Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, December 29, 1832

Author: William Geddes

Date: December 29, 1832

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Campbellstown December 29th 1832.

Dear Brother [John Geddes] You have been looking for this long ere it shall arrive and perhaps have been blaming Uncle Sam’s Officers again for neglecting their duties. But in so doing you will wrong them in some measure for I had through the multitude of my duties to other affairs forgotten that I owed you a letter and was still expecting one from you thinking that it was your turn to write which in fact it would be if we were to allow letter for letter because the last you sent was in answer to two of mine a circumstance I had disremembered If in the future you shall not receive an answer you will still send yours in its regular time which will save one of us from being disappointed. I believe that I informed you by a newspaper that we had not sold the land for being only offered 50 dollars per Acre a sum father had several times refused of late years & that Cash. We could not accept it on the conditions of the Will. Land has rose to nearly double what it was when father sold McCallens place which was sold at that time under value. It has been selling in the neighbourhood of Millerstown at the rate of 65 land not as good as ours nor so well situated. We will not sell under 60 if we should keep it for some time for Land must rise at least I shall be greatly mistaken if it does not. The tax on money though a trifling matter is making many invest their money in land & the value of of [sic] money being also considerably less its bringing only from 4 1/2 to 5 per cent [at] which rates plenty can be had owing to the competition of foreingers. The State of Pennsylvania borrowed between two & three millions last year at 5 per cent with a bounty of 16 dollars on the hundred. Besides all this we have lately gained that action about money belonging to the Estate of John Carper and in the Supreme court the Judges of which have finally decided unaminously that the bail shall pay the money & have ordered a new trial in the Common Pleas of Lebanon when if we once more gain it we shall get the money without fail and of which we have no doubts for the decision of the Superior Court ought & I think will carry us through. This very circumstance I think has injured us considerably for many think we will have finally to pay that money. There are persons who would like to have this property that make a great [handle] of the matter in order to hurt our sale. Notwithstanding our German neighbours have no cause of complaint against us yet the most of them appear to wish our departure from among them & worse than that those who I considered our best friends have underrated our property which is a little grating to ones feelings. The Election times are past & all lost but not without a blow for you have doubtless heard of the result of our Governors Election which has been the greatest that ever was held in Pennsylvania. Although we were beaten the enemy has no cause of triumph but the contrary they stand appall’d at the

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mighty strength of our party which has arisen and gained strength as if by magic: in vain do they office holders shout Democracy & Cry Federalism for the[y] have lost all their influence. In Dauphin County the majority for Ritner was between 7 & 8 hundred & in our little County 902 and would have been more than a 1000 had it not been a rainy day, in our township Wolf had 37 votes & Ritner 224 & Wirt’s majority was 102 but Jackson’s in the County was 220. Nullification is now the order of the day & we since we have received the Presidents Proclamation daily expect to hear of war. The President Proclamation has been received with joy by men of all parties & the legislature have resolved to support him at all hazards: the consequence we shall all shortly see. There has been a great many deaths in this neighbourhood & there still contin[u]e to be a great many sick. The Cholera did not visit us but was all around us. There was more marriages in this country since thirty two began than in the five years before; but none of any note of your acquaintance. James Wilson has sold his farm for 20 1/2 dollars per Acre. What he now intends to do I have not heard having little or no correspondence with him nor shall I for he is a man that I little or no regard for. Of the Doctor I can say nothing. Walter Clark still lives in Millerstown & works at his trade he enjoys good health. John Wo[l]fersberger bought Christian Sheller’s place for $50.05 per Acre. Sheller will move to Huntingdon County next spring. None of his daughters are married but Nancy & she is now a widow. Hugh Sheller still lives with his father in law in Union County his wife has had several children but they are all dead. Adam Sheller does little business as a doctor – he lives in Hummelstown. Berryhill Bell is s[t]ill blustering about in his usual way but is not able to please his wife who cannot help complaining that she has no children would it not be better to have no wife than to be vexed with such complaints !!!. Alexander Graydon & family are all well he has had lately an increase to the family what it is I cannot say: that is the fifth living of the second wife’s. Brother Thomas is with him since August in the store. The prices of produce are for Wheat $1.10. Rye .60 Corn .50, Oats .32 Buckwheat . 40 Potatoes .37 1/2 Beef & Pork .04 1/2 [?] Flour pr lbb [sic] $6.00 in the City. Salt $2.00. If you do not come in next spring I want you to give me an account of the rise of land around about you. I would like if you would go to see that land of mine occasionally to see if any of the timber is cut off or not: if there is you should enquire about it and threaten to put the law in force against such as should do so it might deter them from doing so for thieves are generally timid characters.

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Step Mother has bought the house & lot formerly owned by Alexander Dasher in Palmyra where she intends to move in the spring unless she should be disappointed: for $1600 Cash. Where I shall take a new home I have not yet concluded but it will not be with her We have lived long enough together. If you do not come here I must go to see you for Isabel cannot stay here without a home: if you come she will go with you to Michigan if not I will bring her if health & strength permit. She & myself are & have been here these 6 years without a real friend or relation except father & to leave her wholly to herself cannot be. To Michigan I cannot come to stay until affairs are in some way settled; when that will be is hard to say. Difficulties may arise that might prevent my coming for years. Whether we shall have any more trouble about Sawyers Estate is hard to tell, I have been several times asked if I had not got the Sheriff from John Sawyer but as yet I have been able to answer in the negative and should not have been the least apprehensive of such a thing if such questions had not been put to me. It is true father has never made a final settlement of his Administration accounts as I know of nor shall I unless forced to it: but of his Executor account he has. The Estate of John Carper I expect to be able to make a final settlement on in at least a year, & the Estate of Samuel McClure I will finally settle next April Court unless some unforeseen impediment should be thrown in my way. The Supreme Court in deciding that action in our favor had to overrule their former decision & gave this extraordinary reason: that our Attorney had not done his duty that he had not made the case fully appear it would appear from this decision that if our attorney had not neglected his business we should have had that money these five years past. Nothing is so irritating than such conduct in a man that was doubly paid for his trouble – or is to be so paid for as yet he has got nothing nor shall he till he recovers the money. I have been working at home ever since fathers death finding it impossible to leave it to join any business of my own James being rather too weak to drive the work ahead & too inexperienced to transact other necessary duties. Nothing more at present but that we are all well. Farewell

To John Geddes William Geddes

[William wrote this letter the long side of this sheet – so the post mark is at the bottom of the verso. rb]