Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, December 13, 1834

Author: John Geddes

Date: December 13, 1834

Get PDF: geddes_letters/geddes_letters_18341213.pdf

View Text

Ann Arbor, December 13th 1834

Dear Brother [William Geddes]

I am sorry to have to tell you that Isabella is dead! She died on the 21st of November, about four o’clock in the morning. In place of getting better as I hoped: she failed gradually and the last week rapidly, and died unexpectedly, by herself, Jane, and the Doctor.

The day before she died she was more talkative than usual (having generally been silent) Had little or no pain during the sicknefs. About twelve, the night she died, she mentioned to Jane that she felt very sick in her stomach and called for a drink of water, she drank about a gill, and directly afterwards went to sleep, two hours afterwards she awoke; and called for another drink, drank, went to sleep again and two hours afterwards she was dead, never awoke again. She was sensible and spoke as distinct as usual to the last Her disease was in the first place of the Bilious kind inclining towards inflammation of the Stomach. But finally wound off with a kind of Consumption. Though they called it a Bilious Diarrhœa when I was there. Being unacquainted with such disorders. I hoped it was one of those that would permit a recovery from after being considerably reduced in strength. But it did not prove so in her case. She ought to have left Detroit, in June, or July, and came to Washtenaw. She intended to do so. But delayed it not being very well from time to time, until the Cholera broke out and then she said she would not until it pafsed away, on the winding up of which she was taken sick got better, relapsed and died. I thought that Detroit agreed with her constitution and that she was improving in health, strength, and weight. That was the report of the neighbors that called to see Mr Ewers folks. Or I should have insisted on her leaving Detroit early in the summer, and on no account brave the Cholera. When I first saw her in October she was much more feeble than I expected: indeed my first imprefsions were that her and me would meet no more in this world. I felt sorry for her, that she had such hard luck: for I really hoped she would take some comfort in Michigan. and live independent and easy with us, for some time to come. But this is a world of toil, trouble, and disappointment. and poor Isabella has fared worse than any of us: peace be to her remains!

She made no will. Her property according to the Laws of Michigan will decend to her Brothers and Sister, and Robert Geddes Graydon, in equal shares On this principal I

mean to settle her personal property in Michigan. The words of Law are that the next of kin according to the Civil Law inherit the personal as well as real estate of Intestates. Civil Law is the governing word here I have been at Detroit a week ago, and paid off her Doctor, Bill, and Funeral expenses. Doctors Bill $29.62. Cherry coffin and over box $16.00. Sextons charge for diging grave and conveying corpse to the grave $3.37•••

Page 2

Two four horse carriages with horses $8.00. Sundries for corpse $2.07 total $59.06 •••. The Coffin charge was very high, fairly rascally. I said nothing and paid him. The other items, I will not complain of, though I think the Carriages high; but that is to be expected. I have not administered nor do I intend too, but settle without. Jane is to have all her clothes etc. (but two Coverlets, and quilt, and her Leather trunk) for her trouble, Board etc. The Coverlets, I am to have for what Isabel paid for them. The quilt I am to have at $2.00 and the Trunk at five dollars. If you think the Trunk too low you can have it at the same. Isabel had $2.66 in money besides the fifty dollars I paid her in October; and which is endorsed on the Note of $700 she held against me. We intend to get her a marble headstone next summer. And then I shall endeavor to settle up with you Isabel did intend to make a will but put it off too long. The day before she died she told Jane to tell Mr Ewers to get some one and she would make her will the next day the day she died. It was her intention to give Jane her clothes etc. and divide the rest among her full Brothers, and Jane. Not intending to leave R. G. Graydon or her haff [half] Brothers and half Sister anything.

Agrippa arrived on the 6th of November having staid only over night in Detroit I did not know him as you would expect; he is not so tall as I expected. He arrived here before your letter. He is very silent says but little but is improving in that particular or rather getting better acquainted. His reading education better than I expected. He is very steady, very slow, and entirely unacquainted with businefs as it is done in Michigan. His perseverance appears good which is a very good trait. Has a singular practice of carrying his head forward and his eyes down. Which is not the practice of the Yankees of Michigan I have not tryed him on the Sawmill yet as it has been repairing ever since he come. It will start in a few days say 15th of this month I shall endeavor to get along

with Agrippa as well as I can I intend to be patient and give him a fair trial. He saw four deer the other day it aroused him considerably they being the first he had seen here. When he first come he enquired what he was to work at. appeared to have no inclination to travel out and see the country for a day or two. How much a month I will give him will depend on what he does. After a fair trial I will tell him. I really wish he was more wide awake.

