Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, December 19, 1840

Author: William Geddes

Date: December 19, 1840

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Palmyra Dec. 19th 1840

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

I Have been partly laid up with a very bad cold and cough for four weeks and am not quite rid of it yet and I was teaching school at Spring Creek from the 10 August to the 10th Nov. these with other hindrances have prevented me from answering your letter to this time. I however sent you two papers with the result of our two Elections, which circumstance would show you that I was still in the land of the living. I received your papers and was glad to see that you are so popular as to nearly beat the old General; with us our Afsembly man fell far behind the ticket We still beat you for majorities in our townships & County Lancaster, Lebanon & Dauphin our 3 adjoining Counties gave Harrison upwards of 6000 majority. I always set Pennsylvania down for Harrison but never calculated on more than 1000 majority. The most of the Whigs in our township thought we would lose it in this state. The Van Burenites were confident of succefs here and throug[h]out the Union. The[y] counted New York, Pennsylvania & Virginia to a certainty and when I told them that they would lose the whole 3 they laughed at me. Never were men so sunk in despair when the result was known, that they were so shamefully defeated I do not believe M. V. Buren felt it more keenly than many in our district, it fairly made them sick to think of it. Never has a man been honored more in the whole world than Harrison has by the recent Election. And I am fully satisfied that we could have carried no other man. If the Whigs now Charter a National Bank to collect and disburse the revenue and reenact the Tariff so that it will a little more than defray all the expenses of Government and distribute among the states the proceeds of the public lands we can 4 years hence elect H. Clay without any trouble. The tariff and our share of money from the lands will secure Pennsylvania. The establishing of a Bank would do no injury if it would not further strengthen us here. The present Bank has sunk very much in Credit; but not justly. The[y] paid too much for her Charter and that pretty much Cash and had to pay 7 millions & better to the United States and had to sell her branches of the old Bank on long credit and what was worse than all was obliged to subscribe to Rail Road stock to a large amount and take much of it for old debts instead of receiving the money; which has reduced

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her available means very much, and stocks of all kinds being so low she could not sell but at great sacrifice and so had to shut down for self preservation. The whole weight of the General government was always arrayed against her and it is a miricle she has stood at all. She has been sued from time to time for millions and forced to pay 12 pr. Cent. interest and it was nothing but government funds that was thrown into private hands to have her prefsed to destruction. The influenza has prevailed very much in our neighborhood lately and there has been a good many deaths amongst old people. The following persons died within two months old John Earnest, old Mrs. Douglafs, old Granny Oberholtzer, the widow Longnecker, (Daniel’s widow) Walter Clark’s sister Jane, a daughter of Mr Sharon’s. Old David Bigham’s sister a very old, old maid and I was on Thursday at the burial of a man of 51 at Campbellstown a stranger to you. We had 18 inches of snow a couple of weeks ago but at present there is not more than 3. The thermometer was at 18 this morning it has been as low as 14 deg. above Zero. We have had a fine mild fall but rather dry; our mill streams are rather low to do more than half businefs and a good many mills are dry. Prices are Beef $5.50 Pork $5. pr. Cwt, Wheat 85 cts Rye .45 Corn 40, Oats 25 and all dull at that Nearly all the thrashing is done with Machines which throws the produce into market at once and earlier in the season than heretofore which has a tendency to lower prices. Cloverseed has been abundant and sells at $4. pr Bu. I have heard nothing of James or Agrippa. I received a letter from Newville lately. Step mother is in a very delicate state of health. Ann and Mr Johnson and son in good health. The rest of relations then in good health also, except old Uncle who wastes away very slowly. I have now been 8 years and better here since fathers death and during that time strugling continually at law but thank God I have no cause at issue now and father and his children have none after a contest of 30 years rest from that Curse. The is law here is that when a man dies his debts are a lien on real and personal property for 7 years after and cannot be recovered after that at all unlefs sued for within those 7 years and the suit still pending. Unlefs the debt is secured by a mortgage which hold 20 years

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I have now lived the 7 years the full limit of law in the face of fathers enemies and not only defeated them all but nonsuited them which completely prevents a renewal of all claims. The lofs to the Estate is a trifle but to me it is not so. I am going to be the principal loser, if I am to depend on our O[r]phans Courts for an allowance for my last time trouble and expense. For when I asked a compensation for fathers services they always put one off with about as much as would have paid his grog bill. I have now under Consideration what I ought to do and what the conclusion will be I cannot not now say but think I will leave my native land the spring of A.D. 1842. But to what part of the west I may go Is hard to say. I do not like Michigan: it is too Cold a land for me. But still I am come and I will try to pay it a visit next fall. If I could make a living in any way to my likeing I would not leave here but I see no way to do so satisfactorily and so must leave here shortly. Write to me the next time what it would Cost to put up a House 30 feet square the [hole] to find every think but the logs. I have been 4 letters in arrears and I have one more to write and know nothing more to write and will close this one. Send me the amount of my taxes by your next if you know it them, All are well


John Geddes William Geddes

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