1882 Letters

August 13, 1882 letter to Nancy Brown from Lois Skinner

August 13, 1882

To: Nancy Brown

From: Lois Skinner, Ceresco, MI

General letter about daily life and inquiring about news of family and friends. Refers to a letter from Charles Rice who indicated that his grandmother was alive, but her brother who lived in Barry County was buried a week ago.

Ceresco[1], Aug 13th 1882

My Dear Sister Nan

I am alive and well tough as a Bear. Thought I would write to you last week but changed my mind and wrote to Ma.[2] The great trouble I dont have anything to write about only the same old thing. The folks all on the grunt. I have been Huckleberring four or five times. Did not get very many. I had a letter from Chas Rice. I wrote to Ma. His G.M.[3] was alive the last he had heard, her Brother that lived in Barry Co was buried a week ago. Died with heart disease. He was at Mothers[4] just a short time before I was there. I think Mrs Youngs will be about wore out when Mother is gone. They think there is not any help for her. I had a letter from Willie[5] last Sunday. He is very homesick. Thinks he would not stay there long if G.M. was well. Do you ever get any letters from him. I rather expect you have seen our new nephew[6] before this. I will say thanks for that Family I found in my letter they are nice. Has Bessie[7] her Braces on. I thought I could see them. Ina[8] also says thanks for her Present. Dont know when she can ever pay her Aunt and Uncle[9] for so many presents. She wants you to tell Claude, Lela and Bessie[10] that she has a canary bird. Aggie Smith sent it too her. Her Pa got a nice cage for it. She calles it Brownie. It is only two months old. Sings quite a goodeal for so young a bird. She wishes every day the Children could come and see her. She says she will not be so naughty as she was when they were here last. I expect her School will commence before long. I wrote in Mas letter perhaps we would be out there next week but shall have to give it up. I wanted to go then so I could go and see Spinney. I think if I didnot have the headache so much my eyes could be stronger. About Sate I dont know anything about wheather she is going away or not but dont think she is. Her Mother says she is not going this year. I will tell you what I think about her getting those things she wrote H- she wanted. They are packing butter and when they sell it she will get her things. She has wanted them for sometime. Would got them one year ago if she had not thought she had better have medicine and her Mother had her teeth fixed you remember. Nan I expect I have made lots of blunders but my head feels so bad most of the time I am not fit to write, but I think you have as much sympathy for me as any one. It is but little anyone gets here on this earth. How is Mother Brown.[11] I do feel so sorry for Bessie. Poor little child. Dont know what she has to be harnessed up in that way. You may kiss all the children and Hank[12] for me if you will and he can do the same to you. Dont you wish I would stop. If Nell[13] is with you remember me to her and all inquiring friends. Do you ever see any of Mr Harts family. I wrote her the last letter. Never have heard a word from her since she was here last Spring. Tell Hannah[14] for me I do wish she would rest for a few weeks at the least. Think it had ought to be months. She will get where she cannot take care of herself if she is not carefull. Have I got any Brothers[15] living about there. Have not heard from them this summer. Next time you write beat this if you can. I have not heard Lou[16] in a long time. If you see that Baby get a Photo if you can. Write soon from your loving sister.[17]


Ina wants to know about Lela Birthday party.[18] She felt very bad because she could not be there.


[1] Ceresco is roughly midway between Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, Michigan

[2] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[3] Believe this is short for grandmother

[4] Family quite often used the term “Ma” to refer to the wife’s mother while the term “Mother” referred to the husband’s mother. Perhaps she is referring to either the mother of her first husband, Byron Clark, or her present husband, Adelbert Skinner

[5] Most likely Lois’ son by her first husband, William Clark

[6] Believe she is referring to their brother Henry’s son, Arthur “Raymond” Keith, who was born April 19, 1882

[7] Nancy’s daughter, Bess Brown

[8] Lois’s daughter, Ina Skinner

[9] Nancy and her husband, Henry Brown

[10] Nancy & Henry’s three children

[11] Nancy’s mother-in-law, Matilda (Allen) Brown

[12] Nancy’s husband Henry Brown’s nickname

[13] Helen Elizabeth “Nellie” Bristol. In the 1880 census she was living with Nancy & Henry in Comstock, Michigan. Nellie was Henry’s first cousin once removed

[14] Lois’ and Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[15] Henry, Ethan and Jim Keith

[16] Believe she is referring to her and Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris

[17] Lois and Nancy were half-sisters; Lois’ mother was Charles “Luke” Keith’s first wife, Minerva Payson, while Nancy’s mother was Luke’s third wife, Sarah Crawford

[18] Lela turned 4 on August 13, 1882

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