Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, October 20, 1830

Author: William Geddes

Date: October 20, 1830

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Campbellstown Oct. 20th 1830.

Dear Brother. [John Geddes] I am still at home and at present out of any kind of employment. after the harvesting was over I rested a week or ten days; when I was obliged to take hold of the plough; James having left it go; not being well overcome I thought by the hardnefs of the earth as he is but a weak boy and will never be a stout man. The ground was harder to plough this season in general than I ever saw it. A great many of the farmers were obliged to let their grafs fields lie untill it would rain; which it did not do till the 1st of Oct. and then not suffeciently; but still they made out to plough. The 18th, 19th and at present is raining powerfully. The weather was dry and warm in excefs since I wrote; the day I wrote my former it rained and had for a number of days previous to that; but slowly not benifitting the Corn and potatoes any thing scarcely. Our corn and potatoe crop is but half a one. The farmers have all ceased to plough follows before harvest; the other plan being eqully as good, especially in Clover fields. I ploughed all the tough ground but two acres and a good deal of the other ground Present prices are Wheat $1.00. Rye .45 cents Corn .45 Oats .25 Flour in the City $5.25 Pork 5 1/2 cents per lb. Beef .04 1/2. Whiskey .28 cents per gallon. I would have been much better pleased with your barn if you had built it with a forebay and think it would have appeared more wonderful to the Yankees: and am not a little surprised that you should adopt the Chester County plan in preferance to our own. The convenience of a forebay in rainy and snowy weather would have convinced the people of the superiority of Pennsylvania barns: but now you are in that respect no better off than others. You will please to let me know the cost of Roberts barn in your next. We have at present our Union County relations of the Bell family with us. Matilda and her husband and Eliza & Sarah. with our step mother Mifses Simonton & Sawyer who were yesterday all six at once here. As ill looking at present as they were handsome when unmarried; in fact I was astonished at the alteration on them: women who ought to be in the prime of life so far beyond it. If I had met Sarah in particular in a strange place I verily believe I would not have known her. They seem all to inherit the evil disposition: ill humour of our step dame; a jealousy of the and a fretting at the well being of others. The Geddes’s of Union County are all in good health and the rising generation all unmarried. Our Cousins the Mifs Boals are all married but Margaret and are all weak and sickly women. Sophia and her husband removed to Ohio where she has since died. Samuel Barnett was in to see his friends since harvest; three of his Brothers are in Louisville Kentucky and are doing well they are all married: they work at the coppersmithing all three. William is dead. The Allens are living in the Miami country and Margaret and I think it is, is married to a cousin of hers a Mr Brown. I dont recollect but think I wrote you this in my last. of our other relations I have nothing to write. And your acquaintances are as they were except Mifs Margaret Early, Peggy

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I mean who got married the day before yesterday to one of the young Loudermilk’s of Swatara; and some say it is a forced match but that is nothing among the dutch. Peggy is thirty. We have had a sharp electioneering campaign this fall; rather more so than last owing to two Causes; Jacksonianism and unfit men. The popularity of old hickory is still great and I am afraid will over turn antimasonry The Anti’s were too confident from their succefs last year and were not politick enough in selecting a ticket; they thought that all the Jackson anti’s would be firm in the cause though Jackson and his friends were neglected, in which they have been sadly mistaken; which I told some of them would be the case had they put Jacksonmen on the ticket or even one for Congrefs who was of that party and a popular Adamsman for Senate I am certain the Anti’s would have carried but as it was it appeared too plain that all that was wanted by the Anti’s was to defeat the friends of the Administration of the general Government; they Anti’s being mostly Adamsmen or rather more properly speaking all the Adamsmen were Antimasons. Mr Hummel the sadler and associate judge of Dauphin and who was the Adams Candidate two years ago for Congrefs was the Anti Candidate in opposition to John C. Bucher of the same place who is much better qualified and a Jacksonman to boot. And Philip Wolfersberger Sen. the Anti candidate for Senate who never was popular or in the least qualified for such a post and was a fence rider in the bargain. his opponent was Stoever the German printer of Lebanon his capacity for office is yet to be tried. The whole ticket was defeated save two directors of the poor who run better than any on both tickets which shows the truth of what I have said. In Dauphin the Anti’s carried one of the Assemblymen by 200 and yet some of the rest fell as much behind. He was an old member and of course a Jacksonman If I can get the Dauphin return and has room I will insert it in full. We are going to Erect a poor house in this County next summer Isabel McClure is in her old way sound in body but not in mind but not very troublesome except when angry and then
only in words. John Wolfersberger was offered 75 dollars per acre for the land that lies on our side of the road and the meadow before the door & 15 Acres of wood that formerly belonged to Peters place but would not take it because the purchaser wanted to have the last payments easy; I think he will never get another such an offer at least he should not for the land is not worth more than 60

