Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, March 12, 1836

Author: John Geddes

Date: March 12, 1836

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Ann arbor, March 12th 1836

Dear Brother, (William) We received your letter on the 7th of this month. and were pleased to see that Sawyer concern appeared more favorable Though he Sawyer has not made an effort yet. And may be cannot affect any thing But I will leave it to you and your Lawyer to manage as you man think best: for you will do so at any rate. And Law is different there from what it is here. I think the limitation Law would destroy Sawyers claim You were “tickled” at my peaceable plan. And I was amused at your idea of my being so pafsionate. And so there was smiling all round. You do not appear to understand the rush in to land speculation that is attempted and acted upon in this country or you would not think of staying there until the first of May. I want you to send on my share as soon after the first of April as possible. (I beleive the first day of April is pay day I want you to sell my share of the Bonds if you can. I dont see why Robert G. Graydon might not take the last Bond by allowing him ten or twelve pr cent until it becomes due. It will be his interest to do so as his father will not allow him more than six pr cent if that. And the Bond will be due before he is of age. It is your interest and Jamess, and Agrippas interest. As well as the interest of the Michigan heirs to have their whole share this spring. We believe [obscured by seal] the opinion is well established that money is worth 25 pr cent to put into Land. wild Land in Michigan or Illinois. And that is thought to be a sure and moderate calculation. As their is instances without number where more than double that has been made during the past summer and winter. And this summer they are not decads [sic] but an host going into Land speculation. And as we here, say, every body is attempting that businefs. And the sooner the better: and if you cannot come yourself directly after the first day of April send on James, or James, and Agrippa, with their and my share and I will afsist them to buy land for their trouble of coming here. As I am determined to let out the Sawmill and go west as soon as pofsible after I hear from you. A Mr Bronson the proprietor of the County seat of Kalamazoo (one of my old acquaintances) has a plan afloat that if it works (which is not known now) I think of going into partnership with him in taking pofsefsion of the Land at the mouth of the Wapisipinacon Creek or river on the West side of the Mifsissippi. A little South of 42 degrees North Lattitude. Thinking there may be considerable of a place there before long. It is not in market. And of course we would squat on it as we term it. Bronson is going right on in a short time to take pofsefsion if there is no one there: And if there is to buy him out if he does not ask more than $1000. I am then if he gives me notice to go on and take his place and commence making improvement. But whether this plan will work or not: I will go west next spring as early as I can. And take a look at the country.

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But still I will not commit myself until I see the place and some of the country round about as it may be sickly &c I shall endeavor to exercise my own opinion. As it is not at all improbable it may be unhealthy I think I can make more money and live easier and have more influence by buying and selling land than attending Sawmill. Though Sawmilling is getting better every year And we have now more logs in the mill yard than we ever had at one time And the country is richer and abler to pay. and lumber is a higher price. But I think I have tugged and toiled long enough and used my physical powers thoroughly. I now intend to try the mental. If I should not go into this speculation I want to go West by the middle of April. As I have agreed to go to the General Assembly of the Presbeterian Church. Which meets at Pittsburgh on the third thursday of May next. I would not think of attending this Assembly but things have got to a crisis in the Presbeterian Church and it becomes the duty of every friend of peace and order to be at his post in the hour of need. It is not without sorrow that I see the peace and harmony of the Society disturbed by a few restlefs spirits who appear to forget that Love and goodwill to man. Is one of the fundamental principles of Christianity. And Order one of Heavens first Laws If I should wait until the time you have set to come to Michigan (even if this Bronson speculation should fail) I would not have time to buy Land until after I came back from Pittsburgh. which will not be until the first day of July; or therebouts [hole] I want to go west with $1000 I can raise 4 or 500 here. at least I think and hope so I would wish to have $600 from Pa. And want United States Bank notes. But still you must have what I owe you out of my share. Let what will be left. As you cannot afford to lend me money. And I dont want you too. A week ago I let a person have $100 to buy eighty acres. He is to take it in my name. And in one year I am to let him have the land if he will pay me $125 if not the Land is mine. It was his own offer. He wanted another $100 on the same conditions I told him I would think of it. (But I will not now, as this Bronson idea has come up since and I want $1000 for that.) If you will advance me $100 you may have this, or have you conscientious scruples, or what I call nonsensical scruples. when I let him have it I really thought I could do as well if not better. But thought that was doing well and I would accommodate him. The simple truth is the rate pr cent is high but the land is cheap. And the borrower gains between the two. This country is rapidly filling up and land must: it is a sure investment. Our gristmill plan must rest for the present: and I think for the capital that would have to be invested it would be nothing like as profitable as Land. I would like to see you before I go to the Mifsissippi: but I may not go as it, is all uncertain And if see a good chance to lay out money I will inform you. I am still single and under no engagements of the kind. I am a free man. It seems you are married if you are suited: I am. I know nothing of about your dearly beloved, though I have been more than a thousand times in Palmyra.

