Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, March 20, 1826

Author: William Geddes

Date: March 20, 1826

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Londonderry March the 20th 1826

Dear Brother [John Geddes] I received your letter of the 11th of February on the 15th of March, and with it, the disagreable intelligence of your not having received an answer for your October letter. I might have wrote sooner, but I thought a month and a half after the receipt of your letter would be as soon as you could expect one from me. Your letter of the 16th of October did not arrive till the 29th of Nov. and if you had gave mine of the 16th of January the same time, to arrive I would not be under the necefsity of writing I trust, under my present circumstances; for it could not reach Washtenaw till the 20th of February at least. I shall therefore write the present one under the idea that you have received my letter since you wrote, but if I be mistaken; you will please to inform me of it in your answer to this, if it escapes the villany of Postmasters, and if it be not received I shall recapitulate in my next some things that I wrote in it. The winter in your country you say has been remarkably cold with considerable snow. The winter with us was not cold we have had but little snow and but a few short spells of cold weather; the latter end of last month and beginning of the present was very rainy and warm; it rained slowly, but with little intermision for about two weeks; making the clover and grain fields look beautiful; but such clover fields only as was mowed last year, for what was sowed last spring has a very bad appearance; for it was merely all burnt up by the heat and drought of last summer and fall. We have great prospects of a plentiful harvest. I would like to know if any clover has been sown in your country yet, and if sown, how it succeeds. Robert and you are still keeping house by yourselves and likely to do so; I suppose you have become compleatly habituated to it and find little or no inconvenience in that manner of living; such are the effects of habit, that undoer of all difficulties, that reconciler of contrarieties. It is Robert’s turn now to relinquish that mode of life, as he is now the oldest on the list; for William the printer

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was married on Washington’s birth day the 22nd day of February to Mifs Nancy McCormick of west Hanover Dauphin County Now Sirs. let us hear no more of your comparing Michigan or Michigan opperations to Penn’s wooden [?] country. There was none of us at the wedding nor I believe any other person except their own family; owing to an opposition in camp (as William told me) they had a mind to put it off for some time; amongst them, but at last they concluded, as they were both agreed; it might be soon as well as late for it would be any how, and they allowed they would accommodate them and no others. As for your plan of operations I expect they are the best that could be devised under existing circumstances, as new countries require capital as well as old ones. The amount of your taxes surprised me not a little; because I was of the oppinion that you would have no taxes to pay for some-time. It will be for your interest to oppose the organization of counties, as well as all the land holders and disregard them unprincipaled officehunters. The Democratic members of the legislature or a number of them held a private caucus in the capital this winter and directed the counties to send delegates to compose a convention on the fourth of March to nominate a candidate for the office of Governor and accordingly the greatest number of the counties did; with instructions to support I. A. Shultz. and them that did not the convention filled up thier number with members of the legislature, out of 126 there was 40 members and I. A. Shultz was unaimously nominated by the convention. Who will be taken up in opposition I cannot say The democrats feel confident of succefs let who will be taken up and I am afraid their hopes will be realized. Your opinion of the course taken by the officers of government with respect to their conduct in relation to the convention bill is pretty correct; there was a few of them that voted for it, but very few. In our township the Killingers Wolfersberger and Mitchels voted for a convention; the Earlys and Coleman opposed it the greatest number of the Democrats that voted, voted in favour of it a good many not voting at all and some voting against it. Father and I and Thomas Blucher were the only Federalists that I know of that voted for the convention The votes stood as near as I can recollect 68 for 126 against

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I am sorry that I cannot inform you who the canal commissioners are at present; they were appointed last winter and the newspaper is lost Father did not purchase the pamphlet laws of last sefsion so that I not have not the means of informing you; I examined their report but could make out only two of them General Lacock and John Serjeant; there is five of them and I see in a late paper that the board wish to have four more to assist them. John Serjeant is President of the board. The former commissioners Clark Holgate and Freziverlney differed in their report and seem to have been incompetent to perform the task; some of the members of the legislature; ridiculed them and their reports severely and openly in their speeches. The Senate reported a bill appointing a board of canal commissioners; with the names of them inserted in the bill but the lower house refused to concur in it : alledging that it was rather casting a reflection on the governor because he had appointed Clark Holgate & Freziverlney; then it was left to the governor to appoint, who thought fit however to appoint the persons named in the original bill with one or two exceptions. The small number of settlers that have settled in your county the past year, and the great quantity of Land unlocated will be a chance for me; as I have now received my money and intend visiting you this fall if my health will permit. I would have been in Michigan this spring but (cannot) could not leave home. fathers health has not been good this winter but is getting better but he is still complaining; he had one severe spell in January, this with other reasons prevents me from leaving home this spring & have no idea of staying with you if I do go but shall return as soon as I can Father cannot do conveniently without me for some time yet; another thing my capital will be very little more than yours which leaves you in no enviable situation. The Prices are Flour $4.37 1/2 Rye 40 cents Corn 50 and 80 in the city Pork was at one 2.50 pr hundred in Philadelphia what it is at present I dont know. We have made 115 Bbl of Flour I have made two trips since I wrote last and got $4.56 per Barrel. Salt 2.30 per Bbl. Our relations are all well as far as I can learn The Pennsylvania canal bill pafsed in the house by a vote of 32 to 61 and in the senate by a vote of 19 to 24 Thirty miles from Pittsburg to the mouth of the Kiskiminitas and 24 From the mouth of the swatara to the mouth of the Juniata is to be commenced this season There is some difficulties

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likely to occur or rather has occurred betwixt the Harrisburg company and the Pennsylvania cananl [canal] commissioners; the engineer of the Pennsylvania canal started I hear lately to lay out that canal without giving the Harrisburg company notice of it; and commenced surveying above harrisburg taking the forehand of them and in coming down was met by the company’s engineer thir [sic] surveys interfering with one another but I expect all these bickerings will be amicably adjusted. The influenza or a very bad [cough] cold spread itself far and wide over this country without mifsing scarcely a single individual myself amongst the rest; “great number died about Hummelstown having a fever with it. I shall after this answer your letters directly after the receipt of them I am weary of writing at present and shall conclude for this time not having any thing of consequence to write that I can think of But that we are all well at present.

So Farewell Wm. Geddes