Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, June 28, 1832

Author: John Geddes

Date: June 28, 1832

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Washtenaw June 28th 1832

Dear Brother [William Geddes] We received your Telegraph ten days ago, thinking I might have more time to write in a few days I put it off until the present time: though as much hurryd as ever, I will delay no longer. and endeavor not to come too far short of the expected time. The mail since the first of January leaves Detroit every day for Washington, and runs through in a week. And consequently it will take lefs time to take a letter to Campbellstown than it did last summer We repaired our dam in March and April, with stone. which is a substantial way of building dams. A short time after it broke on the other side of Huron which we fixed up with four hands in four or five days in a temporary manner intending to secure it in a lefs hurryd time, As their was quite a scarcity of hands in Washtenaw this spring and there is yet. before that convenient time came it broke again at the same place. they breach being wider than at first. Robert and me have been working at it two weeks and it will require three days yet, with two hands. We are making it durable this time. The first place we threw in brush, then stone, and now gravel. The saw-mill has went better this spring than formerly. The two weeks immediately preceding the last breach I sawed 9500 feet each week. We wish to hire two hands for two months to work on the dam, in which time it can be made so strong that it cant break, and put an end to that troublesome thing. As mill dams can be made on the Huron that will never break, and it is nothing but carelefsnefs that they ever do break. Lumber is still in brisk demand. Wheat is 1. Corn .75. Oats .50 Buckwheat .75 The emigration is considerable this summer though not so great as last Second hand land is not as ready sale this year, as last and of course not as high. The Indian war that occupied so much attention four or five weeks ago has lost its terrors. The first intimation we had of it was by an order for the Volunteers of Washtenaw to turn out and afsemble forth with at Ten Eyks. This was Thursday, on Sunday they had marchd as far as Saline which is 9 or 10 miles west of Ypsilanti when news lefs alarming was received from the seat of War, when they were ordered for Ann Arbour and in two or three days from that to Detroit, then dismifsed. The militia of Washtenaw was ordered to parade by the Colonel in the mean time. but owing to some irregularity in the orders, and disagreement in the principal officers they did not turn out in mafse [en mass] and no one was fined. In the whole it occasioned considerable difsatisfaction. and our boy Governor and our stupid Major General were very much censured, and not with out cause. As they by their orders, and proclamations, gave foundation to the reports and occasioned considerable alarm throughout the country. They have in fact by their misconduct been of considerable damage to Michigan, whilst the Indians have been none They have shown no more sagacity than the bear that killed the fly with his paw on his masters face. In the Township of Dexter some of the inhabitants were so frightened that they assembled at night at a particular place as a place of safety, fearful left [lest] the Indians would come upon them seperatels whilst the[y] slept and kill them. notwithstanding the depredations of the Indians was no nearer than 200 miles. We were more courageous down this way. I apprehended no danger here; but at one time thought I would have to go, I was determined not too, if I could help it; as I thought it foolishnefs, and I had no time to trifle with their nonsense. If your great reformer could have done without Gov. Cafs we would have had no such a fufs