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We had one week of very good sleding in February and some midling sleding: snow never more than a foot: that went off and we have had some more there is about six inches now. Winter still hangs on: yesterday in the morning 3 degrees above Zero and 12o above at noon. This morning 4o below Zero. The coldest morning I ever knew in March It is now 11 O Clock and is 18o above. A cold day. I rejoice with all good friends of the United States Bank in its recharter. Now Ritner is coming on you have not told me: nor what the prospect of the States going for Gen Harrison. I have heard that Ritner has not give the satisfaction expected. I did not think much of [stain] Denny and his afsociates in their opposition to Harrison. They carried their Antimasonry too far. I am fully persuaded in my mind that the party that elected Ritner cannot be sustained without supporting Harrison. Its their only hope. And by giving him their cordial and undivided vote. The Van Buren party must be routed Wheat is $1.00 pr Bushel. Oats .37 1/2. The Railroad is established that is surveyed and the rout determined on as far as the 27 mile stake 2 1/2 miles East of Ypsilanti. Where it is to strike Huron is not settled yet. And whether it will come up the river or go South of it to Ann arbor is not decided. Every string will be drawn by some individuals in Ann Arbor village, to draw it from the river for selfish purposes. I am of the opinion it will go up the river not withstanding all their efforts. Its where it ought to go. And where disinterested persons think and say it ought be made This is a rascally world or rather the people in it and the more I get acquainted the worse I think of it. Its in a country like this where so many are on the look out for speculation that this depravity of the human heart is so clearly to be seen. Bronson told me that the Land office there has been taking for some time back $10,000 a week What will it be in May, and June!! Because we think this country will be over run after navigation is fairly opened. The United States Bank will help to keep money plenty some two or three years yet. I want you to be on the before this high tide of emigration commences. And if I fail its not because I have not give notice Our health is as when I last wrote to you. Property is rising in this country. I have had no offer for your land this winter it will probably sell next summer. I want you to see that the Philadelphian is paid until the end of next year. I have not seen myself credited in the Philadelphian for some time. It is true I have lost a few I might have been credited it them. But I want if you can conveniently ascertain how our accounts stand. On counting up to day I think there is a good prospect of my raising $500 here and so as much more from home will do: but still if you can bring my share of the two thirds to Michigan this spring I should, I would be pleased. If I was to attend the Sawmill this year I could have my recent accounts all settled up and make those pay me that I saw for this year So that I think I could raise $1000 without any help from Pa. But all the best chances would be bought up in that time. And emigrants dont wait until land is in market but take pofsefsion of their own accord and they cannot be dispofsefsed afterwards. This Bronson plan the more I think of it the lefs I think of it. And I shall be cautious. But still I think money can be made in the land speculation. and I mean to try it and the sooner I go into it the better. I want you on the receipt of this to let me know what you will do, and forth with. As time flies and spring will soon be here. If you cannot come nor get any one to come or dont get the money for fathers farm let me know by letter direct to Ypsilanti. I shall expect some news from you by the 15th of April. I have not seen Jane since the first of January. nothing more Farewell

Mr William Geddes John Geddes

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