Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, March 8, 1830

Author: John Geddes

Date: March 8, 1830

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Washtenaw. March 8th 1830

Dear Brother, [William Geddes] I shall begin by informing you that Temperance Societies (of which we hear so much of late) have found their way to Michigan There is one in Ypsilanti one in Ann arbour, and one in Dexter Township There is none in Panama. There are too many trees in that Township. If I am not mistaken the people in the Timber land are more rude and not as respectable as the people in the Openings. Though we wish well to the cause: we have neither of us joined the Society not requiring reform in that particular. We will cheerfully assist them in raising their buildings and support them by words and actions: but do not intend to enter into the spirit of it: with the zeal we support or advocate Anti-masonry. Temperance Societies have done some good already. and will probably do much more good. as the Aristocracy of the land are members of the Societies. But whether a new country is very congenial to such production is a question. The Policy is good. As ardent spirits is a uselefs expense. to a country that cannot afford such expenses. Robert furnished no ardent spirits last hay making and Harvest. neither in the field nor in the house. But he intends to furnish plenty when he raises his barn. A barn was raised last summer about three miles from us without whiskey (the first trial of the kind) we were both there some would do but little being offended at the new regulations without regarding the privilege every man has or ought have, to raise his buildings as he pleases. so that it is done in a decent manner. The obstinacy of the contrary persons, occasioned very hard lifting for them that would work. And I thought for once in my life the disuse of ardent spirits was a damage to me. Another barn has since been raised on the Cold water plan and has done well. Whiskey is .37 1/2 pr gallon. Corn 37 1/2 pr Bu. wheat 62 1/2 and Oats .31. Your County tax for 1828 & 1829 is about five dollars. Your road tax I pay by labour and you can have a chance of paying it in the same manner. Your Road Tax of 1828 was 6 days I believe. Your last years we will call the same. It is half of my Road tax. Robert says the assefsment for last year was 1 1/2 days for an eighty acre lot which would make your Tax 5 days. The commutation money is 62 1/2 per day. There is no regular manner in doing businefs in the Road Tax department yet. The two thirds of your south location is in Saline Township. You can act your pleasure in paying either in work or money I am in not hurry about it. As to the Philadelphian we do not mean to hurry ourselves in paying for it. We had a letter from Mr Ewers dated Jan 16th nothing particular in it. They were in good health. This winter not as cold as last. Never more than ten inches of snow. Had three weeks of good sleding. The state of the weather for two weeks has been mild. The coldest morning this winter 14 degrees below zero it was the sixth of February. The coldest day at 2 oClock P.M. was 24th of Jan. 5 degrees. It was 6 degrees below Zero the morning of the same day.

The average in the morning in January was 17.8o and at 2 o'clock 27.39º. In February
The average in the morning in February was 21.29º and at 2 o'clock 33.00º. Last year
The average in the morning in January was 20.84º and at 2 o'lock 29.74
The average in the morning February was 11.21 and at 2 ºClock 22.17

The ice has left the Huron without doing any damage. I have been attending the Saw mill and assisting Robert to get lumber for his barn since I wrote to you last; My health as usual good. Marias, tolerable, Roberts pretty good. You have neglected to inform me how James Clark is coming on, and what he is doing. you know he was once one of my good moral characters. And what Walter is doing. Adam Grittinger is a Justice of the peace. The rank of that office is not rising much. In this Country when a Justice of the Peace is wanted a meeting of the citizens of the Township is called and the man having the most votes; is appointed

