Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, January 5, 1838

Author: John Geddes

Date: January 5, 1838

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Ann arbor, January 5th 1838

Dear Brother (William) It is about time to write to you. This year so far has been very warm. mud instead of frost and Snow; It is very muddy just now. We moved into the new house the 21st of December. It is finished with the exception of painting I have not counted up yet what it cost me; but when the painting is done It will cost about 800 dollars. We have built a small house for a sawmiller And it was occupied the 4th of this month. We have sawed ths year 1837: 1466 logs 530,603 feet. average pr log 360 feet. This is the greatest number of logs that was ever sawed in this mill before in one year. Last year 967 logs, 323,343 feet. There is probably 350 logs in the Mill yard now. About one hundred has been hauled in in December last. The prospect now is that we will not have much sleding this winter. There is a Sawmill building on the Fleming site at this time. And Mr Rash has built a sawmill this summer half way between that and Dixboro. So that we are not going to be wanting for Sawmills in this vicinity. The demand for lumber is nothing like as great at this time as it was a year ago And if it was not that we expect the Railroad to be made between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor next summer. Lumber would be dull sale this year. Without there should prove to be no sleding this winter. The Rail-road will require 4 or 500,000 feet of Oak lumber to make it, between Ypsilanti & Ann Arbor. The Rail-Road is finally established. It is laid through our Mill-yard about where we wanted it It is to be made on a level with the ground, (and is on a level of two miles) through the Mill yard. The want of funds is what occasions the doubt about doing much on the Rail-Road next summer. A short time before the election in Michigan: The Governor went to the City of New York for the purpose of loaning money for the works of Internal Improvement in Michigan. And when he got back his Political friends asserted that he contracted a loan of five millions. But since the election it is acknowledged that the money has not been got. And the want of money brings every thing of this kind to a stand. The election of Michigan is over and Mason is elected by a majority of 615 votes Governor of Michigan for another term of two years. In Washtenaw Trowbridge had 2066 and Mason 2039. In Wayne Trowbridge had 2066 and Mason 1998. Oakland, Trowbridge 1639, Mason 1681. Lenawee, Trowbridge 1293 Mason 1345. Hillsdale, Trowbridge 374 Mason 378. Part of Livingston County was attached to Washtenaw, which gave a small majority in favor of Mason and carried all the Representatives seven in number by an average majority of 30. So that the Tories have a majority in both houses of our Legislature. Our election was vigorously contested: Those that were tardy about turning out to vote were waited upon or sent for & hauled to the polls in wagons: each party had flags waving in the wagons and men stood at the polls and challenged all unknown and doubtfull votes. Ann Arbor, Trowbridge 347 Mason 367 Probably 150 votes came in from other townships and voted in Ann Arbor: 73 voters Irish from the Township of Northfield marched in one body from one tavern to the polls with a flag and O’Connell forever written on it and voted for Mason some of the Irish went with us.

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We received and I read the Governors Ritner mefsage that you sent us I was glad you sent it as I wanted to see it. And by it I was informed that Pennsylvania was not very greatly affected by the suspension of specie. What he says about Banks how the ought to be managed &c. There is some new ideas there that I would have to think upon a while to give an opinion either way. But I am opposed to his ten dollar notion. and think that five dollar Bills ought to [be] tolerated. Indeed I am in favor of so small a denomination as one dollar. In Michigan a general Banking law was pafsed last winter But before the plan was tryed. General suspension of specie payments took place and the Legislature were called together to sanction it; and extended the privilege to all Banks the [that] might come into being under the General Banking law. Without thinking that there is a great difference between indulging Banks that were in operation than in allowing Banks to start in the first place without paying specie. The Consequence was that its said forty new Banks Started into being this season; Six in the County of Washtenaw. There is two of the old Stand. So then we have eight Banks in this County Pretty consistent for a Party one of whose principles is opposition to all Banks The legislature have lately pafsed a law that from and after the first day January 1838 all Banks that go into operation will be required to pay specie on their Bills being presented. This General Banking law allowed any twelve freeholders to establish a Bank Landed property was pledged for the payment of the Bills. The law in the first place was well guarded and might have answered. If the suspension law had not extended over it. But it was a favorite Democratic measure. And when favors where [were] granted to Banks their bantling [bastard] bank could not be refused the like favor and ruin was the consequence. The money of these new Banks or rather the Bills. Is called the wild cat money This Wild-cat money is the three fourths of the circulation of Michigan. It goes that is it pafses: the Storekeepers take it. Money is scarce and is better than credit: indeed money cannot be done without. Silver becomes more scarce. And when I buy anything at the Stores. I take the change in something I can use, Sugar generally: Good Sugar can be bought for 1s & 2d pr lb New York currency. Coffee 15 & 18 pence Nails $.11 cents pr lb Glafs .62 1/2 pr dozen 8 by 10. Pork .07 & .071/4 Beef .05 1/2. Wheat 1.25 Corn .75 Oats .50. Hay 15.00. The Census has been taken in Michigan this fall. Wayne 23,492. Washtenaw 21,817 Lenawee 14,461 Monroe 10,646, Jackson and Ingham 8,896 Macomb 8,892. Calhoun & Eaton 8,868. St Joseph 6,201. Livingston 5,037. Berrien 4,863 Branch 4,181 St Clair 3,782 Lapeer 2,602 VanBuren 1,262. Mackinaw 664 Chippewa 366 I have not seen the return from the other Counties. Township of Ann Arbor 2944. Your County and Township tax on the three South lots $5.00. Road tax, 7 days at 87 1/2 pr day which was as low as I could get it done. A Law was pafsed last winter charging one dollar pr day for Road tax. Previous to this year the Law was .62 1/2 pr day. I see by the Philadelphia Observer that William the Printer is still in Philadelphia and “continues Book. Job. and Fancy Card printing at the old Stand of No. 9 Library Street” Jane is still in Ypsilanti: Robert and Maria are here. I have not seen nor heard any thing from Mr or Mrs Ewers since I last wrote to you. The Rail Road from Detroit to Ypsilanti will be completed we hope this month.

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When either Robert, or me will ride down to Detroit and see the folks. It would not be strange if we should both go. I want you to reply to this letter as soon as convenient and send me all the family news as I must write a letter to Uncle James as soon as pofsible after yours comes. I hope you do correspond with James and Agrippa. Try make an effort and see if you cannot get them to write to you once in six months. I am sorry that Thomas is not among them he would write. You think it “an idle curiosity” the wish to know the day of the month that Thomas died on. I dont think so. But if it cannot be ascertained without addrefing a letter to his mother I will waive the request. There is a very great demand for hay this Winter. It would almost seem as if we would not have enough for home consumption next season again for the want of hay will make oats scarce. Some think that oats will be worth 1.00 next May. We have not taken any part in Canada affairs: and think that the people have not much to complain of. We are all well. Farewell John Geddes

To William Geddes

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