Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, July 27, 1838

Author: William Geddes

Date: July 27, 1838

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Palmyra July 27th 1838

Dear Brother, [John Geddes] Yours of the 13th inst. was duly received. And as I have been harvesting since its receipt I have delayed this a little. Harvest was ended with but few exceptions on the two first days of this week. The farmers are now cutting their Oats, at which I made 1 ••• days when I broke two fingers out of my Cradle and was obliged to quit. It is the Cradle that Robert made on a light scale for his own use with a straight sned and narrow scythe. I have used it and no other since he left his country and without repairing it until this season when I had the two lower fingers renewed and they have went again the first harvest. I took last fall 40 acres of Cloverseed to cut at 25 cents per acre and at it I broke the old fingers, they being wore to a shadow. I think this Cradle has run 18 years or more. The Wheat harvest was quite an abundant. The Rye was hardly a half crop; owing to the too long continuance of the rainy weather in the spring and perhaps to two frosts in the last week of May. The grafs was extra good and hay plenty and of best quality. The Oats is long in the straw and well headed but is light in the grain; being nearly burnt up by the heat and drouth of the last three weeks. Our spring was wet and cool; which kind of weather continued to three weeks ago or perhaps a day or two more when the rains ceased altogether and since we have been nearly burnt up with the heat. The thermometer has been between 90 & 100 degrees nearly every day unto last Friday when it was 100 & on Sunday when down to 52 and it is considerably cooler since but is still dry. If we dont get rain soon the Corn & Potatoes will be destroyed. The dry warm wether ennabled the farmers to make hay and cut and put away the grain in the shortest time I ever knew. Harvest wages are 75 cents per day. Wheat per bu. $1.60 Rye .80, Oats .31, Beef per lb 8 & 9 cents. Lard per barrel No. 1. $22.25. per lb by the piece 12 1/2 cents, Mackeral $18. per bar. Butter .12 1/2 per lb Eggs .08 per doz.

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For the first time in my life I attended a fourth of July celebration. The Van Buren party had given notice that they would hold a young men’s Convention to support David R. Porter their candidate for Governor at Harrisburg and celebrate the day of independence and the Ritner party took it in their heads to out number them from Dauphin and the adjoining counties; theirs being a State Convention. And we did so by about two hundred which mortified them very much. Philadelphia City sent 530 Ritnerites on the Rail Road or we would have been beaten. We had 1400. Rail Roads are in much better credit with us than with you all opposition has nearly died away and they yield well in tolls. The tolls of our improvements so far this year exceed 700,000 already and would in all probability have yielded as much more before the year would end but for a great breach that a freshet has made in them from Hollidaysburg East. It is said the Canal was swept for 30 miles [tear] that it will take 3 or 4 months to repair it at a cost of 1/2 a million of dollars. I wish you would look after my land occasionally and see that the wood is not taken off it by any person. As to giving the rail road the privilege of cutting timber: that I cannot allow on any account nor would I be willing it should crofs my land unlefs it would crofs it at right angles with my lines. The moment that you ascertain that they intend crofsing my land you will let me know in what manner the[y] intend doing it and I will give you full authority to forbid it; or appear in person and prevent it if it does not suit me. I was well satisfied that the rail road was located where it is not wishing it much nearer and never thought of another one striking my land. I will perhaps make out the power of Attorney and send it on; in order to be ready to face the spoilers. I have no news from any of the name since my last by letter, but by John Kettering who was in that country this spring I learn that James & Agrippa are well and have each erected a house on their land and made considerable

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fence. They are both still single. I cannot attend to your Philadelphia paper for a month or two as our storekeepers are just returned from the city before your letter arrived and I must now wait until they go again when I will send that man a $5, or two years subscription. I had my Sawyer suit tried in the Supreme Court in June and they decided that I must account at the citation of any heir no matter whether he has any thing to get or not. That whether he had any thing to receive was a question that did not properly come up in such a case but must be determined in another way. The Court below said I must account for the money which father according to the evidence of Boal’s administrators received from them. The Supreme Court said that that was wrong that the Court below had no right to say for how much I shall acct but only to decide that I shall account and that when my account came up to be passed upon it was to decide whether I had accounted for all the money father received so that the whole matter is now where it [hole] and when I file my account I will endeavor [to persuade] Boal’s adm. not to appear against me and if I cannot succeed in it threatened them with a suit for their share of those costs which will likely influence them more. If I can prevent their testifying I shall defeat my inveterate enemies. My Counsel advises me to let the thing rest unlefs Sawyers push it on and then I must go on. So far I have prefsed the matter only that old Sawyer started it in order to see if I could not get such a decision from the Supreme Court as would put it to rest forever, but in this I have failed and the matter is left open to be prefsed on me at any time for ages to come for it appears time will not destroy the accountability of an administrator. Shall I now file an account and drive it through and see the worst of it and be done with it against the opinion of my counsel. I am strongly inclined to do so and if all are of the same notion I will still further consult my counsel and get him to proceed. I have done nothing with Robert’s power of Attorney

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for executors or administrators cannot be forced until a year has passed and that did not pafs till after the April Court and I had to wait to the Sept. Court and now if I follow the advice of my Counsel all must be let rest if the other party let it rest which he thinks it probable they will as their attorneys have little prospect of ever recovering any thing off me. Alls well. Farewell

Mr John Geddes William Geddes