We would have been very glad if John Wolfersberger could have called to see us. We should have been pleased to see him and hear him talk of Campbellstown, Michigan, Illinois, etc. Our long experience would have given us a great advantage of him where new countries was the topic But we would been delighted to have heard him explain his ideas on these things and see how near he would come to the mark I wish you to be particular and tell us what [he] says and thinks of new countries

Page 3

The engineers got through with their survey on the 7th of November being two months about it. They have made no report yet. I accidentally saw three of the hands on their return They informed me that the distance is 193 miles. The greatest height 440 feet above where they started from in Detroit (which is probably 30 feet above the Detroit river) and 85 miles from Detroit that the mouth of the St Joseph is 20 feet higher it lower than where the[y] started from in Detroit. The rout is said to be practicable and a very good one for the length It is said it will take the engineer until the latter end of the sefsion of Congrefs to make a regular report so little can be expected this winter There has been a meeting in Ann Arbor lately and it was decided to petition Congrefs for an appropriation

The census is completed the number of inhabitants 85,856 East of Lake Michigan

In 1834 in 1830

Wayne 17,993 6,787

Oakland 13,927 4,910

Washtenaw 14,924 4,042

Macomb 6,004 2,414

St Clair 2,244 1,114

Monroe 8,542 3,185

Lenawee 6,939 1,491

Hillsdale 597

Branch 764

St Joseph 3,168 1,313

Berrien 1,782

Cass 3,278 1,249

Jackson 1,868

Calhoun 1,767

Kalamazoo 2,069

===== =====

85,856 26,505

[The next 16 lines are opposite the above numerical listing by county in the original.]

In the City of Detroit 4910, In Ann Arbor village 830, In Ypsilanti village 500, In Ann Arbor Township over 1700, In Ypsilanti Township over 1800. Ypsilanti has two surveyed townships. Ann Arbor has one The Census has exceeded our greatest calculations. Michigan is even astonished at itself. The Council is now in session have reported a bill but feel inclined to wait the action of Congrefs on entering the Union. The bill reported recommends this first Monday of April for the election of Delegates to a Convention to be held in June.

If I am to have the eighth part of twice the amount of the Widows share which is $38.05 I would still be owing you $6.48 on the first day of October 1834. I would a little rather you would make out the account yourself. I am very willing to allow you 7 pr cent that is Michigan interest on money matters betwixt you, and me where I am owing you. For even lengthy as you have been on this matter I do not know what my share of the income of the farm is, in 1833: Mr Hawks has revived the Grist mill subject again. he is now willing to give what we asked last year. I told him I must write to you and see what you said about it. that I told him would take a month – this was three weeks ago. I then thought of writing forth with to you: but on reflecting I thought I would tell Mr Hawks that I was not ready yet and could not do anything for a year. This thing of hurrying on businefs of so costly a kind cannot be done without a great waste of means. and would seem to be a mark of great imprudence. Its the general opinion that Grist mills are profitable, or Hawks would not think of attempting it. On enquiring round I find that my friends think that if we can go on in another year without Mr Hawks it would be the most prudent to postpone. But without you should make sale of fathers farm I would still feel inclined to put off. I think it would be your interest and mine to sell for $55 pr acre and not only our interest but the interest of all the heirs. $60 would be but an eleventh how soon would a location in a new country increase that eleventh. Its true it is humbling to sell for lefs than other land is or has been selling for: indeed it may be called provoking but so it is and I cant see that it can be avoided. I am sure I dont blame you. you share the lofs and have all the trouble and suffer a great lofs of time. But as you cant sell before another year I think you had better leave Campbellstown its you know a low lived place. the society is not improving to yourself. Harrisburgh I would think much preferable the advantages of Society; how different! In a country like this the benefit or rather convenience of being familiar with the manners of refined society is considerable and the Geddess you know are naturally diffident and of course require polish as a substitute for assurance. You may think I am whimsical. But I think it has been an injury to us all to have been raised in so ignorant a county; and ignorant on the School Bill you admit they are. To be the best informed in a country is agreeable to the feelings, but injurious to the improvement of the man. And finally I hope you may think as I do. If

not it is no offence. Wages is high in this country Robert offered a man a few days ago $138 for a year to work on the farm he afterwards sent word that he could not come: which meant he was not offered enough: he was a good hand and Robert had better agreed to give him what he asked though it is more than farmers can afford. He asked $144. Corn is .50 pr Bu. Oats .31 ••• Wheat .56 •••. Pork $4 to 5 pr hundred. We intend to saw and stick up some lumber for the Grist mill next summer and make preparations for commencing to build a year from next spring. I hope by that time you will sell, and make up your mind about coming to Michigan and engaging in the mill businefs. Our site ought to be occupied or I would not crowd the thing. Our situation is a good one and if not neglected may make a place of some businefs. And things of this kind when not improved sometimes lofe their natural advantages. If you should have come to Michigan this winter I would have been pleased: you could then saw and thought for yourself: but I did not expect you

By the next time I write I will be able to tell you how Agrippa does. I dont expect much. I am afraid he never will make much of a leader, or driver If we had a grist mill among many hands he might make one. And I think a faithful one but not a rapid one. I cant think our Step Mother will insist on the thirds free from unavoidable expenses. she is not so stupid as all that. I am against giving Lawyers anything; or at least as little as can be help. Roberts tax is $13.08 County & Township tax. (They always go together) and 18 ••• days Road Tax at .62 ••• pr day. Robert, and Johns, (which comprehends the Sawmill and 82 acres belonging to mill; and the Ewers farm) tax County and Township is $8.30 (eight dollars and thirty cents) and the Road tax, 7••• days. My road tax is 2••• days. County and Township tax .27 (The poll tax is two days on the Road in every person under fifty years) John and William .88 County and Township tax. Road tax is 3••• days. They must have made a mistake here and taxd you two days poll tax which. I will not pay. Last year John, and William was $1.28 County and Township tax. Its about time to stop, So farewell

To Mr William Geddes John Geddes