1898 Letters

October 2, 1898 letter to Matilda Brown from Willis Brown

October 2, 1898

To: Matilda Brown

From: Willis Brown, Chicago, IL

Apologizes for not writing. Lizzie is in Michigan and has not been well lately. He was surprised to hear of Hattie’s death. When Lizzie is ready to go home, he wishes his mother would come with her. It would give Nancy a chance to stay with and help care for her mother.

1898-10-02 Willis Brown to Matilda Brown

Claude K. Brown
Designer and Illustrator
Ihling Bros. & Everard.
166 Frankfort St.

Chicago, 10-2-1898

Dear Mother

I know I have not done my duty in failing to write to you[1] and am ashamed of it but I know you hear from us every week and so have selfishly shifted the responsibility on Hank[2] and Bessies[3] shoulders.

I dont write many letters. It is not hard to do it when I get at it but I do dread to begin.

You of course know by this time that Lizzie[4] is in Michigan and I presume you will see her soon. She has been poorly and suffered a great deal for the last two months[5] and I hope the change will do her good.

Ray[6] and I are “baching” it and have done fairly well for the last two days.

I was down to the Gallery[7] a little while tonight and took supper with Hank and Bessie. It was a dull day in the Gallery owing to the almost continual rain. The worst day we have had this summer and I think it a wonder that he made any pictures at all.

I have thought many times that I would write to Pheenie Curtis[8] in reply to her letter but have not done so yet. I was greatly surprised to hear of Hatties death.[9]

Now when Lizzie gets better and stronger and is ready to come back I think it will be a good idea for you to come with her. It would not be any more tiresome for you to come here on the car than it was for you to take the trip you did out to Galesburg[10] when I was there and you know I thought I would come there in March again so if you could come here and stay during the winter I could go home with you then if you did not want to stay longer.

Well, Lizzie will talk it over with you. I shall write to her to go to Kal[11] as soon as she feels able and to let Nan[12] have a chance to stay with her Mother[13] a while.[14]

With love to all

Your loving son



[1] He was using the stationery of his nephew, Claude Brown, the son of Henry and Nancy (Keith) Brown

[2] Will’s brother, Henry A. Brown

[3] Bess Brown, Henry’s daughter

[4] Will’s wife, Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown

[5] She was about two months’ pregnant with their youngest son, Charles Brown

[6] Will’s son, age 12

[7] Hank was a photographer and had a gallery in Chicago

[8] His maternal first cousin, Josephine (Allen) Curtiss

[9] Harriet (Allen) Maxon (cemetery records list her as Myra Hannah Maxon) was the daughter of Charles and Harriet (Carpenter) Allen. New York death records show she died March 18, 1896 in Sodus, New York

[10] Galesburg, Michigan

[11] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[12] Nancy (Keith) Brown, Hank’s wife

[13] Sarah (Crawford) Keith (see Louese Harris’ September 22, 1898 letter to Nancy)

[14] Matilda lived with Nancy, in Kalamazoo, Michigan

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