Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, August 18, 1836

Author: John Geddes

Date: August 18, 1836

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Ann –arbor, August 18th 1836

Dear Brother, (William) Your letter arrived sometime ago. But I have been so hurryd, on the Sawmill, that I have not had time to answer it by writing in the daytime. And so after putting off and putting off I have commenced to write by candlelight. The Monday week after you left this I started West. or rather South West to buy some United States land. And went into the edge of Indiana. When on ascertaining that the Fort Wayne, Land office would not open yet awhile. I offered a man I was acquainted with $50 if he would purchase 800 acres for Robert and me, and he agreed he would: so I came home again. This man went and made application. But as others made applications for the same he did not get it and returned our money. And so I have got no land yet. But still think of buying 320 acres yet this fall. I wanted you with me when I went to Indiana to stay at the Land office and attend to the land: after we found land to suit us. For I had not time to stay and wait two or three weeks, and then stand a chance of being baffled. United States Bank notes were 2 1/2 pr cent discount at Fort Wayne. I suppose you have heard that the Secretary of the Treasury has issued a circular forbidding the receipt for any thing for Lands but Gold, and Silver, except the purchaser is a resident of the State in which the land is sold A resident of the state can purchase 320 acres with Bank notes as usual. but no more With Gold, and Silver, a person can buy as much land as they can find money for. Robert and I have subscribed $1000 each Rail-Road stock, on condition that they locate the Rail-Road along the side of the River Huron from Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor. We done this for the purpose of encouraging the Directors to lay out and build the Road. Consequently 320 acres of Land is as much as I can pofsibly buy under the circumstances at present. And I will not mourn about it as it is quite a job to find Wild land to suit one. But after all if I had nothing else to draw my attention I think that I could find land yet. But I would have to make it my businefs and not feel anxious about some thing else but have my mind upon it and attend to it as I would any other calling. If you should go West this fall. I should be pleased to have you call this way if you can on your return; and tell us what you have done. I wish you might find a situation to please you. or get upon some plan of making a living different from what you have been upon for some time past. But If I may hazard an opinion, you will not make out much in your trip to the West. I wish I may be mistaken. The fact is you are a day behind the fair. If that Lawsuit of Sawyers should be determined. I would go West somewhere. there are many places in this spacious country that are rapidly improving and where property must and will continue to advance in price, and in wealth and comforts is the consequence. It may be rather hard it [at] first, but a beginning must be made sooner or later, and the sooner the better. The Sawmill has been benefited by those Millrights I can saw 10,000 feet a week as conveniently now as I used to saw just 8000. Lumber is in great demand. Oak $7.00 pr thousand, Cash. I will raise on sawing the first of January next to point 33 1/3 pr hun I now saw for .25 pr hun. I intend to keep sawing to the half price of Oak Lumber for nearly that is the price pr hun


I called to see Samuel Geddes and family. They were well but are not in very good circumstances: But they will make a live [living] of it They are just starting and not very fore handed. Paul was in debt not a little when his father came. He did not make his living: spent all his father had given him except his 80 acres of land. And if releif had not came from some quarter that would have went shortly. James I have a good opinion of he is endeavoring to get along and I think he is a tolerable manager. James Geddes, son of James Geddes of Lewisburg, Union County Pa. is here now. He came here the 13th of this month was not very well But has got better: talks of starting for his Uncle Samuels to morrow (20th) He has left home to seek his fortune in the West. He is a Merchant. He intends to hire as a Clerk somewhere until he becomes acquainted and finds an opening that promises a fair prospect: and then commence at his own hand He appears very well. a young man of good sense; but not brilliant. He is a Pennsylvanian and does not understand the Yankee method of managing. He is not as shrewd or rather does not understand this world as well: as that James Geddes you saw in Detroit. Samuel Geddes lives about 34 miles from here about three miles South of the Chicago Road. On a United States Road. In settling with Robert he allowed the two dollars for exchanging for United States Bank money:and so I will apply it towards paying your taxes. I was sorry you mentioned it in your letter. And Maria was greived that you should notice any thing that she might have said in the manner you did And as offence was intended, you certainly ought not to have put on an unfriendly construction. At any rate you cannot but know that these trifles ought not to have a place in a correspondence of this kind. As it tends strongly to keep alive what ought to be forgotten. The Washtenaw Bank is now in operation. There is to be a Bank of Ypsilanti shortly. The Monroe Bank has stoped payment this is the second time for that Bank. This country is healthy for the season as yet. Robert commenced cutting Wheat the first day of August. Has had fine weather. Wages in harvest and hay making one dollar a day. Cradlers $1.25 We are in usual health. I have not wrote Uncle James a letter yet but must before long. I beleive I have nothing more to write. I hope this will arrive in time that is before you start for the West. I think of sending this along with James to morrow to put it in the first Post office he may come to. I did not send this with him. He started for his Uncles the 20th of this month. A very cool summer we have had. let this answer for this time. Farewell. John Geddes

Mr William Geddes

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