1898 Letters

October 15, 1898 letter to Cora Keith from Mary Briggs

October 15, 1898 

To:  Cora Keith, Chicago, IL

From: Mrs. W. M. Briggs, Shelbyville, MI

Would like to request a favor to let her husband and son stay at Cora’s place while they attend the Peace Jubilee in Chicago, as it would be hard for them to find a place to stay. Gives a detailed description of Bertha Dean’s funeral, especially how she was laid out and the casket.

1898-10-15 Mary Briggs to Cora Keith

Shelbyville Mich
Oct 15th 98

My Friend,
Mrs Cora Keith

Pardon the liberty I am taking in addressing you at this time. My plea is, a favor I wish to ask, namely will it be possible for you to find a nook or a corner for Mr Briggs and Earl[1] for one day, and night in your pleasant home. They now intend to go to Chicago Tuesday night to attend the “Peace Jubilee”[2] and want to stay one night in the City if possible. They will pay you Hotel prices for accomodations. You know the City will be full. I told Mr B. unless he made arrangements before hand, he would not be able to get a place to lean against and it is more on account of Earl that I wish them to be at your place. Mr B. being a “Business” Man could and would be accomodated at the Commission Mens “Club House” at Stock Yards but that is so distant and requires the Company of a Policeman to insure your safety (almost). Mr Harris & Mr M. Gurley are going I understand this morning. I asked your Father[3] if he wasn’t going. We talked it over in all its pros and cons Josie, Marion[4] and myself, to him and later Josie told me she guessed her Father would go. He seemed to think favorable of it seeing the parties I mentioned were going but said he wanted to stay longer than the party going so he could not take advantage of the Excursion Train from here the 18th to 22nd $5.40 round trip. By the way allow me to state that Josie is getting along splendidly keeping house. Today she baked Graham and white bread made Cookies, Fried Cakes, cooked Beans and Pork and __________ &c &c had it all done before noon and done nicely for I saw her cooking. Marion does well her part also & Johny[5] too. Your Uncle Evans[6] with Mrs Carrie, Bill & little child are at your home[7] here. Mr. ______ of Bradly[8] came near dying last Sunday morning. Two doctors from Wayland worked over him over two hours to arouse him. Congestive Chill. Bertha Deans[9] funeral was held at the Church here at 2: O’clock P.M. remains coming from Kalamazoo on 1:10 O’clock Passenger. Flesh colored or perhaps more appropriately called Salmon Pink plush covered Casket trimmed with a vine of green allaround outside and in side large yellow roses and green leaves in every handle of Casket. At the Church the top was entirely removed, thus showing her in full dress. Lavender silk waiste black brocaded mohair dress skirt black satin slippers. The top of the Casket rested on edge of Casket and leaned towards the altar railing. It was covered with flowers some woven in designs. In the midst of a bed of pink rested a pure white dove full size with wings and tail full spread. But I must close my sheet is nearly full. Excuse me for writing at such length. Will you reply immediately to my questions & request. It will reach me before Tuesday night. Hoping you are all well. I am.

Yours with kindest regards

Mrs. W. M. Briggs[10]

Fix beds on the floor the same as at time of “Worlds Fair.” They’ll be soft enough for a short time at least.


[1] Wallace M. Briggs and his son, Wallace Earl Briggs

[2] Celebration of the country’s success and end of the Spanish-American War and honored the troops

[3] Walter “Burton” Meredith

[4] Cora’s sisters, Josephine and Marion Meredith

[5] Cora’s brother, John Meredith

[6] Cora’s uncle, Evans Meredith

[7] Cora’s parents’ home

[8] Bradley, Michigan

[9] Bertha Dean died October 7, 1998. She was the daughter of John and Mary (Sage) Dean. Cora’s sister Josephine married Fred Dean, but the relationship to Bertha Dean, if any, is unknown at this time

[10] Mary (Childs) Briggs

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