Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, October 4, 1828

Author: William Geddes

Date: October 4, 1828

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Londonderry October the 4th 1828

Dear Brother [John Geddes] Your Letter was received of on the 27th september and I being at home and idle; owing to the mill being out of order and undergoing repairs I left home on the 6th of august purposely to afsist Mr. Shank in throwing down the one gable-end of his mill: and without the expectation of commencing the trade before the middle of September; a month and a half the workmen considered amply suffecient for the complete repair of every thing; but in this were they widely mistaken for that much time is gone already and as much more may pofsibly go before She is wholly completed; so that I do not expect to begin milling till the first of November. When we commenced throwing down the gable end we calculated to throw it down without being under the necefsity of disturbing much of the side walls but instead of that we were under compeled to throw down the half of either side wall to the ground, and when this was done they thought it would be better to make the mill something longer and concluded on five feet of an addition. The excavation of these 5 feet by 45 was considerable of a task: – diging 15 feet deep; it being that distance to solid rocks. The clay was so soft that we had to prop it up. The roof and inside works were also proped. W[h]at made it necefsary to take the gable down was this: the water house was made too narrow and the wall though built on a solid foundation was started with very small stones and being also four stories high the immense weight of the wall prefsed it in against the water wheels so as to prevent them from turning; or would have done so shortly. If the mill had been in order, we could not have ground more than the third of time; the water being so low: not withstanding we have had more rain this spring and summer past than for many years before; having had but one dry spell this summer that was in the month of August – the three last weeks of the month there was not a drop of rain: since that however we have had a suffeciency to keep the ground tolerable moist. Last Sunday evening there was a cloud past over us and no further than from Jacob Early’s to John Oberhottsors in width, that hail’d rain’d and thundered tremendously for a short time. I was in Palmyra at the time where it rained but little and when I was coming home I saw no hail until I came to Clendennens (our tenant) and from that to our house the fence corners were fairly white with it of the size of hazelnuts: what size the[y] were of when they fell I cant say; for this was three hours after they fell – there was some behind the barn on Tuesday morning – it battered the rye that was up fairly into the ground. Father commenced sowing wheat on the 24 of Sept. Present prices are Wheat $1.25 Rye .30 cents corn .40 cents Oats 20. Flour from the last account was $7.00 per Barrel. The cause of the sudden rise of flour is attributed to the destruction of the crops in Great Britain by heavy rains even before it was cut: and it is also said that the crops of wheat have partly failed in different parts of the United States: particularly the western part of New York where what the yankys call the Rust has committed terrible ravages, destroying whole fields. Peter Miller and three others from this neighbourhood was in Buffalo and surrounding country this fall or rather since

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harvest: and are giving the country a very bad name; they have told that it is very sickly both in town and country: there was as many as fifteen buried in Rochester in one day according to some accounts whether this was theirs I cannot say and wheat crops good for nothing. Samuel Karber was in Ohio this spring and did not like it; and intended to go to Buffalo this fall, but whether he will or not is doubtful; so many bad accounts has put him to a stand, not knowing what to do, and for further consolation I mean to give Michigan news. I attempt to persuade no man to go to Michigan nor will I, it is not thought of and if I men[tion] its name it will be asked where is it: the Michigan fever I believe will never reach here. The weather has been on an average 10 degrees warmer here than with you it was by farenheits at from 90 to 99 in August. You cannot hold Freemasonry and the majority of mason’s in a greater degree of contempt than I do, but that there is and has been at all times Gentlemen amongst them; you must admit: and that Jackson is a character of that stamp his conduct in life clearly proves; a person that is no respecter of persons and is at present the only man who pofsefses a suffeciency of the people’s confidence to defeat the present incumbent: to stop the progrefs of corruption: the barter and sale of office: and to cast forever to the ground that line of safe precedents which makes the secretary of State the heir apparent: or as Iago said “by the old gradation, where each second stood heir to the first.” But Amen to poletick lest I might preach as you did on Freemasonry. But to request – I had almost forgot it – how the people of the township are as respects the President. The Earlys, Kettering, Hearshy’s, Sheller’s, Geddes’, Robisons, Wolfersbergers, widow Bowman’s sons, Peter Killinger, Witmer, squire Phillips, Hemperly’s, Kratzer’s, Norcleroads, John Sawyer, are Jacksonians. T. B. Coleman, Eshelman’s Longneckers, Henry’s Andrew Killinger David Mitchel, and Jacob Bowers sons, sons [sic] and Rich. Beam’s sons Dashers Adamsmen. We calculate on two to one for the old General in the township. Our candidates for office are for Congrefs Innis Green and Valentine Hummel. Afsembly Philip Wolfersberger and Peter Shindle. David Mitchel and Thomas Harper. The first mentioned are on the Jackson ticket and will undoubtedly be elected. Samuel McClure was with us in harvest, having purchased a drove of sheep in Centre county and brought them so far and sold them to I. Wolfersberger; but he did not afsist us much in cutting the grain owing to his not being in good health: his trade does not agree with him and the doctors advised him to quit it; and half persuaded he purchased those sheep but after going back he has again commenced at it and will perhaps continue to work at it till he is obliged to quit it; and then what will he do god knows, poor fellow. He had some notion when he was here or perhaps it would be better to say he talked about purchasing some land on some of the tributarries of the Susquehanna where pine timber could be had and erect a saw mill. A very good plan if he was qualified to carry on such a bufsinefs because lumber has brought better prices this season than heretofore owing to the opening of the Union Canal; which it was expected by the Philadelphia speculators would be the means of conveying it to Phil-[sic] at a cheaper rate, and greater profit than it could be from any other point whatever: so much were they convinced of the justness of their views that

