goes right in & tells George Dean to ship them with his. I tell you I was pretty well worked up when I got all ready to peel peaches that eve & found out they were on the road to Ft Wayne[?]. I can’t send the cut of Book case from M. W & Co this time. Dont know as it would be necessary anyway it is same style as the one I sent you & price is $17 and something. I’ve got to put up D’s lunch so wont write any more to night.

Tuesday evening – I will try and finish this up. Well I got a letter from W Va on noon train with two prescriptions for D. I told him[20] in my letter that I had a tooth to be extracted and wanted he should meet me in Chicago during the holidays. He said he would make a great big bluff to get away & be there. My scheme is to get he & Lela to gether before a year from now.[21] He writes that he dislikes the place, people & every thing. Well I must stop writing for I want to send some money in this letter. Does Bess[22] know just when she is going to be married. I wish I could go & help you now while you have so much to do but I might as well think of flying.

Write when you can. We are looking for a letter. I am going to do up some medicated gause & send to Ma to night to put on her legs.

Good Bye

Love to all



[1] Nancy’s late husband, Henry Brown

[2] Louese was 11 years old when Nancy and Henry were married

[3] Their half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner, and her husband, Adelbert Skinner

[4] Their former neighbor, Harriet (Groat) Plank

[5] Henry’s brother, Willis Brown

[6] Lois’ son, William Clark

[7] Their youngest brother, James Keith

[8] Harriet’s daughter, Caroline Plank

[9] Their mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[10] Her husband, Daniel D. Harris Jr., who was referred to as D. or D.D.

[11] Her son, Floyd Harris

[12] Jim’s son, Walter Keith

[13] Nancy’s daughter, Lela Brown

[14] Her daughter, Leone Harris

[15] Believe she is referring to their sister-in-law (Jim’s wife), Cora (Meredith) Keith

[16] Montgomery Ward & Company

[17] Fred Noble; shirttail relative of the Harris family

[18] Fred’s wife, Maggie Belle (Strait) Noble, gave birth to Leona Noble on October 4, 1902

[19] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[20] Presume she is referring to Samuel Boyer, who was Lela’s fiancé, and who had previously boarded with Louese & D. He was referred to as Doc and perhaps was in West Virginia studying or practicing as a physician

[21] See the April 16, 1902 letter to Louese from her mother saying that Doc was ignoring Lela and it appeared he was trying to get rid of her

[22] Nancy’s daughter, Bess Brown

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