Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, January 7, 1833

Author: John Geddes

Date: January 7, 1833

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Washtenaw, January 7th 1833

Dear Brother [William Geddes] I have received no letter from you since August or since I last wrote to you. We received the Harrisburgh Chronicle, and the Journal of Health, the last paper had two half lines written on it: it was plenty for a newspaper. We were astonished at the abuse that was so freely lavished on Joseph Ritner. We could account for it only as the last despairing hope of the willing slaves of an institution that is a disgrace to a free Country. They have trimphed in part, but they triumphed (I beleive) over an unpopular man. For Ritner I am told was almost invariably behind the ticket. The Philadelphian brought us a list of the number of votes given in each County for the different candidates. And so decided an Antimason as I am could not but rejoice at the vote of Lebanon. The Philad has published the Governors mefsage. And I think very well of it. and hope a majority of the two houses will have the same favorable opinion. Jacksons mefsage is generally applauded. I am sorry he had not dignity enough to pafs by the United States bank in silence for he certainly stoopt too low there. His Proclamation is lauded to the skies. There are no Nullificators here. They [sic] foolish South Carolinians have lost their reason; as well as a sense of duty. They have puffd, and blowed themselves up to such a pitch of frenzy that nothing but a sound drubbing can bring them sobered back to their better wits. And it is high time for government to apply it I have been attending Sawmill Steadly since I last wrote to you and in winding up the year had sawed 980 logs making 316,865 feet. There was 150 logs in the Mill yard on the first of January: I have sawed but little since, owing to the water being too high: the mill is back watered now. or I should not be writing to you at present. When the water falls an inch the mill will go again which will from appearances be in a day or two, We have had a very warm January so far. no frost in the ground, and considerable rain. The Thermometer on the 5th was as high as 62º it must have been as high the day before if not higher. It is now (9 o’clock A.M.) 34º. The prospects of Sleding is poor; and of hauling logs the same I am not going to be hurryed this year as I was last. And indeed I dont want to be. Of them 980 logs sawed last year. There was 62 owners, besides Robert and me. It would require but a short time for 62 persons to haul 1000 logs. So that if we have but ten days of Slaying there may be considerable many logs hauled in. For there is still a great demand for lumber. But if I should have little to do: I will do it and attend to something else. I can always find plenty to do. You need not expect me to return to Pennsylvania this spring. As I have about concluded to give it up for the present until a more convenient season. Whether that season will ever arrive is yet to be seen. I hope it will as I have still an anxious desire to return once more. I wish more particularly to see the second part of our family, and Isabel McClure. To know in the first place, whether it would be worth while to recommend Michigan to them, or not, if they can do better I am very willing they should do it

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I am still a warm friend of Michigan. We had a few lines from Jane some time ago. They were in good health. Jane requested me to give Isabel (our sister) an invitation to come and live with her. Jane insists on your bringing them tea spoons and wishes you to ask Jane Graydon to select them. As I am not going home this winter I will with draw may [my] request that you should buy fathers library for me which will leave you free from any requests on my part. But still you can do as you please about it, buy it, or not, for me. I did think if I should have returnd home to have bought one of your horses. if there was any there that suited me. after the rest of you had been served if you wished any. If there should be any Horses at home old and nearly worn out, would it not better to take them out to the woods and shoot them, than too sell them, and have them abused hereafter. If that should be your decision I am willing to pay my share of the lofs. Parsons has not paid that money yet. I did intend to call on him on Saturday last but he was not at home, to see him and hear what he intended to do. I think he must confefs Judgment and give bail or I shall sue him. He is able to pay it or can be made pay it. but has not the money at present. Money is not as plenty with him now, as it was 18 months ago. I was told by his father that he had the money the time he gave the notes, and could have paid it. But wished to speculate on it. now he dont have it. But I think he is worth more property now than he was then, from what he said two weeks ago. I think he wishes to pay it but fact is the times is hard, that is money is scarce. He told that he has money coming the first of April which will not fail. But I shall attend to him, he must either pay the principal part of it, confefs Judgment, or I will sue him this month; After he does confefs judgment he will have nine months to pay the fifty dollar notes and Six months to pay the twenty nine in. Such is the law in Michigan. Robert has contrived out a flowing pump out of his springs. The pump spouts out at the top of the Bank a steady stream. The stream is small but it is sufficient for the House and Barn. He intends to have a flowing pump at the Kitchen door The pump is a force pump, drove by ballance power. The water of the springs are collected in a ditch dug below the springs, and conducted to the pump. where part of the water forces up what spouts out at top. The water runs into a barrel or bucket which is hung on a balance. which when it has received a certain quantity of water sinks down and empties and pumps, or makes a stroke. It then rights itself again coming back empty, to the same place it started from when full The spout fills the barrel again, sinks down, pumps, empties, rights again etc. I am full in the faith it will answer a very good purpose. You will not understand this description I dont think I could describe it so you could understand it. There is one thing certain and which you can comprehend which is that Robert has a flowing pump at the top of Bank of the Huron which you know is considerable height. We call it fifty or Sixty feet perpendicular. The wear and t[e]ar of this pump appears to be inconsiderable

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I have another side to fill, what do you want to know and I will write it down: my reasons for not coming home, it is a bad time of the year to travel. it would neglect & derange my businefs here. and hurry me back again. From present appearances I will be able to saw all the logs: fix things more substantial around the mill, and dam. and have time If I should think proper to improve it, to go home next fall it will be a more agreeable time, and a more leisure time. But I hope to see you in Michigan before then. As we expect you will see Isabel to Michigan next summer sometime. When I cant tell: Indeed you are not communicative on these things, pick up your [torn] pen within a week after you receive this and let us know what is doing and has been done that we would wish to know in that region of the world. It is if I recollect right four months and two days since I last wrote to you which is a longer time between two letters than ever happened since I have been in Michigan If I am not mistaken here again. And yet there has been none from you between them. If I should receive one written by you before you receive this I will send you an Emigrant as an evidence of it Daniel Lane died the seventh of September betwixt the hours of 12 & 1 o’clock A.M. Our neighborhood was very healthy last fall. Washtenaw in general was healthy. Wheat .75 Cash .94 Store pay, Corn .50 & .62 1/2 Buck wheat .50 Oats.37 1/2 Cash We are all well, and in good health at present. Robert calls his son Robert L. The L is to distinguish betwixt him and his son as Bob and Robin are such vulgar appellations its thought to be high time to drive them out of decent society. I am now going to Ann Arbour where I will mail this. If I should think of any thing more on the way I will insert it. Here is Roberts account of that pump “an enjine by which water is driven from my springs near the River to the top of the Bank a perpendicular height of near Sixty feet by means of a force pump by means of Ballance Power. A bucket is made in a half circular form the sides of which are flat with boards nailed on the edges of the same. this is hung on a lever by means of an Iron bolt ••• an inch in diameter pafsing through the Bucket: the lever or rather a pair of them are laid upon an axle with the bucket hung so as to play between them the bucket is placed about eight feet from one end of the axle at the other end a weight is suspended by means of two pieces of chain. The bucket when filled with water lifts the counter weight and decends near eight feet. The bucket being hung near a ballance is turned over my [by] means of a chain fastened at the bottom of the bucket the the [sic] weight raises the Bucket again to it place and forces on the pump by means of an upright lever” Farewell

To William Geddes John Geddes

Commandments ten God gave to men [this may be in a different hand]

[There is much writing, apparently someone practicing on this page, e.g. the sentence “Why do the waters sometimes flow so peacefully away” eight times - even some drawings of human faces, etc.]