April 11, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Louese Harris

April 11, 1924

To: Nancy Brown

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

She has trouble doing things and mornings are the only time she is free from lameness and pain. Mildred is hustling to get the spring sewing and house cleaning done before she and Fred take a three-week vacation. Aunt Kate is piecing a quilt for Blanche and is planning a trip to Detroit in August. Louese is amazed that a woman her age wants to do so much traveling alone. Jim is suffering from asthma again and can’t lie down or work.

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

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April 7, 1924 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

April 7, 1924

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne

From: Nancy Brown

Nancy is writing about the tragic death of a friend, Harold Gibson, who had been killed in a car accident. Harold was coming home from work with his employer’s nephew in the car. The nephew wanted to drive but because he had been drinking, Harold refused. However, to save himself some trouble, he at last gave in. The nephew crossed onto the other side of road and smashed into a big car. Harold was killed and the two men in the other car were not expected to live. Harold was in World War I with the First from Illinois and went through every major battle. He said the best sleep he ever had was after days of fighting when he was so worn out he pushed the dead aside, laid down between them in blood and mud and slept like a baby for a number of hours, with bombs whistling over his head the whole time. Thought they might get a letter from Joe telling something about Lou as she supposed they went to see him yesterday, but nothing came. She thinks Dorothy will be married on the 29th of May but it hasn’t been finalized yet. She thinks they will be married at home with just family and a few friends as guests. It will be less expensive than going to Claude’s and having a larger wedding. Their apartment is almost finished; walls papered and floors varnished last week. It is new and their furniture is all new, so it will look nice. Even though they can’t be near Bess Nancy is glad they will be near her.

This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

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April 6, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

April 6, 1924

To: Nancy Brown

From: Hannah Towne

More news about Carrie Barber; she was taken to the hospital and is to have an operation tomorrow morning for gall stones. There is so much work for herself and Ethan to do and neither one of them is in good health. She writes that she would jump in the river if she lived closer to it.

Sunday Apr 6 – 1924

Dear sister and all

It is now 25 to five and no one been here to day. Sunshine bright but a cold wind. Too bad Lou[1] is worse if there was any possible chance of his getting well. Think Alice[2] a very strange person. Cant she see money is needed every where. Think I would drop her if Lou goes. Trouble in so many places. Carrie[3] was taken to the Hospital this afternoon. Rogers took her. Operation to morrow morning at 9 oclock. That is for gall stones. In ten days they operate on the left side for adhesions. Mrs Lerner is with Ida[4] – came about noon to day. Will go to Hospital with her. Mrs will stay with her nights. A hard place for Ida and C-. Carrie wants you to write to her. Put Bronson Hospital on envelope. I have written to Marion to day. Will send her card to you and Lous[5] letter. Dont let them know it for you see F & M[6] are agoing to take a trip. Dont know as they would care but I dont want it to come from me. They are the ones to write to you. You remember you wanted me to send her letter. I am glad they are agoing to take the trip. Hope J & D-[7] can some day. Think Katherine[8] gave Dorothy a nice shower. Glad you sent Mabels letter. Ida called me after she got your letter said they had got a nice long letter from you and they were so glad. Said it made Carrie feel better. She said the second time it was such a good letter. The candy is the best they ever ate nothing like it. I am agoing to wash again in the morning as it takes me all the fore noon. I get so tired and my legs and feet pain me so it is all I can do to get a round. Not much to Ethen[9] and I. He has raked yard two days such a lot of leaves. Not half done yet.  How in sixty the work will ever be done is more then I can tell and every thing in such condition. Poor health and no money. The hens dont lay worth a cent. No I have’nt got a hat and dont see how I can but I have’nt a thing to wear on my head. I would jump in to the river some time if I lived nearer to it. I dont want any one to come here only our own folks and some of them I dont want to come just because we look so. If I were well could do some things that would make it look better in the house – do a little painting etc. but it is all I can do to do just as little as I can. Pumping water is killing. I wake up in the night and the pump is a night mare to me. I’ll be glad when Lou can come then I’ll have some one to talk to. I rec’d Dorothys good letter was glad to get it. Of course she dont expect me to answer it. I have got to write to Lou so must get at it. If you dont get a card from me the last of week you will know I am to busy to write. Am sewing a little. Good bye



“Hope to hear good news in your next letter.”

