Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, October 12, 1837

Author: John Geddes

Date: October 12, 1837

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Ann arbor, October 12th 1837

Dear Brother [William Geddes]. September has pafsed away and you have not got here yet: consequently we may take it for granted that you are still in Palmyra. I would have written last week but I had to attend the Sawmill all of the daytime. I have a hand on the Mill now but he does saw enough for me. He does not understand the businefs And I dont intend to keep him long. Mr Bull has gone on to Wisconsin he would have given you $2000 Cash down in New York Safety Fund notes. Which is the best paper money we get here. The merchants pay five per cent for it and give Michigan: that is the country Bank notes. Since Mr Bull has gone another man has been along. a Mr Hulse His offer was not I believe as good as Mr Bulls, as he wanted time to pay part of the money. I did not give him much encouragement. For I did not think it probable you would sell untill you come to Michigan yourself I did not tell that you talked of $3000 for I thought no one would give that. Mr Welch who was along with Mr Hulse wanted me to tell you to write all the particulars that is what is the lowest you would take and what time you would allow to pay in &c. That is a laughable request I ought to have told him to write to you himself and ask questions such as he would want to have answered. There one thing I can tell you. you need not expect $3000 this year nor next. Indeed we thought that $2000 Cash was a good price these times. as purchasers are scarce and but few can sell. And if you were here you might laid out the money to good advantage in land in younger settlements. You not being here is a great barrier in the way of selling your land here. Or you might have shaved with your money as high as 50 pr cent from that height down to 7 percent. But I suppose you would have been content with 25 pr cent. This great pr cent is a great enemy to punctuality in payments. Those that owe find that it is their interest or rather that it is cheaper to not trouble themselves about their debts but put of[f] paying them as long as they can and then suffer themselves to be sued and take the stay of Law than to pay sometimes as high as 50 pr cent If the money has to be borrowed. This year in particular people are more indifferent about paying than before Indeed there is but few that when their account or note is due that will come and pay you. Still you must not blame this on the Shavers. It is the selfishnefs of man It is the principle of getting what they can and keeping what they have got. and displaying and living on what does not belong to them. They time has been in Michigan that 7 pr cent was nothing like a fair equivalent for $100 one year And it is not now if money is counted like every thing else at what it will bring and is their a better test in the world to tell the worth of anything. Still this high pr cent is every man for himself. It is a true Ishmealite

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The times dont become any better here though Wheat contrary to all our calculations not only keeps up to 1.00 but is I am told this week in Ypsilanti 1.18 1/4 It will fall as soon as the frost closes the Navigation But we think it will be up again next spring. Oats is ready sale at .37 1/2. What can be the reason that money is scarce and grain a good price it must be because the country is in debt to the Merchants. and they must have their pay. as that part of the community has suffered more than any other I dont know but that we might except those that have to depend on their daily labor for subsistence. And notwithstanding that the General government is not a little to blame for this state of things. and still persevers in its Specie plans. What an host their is that still stick to Van Buren. In our election for Representative we were out voted by about 1100 in State. We carried Washtenaw 159 majority. In Ann Arbor the Whigs had 73 majority Our election for Governor takes place in the first Monday of November and the following day. It will be a warm and a close contest. but I think the Vans will carry Their is a powerfull foreign influence here that goes against us which probably turns the scale. Your election is over. And we shall hear the result. Has the Convention altered the qualifications of an elector in Pa. What prominent alterations are made in the Constitution of Pa. There is a difference in the date of Thomas death on which you did not give an opinion have you ascertained which is correct or do settle up such little things or let them pafs. We had a letter from Uncle James two months ago. They were all well. He wished to know the particulars of Thomas death. which I sent him no other news. I see their is another arrangement with Philadelphia Observor (The former Philadelphian) And I see nothing of Williams name in it I presume he is disconnected with it. What is he doing. And how has he come out, rich or poor or so, so. If their is any news from James and Agrippa. It will always be acceptable. We have a fine fall for businefs. My House is not finished yet but is progrefsing and, I think I will certainly be in it in a month. I have dug a well 27 feet deep 4 feet of water. The new Sawmill we have finally let rest for this season. There will not be as many logs in the Mill yard the middle of Dec. as their was last December. We let the new Sawmill rest because we thought our out go was going to be considerable more than our income. As Sawmills cost more to build at the present time than they did when we built the other one And though we sell all the lumber we saw we credit more this year than last. The new tailrace cost about 250 dollars (board & wages) And my house costs me something. And it is poor time to drive much businefs. As the businefs will not find the means or money to do it with: consequently their is an out go of Cash and an increase of dues A way of getting rich I dont think much of The Engineer has been along and has explored a rout on each side of the Huron between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. which will be determined on is yet to be known Its said it will be decided in a month when the rout will be surveyed, explored &c. and let out to clear and grade. In my next letter. I think I will be able to tell you how we are suited with it.

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The Rail Road between Ypsilanti, and Detroit, is progrefsing its said rapidly Christmas is fixed upon as the day when the cars will run between those two places. The lofs of the fourth instalment to Michigan may effect our internal improvements Our two Senators, Norvell, and Lyon, both voted against letting the United States have it devoted as they are to the Van Buren party. Norvell has great influence in the government of this State and was well aware of the great benefit of money in hard times Mr Ewers folks are well or were well the last accounts. We are in our usual health. Robert children as they were three months ago. Nails are .10 pr lb in Ypsilanti and .12 1/2 in Ann arbor. They Washtenaw and Ypsilanti Banks have each of them built of them house for Banking purposes this summer. And considerable building done in both places this summer. I dont recollect any thing else. The School sections of Land are selling this summer at Auction and sell high. I do not know what the terms are. Some say one fourth down and some say a tenth and the rest in ten annual instalments. Its said the sale of the School lands in this County commences on the 17th of this month. I will endeavor to inform you in my next what some of the Sections sell for. Farewell John Geddes

To Mr William Geddes

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[earliest Ann Arbor Stamp in the collection]

[After this letter was folded and the seal applied, John wrote the following on the back of address fold, above and below the seal.]

Oct. 18th. The Ypsilanti School section sold N.E. quarter $40 pr acre N.W. $37. The S.E. qu. in lots of ten and twenty acres average $35 pr acre The S.W. quarter $20 pr acre Sec. 5 is the School lot in Ypsilanti township. The Ann arbor School section average $14 pr acre. The[y] sell to suit purchasers. most bid lefs than eight dollars an acre will be taken. One tenth Cash down and interest on the rest payable yearly The other School sections in the county dull sale; in fact but little sold here and there an eighty and one hundred and sixty acres. I presume the cream of the section