Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, July 4, 1837

Author: John Geddes

Date: July 4, 1837

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Ann-arbor, July 4th 1837

Dear Brother, (William) Ten years ago this day I left Londonderry for the last time This tenth part of a century has made considerable of a change in our family But probably no more than the next ten years. The last Philadelphia Observer of June 22nd has the following. “Died at Pittsburgh on May 6th of Typhus fever Mr Thomas M. Geddes formerly of Lebanon County Pa. in the 25th year of his age” We were quite surprised, and not a little grieved at his premature and untimely fate I had been hoping to received a letter from him dated at his intended home when lo, the newspaper announced his death. We here had quite a favorable opinion of Thomas. He was intelligent and what the Yankees call smart. Still I thought he would find that commencing in a new country was more expensive as well as more self denying than he was aware of, or would think of: untill he had a trial of it Well he has got through with this world before any of us, and though I am quite sorry for the lofs. He has went off the stage without having to [the] time to make an effort. and he is saved the toil and trouble of making that effort. I have frequently thought the world is not worth making an effort for. What is Agrippa going to do now. I suppose his wife turned back to Cumberland. I want you to tell me the particulars of Thomas death &c in deed I wonder you have not done it before this time. The same newspaper let us know that John Sawyer was dead: when he died it did not inform us. I wish to be inform[ed] of that. And how that wicked man met the king of terrors. We received the newspaper July 2nd. I beleive you informed us by writing on a newspaper that Thomas and Agrippa started for Illinois April 19th. I find it is not in your letter. In another paper Bicknells. I find the name of his wife and her age; but I dont know when they were married; what day of the month nor even the month: but I think It must have been in March. We received a letter from Uncle James dated May 18th. They were all well. His son George was Engineering a little. Uncle [is] in his usual health, though occasionally feeling the premonitory symptoms of difsolution. Uncle had received a letter from Thomas shortly after he was married. There was no mention of Doct. John P.s health in it of which Uncle seems anxious to know. nothing more you care about knowing. I received a letter from James Geddes Junr. of Lewisburg Union Co. since I wrote to you. He inform us that William Geddes formerly of Fannetsburgh died last fall after a short illnefs in Baltimore. Robert sent on a power of Attorney to you some time ago: we have received two newspapers from you since: no writing on them. There has been quite a change in the times for the worse: the last three months. There is an opportunity now for the Jackson men to take off their hats and hurrah for Jackson for this glorious state of things. The times are not outrageous bad here yet. but a want of Grain may make them so before harvest yet as Flour has to be hauled from Detroit now and of course is a Cash article $11 pr Barrell in Detroit and two dollars pr Bar for hauling from Detroit here. Oats has been 1.25, 1.50 and as high 1.75 pr Bushel. I presume you will be harvesting by the time this arrives but we dont think any grain will be cut here before the first day of August. the harvest will be light.

