Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, February 3, 1830

Author: William Geddes

Date: February 3, 1830

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Londonderry February 3rd 1830

Dear Brother [John Geddes] A full month has pafsed away since I received your letter and still I have scarcely time to write so buisily engaged am I in this new occupation and least you might be at the trouble that you were when you last wrote I have lit my candle in a strange house to write you an answer; my want of time I hope will be a suffecient excuse for any omissions of importance. I received your letter on the third of January. We have had very moderate weather this fall and winter till within these last two weeks which have been very cold: the spring the summer and fall was very wet and cool and the winter too till the time I have mentioned. The grain has been suffering very much since the cold spell commenced the ground having been so intolerably soaked with almost constant rains and has been lying bare since the rains have ceased; till yesterday there fell about ten inches of snow. Monday I should have said. My school was small for the two first months but has ever since been as large as I could wish I like the businefs tolerably well it is somewhat confining but the constant motion that it keeps me in makes the time slip away without pain. The only thing that I dislike is the boarding with the scholars which I was obliged to do for two reasons first the smallnefs of the school at the commencement; and it being more agreeable to the subscribers. I dislike it more on account of not being able to read or study and at night which it all together prevents than any thing else. I many a time dont know where I will lodge untill I have taken the key from the door but this I will shortly remedy. How long I may teach I know not if my subscribers will be satisfied with my teaching it is likely I may stay until spring a year but what I will actually do is as much unknown to me as it pofsibly can be to you. I can make more at it than I could at any thing else but still if I would get an offer in a mill I would perhaps except it. There is money to be made at the milling at all times and in all places. But with my present businefs it is widely otherwise unlefs I were to go to learn myself; so as to qualify myself to teach a school of another grade. My Brothers in the businefs in this neighbourhood are John Todd (James’ brother) and John Peters Robert Porterfield Adam Grittinger and a son of Abraham Brower. Adam Grittinger was made a justice of the peace a few days before Shultze left the chair of state, and I am certain against the will of three fourths of the people of the township. He however does something at the law on saturdays and surveys occasionally. He teaches in the Dauphin end of Palmyra and I in our old school room and Peters on the gravel Hill about two miles from us. Peters and I have partly ruind his school The squire is going to Campbellstown in the spring not being able to

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get one to suit him in this town he is going to live where James Nelson lived in Campbellstown and calculates to get that school if Porterfield leaves it which he talks of doing. Porterfield has at present upwards of sixty scholars. John Todd at Killingers where Darwin taught last winter John was at our house one evening last month and said he intended to go to Ohio in the spring. Darwin is at present employed as a clerk by Ringle and Co. who are building a large dam above Jonestown in the swatara or some of at its branches; as a reservoir to supply the Union Canal with water when other resources fail. The Union canal carried 25000 tons of to and return loading according to the report of the managers which was altogether the produce of the country bordering on it and merchandize for the same; the Pennsylvania Canal not having water in it only occasionally, that is the Eastern section the Western section for about 80 miles has been in full operation some part of last season and is said to do very well. Our late Governor called the legislature directly after the Election to devise ways and means to replenish the treasury which had become empty and one million and a half worse than empty. The legislature have reported a bill for to borrow four Millions more of money from the bank of Pennsylvania and are to give that bank a charter for twenty eight years. Interest to be paid half yearly. The whole debt of the state will amount with that sum to thirteen millions and it is calculated that it will take that to compleat the works under contract. There is a great many rumours of taxes and they must come at last. The present Governor has recommended the taxing of money capital of every description. Bonds, notes, Mortgages the capital of storekeepers as well as Carriages and property of that sort in fact taxation will be as bad as the Mad democrats fancied it would be if the Elder Adams had been realected to the Presidency. It is really unaccountable what has become of the anti Canalers at present one milion of dollars raised ten times the fufs during Heisters that the whole thirteen does now with the dread of taxation to boot or you might say actual taxation to boot Your Country folks have got the nack of taxing compleatly; thirty days is an immoderate tax for a road tax. Please to make out the exact amount of my taxes since they commenced to tax me. I have not pd. William any thing on your paper but if you say I shall I will this spring send the whole amount due by some of our store keepers, as part pay for my taxes. I would like to know if there are any buildings erected near my tract of land. Our relations and friends are nearly in the same condition they were in when I wrote last as far as I know for it is but little that I have heard of either of them since. one of our neighbours was at the Doctors this winter they were all well then John J was told by rumour is President of the temperate society of Newville a worthles President truly

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He Sends us occasionally a paper [published] by the society in some part of the United States where I can [torn by seal] so little I care about the paper it is rather an injury to us than a [torn] at least that is my impresion it seems to insinuate that we have [torn] reform which is rather irritating like to irritate than to reform at least it would have that efect on my flesh Father does not drink much at present. James Wilson is single still and the Doctor likewise. I saw the Doctor in December he was in tolerable health and is practicing on the Juniatta somewhere. Samuel McClure came home in the beginging of December in a bad state of health and remained with us about three weeks and then returned to Mifflin County where he staid about thre[e] more and then returned as near like a corpse as a living person can be he is now under the doctor’s hand. Poor fellow has got the consumption and I think has but few days years [sic] to live Isabella McClure has been in a bad state of mind since McCurdy left this Country whether it is owing to a liking she had for him I cannot say or whether it has proceeded from other causes is yet to be known. She has every appearance of being sound in body in fact more so than ever for she was not healthy formerly but now looks fresh and weigh’d the other day 122 pounds and sister but 115 and Samuel 116. I weigh 160. To give you an idea of her condition I will state a few circumstances of her conduct. When Samuel was here before he was confined bed some and she would take it in her head that it was not him and would go upstairs and would insist on seeing his foot to see whether there was a large scar on it or no. Last week I got Samuel’s watch to carry mine not behaving right and a day or so after she wondered if it was me that had got it. James Fox is broken down and no man can even guefs how; defrauding a great many of large sums he was a man that understood his trade and now says he has sunk a great deal of money. Isabella will lose 7 or 800 dollars by him. The Widow wilsons it is said 1100. My Candle is almost out and I am cold and pen dull and can say nothing more than that we are all well and have been so since I wrote Farewell

To John Geddes William Geddes

John Philips broke up last summer