Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, April 9, 1835

Author: William Geddes

Date: April 9, 1835

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Campbellstown April 9th 1835.

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

Your letter did not arrive to 6th of April and I began to fear it would not arrive at all. You ought not to wait on time or tide and I hope for the future you will endevour to be even handed with them for they wait on no man. I have been more disappointed this time than ever for I called and called again but all to no purpose for two weeks past untill I was ashamed to ask the postmaster any more and had determined to inquire never again till I shall be told that there was a letter for me. I was anxious to learn the fate of Agrippa who is our brother the son of our father at least if not of our mother and who from what I had learnt from other sources had not received a brother’s reception which is clearly confirmed by your own account What kind of a trial was two weeks in a thing a person was wholly unacquainted with and more especially with a boy of so taciturn a disposition: of so slow comprehension. Ought not the tie of humanity have bound you to have given any other son of Adam a longer trial and how much more firmly were you bound by the ties of a common parent. [the tear of the seal left a hole here, but the missing words “much more” are preserved on the back of the seal at the bottom of page 4.] How many youths who might have become useful to themselves and others in the world if proper care had been taken with them: if the persons with whom it was their lot to be cast among had but borne with whatever foibles or failings they were by nature or habit possessed with: are now otherwise. God never made an independent man. We all have more or lefs to depend on one another not only in the two ages of helplessnefs but in the very strength of manhood : in proof of which look but at what would be the fate of any single person who should be placed alone on another earth like this. I ask again how can we more effectually honor the Almighty and promote the best interests of man (which is the only way of honoring him for he only requires us to love and be beloved of one another – That is adoration) than by proper encouragement to youths who are just starting in the world: and how is that to be done? Why by giving them rather more at all times than what is generally considered a full compensation for their services: will such noble conduct towards any youth or even aged person not bring forth the whole strength of Soul & body would not the love beaming in his eye towards you the gratitude the zeal and satisfaction he would have in serving you compensate for that extra allowance a million of times; independant of the service you would thereby be rendering your Country by making a useful Citizen or your God by making one heart happy at least if not many more which would have been the case in this instance. The extra exertions brought forth by such generosity would be worth more than the extra pay. That Sir is the only honorable way of getting 20 per cent for one’s money: that is the way to make benefits reciprocal in a high degree.

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What have you done; but the contrary; may worse refused him altogether and returned him back to me who you know have already an host of difficulties and enemies to to [sic] contend with. You approve of my course in feeing Lawyers and dont it hold good with any other set of men; in every thing else. Pay well and you will be served well. I have said enough: perhaps too much: if so what would be the consequence of reversing the picture of showing the fate of a person left unaided [and especially such an one as most needed aid and encouragement] to themselves with none to support or encourage them – look at it yourself if your heart is hard enough for I cannot. This wont arrive in time but if it does give Agrippa $50 if he wants so much; on my account. Cousins Jane and Martha Geddes from Newville were down to see us in January in a Sleigh with a young gentleman who appears to be much taken with Martha. They were about a week here. Uncle and Aunt Cousin John & family were well. Eliza McAllen was also well. It was at her particular and repeated request that I should ask you to write to her that I ask you. I would never have thought of intimating such a thing to her. I cannot recommend her to you for I dont believe she would suit you or any other hardworking man but might some lazy gentleman who had health time and money to spare and who was withall hypocrite enough to appear religious. I think she would soon learn the Yankee practice of letting her husband pail the Cows and you would not be very oddly mated in Michigan but still I think badly: with her. You know she is slender and lady like and could hardly stand the strong embraces of a working man. She is however possessed with good natural sense and more intelligence than any of your Yankee ladies. I wrote to Uncle James some time in the winter but have received no answer. I have not payed William: always somehow forgot it but will shortly. I have no idea how he is coming on nor have I heard any thing of any of his brothers except John of who a rumour has reached us that he was broke down or in other words had failed: but how it is I cant say. I heard it from our Newville relations. Thomas is in a Hardware Store in Philadelphia and gets $300 finding himself in bed and board: Not very good wages but they may improve if he pleases his employers. He is rather lazy. And too much like William, not saving enough. Mr Sawyer has sold 190 acres of Grandfather’s farm for $45 per acre the half in hand and the rest in $1000 Gales [periodic payments of rent]. This was unexpected by every one and several are much spited about it going at that price. He might have got I think $50 if the people who want to buy had known he was determined to sell but I consider it well sold for their is neither wood, water or buildings on it. what wood was still on it is nearly destroyed by the Caterpillar only a few trees remaining alive. They have been very bad these two years past in this Country when I returned from Michigan it looked like winter in our country the trees in many directions being leaflefs. Our woods was bare

