1890 Letters

July 27, 1890 letter to Ethan Keith from Jim Keith

July 27, 1890

To: Ethan Keith

From: Jim Keith, Chicago, IL

He hasn’t worked much lately. If the men don’t have someone backing them it is hard to get steady work. If Hiram still worked for the company he would get him to ask them to put him back to work. Is glad that Henry is working as a Pullman conductor.

Chicago           July 27/90

Dear Brother

Will try and answer your letter of the 13th. Minnie[1] and I are here alone this afternoon. Sara Alace and Grace[2] have gone down to the park. Gene[3] of course is working. I worked this forenoon on a picnic train. Dont get much work. I have been thare now four week and have just made my expencies. If I dont get work tomorrow am going to go and look for another job although I have got the promise of job hireing when they need a man. I dont like braking on freight at all like it on passenger all right but there is no money to it and no chance to get any thing better. It is a dog life the best of it. You wanted to know why if I put in an application on the south side why thay would not send for me. Well any one can go and put in an application then thay pick from then and the ones that have got the best backing are the ones thay send thay for. Got to have some one of to push it. Went there and showed then those letters. Thay remembered all about it.[4] There is no one to go and ask or to write to then to put me on. If Hi[5] was here or if he would write to then and ask then to put me to work I would get there. There are so many men or City officers that the Co have got to stand in with that have got a friend to put on and thay have got to put take any way in order to keep in the ring. Well I am glad that Henry[6] has got his pullman lantern. Guess that must be what got him that situation. Would think he would make a good Pullman Conductor. It has been real cool here the past week so one could take a little comfort. Suppose W. B.[7] will make you all a visit this week. He started for Jackson last Thursday night by the way of South Haven. Dont let on that I have written any thing for he did not want any one to know he was comeing untill he got there. We are all well here and hope you are all at home. I am not going to read this over for if I did I might not send it. Well good by. Write soon.




[1] Minnie (Crooks) Crawford, the wife of Eugene Crawford

[2] Grace Louise Crawford, the daughter of Gene & Minnie Crawford, who was not quite two years old. Perhaps “Sara Alace” was the nanny or a babysitter

[3] Their maternal first cousin, Eugene Crawford

[4] See Jim’s letter of May 25, 1890 where he informed Ethan that he had been laid off

[5] Their uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr., who had been the Secretary/Treasurer of the North Chicago Street Railroad Company, and retired on July 1, 1889 after 23 years with the company

[6] Their half-brother, Henry Keith

[7] William B. Clark, the son of their half-sister, Lois (Keith) Clark Skinner

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