1873 Letters · Crawford Family

March 13, 1873 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts together with research concerning the relationship between the Crawford, Hall and Hamilton Families

Crawford, Hall & Hamilton Families

When Jay Crawford and I first started transcribing the letters, we always tried to link relationships to the people mentioned in the letters. The letter of March 13, 1873 from Nancy Crawford-Betts to her daughter Sarah Keith presents two mysteries we have been trying to sort out.

The first one concerns the Betts family. For background, after Nancy’s husband Hiram Crawford died she married Rev. Platt Betts. Not much is known of his family. He had been married to Abigail Gillett and they had a daughter, Harriett. It is not known at this time if they had other children. Platt’s parents were Justus Betts and Elizabeth Darrow.

In the letter, Nancy writes that “It has ben very sickly hear [Omro, WI] this winter, ben a grate menny deaths among old and young. A fine young man by the name of Charles Betts is very sick with the fever. He is all the child his Mother has and she is a very weakly Woman. Her husband was Elder Betts neffew. I dont know as I spell that right. He dide when Charly was a littel boy.”

The 1870 census shows that a Charles H. Betts was living in Omro, Wisconsin, with his mother, Emeline Betts. Doing more digging I was able to find that Emeline Mallory was the wife of Henry H. Betts. While no death record has been found for Henry, Emeline petitioned the court in 1852 to appoint her as administrator of Henry’s intestate estate. Charles was about 7 years old at that time, which supports the fact that he was a little boy at the time of his father’s death. Regarding the fact that he was “all the child his Mother has” the 1850 census for Henry & Emeline lists two daughters, Margaret (18) and Sarah (9). Since the census records for 1860, 1870 and 1880 list only Emeline and Charles, it is not known what happened to Margaret and Sarah so it is possible that they either died or did not live near them as to be of any help.

Charles’ occupation is listed as minister and later as retired minister in some of the census records. While the fact that Platt was also a minister doesn’t necessarily prove a connection, it does make me think we’re on the right track. These facts when taken together would seem to confirm that this Charles H. Betts is the same Charles Betts referred to in Nancy’s letter. The one missing piece of evidence is who Henry H. Betts father was, who would have been Platt’s brother. He had several brothers: John, Joseph, Darrow, John, Burwell and James. So far that connection has not been made.

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Our other conundrum concerned Edwin Crawford (son of Hiram and Nancy (Comfort) Crawford-Betts, and sister of Sarah (Crawford) Keith) and his two wives. He first married Louisa Hall on January 9, 1848 and they had a son, Eugene Crawford, on August 22, 1850. We have been unable to find any information on Louisa’s parents or anything regarding her death.

On January 6, 1854, Edwin married Mary Hamilton. They had two children, Edna Alice Crawford (born January 1, 1855) and Emmett Patrick Crawford (born July 27, 1857). Mary’s parents were Patrick Hamilton & Rosanah Perry.

The 1860 Census for Edwin and Mary Crawford shows a Sabrina Hall, age 18, born in Michigan, living in their household. Going back to the 1850 Census for Patrick and Pamelia (Gray) Hamilton (Patrick’s second wife), members of the household include Mary A. Hamilton, age 17; Jno Hall, age 14; Sabrina Hall, age 8; and Sarah Gray (presumably Pamelia’s mother), age 79.

Going back to Louisa (Hall) Crawford, in the March 13, 1873 letter from Nancy Crawford-Betts to Sarah Keith, Nancy mentions that “Eugene received a letter from his Aunt Matillda Munsol. She wrote her health is very poor and Charly Hall was marred and her Father health was very poor. He fell and hurt himself very bad.” Sarah’s husband, Luke, had the following entries in his diaries:

12-10-1857 – Matilda Munsel here. Went home on the cars.

8-12-1859 – Mrs Hall & Matilda here.

3-1-1859 – Jarvis Muncil here.

A search for Jarvis and Matilda ‘Munsel/Muncil’ turned up a marriage record for Jarvis P. Munsell and Matilda Hall on July 7, 1850. The wedding was performed at the home of Stephen D. Hall in Charleston, Michigan, in the presence of Stephen D. Hall, Harriett [Watson] Hall, O_____ C. Munsell, Lucy Munsell, Mary A. Munsell and Fanny C. Munsell. So it is assumed that Stephen and Harriett were Matilda’s parents. The 1850 Census shows Stephen & Harriett living in Charleston, Michigan, with their children Sylvester, William M., Ozius and Virginia. While Matilda is not included in that census entry, Jarvis was listed in the entry for his parents. It should be noted, however, that the census taker visited the Munsell family on July 12 and the Hall family on September 16. Even though the July 12th date is after Jarvis & Matilda’s marriage, it is close enough to leave the door open to reasons why he was still considered a family member, but it was two months before the Hall family was visited.