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We had a very cold and very dry May. not a great deal of rain since but about sufficient for all growing purposes. Laborers are very plenty this summer indeed it is difficult to find work this time last year it was difficult to find hands to work; a wonderfull revolution in these things. Robert has not bought that land yet. has his $800 in Gold still on hand He has not been West himself yet and dont know when he will go. We are doing some thing about that new Sawmill now. but whether we will get it in operation before winter is doubtfull. Lumber is still in demand. wanted as fast as we can saw it. 8.00 pr thousand for Oak and 10. for Poplar. and .33 1/2 pr hun for sawing poplar, and .37 1/2 pr hun for sawing Oak and Ash and Linn. I got a hand to help to saw. the same hand I had when I wrote before. A man of the name of Bull was along yesterday enquiring about that land of yours whether it was for sale or not. I told him that you had refused selling it. But I could mention it to you as I was going to write to you this week. I told him I thought it doubtfull about your selling it as you had refused to sell this spring. But I could write; and it will help to fill your letter in replying. I understood him to say he would pay in Safety [smudge] notes He was not sure of his money but he would know before I could receive an answer to this The 4th of July is celebrated this day by the Ypsilanti Sunday School, and the Ann arbor and other Sunday Schools are to join them. and I presume there will be quite a display of Children with their Sunday clothes on. There was quite a preparation made. Raisens and Sweet Sweet [sic] meats in great abundance. It was expected that I would be there too. But I thought writing a letter to you would be more profitable. I paid one dollar to help along and thought that must answer. It rained in the morning but about 9 O’Clock it quit raining. It still threatens. but on the whole is a pretty good day. Our Rail Road works slowly nothing has been done west of Ypsilanti this summer. It is confidently said that it will be completed as far as Ypsilanti this fall and I think it is likely. It is not permanantly laid by us yet. As I dont think it permanantly laid until something is done. I still think it will come up the river Robert thinks different, and so it is. It will shortly be ascertained. As it is pretended it will be graded from Ann arbor to Ypsilanti this fall. Provisions are too high now to attempt doing much; must wait untill the new crop comes in. We are all well. Little Robert is in Ann arbor going to school we have no school in this district this summer. We will have an election for Congrefs man shortly. There will be an effort made on both sides and I will not pretend to say who will carry. The Office holders will make a powerfull effort to hold on to the spoils. every thing that they think will be said no matter for the truth if it will only keep them in the ascendancy. I am not so warm a politician as formerly but I will be at the polls if possible on the day of election. It is taken for granted that the present dominant party are to blame for the present state of things. Though many of the hardened ones deny it. Mefs Pork is 23 dollars pr Barrel in Detroit is has fell: it was 24 two months ago. I beleive the Philadelphia Observer is paid for no longer than the first day of July. I wish you would attend to it. It is 2.50 pr year now, paid in advance. I see on looking over your letter that you do mention that Thomas and Agrippa started the 17th of April from Newville to Illinois. So that is corrected. You have not mentioned how they went. Strawberries are ripe now and I am anxious to finish down this side and go and get some and try [to] think of some thing else that might fill the other side

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I have got back from Strawberrying got about as many as I wanted was gone an hour. Strawberries are not as plenty this summer as they were last. I beleive I attend Sawmill from daylight in the morning untill one O’Clock P.M. I have then the principal part of the afternoon to [do] Some thing else. Hauling on logs and attending to the lumber takes half of the afternoon and the other I have to attend other things such as going to Ann arbor & Ypsilanti and round about So that I am generally busy from daylight to dark. Tomorrow afternoon I intend to take this letter to Ypsilanti. You may calculate on a letter from me every quarter. It is best to have a regular time of writing news or no news so that if any thing out of the usual course should happen and extra might be sent The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church: or rather the Old School having had a majority have acted outrageously. It is yet to be seen whether such a course will be sustained by the majority of whole Presbyterian Church or not an effort will probably me [be] made. and then the Church will divide [and] take sides as they choose. The Chimney of my house I have got built: $2.00 pr day is I was charged and bo[tear] hands and found tender. And the hands did not hurry themselves 7 days [tear] build the chimney with an oven in it and 5000 brick. I have finished sawing [tear] Poplar lumber for the House. I am going to have a kiln built; and put in [tear] and kiln dry the lumber. I have been so hurryed that I could not saw it [tear] I think of leaving this house in October We have not heard from Detroit for some time presume they are as usual [tear] The emigration from Detroit west ward on the Chicago Road through Y[psilanti] nothing like what it was last year. I have heard it said that the[tear] travel last year in one day as their is in week this summer; and it [tear] portion is still greater. A great many stop at Toledo there being [tear] -Road from that place to Adrian. And strike the Chicago road 60 miles west of Detroit If the Detroit folks had put their shoulders to the wheel and completed the Rail Road as far as Ypsilanti last season; as they ought and might have done. This state of things would not have existed and so I am not going to mourn about it

We are diging that tail race and have it more than half done. Have three Irishman in it now at .62 1/2 pr day. I think it will be done before the first day of August. and the new Sawmill raised. July 5th. It has rained some considerably to day. I have nothing more to send. I want you to answer this as conveniently as you can. As I must write to Uncle James as soon as pofsible after I receive an answer to this. Farewell.

to Mr William Geddes John Gedddes

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