Letter From John Geddes to William Geddes, January 18, 1839

Author: John Geddes

Date: January 18, 1839

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[Ann-arbor, January 18th 1839

Dear Brother, [William Geddes] Your power of Attorney arrived safe. They [sic] Rail Road men have commenced work on the old route again After I have written this letter I will call and see them. And demand those damages of [them] or else I will have to forbid them doing any thing on your premises. I presume they will hand over them. To try to scare them out of anything more than was afsefsed to you. I dont think it is worth while to attempt. Yankees are not easily frightened out of money. The why I write to you so soon is because some persons here offer to buy your land here on credit. I have four purchasers who want to buy and to get rid of them I promised to write to you and ascertain whether you will sell those premises on something like the following the following conditions. They want pofsefsion soon as convenient: will take an article and not ask for a deed. They offer $3000 to be on interest from the time the article is drawn. First payment one year from next fall say the middle of October which payment is to be one third of the whole. The next payment one year from that: and the third and last payment the next year. One of the men that spoke about it made this offer but claimed the $140 for the [that to] apply on the first payment. This I would not let him have. The offer is before you now. You can decide on it merits. Those that offer, calculate to make the money off the premises by raising wheat. They wish to go right to work making rails: and next summer start the plough. and drive businefs. Its thought that wheat will keep up. If it should not. They would fail. I did not encourage them to be sanguine in your accepting their offer. But told them I would write and hear what you said about it. What the lot of land owned by you and me would sell for? would be say seven dollars pr acre. It depends on circumstances if those in the vicinity are able to buy: it makes the land more worth. Mr Rash has built a Sawmill only half a mile from the land. He would be pleased to own it. But he is not able to buy. neither is any one in its vicinity. If you want to sell I suppose you could get that. You will probably think their is quite a difference in the value or price of these lands of yours. I am not given to set a high price on land and so little is sold now that you cannot tell by that. We sold that Ewers farm for lefs than seven dollars pr acre. It was very Cheap. We had got tired of it. pestered with tenants. I would rather own wild land: without I was on it myself We have had two or three weeks of pretty good sleding. And have had not a few logs hauled in. The sleding went off quite unexpected. But few logs has been hauled into the Ann arbor or Ypsilanti Sawmills. In fact Sawmilling was poor last summer, so much so that they can hardly buy logs this winter that was

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the reason why so few logs were taken to Ypsilanti. Our neighbor the Fleming Sawmill broke two Cranks this winter. They got another cast at Ypsilanti but for want of money its at the foundry yet: and the Sawmill stands still through this thaw Sawmilling is pretty good just now. We can get Poplar logs at .50 pr hun for pay We have talked some of building a gristmill next summer. We have not decided yet whether we will attempt it or not. Gristmills are costly things. But the[y] must be profitable at the present price of grain. And another thing it is pay down with something that will bring money. There is too much credit in Sawmilling at present. The times are still screwing. Wheat is $1.19 I never made anything in buying land for taxes. I only bought at one sale The tax on your three lots is $7.50 County and Township tax. Road Tax $6.56 School House tax $1.76. total $15.82. Your Road tax was 7 1/2 days. I paid .87 1/2 pr day to a person to work it. $1.00 pr day is what the law demands. Your partnership [lot?] your share of the County and Township $1.21. I settled the Road tax without on the lot without charging you. It is only 1 1/2 days on the whole lot. The charge for writing the power of Attorney was one dollar. Are you not afraid that I will break you down with charges $36.19 1/2 Is the whole amount of all your tax that I have paid up to this day. Township and County tax of 1836, I have not paid yet. The Collector did call on me. And their was a State Tax afsefsed that fall. Some paid the State tax and some would not pay and have not paid yet. Robert and me paid the State tax thinking all would have to pay. I will call at the Treasurers office before spring and pay your County and Township tax. But will not pay your State tax. Until they can make others pay I have received no Philadelphia Observer for the last two weeks. It generally comes regular. I am beginning to think that you have not paid them last summer and they have discontinued the paper. If they have I am glad of it. For I did not intend to take it much longer. I take the Michigan Observer a Presbyterian paper printed in Detroit And that is as many as that kind of papers as I want We received the Mefsage of Governor Ritner a week ago. I was pleased you sent it as I was anxious to see it. The eyes of all the United States was turned towards Harrisburgh in the month of December. And it seems that the Van Buren party finally succeeded. The Whigs ought to have left the County members take their seats as they had a majority. Notwithstanding Ingersolls mean course; because the Whigs cannot cope with their adversaries in a villianous course Still from what I know at this distance I would not have acknowledged the Van Buren house. And so I dont think of those turncoats in the Senate or the three turncoats in the other house. The Van Buren party have a decided majority in both houses of the Michigan Legislature. If the Whigs of Michigan had mustered one vote more in every township in the State: They would have had the Congrefsman and a majority in joint ballot. So close and yet beat

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The agents of this Rail-Road Company say I can have those damages at any time. Lane. Says you ought to take the offer made for your land but that very strict restriction must be laid on those that are given pofsefsion should you think of selling. We are well at present. I want you to answer this as soon as you conveinenitly Farewell

To Mr William Geddes John Geddes