Sent Marions back.


[1] Nancy’s son-in-law, Louis Mueller

[2] Lou’s sister, Alice Miller

[3] A neighbor, Carrie Barber

[4] Carrie’s mother, Ida Barber-Howe

[5] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[6] Their niece and nephew-in-law, Mildred (Harris) & Fred Cripe

[7] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz, and her fiance, Joseph Langmayer

[8] Believe this is Dorothy’s step/half-sister, Kathryn (Brouty) Thornton

[9] Their brother, Ethan Keith

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April 3, 1924 letter to Hannah Towne & Ethan Keith from Louese Harris

April 3, 1924

To: Hannah Towne & Ethan Keith

From: Louese Harris, Shelbyville, MI

Louese is filling in her sister and brother on family and neighborhood news. Mildred and Fred will be going on their wedding trip the last part of May and will be gone three weeks. Dorothy and Joe have postponed their visit to visit so that Mildred will be home when they come.

Shelbyville Apr. 3- 1924

Dear Sister & Bro:

4.15 P.M. Will write a while before I have to get supper and must nearly finish my letter to night as there is no such thing as writing forenoons, too much doing. Have to take some thing every day and moving as slow as I have to it keeps me going. I do considerable sitting down but that dont work with every thing.

LaV–[1] arrived yesterday noon with Fred & Mildred.[2] They went down on 8 oclock met her at corner Portage & Main. She came over to the house just to let me know how you folks were and then went home. Carol[3] had dinner all ready. They were just going to sit down when she got there. She was up last eve and told me all about her visit with you so I got it while it was fresh in her mind. I’m glad she could go and stay a few days and I hope the roads will soon be so I can go.

Since Monday Mildred has been taking Fred to his work in afternoon. Tues. eve Floyd[4] went with her after him. Last eve Carol went leave here a quarter to eleven. They have to stop on plank road ½ mile from station and wait for him, cross road is so bad, but he thought he’d try it out to day and if “makes the grade” she wont have to go any more. The girls took Tony[5] with them last night, so they felt perfectly safe. F– & M–[6] are going on their wedding trip the last of May, have their passes now. Will go to Indiana & visit his aunt and sister first, go there with auto so they will have that to use while there. Want to go to cemetery decoration day then there are lots of places and frieds of his he wants her to see and the car will be very convenient to have. From there they go to Washington D.C. and other points. They are studying the map looking up places of interest etc. Expect to have three weeks vacation. But I’m going home to see you before they go. I’m glad Dorothy and Joe[7] have postponed their visit here at that time for I want Mildred at home when they come and she wants to be. Of course LaV– told you it was a sure thing with Dorothy Harding.[8] She is going to “Boston” though. It is very noticeable. Looks like 7 mos too bad but she dont act as if she cared.[9] Mrs Harding[10] does, and looks as if she would collapse, but she feels terrible too over selling this house. She has’nt told them for certain she would but Leon[11] is so determined she shall I’m afraid he will carry his point. Adrienna and Roy[12] own a double house. ” ” [Adrienna] wants her mother to buy half of it. Mrs H might as well be in a “pandora box” as to live so close to A– & family. I rec’d a letter from Roy last Fri. he is in the hospital having mumps, has them on both sides is getting along alright. Clyde Pierce Ida Kitchens[13] boy is on his way to China. He enlisted at the time Roy did and was sick in hospital at the time he should have had his furlough, so he did not have a chance to come home. I should think Ida would be crazy. D[14] was down to see Mr Olin Tues. He and his wife just returned from Florida the day before. Stella told me about Mrs Carrens[?] death probably Jake will stay with Linn now just as he has and they probably wont go to Florida before an other fall.

Fri 2 Oclock P.M.