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The Legislative Council of Michigan are now in session. The speaker is an Anti mason and a majority of Council is Anti Masonic Governor Porter arrived a few days ago. The Council among other things is taking masures to make application for a state government. A majority of the people have become tired of the care of the President. I saw an item of intelligence in one of the Detroit papers which set the debt of Pennsylvania 17,000,000 dollars. That is an overwhelming demand and I am certainly astonished to see it, though a warm friend of Internal improvement. I think Pennsylvania ought not to have paid 10,000,000 on no consideration whatever. I should like to know what the dividend on these improvements amounts to in a year and how the state thinks of paying this mighty debt or what the prospect is of paying it: and what length of Canal and Railway is made in the state. I sometimes think I ought take a Pa paper so as to keep the run of things in my native state as 17,000,000 must have made great alterations then both in the face of the country, and the minds of the people. The health of Washtenaw is good at present: we are well well, and have been for some time. Marias Brother Daniel is here now, sick with the Consumption. He has had a bad Cough for six months. The Doctors day he is a hopeless case. He came here about four weeks ago from Waterford, Erie County, Pa: where he resided nine months previous to his coming here. working at the waggon making business until taken with this cough. He has failed considerable since he came here. He is still able to get up and step about. His father is here now, who brought Marias youngest full sister, she is fourteen years old. Col. Lane has a second wife News came a few days ago that the Asiatic Cholera has crossed the Atlantic it will make business for the Doctors. There is six Doctors in Ann Arbour and four in Ypsilanti. There is seven stores in the latter place and eight in the former place. Strawberries have been plenty this year. They continue sometime when plenty. As we had Strawberries three weeks ago and there is some yet. The Wheat looks tolerably well and Harvest will e abundant. I have no objections to make to your improving your education. If I was ten years younger than I am I would lay down the Saw file [sic], and go to school too, and as well able to educate myself as I think I now am (would be part of the inducement) I have sometimes since I have been [in] Michigan thought of studying law. Three years being the required time of study, to be admitted to practice. I have thought at the end of that time I would be better off as it respects property than most of them. But I have pretty much laid aside the idea of making my living in any other way than by the “sweat of my brow” But I have more to do at present than I wish to do. And I intend to make it one of the objects of my study to plan a method of saving myself a little more than I do. For there is no use in bachelors being so hurryd by work as to no[t] have time half a day a week to attend to something other than sawing which is the case with me at present. As I have not time to write this letter but having some business in Ypsilanti this afternoon which I thought I would attend to I commenced this morning to write to you intending to write until the time came that I must prepare to go to Ypsilanti and then take this letter along and if there should be any more news from you to notice it and then send it. It may appear ridiculous to some, the idea of deep laid schemes to save themselves

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from doing too much whose greater failing is that the[y] do too little. That is cer the case with me at present There is no use in a person making a drudge of them selves to make a living. If you are reasonable persuaded that you can making a living easier by educating yourself by mental, than physical effort I would be in favour of your attending it. And if you should require any assistance I will endeavor to assist you. I am more in favour of Education since I came to Michigan than formerly. I think that the education of the Ladies is too much neglected in Londonderry and Hanover, probably they dont think so but it appears to me – as Bachelors ought to be very cautious in speaking of ladies it is best to say but little, be silent when you cannot approve. But I cant but say that I think that our Pa. ladies would show to much better advantage if their was more care taken to improve their minds. There is a vulgar idea (if I am not mistaken) in Pa. that that education makes a person lazy. That idea might be attributed to penuniousness envy or some other base motive. As I think know one what ever knowledge he may pofsess, can think, or will think, that what information he himself has, has any injourious effect on his industrious qualities. There is no more enterprising nor endustrious people (as a body) in the world than the Yankees. Neither is there a people as well informed. Jacksons excuse of Van Buren came to hand it was pretty well done. Your are in favour of Jackson, you are in favour of the United States Bank, and so am I, Jackson is not. You are against the Georgians brutal treatment of the Indians so am I, Jackson is not, your are in favour of the Tariff so am I, Jackson wants it modified that is what we Antis would call a Jack. He is probably against the Tariff. But talks about modification. You are opposed to cudgeling and shooting at members of Congress, for speaking the truth, or trotting on facts, and so am I Jackson is not. Here is four matters of difference between you and Jackson yet you think of still voting for Old Hickory. If any of you wish to know what my business to Ypsilanti today is I am willing to tell you. This afternoon the Presbyterians meet in their monthly prayer meeting: it is likewise the preparatory day before Communion. To day if any one wished to join the society, is the day to apply I have other chors to do. I will not have time to attend the celebration of the 4th of July. Last 4th of July the Gov. Cass was in Ann Arbour. My next letter to you will be dated about the 15th of September. Without you should come to Michigan before or about that time. The Church in Ypsilanti is Congregational in government.

To William Geddes Farewell John Geddes