Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, September 5, 1832

Author: John Geddes

Date: September 5, 1832

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Washtenaw September 5th 1832

Dear Brother [William Geddes] I received your letters both on the same day the 25th of August. Our post-masters have so many deputies that the businefs is sadly neglected and but little or no accomodation about them. Robert called on them ten days before: I did: and they said there was nothing for us. And when I called the Deputy was an age handing them out he appeared to act as if he was afraid of the pay. The one of latest date he had the impudence to think aloud “double postage” I never saw the fellow before, nor he me, or I should have been really provoked at such meanefs. For I consider myself as able and as willing to pay my postage as any man in Ypsilanti. And I likewise think that man who mentions “double postage” too narrow contracted in heart to be an officer of the United States except in extraordinary cases. I did think I would answer you in a week but circumstances prevented and I hope it is not yet too late. I thought from a few lines you forwarded on the Journal of Health that fathers time on earth would likely be short. (though I had supposed before that, He would live many years yet. And I had supposed I would at no distant day have paid him and my native home their last visit) And I lookd with considerable anxiety for some intelligence from you. And when the last Journal of Health arrived about a month ago I was quite disappointed that their was not information on them from you not knowing that your first letter must have been written about that time. My newspapers are taken out of the post Office, by a person in the village and handed to me on Sunday As I have some doubts upon the propriety of proffefsors of Religion calling on the Post Office on Sunday. And these worthlefs deputies think it (or say as much) a peculiar hardship to wait on such, especially Presbeterians. Fathers will I think well of. His favorable notice of you and Isabel. does honor to the heart of a Geddes. And I rejoice to think and say that you are both entitled to it, and that father should not only feel but nobly acknowledge it I have always thought and hoped that father never would make a will. for I wanted nothing but my share. But I think he has done better for us all by making one. As the Executors can make out a title, which some times is very difficult on account of the heirs not being of age you have like wise the privilege of selling the real estate by Public or Private sale which I consider of some importance. As to how much pr acre you ought to take I could not hazard an opinion, having been so long from home as not to know what the price of Land is: so what ever you are willing to take, I am. I hope though you will not make so wretched a sale as was made of Aunt Mollys farm. I would rather never sell. But do as you will and I will not find fault. As to the time of Sale. I think if it could be sold to advantage that it ought to [be] sold this fall: it would be the square way of doing businefs: you would give not give up pofsefsion before spring if you did sell. you will all quit it then sold, or not It would make no difference in the dispersion of the family. and each one would receive half of their share when the left. It appears to me that the Spring is not the time to sell Land And if it is not sold this fall it will not be worth while to offer for sale before next fall. this is my opinion It is likely I am wrong. I wish you to do for the best offer hearing all opinions If you should sell this fall, which is not likely as I would wish you not to make much sacrifice neither do I wish you to think that I wish to urge a sale this fall, not at all if it could be sold as well not I think it best. circumstances ought to govern cases. If you should sell this fall the real estate I mean. I think it would be more profitable to sell all the cattle this fall that you can do without and not trouble your self about making manure. But if the farm is not sold it is probably best to keep to keep the principal part of the stock until spring. At least I am willing you should do so. I wish you had informed me what you expected pr Acre. Some may think that I reason on the sale of the farm without much feeling, but I think I have my share of that kind of sentiment I wish to act for the best the farm, must be sold sooner or later and I am as willing to wait as anyone. I am really sorry that Isabel McClure has become and still continues so singular. I am unwilling to make any charge against her for her keeping, except their should be a disposition on the part of her Mother to take all advantages she could and haul all to herself that is possible regardlefs of any other

