Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, May 11, 1839

Author: William Geddes

Date: May 11, 1839

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Palmyra May 11th 1839

Dear Brother, [John Geddes] I received your letter eight or ten days ago but delayed answering it until my account on the estate of John Sawyer should be tried which was not reached to [till] Thursday last and the trial requiring the whole day I could not return home until yesterday. I had filed my account in Nov. and they filed exceptions to it and it could not be reached the 1st Court. And in that account I charged myself with nothing alledging that father as administrator never had received any thing for which he was accountable, he having settled the whole personal estate in his Executor account and the Real estate was settled by the heirs themselves. And I asked credit for Sawyers bill of Costs which father had to pay and $100 for my trouble in filing this account and Register’s fees $8.25 Attorney $25. They objected to my allowance in toto and to my credit for Costs on the trial of the will which they contended father was bound to pay out of his own pocket he having lost the suit. And they asked the Court to charge me with the money which father got from Boals administrators to pay Sawyer’s Costs, to wit, $637.45 with interest from 16th March 1822. It appeared by the testimony of Mr Boals administrators (who are very obedient to our opponents and appear to testify against us when ever called on) that in order to have Sawyer’s Costs pd. Mr Sawyer had prevailed on these administrators to come down and give father a note on John Sawyer for $500 & interest that they held on him and father would give them a note on Boal which Grandfather had against him and then Sawyer was to get his own note from father for payment of those costs, and he gave him his receipt for their $685.71 & some cents. The difference father must have paid in Cash for these admins said they paid no money but only exchanged notes. When Sawyer & Boals settled Sawyer paid them $500 in Cash & gave his note for $500 more and it was this note & int. which was given to father & then to Sawyer for the payment of these costs. In fathers inventory as Executor he had charged himself with two notes due by John Boal to Grandfather for $300 each and it was one of these notes and int. and twenty dollars principal and the whole interest on the other which made the $637.45. And they asked the

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the Court to charge us also with the ballance on this second note to wit, $280 & int. And the whole ballance which had been decreed against him on his executor account with int. $1311.11 1/2 in the whole amounting to $4000 and add dollars, out of which they claimed the shares of the Children of Robert Geddis, I having shown that Sawyer had himself received more [than] the 1/2 of the whole estate they made no claim in his own right. And upon this we went to trial. They proved this Boal arrangement by these willing tools his administrators and showed by fathers Executor account that he had been refused his own bill of Costs as defendant and they thought of course he could not ask credit for the Plaintiffs bill but must pay the whole out of his own pocket. Fathers bill was $699.43 & the other $685.71 = $1385.14 Such an attack was enough to scare almost any man, but I am not to be beaten so easy, and showed so clearly the injustice that had been done to father in this whole matter that the Court was completely stagered and scarce knew what to do. In order to defeat the charge of the $637.45 I brought witnefses to prove what [the] real estate was worth in 1814 the first spring after Grandfathers [death] & showed by the inventory what the advancements were [and] added the $1311.11 1/2 which made the whole estate = $325??.57 making each share over $4000 and showed that including the notes against the different heirs not one had received from grandfather their full share and of course no executor or administrator could compel them to refund. And if father as admin’t. could not compel Boals to refund he was not bound to account. That this payment of Costs in the way it was done was a private arrangement among the heirs and had nothing to do with the settlement of the estate, that if Boals pleased to pay it was no other persons businefs. And that Sawyer was the very man who got it settled in this way and of course he could not justly complain. This [$]637.25 was the only thing that I was afraid of and I am sure I ought to have defeated them on these grounds. The widow had received her third of the $1311.11 and Sawyer McFadden had recovered $416.51 of the ballance and yet they had the impudence to ask us to be charged with the whole sum & interest

