Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, August 17, 1829

Author: John Geddes

Date: August 17, 1829

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August 17th 1829 Washtenaw

Dear Brother [William Geddes] I received your letter of the 27th of June full as soon as I expected one from you; though it was the 26th of July before it came to hand. which I believe was somewhat owing to the bungling or simple manner it was postmarkd. The postmark superscription was merely “from Campbellstown”. When it ought to have been “Campbellstown Pa. June – ” This you may think is nothing towards forwarding a letter. be it as it may the letter was Post markd, in Detroit: “Detroit July 24th Mic. T.” Who is your Post master now. The Harrisburgh Chronicle arrived a week after the letter. We were pleased to see the bold stand that was taken by the members of the Antimasonic Convention against Freemasonry even though they were few in number. And we hope that their succefs may equal their most sanguine expectation: They idea that the society of Freemasonry might be operated upon by the Act to prevent Vice and Immorality, is I think a knew [new] one, in the annal of Antimasonry. And shows the true spirit of Pa. upon this subject. They Freemasons there cannot boast as they do here that that [sic] they are the Aristocracy of the Land (viz the most respectable of the land). The succefs of Anti masonry in Pa. is yet to be seen. The Jacksonian spirit is to contend with; and a spirit of opposition arising from principles of selfishnefs many being opposed, thinking it likely to be injurious to their aggrandizement at the present state of affairs; which will have a great effect on their opinion. they cannot see the policy or propriety of making it a political question. Though at the same time the[y] cannot point out a better plan of annihilating the institution. It is likewise pretended to be a prescription of persons who are so unfortunate as to be Freemasons. Without being able to give a single reason why a secret institution ought to be kept in being; by patriots, or Republicans; nor what benefit a Republic can receive from it. It is not againts [sic] particular persons we are contending: it is against the pernicious effects of the institution; against secret attachments and combinations. In progrefs through life we wish an equal, advantage, or chance. A right that every person will ascent to in words; not withstanding what his actions may shew to the contrary – You will have much on the subject of Freemasonry before the Second Tuesday in October; so I will close on this subject by telling you our succefs in Michigan. The Antimasonic Delegate to Congrefs was elected by about 900 of a majority the opposing candidate was Gabriel Richard, The Catholic Priest. The Freemasons and Headstrong Jacks clung to him with a frenzy similar to a drowning mariner clinging to a straw. The Legislative Council is Antimasonic. There was no regular opposition to the Legislative Counciler in Washtenaw; The object of the Freemasons was to divide the Antis in which they did not succeed. and that is their only hope now. The object of Freemasons in running Richard was to defeat the election of the Antimasonic candidate John Biddle, by a union with the French. but the dose was so disagreeable that many of their own party were unwilling to take it. A Jack is less thought of than a Freemason. The position they take of supporting who they say the[y] know nothing about is contemptible. You will let me know how Londonderry sides in this question and our friends, or, acquaintances generally. The state of affairs respecting the Grist-mill is stationary at present. how long it will continue so I cant say. The state of our minds is probably the same as heretofore; next summer is as soon as I cared about embarking in it. Wages is higher this summer than last at least one dollar pr month. We have some repairs to make on the dam, and tail race, as neither of them have ever been properly finished, owing to our being rather behind our businefs last fall. They have answered without any serious lofs, though we had several breaks from which we received but little lofs. having promptly attended to them before they became formidable. The lock we have done nothing about yet; nor do we intend doing any thing about it this summer. I dont think that it will ever be required, we shall not build it untill it is required. The Chicago road will be found to be a cheaper highway to transport upon than the Huron. The Huron is very low now. Another saw-mill on the same dam, with the same head, same length of wheel and same width of throat, would take about all the water we have. This proving to be the case, we have done very well in buying Botsfords right, and so have prevented any difficulties that might arise from the want of water. We were of the opinion that the first Machinery erected on a stream would give a right to as much water as that, or the machinery would require: in prefference to that of any other that might be erected afterwards (by a rival on the other side of the stream) and that the last erected would have to stop when water began to fail. The general opinion here is that the owner on one bank has as good aright as the owner on the other, and that he can claim half the water, and maintain his claim, at what his distant day he may choose to call upon it: (Without a special act of the Legislative Council to the contrary.) This is laying the right of possefsion to one side entirely; which is of considerable of importance in law, and which would have some weight in this case. If a man mows a marsh belonging to the U.S. it gives him a right to the hay. this is a settled point