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than her own interest. But if she is content with or not content with so that she makes no effort to disturb the regular disposition of the property according to Fathers will. Make no charge against Isabel say nothing about it. But if it should be otherwise do as you will I shall be content. But further I would rather after all, Should our Step Mother be as contrary as she could be, make no charge I think you might as well have told us how the will was received at home individually. It might have saved me the principal part of the above, kind of reasoning. And certainly I have no ill will against any one of them and wish that they might all prosper in the world. I do think now of going home next spring, early in the spring to see you all before you leave the premises and scatter My plan is to leave this in February a week or ten days before the water rises. I will be willing to buy fathers library if you dont want it, I would take in toto. I sent word by mail to Jane of Fathers death the day after I received your letters. I believe I have answered all your queries freely and wind up by telling you to do what you think is right. And I will not find fault. I think if there is any Charity about a person it ought to be displayed in settling their fathers estate each one ought to be liberal and generous to the other; and yet how often do we see quite the reverse I hope everyone concern will think that you and James will do the best you can, and I am sure that is my opinion Robert and John have been in good health this summer so far. Jane I have been told has been unwell some, but not seriously, was in good health about three weeks ago. Maria brought Robert a son on the 13th of August she has not recovered yet from her confinement is getting better slowly. Her Brother Daniel who is here sick with the Consumption is now confined to his bed and is very feeble, this day, getting worse: it is thought he will not live a week he has gave up hopes himself of ever recovering though it is not a week ago since he was determined to go to New Orleans, he was able then to get up and drefs himself; to walk an hundred yards on level ground without resting he could not have done. He was 23 years of age the 26th of August last. The Consumption I consider a worse disorder than the Malignant Cholera. We have had no cases of Cholera in Washtenaw. When the Cholera made its appearance in Detroit it carried consternation through the country. The Villages of Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbour sent out an armed guard on the leading highways to keep back the people coming from Detroit: And kept up the guard about ten days when the indignation of the people raised to such a pitch as to call a meeting of this Township and the Guard party was found to be a trifling minorty. The Guard was then called in. The Guard party still pretend that they were the means of saving many lifes. I had nothing to [do] with it. But I was opposed to having the Guard, thinking that remedy was worse than the evil. Whether it is Indians, or Cholera, it matters not to me. I am still to be found on the Sawmill. We have had a very dry summer and the corn is very poor, the Oats was tolerable The Wheat was good. We had a frost on the morning of the 24th of August. The thermometer was 34º. It hurt the Corn, and vines. Roberts corn was so much injured that he cut it up. We had great a rain on the night of the 29th of August. The Huron raised eighteen inches in twelve hours. The Indians and Cholera has prevented. it has stopt the emigrations in July, and August. It has started again lately. The few last Boats have considerable many pafsengers. Businefs has been greatly checked. But Sawmillers still find enough to do, though money is scarce and we credit considerable. Robert talks of selling his share in the sawmill. the reason he gives is that he has too much businefs to attend to And he pretends he makes nothing by it. I console myself that I cannot get a worse partner. He will neither keep the dam from breaking, nor attend the mill. I would willingly do either. Another thing Maria is decidedly and firmly opposed to waterworks of any kind. and when any thing goes wrong and some afsistance is wanted, she does not forget to improve the oppertunity. “A continual dropping will wear stone.” And after all is said and done if Robert would just come and help me on the sawmill and leave Maria the Farm with all the stock. I am fully persuaded he would clear at the end of the year two dollars to her one, and I might as well say ten to her one. For do not believe that the year would more than meet on the farm, that is the profits income would no more than the outgo. A Saw-mill is easy counted there is not a day I run the mill, but he has a dollar in something clear, clear from the expense of attending. The Dam wants about 100 dollars worth of work this fall (it must have it) and I then think it will stand with but little expense for ten years. Let that answer on this subject. There is to be an election this fall in Michigan the question is State, or no State, I am in favor of a State. Governor Porter is like to be more unpopular than our boy The Council rejected his appoin nominations in Macomb Co. when the Council rose he appointed the same officers: he having power to fill vacancies

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He turned out of Office, seven Officers who were in favor of the Guard plan in Ypsilanti without regard to Masonry, or Antimasonry. He certainly acted very hastily and imprudently. And the Guard, or Cholera Party, not being known by any name but their own took great exceptions to his conduct. and were not sparing in their envectives against the Governor. It was pretended his Brandy bottle had too much to do in his deliberations. He was in fact too late in the removal of the Officers as they had with drew the Guard before he acted, and that they were conscientious in establishing the Guard in the first place no one pretends to deny. I dont know that I have any thing more of much importance. Washtenaw is healthy this season our settlement quite so. Roberts son, has no name yet

To William Geddes Farewell John Geddes