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The Court decided that inasmuch as the Courts which pafsed fathers Executor account had not allowed him credit for his own bill of Costs in defending the will they could not allow him credit for Sawyers bill and that I must be charged with the $637.25 & interest and gave me credit for the $133.25 = 100 – 25 – 8.25 = $133.25 [100+25+8.25=$133.25] and that I was not bound to charge myself with the $1311.11 1/2 and that it would be very unjust to charge me with Boals unpaid note under the whole circumstances of this case. I gave Mr Laird a history of his dirty conduct in this whole affair and showed him that he was the cause of fathers defeat in fathers bill of Costs by giving in to the hands of John Sawyer the private agreement of the heirs for the defence of the will and of my first defeat in appearing to testify against me & as he was now again appearing against me I told him that if I lost it he might certainly depend on getting the Sheriff of Union County of [on] his back for Boals share of those Costs. The agreement is a joint one only and is for the payment of but $600. This was merely intended to secure Robert Geddis in case there should not be money enough in his hands of the estate to pay the Costs. So that I cannot compel [Robert Geddis] to pay more than $150 & interest, there having but [hole] the agreement. I now intend sending this case once [more to the] Supreme Court which commences sitting next week & expect to have it tried between this and August next. It sits in Harrisburg. It has cost me $200 alreads already and I have paid none but my own costs and merely charged for the days I have actually been in attendance with the expense. It will cost perhaps $75 more to pay all costs and drive it through the Supreme Court once more. But then the administration of that estate will be at an end & all they can do is then to sue me for our shares of that estate the article of agreement covering all the rest and more except perhaps McFadden might claim a part of these $637.25 & int. I expect to be called on next to settle fathers guardian account on the estate of his children – as my attorney says that is the only way of reaching me, when it will be decided how much the ballance due them is when they will bring a suit on their afsignment to recover that ballance. The Circuit Court of Lebanon decided that Sawyer McFadden was entitled to $330.46 1/2 and R. Geddis’s children $538.46 1/2 of the principal of the two thirds of the $1311.11 1/2 and they on the same principle would be entitled to [$]135.02 in all $673.48. Now if I am called on to account I will ask credit for $100 for taking care of the interest of each of the six children = $600 and $350 for their shares of the $1385.14 = $950 which will work them hard. I think Robert done perfectly right in taking another wife and better the sister of the former one than any other for surely she will or ought to feel more kindly disposed towards the children than another. As to his age let that be right or wrong I would [?] much of his notions and the poets who said old Fish on table but young flesh in bed. He ought to raise at least as many children as father or at least to try to & keep the name up. His circumstances will warrant the expense

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[on the lower edge of the mailer sheet]

I ordered your Philadelphia Observer to be discontinued, and if he does not obey and all you have to do is not to take them out of [the post] office and order the Postmaster to write to him to stop them. Wheat is $1.60. Rye $1.[?]0 Corn $1.00, Potatoes $1.00 Oats 62••• cts. Beef 12 1/2 cts pr. lb Ham 18 cts. pr. lb Butter 18 cts Eggs 10 pr doz. Cows from $30 to $40. Samuel Carper has four sons and I think 3 daughters. The oldest son is grown up. The last his wife had were twins a son & daughter. The trials of the rioters was put off by there being some informality in selecting the Grand Jury who found the bills against them. The[y] will be tried in August. Agrippa was here in March and was quite stout and healthy looking. He is farming as well as James but both are still single. I have heard nothing of our Newville friends lately uncle and aunt the last accounts were in bad health We had a hard frost this morning. Corn has been planted here this three weeks and I suppose two thirds is [?]. Wheat looks well. Rye poor. Grafs indifferent. Work scarce and money more so. My lady brought me a daughter the 26th March. I lived in Ketterings old Tavern stand. Kettering left this for good and all in April. His son John and old John Irvin son John have a contract

[on the upper edge of the mailer sheet]

on the Illinois and Chicango Canal which I lately understand has been stopt for want of funds. The Philadelphia Senators took their seats but lost them on the investigation of the election returns but in the lower house the mob prevented an investigation for the first five days when it [was] too late for one unlefs a majority of the house would agree and that being Loco focoite refused and so there could be no trial I believe only four of the Whigs were elected and they were prevented taking seat by the above course. It is hard to tell what effect it [will] have on the next election for it is impofsible for the people to get the truth for there is men who will stand up and swear that there was no mob in Harrisburg.


Mr John Geddes William Geddes