October 24, 1907 letter to Jim & Cora Keith from Nancy Brown

October 24, 1907

To:  James & Cora Keith

From: Nancy Brown

Another letter concerning Lela, LaVerne and Doc. Nancy is scolding Jim for blaming Lou and D for the fact that LaVerne became pregnant by Doc and is trying to get Jim to see how Doc played the girls. She feels that if one of his daughters were in the same predicament, he would see things differently.

Scan of 1907-10-24 Nancy Brown to Jim & Cora Keith

Thursday Oct 24 07

Dear ones all

I have been thinking of writting to you for over a week. Just got a telephone message from Uncle Hi[1] said when I write to tell you he would like five bushels potatoes. You have probly heard from Bess[2] before this. I dont know as I would dare take a barell full as we have no place to keep them. Our basement is so warm but thought if you could send about half a barell of potatoes then fill up with other garden truck that you might have put that in. If you had any of those little squash we call them sweet potatoe squash, onions, apples or any thing suitable you could send think we could manage that many all right. If you kill beef or pork and could let us have some any time I would be glad to get it. We have a private porch & when cold wether comes could keep it all right. Lou[3] wrote that potatoes were forty two cents. I told Uncle Hi new price. I’m going to do a little. I wish I could say talking instead of writting but as I cant see you will write. I had a letter from Lou. She is feeling tensley. Says she has passed through so much it seems as if she wold go crazy and that her head would burst. She wrote a letter about how you felt & blamed them. Said she had cried & ________ since you talked to her. Now I’ll tell you right ______. You have not the least idea what you are talking about or advising or doing to Lou by blaming her. I am one of the injured mothers in this trouble and I am so thankful Lela[4] has escaped being tied to such a heartless man.[5] He is a degenerate when it comes to that one thing his lust and willingness to make, & glory in, seeing those suffer that he has made all the sacred promises to that man ever made to woman. If he is not a degenerate how could he have come to your house and met Lela as he did knowing all he had done & that you & Cora knew and be as he was. A man would have hung his head in shame and when asked to sit at your table (an uncle of the two girls he had so disgraced and decived) he would have thanked you but declined. Until then I felt very different toward him than since then. If the to mothers and daughters had to pronounce sentence on him for what he done as your masons did that night we would have been much more lenient then his own sex & brother masons were not but we felt he deserved all that was coming to him but we felt sorry & bad & would have given him some chance not that he showed the girls any mercy but well because we are women. Now I am glad & glory in what they did not that I would do him any harm in word or actions but as I know all that I do know and can read him like a book I’m not sorry for him only in the way I’m sorry for any one who does a great wrong. I have never advised LaVern[6] what to do though he told Cora she came here & we filled her full. All we done was to show her his letters. That was enough but since his talk to Lela I would advise her quick. I know you well enough to know you would stand by your girls & defend them at the end of a shot gun if necesary. That is all Lou & D[7] is doing. That baby[8] he has done no more for than for any number of others he has scattered all over. He has done nothing for LaVern only to disgrace her & mind you Jim if a man has no more respect for a girl than to ruin her in nine cases out of ten he wont reform & be true to her afterward. Look it over & count them up. But his is out of the ordinary. There were to girls, cousins, the home & living & privilidges he had all the years. As Will Brown[9] says the most hertless thing he ever knew of. I think I know better than any one else how D & Lou have talked to LaVern. I’ve heard them talk. I’ve had letters & seen others so I know pretty well. Then a true father & mother is not going to advise their child only what seems for their best good. I certainly would not say to my child neither would you there is the man that has ruined you for life go live with him. Rather I’d say you are my child. I suffered the agonies of giving you birth. I have cared for & taken you through sickness, have tried to stand between you & all harm now I’ll do more. I’ll stand between you and the being that has done nothing for you (in the few years he has knew you) only to bring trouble & disgrace to you. I will keep you and with a parents love and care do all I can to help you. In his talk to Lela he said & drove daggers in to her heart in a way that some day they will come home to him. Honestly Jim would you want Winnie[10] tied for life and obliged to live with a man just like him. I know you will say “I should say not.” You ask Winnie just what she thinks of him. Now I’ll tell tales out of school. Ask her what she told Auntie Towne[11] that she had not told you or Cora. Now dont get excited & go for her. Hannah told me not to tell but under the circumstances I think its best to know who we have to deal with as far as possible. Tell Winnie not to blame Auntie if you see things different after getting this. You better tell Lou as she has passed through hell fire & or rather is in it & will be. No one knows what they would do unless placed as they are. We all have our opinions about a great many things but any of us in the same place & conditions might not do as well. We would be criticised to say the least. They want to sell and I wish they might. I tell you Jim when I think how that being played cat & mouse with Lela & LaVern & Lela so innocent of it all. If you knew all I know you would feel as I do about it. That day before you & Cora how he kept the claws all shut-up like a good little kittie but how he scratched when alone with Lela. He is a villin of the purest dye. I dont take all blame from LaVern but he made her care for him & he had a power over her same as over you & has had over every one who knew him could not help likeing him when with him. She was with him so much she loved him & he allowed her to & tried to _____ her. We all knew how well he succeeded. As for the child such a man is not fit to bring up a child. A nice example he would be. I suppose he would think it all right for a man to do by his girl as he has by Lela & LaVern. I dont care if you show this to Lou. She said he cried when he saw the baby. Thats for effect. She & I have seen to many of the genuine tears that he has been the cause of to be affected by them. He better save them for those that have not got caught in his net. They will have sympathy while to us they are disgusting. He did not shed any tears last fall when he had the two girls together & sat at D. & Lous table with one on each side looking first at one then the other all winks & smiles. His black heart had not been bared to us then. We all trusted him so. He knew then the time would come when the tables would have to turn & tears of real grief & shame be shed but he kept right along ______ it up to the ____ of March. Now that the tables have turned & fell on him he hopes to better things by shedding tears. If you survive this we will be glad to hear from you and Cora. I get home sick to see you all & so does Dorothy.[12] She talks so much about you all. She knows your house, was so tickled, and glad you sent them.

With love to all from Nan

——-

[1] Their maternal uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

[2] Her daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[3] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[4] Her daughter, Lela Brown

[5] Samuel “Doc” Boyer, who had been engaged to Lela

[6] Lou’s daughter, LaVerne Harris, who had become pregnant by Doc

[7] Lou’s husband, Daniel “D” Harris

[8] Carol LaVerne Boyer was born October 19, 1907

[9] Her brother-in-law, Willis Brown

[10] Jim’s oldest daughter, Winifred Keith

[11] Their sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[12] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz, who was just shy of 4 years old

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