Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, February 25th, 1828

Author: William Geddes

Date: February 25th, 1828

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Londonderry February the 25th 1828

Dear Brother, I received your letter of the 14th of January on the 15th February Which I considered as soon enough although it might and was expected to have arrived sooner, agreably to your promise of writing directly after you would be done with the saw-mill. I am and will be satisfied with the arrivall of intelligence from you of your and Brothers and sifters welfare at such times as may best suit you; I am determined to disregard what certain people or the world may or can say about our affairs: notwithstanding their continual pestering of me to know when I had received a letter or how they people of Michigan were how Jane liked to live there – some of the good people even exprefsed their fear that you had no good news to send otherwise you would write – you know this is the case when acquaintances meet let them be warm or luke-warm friends they will enquire of one another about old associates and then if you have not other day news for them they will wonder you dont write; it is strange – tis passing strange etc etc etc I need hardly mention that I am rejoiced that your saw-mill concern answered your expectations so well, or in other words that you are so well satisfied with it. You have done better than I expected and better than the most of your neighbors prognosticated; indeed appearances were a little squally when I left Michigan. It was fortunate that you engaged in that business when you did for now you have acquired much information in the business, and are in possession of a greater portion of means and materials for the erection of a mill of your own; then you were or would be at present had you not engaged in it at all; and you have acquired these means and materials with far less cost and labour than you otherwise could have done. And if I could consistently with my best interests or what I consider to be such; come to Michigan this spring I would be rejoiced at it, and would cordially cooperate with all of you in any undertaking that would conduce to the welfare or aggrandizement of the name of Geddes But with the means that I am in possession of or of those that I can possess myself of before that time it would be useless, they are or would be wholly inadequate to the undertaking: at least they would bare no comparison to what either of you can invest and in such a case my spirit would suffer even with brothers for my partners. My whole capital amounts to but $43.28 cents. What father could safely give you know [now] is nothing he lives up to his income or rather more to his and our share be it spoken although that amounts to at least $1000 this year. We have 681 bushels of Wheat and will have about 500 of Rye and 400 of Corn of Oats 400 Clover seed we expect 15. Wheat sells at .80 Rye at .35 Corn at .40 cents Oats .20 cents Clover seed at $4.00 per Bushel. If I expend any money it is out of my own pocket and trifling expenses in time amount to something consequently my stock is diminishing; it is not worth while asking father for he is always bare and to ask him for a considerable sum at least for as much as would [tear] to go to Michigan I will not; for it would only be sinking him deeper in a[torn by seal] who is nearly 1000 dollars in debt already besides it might sink his spirits [torn] are already too much deprefsed by manifold causes. I say nothing to him [about] my services; about labouring without a reward because there could be nothing [gained] by it: it would only be a heart-rending matter; it would only make truths more apparent; only Kindle in his mind the remembrance of past [and] present mifsmanagements which incapacited and incapacitate him from rewarding his children as he ought – I know he is sorry that he cannot and wish not to increase his pain by letting him know what we have a right to expect of him. I am endeavouring to leave home with as good a

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grace as possible. I intended to have left home this spring; and have done my best to procure a place in a mill upon as good conditions as pofsible, but have not succeded (in order to learn that businefs) owing partly to my not looking out a month sooner and partly to the opennefs of the winter which enabled every thunder-grist mill to do businefs and of course diminished the work of the principal mills, or at least enabled them to do the work as it came in. I traveled 8 days in-quest of a mill principally in Lancaster County and find the millers an overgrown parsimonious race; most of them being unwilling to give more than 2.50 per month and only board wash and mend for their apprentices: except two or three places where they got 4 & $5. I have partly bargained with a man on the Chiques creek in Lancaster County for ten months at 4 dollars per month he is to board wash and mend for me; to begin the first of August which suits me better than if I were to begin in the spring as I think I can learn the businefs in that time to perfection and if he should disappoint me which I think is not likely I can get other places; at least several millers told me that they would give me a chance after harvest. First rate millers get from 12 to 20 dollars per Month which is as much as can be had almost at any other employment and certainly more than can be afforded by farmers. Besides it is the only plan that affords me a decent pretext for leaving home and father a reasonable excuse for the loss of me, your Michigan operations make the world approve of my course and afford an excuse to father. The man I am going to carries on distilling strong and of course I may learn something about that which may be of service to you and me. I am going to Philadelphia in 2 or 3 weeks and will procure that Book which I think can be sent to you by Mail for lefs money than you are willing to give for it I think I can send it to Michigan for 10 dollars I purchased Gill Blafs in three volumes at auction for $1.20 containing 900 page sterotype print and elegantly bound which is nearly 8 page for a cent. I can give you no account of the weather that is from a thermometer but otherwise I can. We have a remarkable winter and have had a fall equally so, so much so that the oldest inhabitants say they never saw anything like it. We had one week of cold windy weather and that was in the fall the rest of the winter and fall has been very wet and warm. raining almost every other day and at one time for nearly two weeks. We had 4 or 5 snows of about an inch in depth. I was not a little irritated at those honorable Gentlemen the Council of Michigan when I read the account of their conduct towards nonresidents. I think it a rascally piece of business to tax nonresidents road tax at least; for I think they have no right to levy taxes of any kind: if they have I have to learn from whence they derive it. If you work out my road tax and pay my County tax I will refund the money in the best way I can I will pay for your Newspapers and purchase that Book and send it by the mail if [you] think it safe. Which will pay my tax this year I wish you to send what it all may amount to in your next. You say it is the want of Capital that cramps everything in Michigan very true; it is that that does so every where it was that that took the most of you to Michigan and of course I think you ought to be very carefull of what you have and you do lend dont exact the utmost farthing There is another kind capital or rather Capitals that appears by your letter to be