Must finish this up. Leone[15] has just been over after it so shall have to make another trip. A fine day. We have two windows open and fire as low as we can run it with out it’s going out. The bees are very friendly and numerous, have to watch out when we go out of doors. I’m about all in to day, joints sore and ache and no pep. But you two know how that goes as well as I, yes better. D & Floyd not feeling very extra good. If D would take a few more estates to over see, handle the business etc they might feel better. One thing the coal season is nearly over with. A letter from Aunt Kate[16] last Tues. She wants me to send her some silk pieces. I can’t get at it before next week. I’ve worked all day, so has Mildred and we have got to keep at this.

P.M. She finish ironing and I’ve got to make fried cakes if there is any such thing in the books.

Lets you two D & I go on a vacation and stay the rest of the summer. Would’nt it be fun & Jim[17] would like to go too & Nancy[18] I think.

Do you know if the candy business[19] is flouishing as much as usual. I’m sorry for all of them and I dont see how Nancy stands it. Well I must close.

LaV– said neither of you felt real good but you had to work too hard. Glad you have a good home. I’m anxious to see it. Hope you get this to morrow. Use the Vapo rub on your neuritis & throat, both of you.

Good Bye

With Love



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

[2] Louese’s daughter and son-in-law, Mildred (Harris) & Fred Cripe

[3] LaVerne’s daughter, Carol Boyer

[4] Louese’s son, Floyd Harris

[5] Believe this was their dog

[6] Fred & Mildred

[7] Dorothy Recoschewitz & Joseph Langmayer; Dorothy was the granddaughter of Louese, Hannah & Ethan’s sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown, and she and Joe were going to be married May 29, 1924

[8] Dorothy (Adams) Harding

[9] Dorothy married Leon Harding February 25, 1924

[10] Jessie (Carruthers) Harding

[11] Jessie’s son, Leon Harding

[12] Jessie’s daughter and son-in-law, Adrienne (Harding) & Roy Bronson

[13] Ida (Kitchen) Pierce was Louese’s niece

[14] Louese’s husband, Daniel Harris

[15] Louese’s daughter, Leone Harris

[16] Katherine (Atchinson) Crawford, the widow of their mother’s brother, Hiram Crawford

[17] Their brother, James Keith

[18] Their sister, Nancy (Keith) Brown

[19] Nancy Keith Candies

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April 2, 1924 letter to Lela Mueller from Nancy Brown

April 2, 1924

To: Lela Mueller

From: Nancy Brown

Nancy and her granddaughter, Jean, are staying at her sister’s and brother’s home. Her sister, Louese, wants them to come to Shelbyville for a visit which would mean Jean would lose a week of school. Jean doesn’t want to go; she says she came to Michigan to see Auntie and Uncle Ethan and didn’t expect she had to go anywhere else. Jean is having a grand time helping Ethan with the farm animals and picking vegetables. Updates Lela on Carrie Barber’s operation and the problems she is having in recovering.

April 2nd 24

Dear ones all

Before I forget it Lela did you or Helen[1] find my pen. I dont know where I left my things, but I had that and my box of writting paper on my bench may be the pen is in box. If not it must be on bench. If you have not found it I wish you would look and if you do put it away for me. We expect Jims[2] folks down for Sunday. A letter from Aunt Lou.[3] She wants us to come up there. Says Fred and Mildred[4] will come for us. Now tell me just just what you think. I thought if we went up there Tuesday then home Friday. Of course it will keep Jean[5] out of school a week, so I’ll do as you say. Let me know Monday. Jean dont want to go, says she just came to Michigan to see Auntie and Uncle Ethan.[6] Did not expect she had to go to Shelbyville & any where. She is having a grand time out with Ethan all the time feeding chickens rubbing Daisy & Maud with curry comb. She gathered 21 eggs yesterday. They drew truck[7] all day. To day they draw fertalizer. Dont send her any more clothes. Bess[8] are you going to use your old _____. If not they have a dandy place here for it. Mrs Salon has just come. Dorothy[9] they want I should thank you for the asparagras first they have had & they certainly enjoyed it. I wondered if you went to Elgin yesterday Lela, and how you found Lou.[10] What if any thing was decided on Tuesday night. Carrie[11] is in bad shape. An abcess has formed where the stitches were taken. She vomits which is very bad for her. They are so discouraged. I have not been over will if I can if we go to Aunt Lous. I’ll let you know from there about our coming home. Will also write to Claude.[12] If Saterday will be better for him than Friday let us know. I suppose I will have to leave on the morning train get there between 12 & 1. I thought may be Claude & Eda[13] would be going away Sat. and Joe[14] would be working. Have you sent crate. I cant come home till I get a check.

