Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, November 18, 1828

Author: John Geddes

Date: November 18, 1828

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Washtenaw November 18th 1828

Dear Brother [William Geddes] I expected we would have had our sawmill works before I wrote in greater forwardnefs than the[y] now are; the progrefs slowly on our hands, our dam takes much more time than we supposed it would the principal part of the dam is to plank yet; Two days work with three hands will finish the stone halling for it. There is not lefs than four hundred tons of stone in it. Our dam is frame filld with stone and then to be plankd on the upper side with plank 2 1/a inches thick, and ten feet long. The dam rises 3 1/2 feet above the water; (that is the common height of the water) We calculate [to] raise another foot of head in low water by placing plank, on the comb of the dam which are to be thrown off in high water. The plank extend from the upper, or ridge log on too the sill, or lower log just so far as to admit of being pind on the sill. Thinking it better to make the upper surface of the dam as flat as possible. We have made a culvert under the head race for Mallets Creek calculating to send that stream through it in a year or two; It is a plank Culvert. Two feet higher is all we intend to [torn] the mouth of that creek by the dam. But it is so stagnant now that it is thought most prudent to send it under the head race; when that is done we intend to lower it a foot lower than it now is at the mouth. The law relative flowing lands has been altered. The law has been that a person complaining for damage, for his land being overflowed, could recover nothing more than the worth of the land at the time it was flowed. At the last sefsion of Legislative Council this law has been repealed; and another pafsed making the person that flows land liable to be sued for trefspafs, once every 24 hours. This late act was pafsed the beginning of July. And we think we shall not coming under the provisions of it; as we commenced digging the pit the 28th of April though we done nothing to the dam before September, except contracting with Botsford for a place to attach the dam to. I mention this as the Rev. [torn] Clark a Baptist preacher, has threatened to prosecute if we flow any of his prem [torn] not intend to raise more that two feet against his shore; even when the plank [torn] This we have an idea will not flow any of his land. We shall go on and dig as much head as we calculated on: and if attackd we shall endeavor to make out this late act an Ex post facto law. I might tell you how we happened to come under the wrath of this pretended minister of the Prince of Peace. It was not owing to any difficulty we had in a dealing way, nor any other way. But the part he acted in his transactions with a Mr Hicks a member of this settlement; and with whom he had considerable connection in the way of deal. The part he the said Clark acted: we conceived to be rascally, unmercifully and unmanly. And we took part against him; not we alone but the whole settlement It would be to[o] long a story to tell what the crimes are, there are none of them criminal only catches in law; he is a man very revengefull and savage in his nature; and when once under sail; pays no regard to his proffefsion of Religion, nor the principles of honor As Mr Parsons has made an offer of one hundred and seventy five dollars for your lot of eighty acres being the East half of the Northeast 1/4 section fourteen. Township No 3 Range six east. The offer is this; 175 dollars to be paid on or before the first of June 1830 with interest from the date of the contract for the conveying of the said eighty acres. If you are willing to except of these conditions: I will enter into the contract with him, binding myself to make him a good and sufficient title on or before the first day of June 1830 on condition that he will pay you, or me, the money at said time with interest from the date of the contract: if he does not comply with the contract he is to pay 25 dollars liquidated damages. (liquidated damages it is said can be collected) and he likewise might be kept from taking any timber of said land. He likewise offers 185 dollars with interest if you will wait on him seven months longer. He wishes me (supposing you and him can deal) to bind myself to pay him for his improvements on said land if I dont fulfill on my part. what three disinterested persons may think they[sic] improvements are worth. I think that he offers as much as it is worth; if his manner of paying you will answer. he owns eighty acres adjoining it. which is the principal reasons he gives for wanting to purchase said land. There is some excellent land in the premises and some but midling, on the whole it is a good piece of land but there is a want of timber on it. You may reject this proposal because it is not cash, but you may come here one or two years hereafter and offer for cash, and not be able to sell, for it is not at all times you can find purchasers It is my opinion he will pay when the time he is obligated to do it comes. He wishes immediate pofsefsion as soon as the contract is signed.


In making the two offers he wishes if he can meet the first conveniently, not to comply with the second. But I would bind him to one [of] the[m] if I sold. It depends upon your calculations which would answer you best. If you would wish to purchase more land, and we should conclude not to raise a grist mill, I will advance you the money and wait, until Mr Parsons pays you (supposing you should sell) I think you might safely offer to sell them 240 acres if you could get 600 dollars for it; lefs I would not except of. I propose this plan to you as I have an idea you never calculate to settle down a farmer in Michigan. As for the eighty acres you and me have in partnership I bought that for the timber that is on it; and so would rather pay you your share than that you should sell it to any other person. As for these ideas that I have mentioned to you; relative to your land you will please to give your opinion of them with the same freedom that I have offered them: as you know I am not backward in giving my opinion in matters of this kind. Samuel Karber is undecided what course to steer next spring: he may do a great deal worse than come to Michigan. What was sold in Ypsalanti this fall for 75 cents Cash and (I was told) in Detroit for one dollar. The price of carriage from this to Detroit is 12 1/2 cents pr Bu. The price of hauling from Detroit to Ypsalanti was 37 1/2 cents pr Cwt. The turnpiking of Chicago road between the Rouge and Huron was completed this summer. And there has been Sixty bushels of Wheat drawn at a load from Ypsalanti to Detroit, by two yoke of cattle: (but midling cattle either) It is an earth turnpike and such loads cant be taken at all seasons of the year. Corn and Rye are 50 cents pr Bushel. In your last you set down Rye at 30 cents and Corn at 40 Cents, if there is no mistake in your prices. It places Washtenaw before Hanover in the farming line. that is more money can be raised of an hundred acres here than there. They have fences and barns and houses on their premises and we have not. if they had not these things it might be taken as an insult; the offer as gift, many of [torn] as the place of their abode. That is home, and this is a western wild. What a [torn] it is that people will cling to their native homes with unyielding tenacity. or [torn] desolate and barren lands there would be I expected before I wrote to you to let you know something more about our saw mill than I have; having wrote earlier this time on account Mr Parsons hurrying me: than I should have. When our sawmill has fairly started you may expect a letter from me; if the mill dont start I shall; in three months from the date of this. One week after you receive you will please to direct to me your answer to Mr Parsons proposal, you cant expect many more from me this time. we have all been well since I last wrote. We calculate to keep four hands beside ourselves to work, on our dam and tail race this week; and three for two or three weeks longer. which I think will complete the dam and tail race; the head race is completed. Our Pa. mill-right after bargaining to put in the running geers left the country, pretending he could not receive encouragement enough to warrant he staying here: We have partly contracted with another man who has a number of hands. if he does it I am in hopes yet it will go the first of January yet your Road Tax is three days work I shall attend to it. I am in an hurry So

Farewell John Geddes

To Wm Geddes