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[See below for table.]

In Dauphin County Bucher had 1613 and Hummel 1467 & Stoever 1528 & Wolfersberger 1415. For Afsembly Christian Spayd & Henry R. Schetterly were the Jackson & Wolf men & Wm. Rutherford & Jacob Hoffman were the antimasons. Spayd had 1481. Schetterly 767. Rutherford 1607 & Hoffman 1438. And William Reed on the Woking mens ticket had 934. There will be 30 Anti’s in the lower house & in the upper 7. Father is strongly opposed to Antimasonry and I was obliged to split the ticket owing to Mr Hummel & Wolfersberger being put on it & it is probable next year if the Anti’s place themselves in open array to General Jackson I may vote against them. I feel myself very easy on politicks I expect nothing and I will act in concert with those that I think will serve the Country best. I am just as well satisfied that that man has given up his bargain; for I am not the least affriad but it will sell in two or three years to as much advantage; but I think you were rather easy with him – but do as you please I will be satisfied. I wish you had informed me what he got for his own lot and who his purchaser was. I cannot see what advantage a man can derive from moving further westward and further; from market; the soil must be greatly superior if it can overbalance the convenience to market. Where lands are of an equal price; surely the land nearest to trading places must rise in value much faster and [afford] to speculators the greatest profits; and residents such things [hole] must purchase much cheaper. bargains. I had determined on going to Pottsville a town in Schuylkill County and a place of great businefs; to see if I could get employment and see the wonder of the place. It has attracted the notice of men of all descriptions. Our neighbours find a better market for

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a most any kind of produce than at Philadelphia which is owing to it being more convenient and also to the country round about it being very poor for Raising the necessaries of life and affording nothing that is mechantable: saleable but Stone Coal which alone has made it a place [to] trade. I had set three days to go and every mor[n]ing it rained and now the roads are almost impassable. I would go to New York if I was certain that work could be had at a rate a man could live by; but if I should fail to get work as I have done in this country it would be at a double expense. Nothing more at present but that we are all well and have been so since my last.

To John Geddes Wm. Geddes

Census of 1830 1820 Election of 1830 Assembly
[the first named candidates are the Jackson and Wolf men the others are the Antimasons.]
  Males Females Foreigners Free Blacks Slaves Blind Deaf & Dumb Males Females Blacks Bucher Hummel Stoever Wolfersberger Riley Myers
Lebanon Borough 930 884 2 11 1 1 3 774 706 9 181 74 173 66 169 86
Lebanon Township 1796 1750 7 12 3 0 3 1579 1450 15 263 116 255 120 264 111
Jackson 1045 1065 3 10 0 1 0 908 870 8 212 49 202 58 212 51
Heidleburg 1503 1414 8 4 0 3 3 1265 1186 1 173 80 128 112 162 90
Anville 1383 1325 4 20 0 1 5 1282 1078 17 81 170 83 159 79 172
East Hanover     78
1192 42 23 0 1 3 973 889 44 49 90 57 78 51 86
Londonderry 963 909 4 1 1 1 5 858 798 6 46 121 47 108 30 139
Swatara 784 724 40 3 0 1 0       44 138 39 128 48 135
Bethel 776 826 22 0 0 0 0 1321 1265 7 115 27 105 38 113 28
The two last were one in 1820 10458 10089 132 85 5 9 22 8960 8243 107 1164 865 1089 867 1128 898