Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, May 11, 1842

Author: William Geddes

Date: May 11, 1842

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Campbellstown May 11th 1842

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

No letter has arrived from you this spring for which I am unable to account, as from what I wrote to you in my last two letters of the prospect of getting money. I am sure you could not expect me in Michigan, for without money it would be uselefs. I received none at all to the middle of April and then only $430. Three hundred of which was Lebanon paper and at the time 10 pr. cent under par and that I would not have taken if Mr. Johnson had not consented to take part and I owed R.G. Graydon $130 who also took it and so I got rid of it. Yesterday Joseph Witmor who holds 104 acres of the land only paid the interest for two months. And he said he could not raise more than $100 more of any kind of money, and that mostly from 8 to 10 pr. ct. discount, [hole] as the Pottsville Bank a few day before had closed I thought best to let him keep his money. One Bank fails after the other and the general imprefsion is that the worst has not arrived. The Harrisburg Bank lost $70,000 by the Girard Bank and her paper is very much distrusted. Nearly all the money afloat is a kind of State money 1, 2 and 5 dollar bills, and these are 10 pr. cent under par. Not more than a third of those who had payments to make the 1st April were able to perform. The Banks have been badly managed these 8 or 10 years, and the Government much worse, and instead of supporting one another were at continued variance. A well regulated Tariff or the old one instead of the compromise act would have went far towards supporting the Banks as well as the Country and would have prevented most of the embarrasments the people are now in. But party & the foolish South rule the land and we no doubt deserve all we suffer for allowing them to do so. I believe the South will shortly go with us for a Tariff and some currency regulator. Banks have so disgraced themselves that they completely put their friends out of Countenance.

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All fear making themselves odious before the people to propose establishing a new United States Bank, and yet firmly believe that matters will continue as the[y] are without one. You are the only hard party man of all fathers sons, and it made me laugh when you came out anti suspension anti Bank. I always attend the poll and vote as I believe every good citizen should, but still if bad men are taken up I dont go for them. I attend few or no political meetings. I am for rotation in office and have always supported the outs instead of the inns. My whole policy was to break the dominant party in our state and we have nearly achieved it. The Outs number 140000 strong Anti Masonry done much towards it and I expect our new Constitution will do the rest. Our free schools will also afsist. Our County has four out of 10 townships in favor of schools. There was one of an increase this spring. The free schools in these townships are driven in the right way. We dont try to carry them in Londonderry these 2 years. In the State there is 1100 districts or townships and there is but 154 that have no schools. There is a gain every year in favor of the schools. The Newville folks are all well and Mr Barr one of the old doctors sons in law was a member of our legislature last winter, - a real loco foco, - from Cumberland. William Geddes the printer of Philadelphia sent his son and only child by his first wife up to his uncle T.M. McCormick of Hanover a week or so ago and he stopt and staid all night with me. He is a very delicate boy and says he is 15 years old. He says his father has a son and two daughters by his present wife. He does nothing but fancy and Job printing now, and follows nothing else. I Judge this boy knows what it is to have a stepmother. It dont look well for his father to send him on his mothers relations every year for months at a stretch as he does. I received letters in April from James and Agrippa, and they were well and single, farming a little for a living, but the products of their country nearly valuelefs. The[y] ask $2. pr. acre for Thomas’ land, but I dont consider it more worth than Government price, and I believe if I could get some of my money I would buy it at that price.

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It is a little hard that I cannot pay you your money but still you are better off than I who has all mine lying in that third now and cant get it, - scarcely the interest. That land would make two farms of 220 acres each and I would pay the taxes yearly and let the people thicken around it and make it valueable, and after a lapse of time I could sell it to advantage or give it to my children as would best suit. We are to have a meeting at Derry Church next Saturday to determine on building a new substantial limestone wall around the graveyard. We had no preaching all winter, but there will be during the summer every 3rd sabbath. James Clark still lives in Hummelstown, but is in but middling health, he is a real drone inaction is destroying him. Dr William Henderson was lately married the 2nd time, he still lives at his old place. He had a Mifs Gold for a nurse to his first wife and then he got her for his maid and when his 1st wife died he made her his housekeeper and now after having her about him 13 or 14 years he makes her his wife. I think he has 3 children, the present wife must be 35 and he is 48. It is reported here that Robert Snodgrafs intends moving back to this state and his sister the widow Shearer. It is also reported that David Mitchell is broke down in toto. Prices are Wheat $1.25, Rye 50 Corn 50, Oats 35, Potatoes .50, Cows & Calves from $10 to $20, Beef 5 pr. lb. Eggs 6 pr doz, Butter 12 pr lb, Bacon 4 cts, Ham 6 pr lb, all dull sale, Hickorywood pr. Cord $3.00 Oak $2.00. Wages pr. day from 40 to 50 cents, pr. month from $8 to $10. We are all well except my son and wife have the measles. I [?] plaster, pick stones plant Corn and do any kind of work when my landlord wants a hand and attend to my office.


Mr. John Geddes William Geddes

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