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Our Saw-mill does better than it did at first without any repairing either. I can now easily average 1000 feet pr day of Oak stuff. There are no saw-mills, nor grist-mills erecting in Washtenaw this season. There are fifteen Saw-mills in Washtenaw at present which will answer for some time. And five grist-mills, three with one run of stones and two with two run: These will answer for home consumption a short time. How much these Saw-mills cut in a year is a question that may be guefsed at; Something more than 100,000 feet apiece on an average; or 16 or 1700,000 feet in the whole; There is two carding Machinerys in Washtenaw. Grain, Wheat was good; Rye but little is raised. The Corn looks well. Oats is not very good. There is no settled price for grain this season yet. Flour was four dollars pr Barrel a few days ago in Detroit. As to the weather the last day of May was the warmest day this summer. On the first day of July in the morning the Thermometer was as low as 28•. Two degrees lower might have had a slight frost. August 1st 50•. The warmest day in each of the months of June, July, and August, June 1st 89•. July 14th 86•. August 7th 84•. The weather has been dry, so far this summer And healthy. We have been making hay this two weeks. and not done yet Robert calculates making 18 or 19 tons of hay. The hay is all made in the marshes. The clover Robert sowed he never mowed, not being worth mowing. The Clover after being sown sprang up and looked as well in harvest time, as clover generally does in Londonderry. But it would not grow afterwards, whether the ground was not cultivated long enough, or whether the necefsary matter was wanting: is the thing. I think that Gypsum will be necefsary before it will do much good. I have saw some tolerable fields of clover. Timothy does well. Gypsum abounds near Sandusky, it is of the white kind, so that it can be had cheap in this country. Two weeks making hay is all the work I have done in the farming line this summer. I cradled Roberts Oats on the two weeks. I have neither cut nor bound a sheaf of wheat this season. Robert was in no want of help, and I had plenty to do on the saw-mill. Robert has not built a barn yet. and I think will not this summer. Matrimony is an era in a persons life. and building a barn is another. Two eras in one year is scarcely to be expected. His crop this year is 11 acres of wheat 10 of Corn and 4 ••• of Oats. He has broke up 7 or 8 acres of new ground this summer and thinks of breaking up some more. Fruit that is wild fruit is plenty this summer. such as strawberries, raspberries. Whortle, Berries plumbs. Nuts & Grapes we have none but chicken grapes. Apple Trees, Robert has about 100 that he planted together untill he would have a more convenient place, prepared than he had when he purchased them. They are natural fruit. There is Thirteen Peach trees and three Cherry trees produced by the stones you brough[t] to Michigan. The cherries stones that I brought from Pa the pigs eat through my carelefsnefs. I have set out eight of the Peach trees. The[y] have three peaches on them. The cherries trees are where the[y] first sprang up. I expect the[y] will be set out next spring. Robert thinks of transplanting his apple trees next spring. You would probably wish to know how we pafs our time on Sunday. I go to meeting rather oftener than one Sunday in three, two in five would be near enough. Presbeterian meeting generally, occasionally to Methodist, and Episcopal (we have variety of Religious meetings. The Presbeterians are the most numerous sect and the Aristocracy of the Land) When I dont go to meeting I write, or read, or go and see some of the neighbors as I have not become so indolent yet, as to sleep, or go to bed, after rising in the morning, until night comes. Robert dont go to meeting half as many times as I do, reads some and sleeps some writes little or none, has not wrote a letter this two years. Jane has been once at meeting since she was married, that is just once more than Robert. She has but 2 ••• miles to go Robert has four, that will likely make the difference. Maria says give her best regards to you and friends. We are all well at present; you may think it is short it is all I have to tell you. Is Ritner a Jacksonian or not

Farewell John Geddes

To William Geddes