Time for Mr Carr. This must do for all.

With love from



[1] Lela’s daughter, Helen Mueller

[2] Her brother, James Keith, and his family

[3] Her sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[4] Her niece and niece’s husband, Mildred (Harris) & Fred Cripe

[5] Her granddaughter, Eda “Jean” Mueller

[6] Her sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne & Ethan Keith

[7] Vegetables raised to be sold at market

[8] Her daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[9] Bess’ daughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[10] Lela’s husband, who was a patient at Elgin State Mental Hospital

[11] Carrie Barber; see March 20, 1924 letter

[12] Her son, Claude Brown

[13] Claude’s wife, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[14] Her grandson-in-law, Joseph Langmayer

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March 20, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Hannah Towne

March 20, 1924

To: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

From: Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

They have their new horse, Maude. They paid just what Claude had given Ethan. Also writes about their neighbor, Carrie, who needs an operation but can’t bring herself to go through with it yet.

Thursday 4.40 P.M. Mar 20 – 24

Dear sister and all     

I was agoing to write last eve but just could not, get lazy some times. This is a real March day – cold and blue and a strong wind. Well we have got a horse at last “Maude”. She looks like Maude some has white in her face and both hind feet are white or ankles. Is a little darker and some smaller. Ethen[1] hitched her up yesterday and drove her around the square. She went all right is a real pet good and kind. An elderly man and his wife had her for their driveing horse. They lived at Bevelmont in South Hagrenwood. They lived on a farm so she is a country horse. A man in Kal–[2] had her to sell for that man. We seen an add in paper. Will[3] went out Sat– and looked at her he liked her looks “and she is a good looker” so Monday morning Henry Sherwood took Ethen and Will out to see her and if E– liked her then he would buy her. and Will took his saddle so as to bring her home if E– took her. Will rode her home. She was on S Burdick almost to Mr Rices place. She weighs 1100. Paid just what C–[4] gave Ethen. If it had’nt been for that we could’nt of gotten a horse. We have got her and I hope she will be all right. She is home sick now and dont Eat much but she will forget her old home after a while. Ethen rubs her and fusses with so she will learn to like him. Now about Carrie.[5] She has had those hard spells all winter. They seem to be closer to gether. Since Christmas she has been real bad. Rogers cant do any thing for her. To day he took her to Bronsen Hospital to see Shackelton. Balch is on a vacation for a year and has taken his place while he is gone. They got back about one. Ida[6] phoned me said Carrie was all in. S– told her nothing but an operation and it will be a serious one and in ten days after the operation she will have to have an other one and he could’nt tell how it would be with her. Carrie says she cant bring her self to have one yet. It is an awful hard place for both of them. If Carrie dont live I dont know what Ida would do – they are a bout crazy. I wish I could help them but of course I cant do any thing. The expense will be a good deal and of course that is a big worrie for them and no one to go to for help. If we only had an auto I could go and see them. I cant get into the buggy and I would’nt ride behind _____ Maude until we know more about her trickes if she has got any. This wind and cold makes the rheumatisim “ache.” My hand and wrist is so lame and stiff cant hardly write and the writing makes it ache worse. I am a fraid Lou[7] will get so she cant get around – be helpless. If she wasnt so heavy she would’nt be quite so lame. Will Caywood was here a while this A.M. the first we have seen him since the day Jack and Edna[8] came. Luella fell and hurt her self quite bad – tripped on a rug. She is in bed. It hurt her knee and leg. We think it was $50??? that Uncle R– gave Harry. Claude told us all about his business last winter just what you wrote only more. Am glad he can help the girls[9] and have it all in the family. I wrote to Lou and said some thing had got to drop before long.