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they purchased all that arrived at a pretty high rate. And would not have been mistaken in their calculations if the Union Canal had done its duty; but the breaks that the confounded thing was every now and then making put a stop to these lads, for they found that they themselves if they continued purchasing would more than keep it agoing at the rate it was going. If the Union Canal can be made suffeciently tight for boating constantly, the cutting of and dealing in lumber will certainly be more profitable than formerly it does not admit of a doubt: and I hope it can: yes it certainly can but it is at present stopeed from Myerstown to Middletown for want of water: to supply this deficiency they are about raising Hammakers dam three feet and erecting anew one about Bells. Mifs McClure spent two weeks with Samuel in Holladaysburg and she says she likes the country, but if one dare judge by appearances I would decide otherwise. Samuel told me that he would have started housekeeping befor now if there had been any hopes of living agreeably with Bell but that; he from ocular evidence was convinc’d; to be impofsible What a misery it is to young persons this starting to their own hand it is a thing that must be done you mus[t] sow notwithstanding you are certain you shall reap nothing but smut; all the enjoyments of this world compared with this single curse, disease, sickness, is not worth a tinkers dam or as Lord Byron will have it a potatoe. Doctor McCurdy has made or the dispute about him Mifs McClure and Sawyers mortal enemies and wilson’s and her were out before, so that She has not a friend in the world She does nothing but rail at lies and liars she wonders the Lord suffers such people to live Jane has made a happy escape from contention and Isabel has better times for they are still afraid that she goes also. Mifs Mary Sharon was married in september to a Mr McCoy storekeeper of Columbus Ohio and left home shortly after. She was but 5 years old when her husband’s wife died so that he is about 45 and looks ugly and old enough to be 60 such is likely to be the fate of our Hanover damsels – happier far is Mifs Fleming in her grave – it cannot be otherwise – shame on you for living till your lafs that you marry cannot feel she loves you; not say who would exchange feeling for words. I am getting so forgetfull or carelefs rather or I might have told you before that James Kelly had forsook the temple of Venus and was lighted by Hyman’s torch to joys unspeakable. He married the widow Walton. Mifs Kerr the Mifs Wilsons Mifs Harrisons and all the Mifses of your acquaintance are still Single, Och! I forgot Sarah Longenecker was married to a Krider and I think would have no reason to be offended if Sarah Henry’s man was to call him brother. Mr Joseph Lonenecker has also got branded by Hymen’s torch his lady’s name was Bachman below [sic] she lived campbellstown I was going[to] say, rich, rich, – cupid is as blind as ever. a while ago I thought it was Shame for wise people not to marry and now I am sure of it; and not let fools people the world wholly. James Clark and Walter are single still James Wilson also and all the [torn] the Misters. Busy people say Nancy Melony and James Clark will be [married] yet but this I dont believe and for Jane’s beau Walter I hear no [torn] him going to get married: poor

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fellow has lost heart. He had a Mifs Jonty for a sweetheart a while but Mike Dininger rather, yes, wholly worsted him there. I am Walter’s friend still and if time and opportunity should offer perhaps I may make his blood flow throu[gh] his gills a little faster that is Mike’s I mean: by getting along side of doxy James is a great Adamsman and is not half so sociable with me as formerly but still I make free to [w]rangle with him and I will do worse the first time I meet him for he was expecting to be run for Commifsioner but in that he was disapointed for the delegates from his township instead of recommending James recommended himself and was taken up – that is the true spirit of the Adamsmen for you. William Hamilton is moved to Franklin County and purchased a farm. It costs 50 cents to carry a barrel on the Union Canal to Philadelphia but I think it will not cost more than 37 1/2 when the thing is fairly started. Direct your letters to Mountjoy Lancaster County. We are all well and have been so since I wrote and our relations also.

To John Geddes Wm. Geddes