Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, October 21, 1834

Author: William Geddes

Date: October 21, 1834

Get PDF: geddes_letters/geddes_letters_18341021.pdf

View Text

Campbellstown October 21st 1834

Dear Brother. [John Geddes] your last was received on the 10th inst. I received a letter dated Sept. 30th 1834 from Harrisburg which was signed I. W. Stillwell who wrote to me to know if I would sell my two quarter Sections on 22 and that if I would I should direct to him at New Orleans where he said he resided. I have done so and sent him word that I would not: unless an extraordinary price was offered. You will therefore refuse to sell that land I trust at almost any price let who will offer. Who this man is I know not but it would appear he had been in Michigan and was on his way home. Some land speculator no doubt but why he did not wish to buy that on 23 is what I cannot account for. Agrippa intends starting next week for Michigan where I wish you to try to keep him if possible for there are too many of us living a lazy idle life. Thomas came home rather unwell in the spring from harrisburg: but has long since been well enough to attend to the line of business he has been learning with Graydon but he is to[o] unaccountable lazy; and is does not leave the house scarcely: he was too much so even to go to the election on tuesday last although I urged him hard: repeatedly for I feared the result would be unfavorable because the exertions of the Jackson or Masonic party was really wonderful. The fuss they made about the Bank and Gold currency that was about to be introduced in its place I thought would deceive very many & thereby we might be defeated but we have done well in Dauphin & Lebanon having carried the whole tickets in both all to one man in the first who is lost by 10 votes only: which spites me more than if he had been [hole] by 200 because if Thomas and ten more such lazy fellows had [hole] laziness but for four hours or so it would not have happened. [hole] [I calc]ulated that we would be beaten in Dauphin but that Lebanon would overwhelm them and elect our Congressman and Senator in which I would not have been mistaken but Dauphin carried them both itself by 165 votes. Why I thought we would be worsted in Dauphin was first the noise that was made about Gold which I am told was exhibited by party men all over the county by handfulls the magic influence of which was expected to do wonders; backed by the u[n]popular name of Bank which was heard at very corner, but it appears it done little harm. My second reason for thinking so was the unpopular bill called a bill to “establish Free Schools” throughout the state that was passed last winter and for which the Antimasonic members of Dauphin voted for: and which vote I would have bet 20 dollars would have destroyed them both; and it would most assuredly have done so had not the spirit of party

ran so high as to lose sight of every other consideration. In Sept. we had an election for school directors and the party opposed to free schools carried it without opposition except in Londonderry and the borough of Lebanon in the last place there was 53 votes for free schools & 180 aganist: in Londonderry we had but 8 votes for schools and Those were Thomas Borland John Irwin Jacob Brown Samuel Behm David Bingham George Selders Thomas Marks and William Geddes: against 126 so that free schools is voted down in our county totally but has prevailed as far as I head partially in every other county and in a great many entirely so that I am still in hopes that it will finally prevail. I was determined that ignorance should not prevail in our township without a blow been made against; it as it was boasted it would. What the exact cost of railways is per mile is more than I can say at present but I expect that I can let you know

Page 2

shortly after our Legislature meets. If you were to make them in your country as the[y] are made here the[y] would cost an enormus sum of money Viz. to lay the rails on stone blocks. The two thirds of the contractors who undertook to make the railroad from Philadelphia to Columbia were so much mistaken in their calculations of what it would cost that they were obliged to throw up their contracts to save themselves from breaking and I believe in many instances the same contracts were let three or more times before the[y] were compleated which was principally owning to the cost of cutting hauling and setting in those stone blocks. Your country is easy of excavation twice as much so i would think as ours which would save considerable. Let the cost be what it would I would be for it and would be willing to pay a tax of ten dollars per year sooner than it should be abandoned; for the railways after completion are superior to Canals or any other mode of conveyance as yet discovered. America will be shortly if she it is not already the greatest country in the world for the publick improvements and the most powerful nation also if we remain undivided. Ann was very well pleased with her visit to Newville and stayed about a month; but did not go in time to find Eliza McAllen there; and had no opportunity of crossing the mountains to Fannetsburg. Walter Clark is well and driving his trade as usual in Millerstown. John Wolfersberger and Adam Kettering intend starting for Illinois next week and Wolfersberger thinks he may possibly visit Michigan – but it is still doubted by some whether they will start at all. The Rev’d. James Sharon Jr. preached at Derry in Sept. some time but made but an