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by the Governor and Legislative Council. Which is a much better plan to support the standing of the office than is practiced in Pa. The Governor of Michigan is a very liberal and condescending man though a Freemason The voice of the people being the guide he generally regulates by. Next May the Legislative Council meet when a Sheriff is to be appointed: and a Justice of the Peace for the Township of Ann Arbour. There is a petition now in circulation asking privilege of the Governor to nominate by the ballot boxes as of late the Freemasons and Jacks are giving to underhand maneuvreing as they are not able nor willing to come to a fair decision. The Freemasons have abandoned their meeting once every moon in their lodge in Ann Arbour. I wish you would inform me whether the[y] have done the same in Lebanon. An extract from an Addrefs to the voters of Lebanon Co. by young men by request of a Jack was inserted in the Emigrant. The extract began admirable. “Unquiet spirits ambitious of power and rank &c” In the sentence following they say a peaceable “and unoffending and defencelefs society” Young indeed must their men be in both observation and information that can conscientiously say “an unoffending Society.” In another place they inform us “They do not pretend to understand the doctrines and tenets of Freemasonry” It is not much of a sign of Wisdom or Prudence to come forward publicly in defense of what they pretend not to understand Such competitors as them are unworthy a reply. I sent you two papers with a piece taken from an Antimasonic monthly Review Printed in the City of New York: which shews the progrefs of Antimasonry in the last year in the U.S. I should have sent you a paper sooner but new editors have the controll of the Emigrant. Mr Simpson had flattered both parties and endeavored to steer a middle course; pretending to the Antis he would support Anti Masonry; and to the other party he pretended he would say but little upon the contested subject. Finally Dexter and Allen calling upon him to come out decidedly Antimasonic and he refusing they withdrew their support to the paper saying they had been imposed upon; matters stood in this state about one week: when things were compromised and Dexter, and Allen, agreed to give Mr Simpson $1000 if he would find ink, paper, &c and do all the work for one year. They to receive the benefit of the subscribtion and advertising &c and be sole editors. As soon as this arrangement was declared, The Freemasons, and Jacks, as soon as they could make it convenient had their names stricken from the list (about 80 in number) with not five exceptions The paper under this state of things is flaming Anti masonic. There are are [sic] about 300 subscribers which are still left to support the Emigrant. An Antimasonic paper has the whole Territory to support it; where as a neutral paper would have but little else than the county to maintain it. We were willing to support it on a neutral ground but were pleased with the Revolution. But zealous, furious or whatever you wish to have it as I am, I do not approve of Dexters editorial remarks in every particular; he makes too free use of “long ears” an epithet to which he appears very partial and which he has interlarded so frequently: in remarks on the opposers of Political Antimasonry that they belong to the scurrilous. It was on this account I delaying sending not knowing but you might think I wished to insult some of you. But as you receive no Antimasonic paper I wish to let you know what is going on: and how rapidly our cause is prospering. I am in hopes the National Convention to be held in Philadelphia in September following will Revolutionize that City. And I hope ere long that Satanical institution will sink forever. It is pretended by some that Public opinion would annihilate the Fraternity. But has not Public opinion been always opposed to it in Lebanon Co. and Notwithstanding that they have established a lodge in the citadel. There is a principle in man that appears to glory in opposition to Public Sentiment when it is exprefsed in silent disapprobation. Political Antimasonry is the master spirit which swallows all the rest. Is their any place in the United States where the members have left off assembling as usual but where Political Antimasonry is all powerfull. Does not Father believe in the lawsuit with Sawyer, Freemasonry acted against him. I beleive it What was it that made one of the Jurors say he would sit two days rather than bring in a different verdict: But Freemasonry. Has not Masonic influence been to contend

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against by persons contending against a Freemason who wishes to contend against that latent interference And now since they are openly charged will they not adhere together more tenaciously. And can we now after being fully convinced of there impositions ever tamely submit to them. Such a base servitude no Republican can endure The die is cast. We must conquer Submit we cannot and will not I am pleased to hear that Pennsylvania is still willing to prosecute the system of Internal improvement she has commenced; hoping they will not hereafter repent their daring flight. We are sorry to hear that Tam.[?] health is so poor had he not better steer to the South in the summer. We were weighed to day. Robert and me weighed 158 each, Maria 129. The Supervisors have fixd the valuation of wild land at three dollars pr acre for this year and the new law allows 1 cent on the dollar tax so we may calculate on a heavy tax next year. The County is in debt now. The calculation is to lay tax sufficient to meet all demands. Improved land is fixd , at five dollars pr acre. Last year Improved land was valued at seven dollars and wild land 2 dollars pr acre. The object this year is to tax speculaters with out any regard to justice. The law is so made that a person by swearing his land is not worth what it is valued at: the valuation has to be reduced to what it is worth. But I dont think it is worthwhile to do so for all the difference it will make to you. Robert was the only Supervisor that opposed the three dollar valuation. There are two houses half a mile from your premises and another not a mile from them. What is the cost for transporting a barrel of Flour to Harrisburg to Phila. by the Union Canal. What has father to give to convey his flour to the City in the same Channel
Your letter came to hand on the 21st of February which was as soon as I expected my next letter will be dated about the first of June. I am going to Ann arbour to day. We have not had our newspaper for two weeks. If I think of any thing more of any consequence to you you shall have it Farewell John Geddes