Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, May 25, 1833

Author: William Geddes

Date: May 25, 1833

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Campbellstown May 25th 1833.

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

I arrived here on the evening of the 23rd having made as quick a passage across both land and water as could be expected. The Steamboat left Detroit at the time appointed and made good head-way against adverse winds and impervious fogs. The wind was very high as soon as we got out into the lake and consequently I became very sick and continued ailing for a day or so after I landed having compleately lost my appetite. I was terribly drenched. And so weak with loss of sleep & appetite that I traveled but 24 miles and that with difficulty the first day. I landed at Erie at 5 Oclock in the morning on Friday making 1 day & 2 nights and started on after breakfast from Erie. The second day I went to Franklin 36 miles tolerably easy & in good time. The 3rd to Corbetts Tavern 37 1/2 the 4th to the crossing of the Susquehanna 42 miles the 5th to the Rattlesnake tavern on the top of the Allegheny 32 miles when I was obliged to stop by a heavy shower of rain and waited about half an hour till the stage came up into which I got and went in to Belfonte till dark 14 miles further. Where I took my passage in the same to Lewistown lest I might be prevented from moving at all the next day for it still continued raining as it had done every day since I left Erie & is now, it commenced on me about 11 miles from Erie and was showery that as well as every other day of my journey except the one next to the last and some of them very heavy but in spite of all these I cannot say I was wet any day but rather dampt I was so fortunate always when a heavy shower was to find shelter and while it rained I rested which was never much more than one

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hour at a time. It had been raining for a week so upon the mountains of Penn. before I arrived upon them which raised the streams higher than they have been for 30 years but I had no difficulty in crossing any but one that was the Allegheny at Franklin in Venango County. I was told the Susquehanna rose 16 feet perpendicular in a very short time; the water was so high that logs struck the Bridgs at least touched it that is the Arches at Lewisburg and nearly so at Harrisburg It is rumored that the West Branch Canal has suffered much but I know nothing certain. The Canal on the Juniatta from Lewistown to the Susquehanna had suffered but little & from there down to Harrisburg comparitively nothing. The stage left Bellfonte at half past 11 Oclock the evening I arrived and drove all night arriving at Lewistown the next morning at half past 8 Oclock where I got shaved & dressed & took breakfast when it was one hour later and then traveled 31 miles on foot without being late, which brought me within 25 miles of Harrisburg at which place I arrived the next day at two Oclock where I was one hour only and reached Campbellstown at half past 7 Oclock where I was saw with astonishment so little was I expected so soon in fact some can scarce believe I was where I intended to go. I was but 18 days in motion on land and water & in that time I traveled 1650 making on an average per day 92 miles nearly. I found all well at home even old Mr Sawyer contrary to the expectations of all had rose from the [bed] of sickness and is now able I am told for I have not yet seen to ride about on horseback. One of the Mifs Boals husband’s call to see me when I was away and wanted to know something about Grandfathers

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estate. I fear there is a storm a brewing against me and no mr. Sawyer is at the bottom of it but I shall endeavour to meet them at the half way house. They probably calculate that there is some want of knowledge of the matter in me of which they can take the advantage but I trust they will find themselves deceived. They will have to beat a more determined person than father was but I labour under disadvantages which father did if the matter was as father found it I would certainly dispossess Sawyer and sell that farm in defiance of the world. But the storm may pass and I hope it may for me at least it may and I have been one of the greatest sufferers. The Crops do not look so promising owing to that long dry spell One of our fields is good the other only middling. Wheat has rose to $1.06 1/4 from 94 What Other prices are I have not learned. There is some fine land [near Erie] but for the rest of the way to Harrisburg it is a complete wilderness and worse the land will never be worth cultivating two thirds of it at least there is a middling spot here & there and these far between I can scarce see how those people live that do live there and yet they are reasonable in their charges. .18 3/4 per meal was all I was charged. The expense of my return was $10.75 and would have been but about 8 if I had not rode 46 miles in the stage.


To John Geddes William Geddes