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very scarce in Michigan; that is Capital letters. I always like to see a capital letter commence every sentence which you neglect very much to let them do; if there is any scarcity of that kind of Capital I can furnish you with a sufficiency of the kind, at a very reasonable rate. You are not so faulty in this particular in your last, as heretofore. You may sell our partnership lot if you choose and make use of the money as may best suit you; more I cannot do for you this spring. Our friends and relatives are all well as far as I know to speak particularly of them I cannot pretend to it: that is of our relations; of our friends there is still a considerable number that are rejoiced to hear well of you to such impart, as soon as an opportunity presents, such news as they have a just claim to. James Willson. Hugh Wilson. Hugh Shelter. Samuel Fleming. Samuel McClure. Philip Wolfersberger Jr. Mary Carr. Mary Sharon. and all the rest in Hanover are single still. Mifs Sarah McKinny of Harrisburg was married to a Mr McKinney a kind of Mifsionary and lives in Ohio at present Mr Roberts is also married. Isabel McClure is still single contrary to my expectation; for Mr McCurdy has visited us pretty frequently since you left, in the courting line. He and a Mr Rolfe a yankey teacher in Palmyra the succefsor of the one that taught in Palmyra when Jane was here: started a singing school and got Mr Mitchel as teacher; so as to have an oppertunity or at least to have an excuse to gallant the girls about and the Campbellstown people subscribing pretty largely got the half of time so that we had glorious times this winter but not very honorable times, the gentlemen not proving to be chips of the best blocks: Mifs Betsy Richards proving a little troublesome to ten or dozen of the gentlemen. Rolfs McCurdy Darwin Michael Dininger Adam Kettering; in particular were a good deal frightened about who she might swear the child on. So Rolfe who being the most consumate gentleman or what you please; was deputed or it is at least thougt was sent to ascertain to a certainty who she would swear it upon: at any rate he went Some say there were one or two with him but that they did not go into the house others say he was twice there and offered Betsy medicine to put [abort] the thing back which she refused to do: be these things as they may the overseer of the poor called upon betsy to give security that the child would not become a charge to the township and Kettering went security so that he has to father the brat. She swore it on no person so it is but a botcht up matter at best Mr Rolfe took very sick: and while sick they people say Betsy or some other person made a complaint to a justice of the peace about the Medicine affair but nothing was done while he was sick or the thing was put of till he got well but Mr Rolfe being a true yanky got his trunk conveyed to Ketterings by some unknown means there having been some dispute about boarding him at Bishop or Beals as soon as he was able to walk he steps up to Kettering & telling Mr Beal that he was going to make a bargain about boarding and his trunk being there before him steps into the stage and went off, leaving about 120 dollars of debt behind him so some people say, but I dont believe he owed the half of it, they wanting to make it appear that he had run off for debt : not for this Betsy Richards affair. And this Mr Rolfe and McCurdy being great cronies they several times walked at church hooked arms they were so great, has injured McCurdy very much guilty or not guilty. I will not relate another circumstance When the news came that Rolfe had eloped John Wolfersberger sent McCurdy after him to make him pay what he owed him or bring him back he staid away a day and came back and said he could not come up with; that was a Fulpehoaken [?] trick for you Poor McCurdy gets himself handled pretty severely through the Country

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His sweetheart does not know what to do she pities his case and thinks notwithstanding bad appearances he may still be innocent. Mr Darwin is sick at present but I think not dangerously. Kettering has got married to a widow that I do not know There is a good deal of stir and fufs about Jackson and Adams The Union Canal will go into operation this spring. There are going on rapidly with the Penn. Canal. They commissioners intend to make a canal from Middletown to Columbia and construct a rail Road from that Philadelphia Nothing new at Present but that we are all well at Present $2000000 will be borrowed

John Geddes Wm. Geddes