1875 Letters

November 28, 1875 letter to Matilda Brown from Nancy Brown

November 28, 1875

To: Keith and Brown Families, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Lawton, MI

They got a lamp burner. Now they can see to read or sew in any part of the room by turning the reflector. The lamp cost $1.40. Just after they had gone to bed they were awakened and told their house was on fire. As it turned out, the wind was blowing so hard it was spreading the sparks from their chimney all over town. She thought if it had not been seen all of Lawton would have been in ashes by the morning.

Lawton Michigan
Nov 28, 75
Sunday forenoon

Dear ones at home[1]

Hank[2] has gone to Church. Claude[3] is asleep in the cradle, and I am rocking him and writting. Mr Taylor from Chicago, a great revivalists preaches to day & Hank has gone to hear him. He is to hold meeting three times a day all over town as long as he stays. Dont know wheather they will give us a call or not. I intended writting you the last of the past week but have been so busy could not. I have been helping Mrs McKiney[4] get ready to go to Illinois on a visit. She did not make up her mind to go untill Friday and then set the time to start Mondy night so I have been helping her. Will have to work a little to day and all day tomoro. Aunt Jule,[5] she wants to know how much you will ask to make her a tidy[6] like my house tidy. We got the butter all right. The cheese lasted untill breakfast the next morning. We think Claudes stockings just splendid and he thinks them awful nice. The feet are large for him but he can wear them. We got a letter from Ma[7] last night also a lamp burner. Hank got a bracket[?] lamp for it. It gives a good light. We think we can see to read or sew in any part of the room by turning the reflector. It hangs just the east side of the bed room down in the front room. The lamp was $1.40. Guess it will pay for its self in chimneys in a short time. The Drs folks[8] were all here Thanksgiving. If we had not asked them here Polls folks were going to invite us down there but we got the start of them.

Ma, is Aunt Kate[9] coming back to Dowagiac.[10] If so I dont see how she gained any thing by going the way she did. I just wish Henry had not said any thing. When you write tell us how Harry[11] was, did his throat get any better.

Monday morning

I will try and finish this. We had quite a scare last night. We had gone to bed and just got asleep when Jones folks came and woke us up telling us the house was on fire. I guess we was not long in getting out of bed. Came to look it was the chimney burning out but if it had not been seen I guess the whole of Lawton would have been in ashes this morning. The wind blew so hard it took the sparks all over town, but it was quite exciting times for about three quarters of an hour. I guess if these old roofs had been dry they would caught in spite of all that could be done. [Ma how?] nice an over coat is Pa,s.[12] Tell Hannah[13] I want she should write all about her visit & if she went to the shop. No more, write soon.

Love to all


I am holding Claude.


[1] While the envelope is addressed to Mrs Ambrose Brown, Henry’s mother, it is clear from the second half of the letter that it was written to both Henry’s and Nancy’s families

[2] Her husband, Henry Brown

[3] Their son, Claude Keith Brown

[4] Her neighbor, Mary (Stephenson) McKinney

[5] Henry’s aunt, Julia Allen

[6] A light detachable covering, as for a chair back

[7] Her mother, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[8] Her neighbors, Mary and her husband, Martin VanBuren McKinney

[9] Believe she is referring to Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford

[10] Dowagiac, Michigan

[11] Katherine’s son, Harry Crawford. See reference to Harry in the November 17, 1875 letter

[12] Her father, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[13] Her sister, Hannah Keith

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