Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, November 16, 1836

Author: William Geddes

Date: August 18, 1836

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Palmyra Nov. 16th 1836.

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

This has been delayed by various causes but principally for want of any news of consequence to send you. I had hoped in the 1st place to have sent the result of my suit with Sawyer which was to be tried the 7th Sept. but was disappointed by my Attorney getting in a spree which disqualified him for businefs and the Case in consequence was put off to Nov. term: which will no doubt continue for 4 weeks as the last did and I believe most others in Dauphin County and then cannot be tried to in December sometime. The term commences on Monday next and the first week is allowed for state businefs: the two next for the Common plea’s and the last on 4th for argument and Orphans businefs: to which mine belongs: and to put you off to that time would be too bad. I have put off going to the west to a more “convenient season” on account of that trial not being tried when I had expected (in Sept.) which would have given me an oppertunity to do so from the 1st of Oct. to the commencement of winter: as it will certainly be put to the Supreme Court which will not sit to May next. From my failure in Michigan to purchase and the doubts thereby created of the pofsibility of doing so to advantage any where this season: owing to the very extensive speculations and lattingly [sic] the Secretary Circulary. I feel satisfied with my repeated disappointments and trust that it may be for the best. The Secretarys Circulary is surely a bold measure and will have powerful effect on those Land monopolizers: especially if they have been borrowers to any great extent. I was disappointed in not getting your opinion of the probable effects of so bold a measure. I fully approve of its principle but condemn him for not adopting it as soon as the deposites were taken from the Bank: for if the[y] wanted to adopt a specie currency why not do it at once and not substitute a set of worthlefs state banks till the money accumulated so much as to make those [?] unsafe depositories If he had foreseen such a consequence it would be dishonesty in him to adopt such a course if not he is entitled to no credit in its adoption at present when it required no mighty genius to apply the only pofsible remedy but was plainly seen by every one: that something must be done not only to prevent the money from further accumulating but to make safe the enormius sum already accumulated. I feel persuaded that if that measure had been taken one year sooner that the two thirds of the land that has been bought since by speculators would be yet unsold

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and that considerable more would have been purchased by the actual settlers: to the great advantage of the whole western country. If then my conjecture is correct the prefs on the money market made by this golden measure will throw those two thirds of speculators lands again into market at lefs than first Cost: and better chances will be had to purchase next summer than this. Thomas arrived home by the way of Uncle Jamess in time to vote for W. H. Harrison for president and found Uncle and family well. Was there four days if I recollect right. Uncle talks of visiting Illinois next summer. Van Buren has carried this state by between 3 and 4000. Lebanon County gave Harrison 321 majority and Dauphin 687. In Londonderry we had 123 majority for Harrison. I received a letter from James yesterday in which he says he has good health and had Cousins James and Thomas Pauls sons to see him: the first on Oct. 9th and the other the 15th Thomas has sold out in Path valley and bought in Knox county Illinois and intends coming out in the spring to build and moving in the fall or next spring. James has also sold what he owned in Indiana and intends purchasing in Illinois next spring. The[y] were much better pleased with the country than they thought they would be. Our Newville relations are all well but Cousin John and he is a little better. Stepmother has sold and intends moving to Newville in the spring and live with Ann: where she will no doubt live contentedly and happy: at least she ought for she will have no diversity of interests to disturb her. There has been no sales of land this season here Viz. first rate land And but a few of Gravel land at from 15 to 20 pr. acre. And notwithstanding the almost total failure of the wheat and rye crops : higher prices have been asked than last year Clarks were willing last year to 70 and this year it is said refused it. I suppose since last year they have been calculating the value of long and short payments and find that long payments reduce the present worth very much and for a low sum they cannot think of selling though it were Cash. Sawyer asked 65 and was offered it is said 63 but has not sold. He wants nearly all in hand which shows that he himself is afraid of his title. He I have heard said is afraid if he sells for half in hand and the rest in payments to some person who may be a little twisty will keep both the land and money untill he makes the title good. Which he never can and consequently would be barred from collecting it at law.

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The crops of Corn and Oats were fine. Corn is .75 Oats is .45 Wheat $2.10 Rye $1.00 Buckwheat .75. Potatoes .37 1/2 Beef $7. per Cwt. Pork same Butter .18 pr lb Tallow .10 Lard 14. Hickory wood $2.50 pr. Cord Oak $1.50 Hard Coal $4.25 pr. Ton. I have no bills on the United States Bank smaller than $100. so that I cannot send you the $10. that owe you at present: But will when you need it. I have bought Jamess share of the thirds for $200 and paid him and will likely buy Thomas and Agrippa out in the spring if my means will allow. I have to make a final settlement sometime and think this the best as I cannot well lose and may make. Mary Fleming her that was Mary Catheart was buried on Saturday last after a long spell of consumptive sicknefs. Robert Snodgrafss wife has recovered and is quite well the old mother is still living: Sarah is in Ohio. I have a bad cold and cannot have patience enough to contrive to fill this side. Dr Samuel Wilson is returned from Illinois poor in purse and bloated with [covered by seal] in person. Squire Philip is still disturbed by the unruly [covered by seal] in his newly acquired lodgings in the school house. T. B. Coleman has departed this life. George Linenwebers Tavern stand was sold at public sale by his executors for $750. Cash.

Alls Well

Mr John Geddes William Geddes