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the breadth of two fields from Wolfersberger’s line down but no further and I will but learn this spring what damage is done but I think it wont be very great there was none in it last year: they attacked Sawyers 2 years in succession. Stern necessity made him sell and severals were waiting to the Sheriff would sell for him but he has acted wisely once in his life and disappointed them. How he satisfied Mr Etter the purchaser about the title I have not learnt. I felt persuaded he could not without his fathers deeds which I still hold and will as long as I can. He certainly could not give a good title without having the releases of R. G. Graydon and uncle Joseph’s children which he has not. I am perfectly satisfied that it has resulted so favorably to him for it was doubtful to him he was very uneasy and afraid of a different result: and his all depended on it : for there is no doubt but he took Counsel about compelling me to deliver up his fathers papers : and well counselled that he could not till he had extinguished every pofsible claim which I had myself told him & that the law was open still as at first when he resorted to it to hold us out of our just claims. If he had failed to satisfy Samuel Etter [Jr or Sr] his purchaser he would have lost him and every other and then his Creditors would have been on him with a vengence. But fate had decreed otherwise and I hope to escape from trouble about that estate. If I had been attacked by him I was determined to either go into Court and ask as father’s executor to be discharged from that estate as administrator and if I had got my discharge I would have delivered up the papers to the Court and so been done with it. When Sawyer might have claimed them and the Court of course would have decided on his claim or I would have taken new letters of administration which would I think have been the proper course of law and proceeded on that estate like on the estate of any other intestate or like as if there never had been a lawsuit about it. When the land was appraised Sawyer could have taken it at the appraisment and held the proceeds of it on his releases if they were sufficient which would have made his title good for if Joseph has got his share which would have appeared when I would have made out the final account on the estate and left no necessity for a release from him or any of his offspring. And R. G. Graydon’s Guardian could have released for him but as it is he cannot. James will not call on you at least is so determined at present but will be disappointed by young John Sawyer who I was yesterday informed secretly by a confident of theirs had put off going to the middle of May and James expects they will start on Easter Monday. John has been courting these two years past Eliza Kettering Adam’s daughter and it appears they could not determine what to do till after the first of April not to as I told my informant John was sure of his Cash to be able to move with : his father having promised him $1000 On Saturday evening last (which you know is the courting evening as well as Sunday) dear Johnny hied him to his sweet Eliza and lovinly told her all was ready if she was – what will not money do, and to day week they are to be married.

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but her ladyship could not get ready to the middle of May. I think it would be well to draw on the holders of your money slowly during this summer for I am persuaded next year will be the hardest for to raise money that has been for 15 years. Perhaps I might be to see you after harvest and should I would like to have that money and lay it out in land somewhere for it is certainly much better invested that way than the way it is: especially as times are getting worse and it is certain to me that the total stoppage of the United States in 9 months will make a crash that will crush thousands: so beware I warn you to beware. My money is safe in your hands but I want you to make yourself safe and if you have a necessity or reasonable excuse for to go upon you can collect money but hardly otherwise. If you could get money I would certainly come and we would take a trip and b[u]y a mile square somewhere and let run its chance. I would like very much to sell here if I could with safety and advantage but I think it would be better to wait till next year and if the loss of the United States does no harm it will do good so far it remove the dread all are under respecting its loss. $50 our land will bring let times be as they may so the loss to us cant be great and the gain might be considerable.

Mr John Geddes [torn from seal] –ll’s well Farewell William Geddes