Regarding John and Sabrina Hall, we received an email from Bill Smith who related that the Halls “came to Wisconsin Terr. about 1833. One of them, Ephraim Hall, married the sister [Mary Dickinson] of my 2nd gr-grandfather, Justus Dickinson, who married Amanda Hamilton, who is the half-sister of Patrick Hamilton. They lived in Cassville, WI Terr. for a time. I also see that Patrick Hamilton had a John Hall, born about 1833 in W. Canada, and a Sabrina Hall, born about 1836, also in W. Canada, living with him in the 1850 census.” Amanda Hamilton was the daughter of Benjamin Hamilton and Sarah Phelps.

So coming back to this March 13, 1873 letter, where it mentions that Eugene received a letter from his “Aunt Matillda Munsol,” we still haven’t been able to come up with a concrete relation between his mother, Louisa (Hall) Crawford, and Matilda (Hall) Munsell or Louisa’s connection to Edwin’s second wife, Mary (Hamilton) Crawford. Notwithstanding all that, we hope to someday link up both the Hall and Hamilton families to our Crawford family.

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March 13, 1873

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Prosper has just come home from the woods. Robert came home last week. Received a letter from Hiram the first of March. He said he had a hard cold and Kate had an attack of the bilious fever but she was getting better. The children were well. Hasn’t received a letter from David since the 12th of January. Has been feeling very bad about him and is afraid he is sick. Eugene came home this week. He thinks of working with Robert and Pros at the Boom. Hopes Hannah will “never make up with that fellow nor give him a chance to have any conversation. He is a fickle minded fellow. He doesn’t love her.” Pros and Bell talk of moving to Winneconne, six miles from here. If Robert sells his place he would go too.

Omro March 13 1873

Dear Daughter Sarah

I receive your kind letter yesterday and thought I would answer it soon as you requsted it. I am not very well at present. My stomach has ben quite bad with the Dyspep.[1] I am taking Home Pathe medisine. I am fealing better to day. Prosper[2] jest came home from the woods. He called here. He read your letter. I show him the Photographs. He is well. He thought they look natural and so I do give my love to them and tell them I thank them (NCK HB)[3] for the gift. Robert[4] came home last weeke. He was very un well but is a getting better so he is about so he can see to his bissniss again. His famly is well at present. They have all ben down sick with hard colds. I received a letter from Hiram[5] the first of March. He said he had a hard cold and Kate[6] had a tact of the billous fever[7] but she was getting better. The children was well. I havent received a letter from David[8] sence the twelth of Janury. I have ben fealing very bad about him. I am afread he is sick. I should have written to him but expecting evry day to get a letter. Robert has written to him so I think I will hear from him soon. It has ben very sickly hear this winter, ben a grate menny deaths among old and young. A fine young man by the name of Charles Betts[9] is very sick with the fever. He is all the child his Mother[10] has and she is a very weakly Woman. Her husband[11] was Elder Betts[12] neffew. I dont know as I spell that right. He dide when Charly was a littel boy. We have had good sleighing all winter but the snow is most all gon. The ice is very thick in the river. There has ben a grate menny loads of ice carred away. It hasent started to move yet. Eugean[13] came home a tuseday this weeke. He is healthy. He thinks of working with Robert and Prosper at the Boom.[14] Eugene received a letter from his Aunt Matillda Munsol.[15] She wrote her health is very poor and Charly Hall[16] was marred and her Father[17] health was very poor. He fell and hurt himself very bad. I hope Hannah[18] will never make up with that fellow[19] nor give him a chance to have any conversation with him. You can see he is afickel minded fellow. He dont love her. If he did he would not do as he has done.

Prosper and Bell[20] talks of moveing to Winacona six miles from here. If Robert could sell his place he would go to. It is neerer to there work. Give love to Mrs Ralph and like wise to Mrs Birdic. My love to your self and famly.

From your affectanate Mother

N B Betts

[to] S C Keith

N B Write soon as convent

Mother

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[1] Dyspepsia – indigestion

[2] Lucius Prosper Crawford, her youngest son

[3] Her granddaughter, Nancy Catherine (Keith) and Henry Brown

[4] Her son, Robert Crawford

[5] Her son, Hiram Crawford, Jr.

[6] Hiram’s wife, Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[7] Bilious fever was a fever accompanied with nausea or vomiting and strong diarrhea

[8] Her son, David Caleb “D. C.” Crawford

[9] Believed to be Charles H. Betts

[10] Believed to be Emeline (Mallory) Betts

[11] Believed to be Henry H. Betts

[12] Her second husband, Platt Betts

[13] Her grandson, Eugene Crawford, the son of Edwin and Louisa (Hall) Crawford

[14] Bay Boom was where the lumber companies sorted out their lumber

[15] Believed to be Matilda (Hall) Munsell

[16] Unknown at this time

[17] Believed to be Stephen D. Hall

[18] Sarah’s daughter, Hannah Keith

[19] Hannah’s fiance, Eberly Underwood; Luke’s diary mentions on 12-13-1872 that Hannah got a ring from him

[20] Pros wife, Isabella (Steele) Crawford

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