Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, January 14, 1836

Author: William Geddes

Date: January 14, 1836

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Campbellstown Jan. 14th 1836

Dear Brother. [John Geddes] I have just finished reading your letter which as you say was truly long looked for. As I wanted to write to you as soon as pofsible and yet wished to wait for your letter which I had reason to expect about the time you mailed it. Mr. Sawyer has cited me to make a final settlement on the estate of Grandfather which it appears father as administrator never did. His views for so doing are he says to ascertain what amount of the personal estate which came into father’s hands would of right belong to us: which he says he bought of father and now means to collect off me. I want now to know of you as soon as pofsible how you father and Mr. Graydon settled with Sawyer as I cannot remember much about it not being of age or at Harrisburg with you at the time but this much I remember that I was opposed to the whole proceeding. I had a few sharp words with the old Sinner a few days ago about it. He said I would be attacked by the whole pofse of heirs. I then asked him if Clokey’s were worth any thing which he at first refused to tell me but afterwards he said they were not worth a dollar. Aunt Polly is still living. So it appears that All the heirs but us and Boals and Sawyer himself are worth nothing and Sawyers circumstances are but middling he not being able to hold Grandfather’s farm any longer if he pays his debts. 190 acres are sold and money all received and there is still debts on hand. He had sold the rest for $60 per acre which he holds here but when the[y] come to article he could not satisfy the purchaser with his title he having I am told given the purchaser of the 190 the land he still holds for security for the title of the 190 which leaves matters worse and worse. I told him the heirs were all indebted to father and if they were worth any thing I would save them the trouble of suing me by sueing them : but as it was I did not think they were so simple as to do so : There is no doubt but he has [been] persuading them to attack me and I believe his object is to frighten my purchaser so as to compel me to stay here as well as himself until I am forced to extricate him out of his difficulties which he has been heard to say that there was no man but me could do. I believe he was satisfied from what I told him that the heirs were all indebted to father but did not want to believe that our shares of the personal was also all spent and that before he bought them which if he did he bought what was worth nothing: for certainly father was entitled to his pay in the first place for supporting and defending our rights.

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What may be the result of this affair is hard for me to say: but this much is certain that my presence here is absolutely necefsary for some time to come and that I must alter my plans in some measure as it will not do for to let all the money pafs out of my hands to see the end of this cursed affair. I have succeeded in defeating all but this first and now last enemy of fathers and I trust in God as my cause is just I will shortly serve him likewise. There is a ballance due by father on his account as executor of Grandfathers estate $1311.11 out of which father paid one third to the widow or to Sarah McDonald for her use while she lived with her. And Lawyer McFadden recovered $416. of the rest: and in the division the Supreme court made of it Robert Geddes was allowed $615 leaving $99 for another and $58 for another the rest getting nothing – some part of these sums were interest as I believe interest was calculated from the time McFadden brought his suit which increased the amount to be divided to what these sums make. The principal in the 99 and 58 was all that father had off the five heirs who articled to pay what costs might be incurred: which costs amounted to $1400. Father received $500 from Boals which with our $615 the $99 & $58 do not amount to that sum. Now if Sawyer is able to compel me to pay him the 615 and interest as well as our shares of what was received of Boals he will get a pretty considerable sum. He has for a number of years back been boasting that fathers estate owed him the whole $1311.11 but as he never attempted to do any thing with father himself or with me since his death I had concluded he was not in earnest or that he knew that he could recover nothing. I asked him why he did not sue father: he said his lawyers would do nothing for him. I told him it looked very much as if he wanted to take the advantage by leaving it off to his death and then attack his children who knew nothing of these matters. What course to pursue I hardly know. If in order to avoid filing an administration account I plead that there was nothing for an admir [administrator] to do after father had settled an account of all the personal in his executor act [account] and that father had no right to collect any of the Bonds or notes that were given by the heirs to Grandfather but that they were to be set off against their shares when a settlement of the whole estate should be called for by the heirs themselves : but which was prevented by Sawyer holding the real estate : to the heirs were obliged to sell their shares to him for what he was pleased to give. The matter stands then thus in my oppinion. Sawyer knew what each had rec’d. and in purchasing out the heirs gave each of them what more he considered their shares worth with what they had received

Mr John Geddes [crossed out] William Geddes [crossed out]

Direct your letter to Palmyra Leb. Co.

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consequently they were entitled to hold all they had received from Grandfather either by Book account, Receipt, Bond, note or otherwise. If then he did collect why did he: will be asked when I will have to reply that at that time he thought he had a right which he found by the decision of the Supreme court in McFadden’s case he had not and that there was a settlement between Boals and myself and that I would refund the ballance due them on settlement if there would be one and so leave the matter as it was when father settled his executors account. I am to appear at Harrisburg on Monday next and after receiving your answer to this will let you know the result if of any consequence. I dont expect to be in Michigan before the first of May when my stay will be short unlefs I shall have put to rest Sawyers suit forever. Agrippa will come with me to invest his money in land in Illinois near where James and John Sawyer are located unlefs him and Thomas should go into partnership as storekeepers as Thomas wishes but which I will oppose as neither of them are quallified for it and would in my opinion break at it in a short time. Thomas is like William the printer to[o] liberal of his cash to ever be rich. He gets $180 a year [hole] and I have sent him in that time $90 more $40 of it lately [hole] him to leave then without being in debt: which he intends in [hole]. He has sunk $220 besides what he earned since fathers death. Agrippa will likely return with me to his mother where it is likely he will stay for some time. This I consider his best plan to invest all his money in land and stay with his mother for some two or three years who will be will [sic] able to reward him. He is a dull boy but not quite so bad as you think. Isabel McClure is as usual. I will inquire what that medicine is you mention and send an account of it on a paper. Uncle McAllen was at Baltimore when Eliza was married – he gave her $100 Our coldest weather was in Nov. too but the mercury was not lower than 6 deg. above Zero. Wheat is worth $1.15. Rye .75, Corn .55 Oats .31. Pork $6 pr. Cwt. I am still living in Campbellstown doing nothing. Agrippa is helping me. We are all well Ann is to be married today. I am writing to you and wont attend the wedding – all in attendance are my particular enemies except Ann herself who has more sense than all the rest. Berryhill Bell and Wife. Ann and Mary Sawyer and Mr Johnsons sister are all that were invited. I advanced Ann as much money as she wanted for an outfit and think I done my duty in full. If she had not invited the Sawyers I would have attended.

Mr John Geddes William Geddes

[according to Geddes genealogy, Ann Geddes was born in July 1818. She was the 4th and last child of Robert Geddes and his 2d wife, Margaret (or Martha) McClure. She was married to William B. Johnson and lived in Newville, Cumberland co., PA. According to Geddes genealogy she had children, but no further information.]