indifferent hand of it – his wife is a very homely woman and has the appearance of being thirty. James was generally much pitied by his old acquaintances for being taken in by such a piece of furniture [for he] [seal] is a portly good looking man and you know 7 or 8 years under thirty. James Clark is still living a single life like yourself and no doubt is putting of[f] the miseries of a married life from year to year; still saying next year I will: like you – he no doubt thinks he can do as well as his father who married at fifty and the very first trial raised a “pair o dem” as an Irishman would say. The Clarks advertised their land in Sept. for private sale but did not get an offer and have now advertised for publick the sale to be on the 23 inst. & perhaps I may detain this to let you know the result. I have had no offer for ours this fall as yet nor do I expect I will; at any rate I have rented it for another year. Berryhill Bell’s fatherinlaw died last summer & he has made a tolerable haul. His brotherinlaw Hugh Sheller and him fell out about the division of the effects and are now bad friends. Berryhill is trying to give me trouble with the old woman about her thirds. It appears that he has been telling her that she is entitled to the whole third of the produce of the farm and not to the third of the clear income which is all I pay her. That all expenses such as taxes seed grain or repairs of buildings are to be paid out of the two thirds coming to the heirs. I think I will be under the necesity of filing an account of the income of the farm for 1833 and 1834 when the court will decide what the widow is to have which will silence all Clamor of such unfriendly and mischiveous persons. The cost of such settlements amount to about thirty dollars which I calculated to save by settling with the heirs themselves but it appears the devil wont have it so his friends the lawyers must have their share. The clear income of 1833 is $507.96 from which I took the value of seed grain for the crop of 1834 = $51.29 = $456.67 the third of which I paid her $152.22

Page 3

The reason that I took the seed of 1834 off the crop of 1833 was because one has to wait one whole year till the crop grows to pay for it which kept me charging myself in advance for notwithstanding the crop of 1834 is here there is little or none of it can be brought to market before the first of April 1835 besides that I have advanced the seed of 1835 already at the time I was to be paid that of 1834 which still would leave me a year behind but as I now have it 1833 paid for 1833 and 1834 and 1834 pays for 1835 at the very time the grain has to be advanced

which enables me to charge myself with the wheat and ask credit for it as seed sowed which keeps my account square. The ballance of personal left by father amounts to $434.55 to which if we add to what you are charged in the will, Viz. $45 = $479.55 and that divided into eight shares (Alexander not being entitled to a share he having also being charged in the will $350) would equal $59.94 which is all you were entitled to receive on Nov. 9th 1833 when my administration account was confirmed by the Orphans Court. Which would leave you over paid on that day $40.06 besides the interest of $55 from the time I paid you at Detroit till that time: and till the first of Oct. 1834 interest on the sum overpaid which was the time I received all the money for the crop of 1833 not being able to get $1.00 per bu. for Wheat or .50 cents for corn till the first of August or more than .50 for rye which I have finally to get ground into flour when I realized .62•••, out of it. You can calculate yourself what you are still indebted to me. I have had no oppertunity of paying William for the printing of the Philadelphian, but will shortly. He was up with his second wife but did call to see me – what he has realized in the money way by this second match I have not heard. Sawyer demanded his fathers papers of me the other day: that we happen to meet at Stepmothers. He said he thought he ought to have them particularly the deeds: and could not see what use they were to me. I told him that it was true that they were of little or no use to me but as the[y] had come into my hands by father’s being executor I did not think I would be justified in giving them up nor would not unless compelled by the due course of law. I said that I had as good if not a better right to them than he had for he did not get his title by them but by the heirs releasing; upon which releases he was to found his title to that land if he sold and not upon his fathers deeds if he had them: if he had a good title to that land he had it in independent of me and if he had not I will be the last man that would make him one if I could. He said he would sue me for them and I told him he might and as soon as he pleased for that I would never give them up unless compelled by the courts of Justice. But I dont believe he will sue: for if he does he will publish to the world that his title to that land is none of the best which might cause his creditors to fall on him these hard times lest their money should be lost and if they would it would totally ruin him. He is undoubtedly sinking deeper and deeper in debt every year. He wants to sell badly but has found out that he cannot make a verry good right in which people are very particular these times, as they always ought to be. Wheat is $1. Corn .60 Rye .55 Oats .25 Potatoes .50. Wages per day in harvest .50 for rakers & binders .62••• for Cradlers

hands by the month $8.50. What I may follow this winter I cannot say at present perhaps teach if an oppertunity should offer. If I could get away I would come with Agrippa and stay in Michigan or Ohio all winter. The vote in Londonderry was 170 Anti. and 31 Jackson in Millerstown 274 Anti. and 108 Jackson in East Hanover 270 Anti. 47 Jackson Swatara 189 Anti. Jackson 44 Lebanon Town 88 Anti. 214 Jackson. Lebanon Township 225 Anti. 275 Jackson, Jackson township 133 Anti. 195 Jackson. Bethel 92 Anti. 115 Jackson. Heidleberg 159 Anti. 233 Jackson. Showing that the four first and upper townships of our county voted so unanimously as to beat the five lower ones better than 330. And Londonderry Derry and Hanover in Dauphin

Page 4

done the same and decided the election in Dauphin. You must let me know in your next what amount of taxes Robert and you pay and the amount of each kind particularly the school tax a kind of tax we are likely soon to have on us notwithstanding we have rejected the school bill at present for this rejection does not as it did the other Knock it under wholly for we are to try every year unless the legislature should repeal it. Farewell

To John Geddes William Geddes