Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, July 22, 1842

Author: William Geddes

Date: July 22, 1842

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Campbellstown July 22nd 1842

Dear Brother, [John Geddes]

Yours of the 12th inst. was rec.’d on the 19th and as we finished the Wheat and Rye harvest, hauling in an [smear] all yesterday I concluded to answer yours to day as tomorrow I must attend in Millerstown to some law businefs and on Monday to cutting Oats. There is heavy crops of Wheat in all directions around us, but it is very full of smut, the like was never known in this section of country. There is scarcely a field to be found that has it not more or lefs and some fields are quarter smut. This smut has been increasing here so much of late years that we have smut machines in almost every Grist mill and some have their wind mills made to take it out. This years crop of that nasty grain has very much alarmed our farmers as to what may be the consequences of this curse on the Wheat crops. Rye is not so much raised here as used to be, only half as much is sowed and that has been very poor [hole] 8 years, this year there is a heavy crop of straw every where but in many fields our May frosts has destroyed the grain. Rye straw sold as high as 12 1/2 cents a Bundle this spring and it has not been lefs than 8 these many years. There was a fine crop of Grafs & the Oats is an extraordinary crop. Some have their Oats cut and away some will not be fit to cut to the middle of next week. Both the Early and late sowing is good. Our weather has been since spring nearly like yours, but the frosts never made ice. We had a good many frost in May and I think we had one in the beginning of June. But none hard enough to injure the fruit. Peaches will be very plenty and apples there are some, and in fact all kinds of fruit is very abundant. People have been using new potatoes these 3 weeks and they are very fine. Corn looked bad under our cold weather but our rainy weather has brought it on and it looks very well and if the frost dont attack it in the fall there will be a heavy crop. The Hay and Grain so far has been housed in good condition There is great deal of Grain to take in yet. I have made 20 days in hay time and harvest so far and expect to make at least four more. Wages are from 50 to 75 pr. Day. Work never went easier

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with me and I am considered one of the best. I done however like you declined Cradling raked and bound. I followed a Cradle very often myself and done it easy as often times the hands were so few that there was no other way. I have kept Roberts old Cradle in motion all along except this harvest and she is so much worn and patched that it is no longer fit to stand it. It has been in motion 24 years and I have cut a good deal of Cloverseed with it and that is very hard on a scythe. I take it mostly by the acre – 25 cts. pr acre I and another cut one year 40 acres for one man. I dont believe there could be a better scythe, it is worn to a shadow. Raking & binding is much easier work than cradling, at least to me it only requires one to be quick in the motion. I sent the shinplaster dollar that was in your letter and 3 others to the Proprietors of the North American and they are now paid one year in advance. There is in all 3 years subscription paid. Our Relief notes pafs except those on the Erie Towanda Berks county Banks. Money matters are daily improveing and none of our Banks are more than 5 pr. cent under par. John Kettering was in from Chicago and collected his wifes money and took it to Philadelphia and had it exchanged for gold paying 5••• pr. cent premium. He is married to Peter Wolfersberger’s only daughter, her that was married to Jacob Early’s son I think was a widow for a number of years. He went by the way of the lakes. Him and his father farms there, it went hard with old Adam to stand the change of climate, but he stuck it out and now enjoys good health and is satisfied with his new home. Our legislature has passed a law staying Executions for one year and abolishing imprisonment for debt in toto. I will send a Lebanon paper with this letter. All that can be will be done to get you your money next spring. I believe I will succeed. I paid $1.25 for Wheat that I bought the other day. Rye is 62 1/2 Corn 62 1/2 Oats 40 cts, Hay by the ton $10 and $8. I am much pestered with Candidates for our county offices, there is great Electioneering for them. I dont want to sell my land but if I could have some of it put in Grain on the halves or any other way I would like to do it in order to pay taxes. I would be willing

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to pay for making the rails 75 cents pr. hundred, the person finding himself and the rails to be make middling heavy. The rest of the work, hauling the rails and making fence the tenant ought to do at his own expense I would rather give him the 2/3 or 3/4 of the crop than pay that. My part of the Grain to be delivered a certain distance to any place where it might be sold. 3000 rails would fence in 20 Acres, seven rails high. I want to be at as little expense as pofsible, but still I would like the expense to be so ballanced that I would at the least get the 1/3 of the grain. I am willing the man who does it shall have a very good bargain so as to stimulate to extra exertions. Men work generally according to their prospects of reward. It may be that I will visit Michigan directly after the election. I am determined that my land must be put to producing something. The thermometer stood 94 Farenheit on tuesday last, but we have not had a hot summer so far. I keep two Cows and I made 2 1/2 tons of hay for my share on the halves, which cost me $3.00 beside my own work. I pay $1.00 pr. month for pasture You must excuse [my] scribbling as I am almost to lazy to write and have a number of little things to attend to. My little daughter is teething and it goes hard with her. She has been rather unwell these two weeks. The wife is also complaining a little the rest are well. It is quite healthy generally. I am opposed to the sale of our state works and am in favor of heavy taxes to sustain the credit of Pennsylvania. Which doctrine I boldly set forth and I always silence every one who opposes me. I dont seek popularity I look to the honor of our country But Sir it requires great moral courage to speak the truth these times, when it bears so hard on mens pockets. Our law requires all afsefsments to [be] made at cash price, and yet men will so strain consciences as to value at half price. The afsefsments throughout the state are very unequal. Lebanon County has been praised all over the state by the papers for her honest valuation. I manage our township matters pretty much as we have very few who are capable and I attend all afsefsments and what I say pafses and so I keep Londonderry to her duty People generally are satisfied that I show no favors and that is the main point to secure obedience. Farewell

To Mr. John Geddes William Geddes