I dont believe Jack & Edna will ever go to Cali[10] to live. He better stop with his brother. I thought the Fraziers were going to LaCross to live when he is retired. Am glad LaVerne[11] sent the chickens. I know they were good.

Friday 8:35 A nice winters morning a lot of snow and still snowing. I just called Ida to see how Carrie is feeling. Said she had a hard night and dont feel any better this morning. A hard place for them. I am mending the horse blanket worked on it last eve as long as I could stand it and it will take most of the day to finish it. It is so heavy to lift it takes the tuck out of my insides. Glad Martha[12] has a position. Now she ought to pay Lela[13] some for certainly she cant help much with the work. Will Dorothy[14] ask Louese to her wedding? I would’nt if she dont phone D– or come to see her before then. Hazel called to see Dorothy[15] Tuesday. Says she looks bad. It is the first she has seen her since she was married only the next night after the wedding. She and ___ went down there. She says the baby is so poor. Anna Louese was asleep so did not see her. I am glad Hazel gave in and called as Mrs Salon says H– has got a boy and a girl. We know some things are in the blood on the fathers side. I cant tell if I have written all I intended too or not but must get busy and Ethen wants to take this to the box.

Good bye

Love H

I am thinking of haveing my address Mrs Hannah Keith Towne – drop the M[16] what do you think. It kind a makes me feel bad to drop the M.


[1] Their brother, Ethan Keith

[2] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[3] Their nephew, Will Clark, the son of their half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

[4] Nancy’s son, Claude Brown

[5] Believe she is referring to a neighbor, Carrie Barber. Carrie’s mother, Ida Barber, married Eugene Howe in 1882; however, the 1900 census shows Ida as a widow and she and their children were living with her father. All subsequent census records list her and her children with the surname of Barber

[6] Carrie’s mother

[7] Their sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[8] Their cousin, Edna (Crawford) Henry and her husband, Jackson Tullar

[9] Nancy’s daughters, Lela (Brown) Mueller and Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[10] California

[11] Their niece, LaVerne (Harris) Boyer

[12] Martha Lueder who was living temporarily with Lela Mueller; Nancy also lived with Lela

[13] Nancy’s daughter, Lela (Brown) Mueller

[14] Nancy’s granddaughter, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[15] This appears to be a different Dorothy

[16] Her middle name, Minerva


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March 10, 1924 letter to Nancy Brown from Edna Tullar

Edna Tullar is making arrangements to purchase a box of candy from her cousins. She is certain that her nephew, Robert Carlson, will love the candies more than anything else. She is also updating her cousin on the activities of her family, including the desire to visit California to see her nephew, Donald Carlson, who is begging for Edna and her husband, Jack, to visit. She also mentions her Aunt Kate Crawford, her cousin, Jessie Crawford Eck, and wonders when Jessie’s daughter will marry. Edna is concerned about a growth on her son, Ted’s, neck. It had been growing for six months and seemed to be affecting his hearing. After a thorough examination and x-ray, it was determined to be a stone in the gland and needed to be operated on immediately. Although it is not a serious operation, it is a tedious one that will take about two hours with nothing but local anesthesia. Poor Ted is worried sick over it. Her other son, Frank, is traveling for the week and will be missed. The company is doing very well and Frank brings in most of the business. Edna is bringing Nancy up to date on her sisters, Kit, Lizzie, Lulu and Bird. Lulu and her husband, Ed Witte, have had a struggle this winter. His insurance business has not been doing well and it has created financial problems for them. In the midst of all this trouble, Aunt Kate wrote and wanted to visit Lulu. Lulu never answered the letter; however, Edna filled Aunt Kate in on Lulu’s situation. Aunt Kate could appreciate the position Lulu was in for she had been there herself. Bird & family well.


This letter was originally posted to the Crawford/Comfort Family Letters blog and can be read here.

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