Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, December 21, 1828

Author: William Geddes

Date: December 21, 1828

Get PDF: geddes_letters/geddes_letters_18281221.pdf

View Text

Chiques December the 21st 1828

Dear Brother. [John Geddes] I was not the least suprised when I read your letter to find you mistaken in your calculations as to the time and labour that it would take to erect your the saw mill and other necefsary works appertaining thereunto: having been eye-witnefs to greater miscalculations; and by old hands in the mill bui[l]ding businefs. When Schenk commenced to repair his mill he and his workmen concluded that they would have done with it, in two months: instead of that four will have elapsed before it will be altogether finished. And I have experienced something of a disappointment in their mistaken conclusions: the workmen having prevented us from working in the mill nearly one half of the time, since we did commence: which was on the first of Nov. But perhaps the witnefsing of the making and repairing of the works will be of as much service to me. I have learnt at least somethings that is necefsary for a miller to know that I would not have learned but by experience; if the circumstances of my lot had been otherwise. Upon the whole I am midling well satisfied and would be so altogether had we as much more water or half as much more as we have and I had a lefs tiranical master he is as great a tyrant in his sphere of action as Dyonysius of Syracuse: notwithstanding his great pretinsions to christianity; he is not like Mr Clark a Baptist; nor a minister but a man that has been a devil in his young days and now because he sings and prays in the decline of life when his constitution will no more permit him to walk in the Primrose path: he is a saint or wishes to [be] considered such. The waters have been and are very low notwithstanding we had frequent showers of rain. The weather has been delightful and times and prices such as makes the countenance of the husbandman beam with joy. The present prices are for Wheat $1.50 Rye .50 cents Corn .40 cents Oats .22 and Whiskey .22 cents per gallon

Page 2

The last account from the city flour was 8 dollars and had been as high as $10 per barrel and it is calculated that it will rise to that again before harvest. I recived your / this letter on the 14th of Dec. and could send an answer no sooner to it and Mr Parson’s proposals. This milling businefs is a throng one as you may know that the millers are all mens’ servant must attend to all men at a minutes warning You need not tell me to be free in exprefsing my opinion for I am your brother in that; and for a beginging I say your letter is is [sic] well seasoned with inconsistencies. You say in the first place that Mr Parson’s proposal is a good one and then tell me that Wheat is worth 87 1/2 cents cash and again that Washtenaw is before Hanover: where Rye and Corn grows tolerably and where land is at least worth 12 dollars per acre on an average. The Harrisburg market adds to the value of the Hanover lands and its likly to increase in value to them. I have as poor an opinion of Hanover as you can have but IF I had 80 acres of land in it I could get more than 175 or 185 dollars for it. I think his offer is hardly suffecient for it; considering its situation and its convenience: and the time he asks to pay in. You should in order for me to make a just estimate of the value of them 80 acres, have told me whether there was not others situated as Mr Parsons is: as well as the cost for the cultivation of an acre of that or some similar land: he certainly calculates to make the land pay itself in the time he wishes for payment, at least I should suspect so from the nature of the circumstances. So much I have said more on account of the seeming inconsistencies of your opinions than having any objections to selling that piece of land, even at a sacrifice because it is likely that the money will not come amifs when I come to Michigan; When I do come; which I think will not be before May 1831. You may sell that land and give him till the first of June 1831 if he will give 200 with interest from the day he gets pofsefsion. These conditions would answer me: but if you can make more by selling at the first offer or the second by having the use of the money you may do it there shall be no grumbling on my part let me make or loose by it. If he does not fulfill his part of the contract at the time appointed he must give up pofsefsion and forfeit all improvements and pay the 25 dollars for disappointment if you think fit to exact it of him. You will have to take care in making your contract that he does not play a Yankee trick on

Page 3

you; because it might unavoidably happen that I could not come at the time appointed to make him a legal title: and if that should be the case the three might appraise the improvements at more than the land was worth: such a case has happened before now where a man got pofsefsion on some such conditions and when he came to demand pofsefsion he thought best to let the man have land and all rather than pay for the improvements. In contracting with him you must do no more than to insure him quiet pofsefsion of said land untill I come to Michigan or send suffecient authority for making out a legal title. as to the 240 acres I dont wish to sell them at all at present because if Michigan is settled as rapidly as Ohio has done land will be worth 10 dollars per acre in as many years. You conclude very justly on the prospect of my becoming a farmer in Michigan. There has [been] no alterations of condition as respects your relations and acquaintances taken place since I wrote last. I was at home two weeks ago and I found them all well, father had been at Womelsdorf with a load of Wheat and got $1.47 cents per Bushel. The election is over and General Jackson triumphantly elected: by more than two to one; in campbellstown there was 113 Jackson and 61 [torn] Adams better than 800 in the county and in Dauphin like[wise] But I have not been at home long enough to see and laugh at my opponents and James Clark in particular nothing more at present so farewell Wm. Geddes

To John Geddes

I will send you some account of mill affairs in my next.