Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, October 20, 1842

Author: William Geddes

Date: October 20, 1842

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Campbellstown Oct. 20th 1842

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

The Election is over and throughout the state the Whigs are defeated, their opponents having a majority in both houses. At least I am informed so by that party. I not having seen any thing of it in the papers. 19 .Loco’s to 14 Whigs in the Senate. It is nothing but what I expected for it always requires much exertion to bring the Whigs to the polls and the leaders often dont feel as if they should force men to look after their best interests, and so they are beat three times out of four. Our new Constitution begins to work also against party, for this electing of all the County Officers throws so many candidates at once before the people, and every candidate has friends among his political opponents and they will vote for a neighbor it being but throwing one out of so many candidates, and the candidates being so distributed throughout the county amongst the several townships it produces results not very gratifying to political leaders. The exertion that is made to secure a nomination creates such disputes among men of the same clique that those who fail in a nomination dont go in to the support of their more fortunate neighbors with the zeal they ought and often are so displesed as to vote against them. At our meeting to choose delegates there was 100 in attendance and parties were so well divided that the leaders of the faction who wished to retain the old officers in power abused the rotation men very much and created so much bad feeling that we did not poll more than 154 Whig votes at the election. The rotation party lost it at our township meeting, but in the County convention they carried. I supported the rotation faction and was defeated by 7 votes. The other party being afsembled at an early hour, chose the officers and when they found that they were going to be defeated they took

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Loco votes and still I would have beaten them had they not adopted the viva voce poll instead of the ballot. In politicks as in other matters bad men will take any means to carry a point. If the rotation principle had been adopted every where as well as in Lebanon County the result would have been the same for we elected the whole ticket by 700 majority. In Dauphin the old county officers were nominated and the whole ticket but two were defeated. The Senator in Lancaster County was lost through the same cause. It gave Harrison 4100 majority and now gave the Whig ticket but 600, so that York Co. that is joined with it to elect Senators overpowered it. If you had informed me how much of my land can be put in Cultivation without cutting away more timber than would be required to make rails, I could better say [how much] ought be put under fence. I think all the ground that is untimbered ought to be fenced as soon as pofsible, and in order to do so all the timber that will make rails, saplings and limbs that are sufficiently straight, without regard to duribility. But in making the fence all the durable rails ought to be put in by themselves and so with the others. My notion now is to move on to it myself if health permits and we get our money next spring, about the first of September next. I would come out in the spring myself and provide a place for to move to, and then return and bring my family after the heat of the summer was past. You need not promise any land to farm to any one, but rails ought to be made and fence if you could get careful men to do it cheap. I like heavy rails, light rails make a poor weak fence. There are no abolitionist in our County. Alex. Graydon is one. Robert has finished his studies, but I have heard nothing of him lately. How far Kettering lives from Chicago I dont know, but I think only a short distance. The paper I sent you I understood

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to be a neutral one and seven of us sent $10. for seven copies for a year. = $1.43 each, which is very cheap and the paper is a good one, but it is a little tainted with locoism, it has however since changed owners and I think is now more Whigish. I sent it only to show its cheapnefs & size. There is more news papers published in the United States than in all the rest of the world put together. Prices are Wheat .87 1/2 Rye 50. Corn .37 1/2 Oats .25, Potatoes .12 1/2 Butter .10 Eggs .08, The[y] pay as much for sugar, Coffee and Cotton sheeting and all kinds of store goods as you do. Molafses sells from 16 1/4 to 16 cents pr. qt. We had no frost to the latter end of Sept. and it continues dry and warm. There are no apples in here this year. A great many of our farmers buy all they want out of stores with their butter and Eggs. I have heard nothing of James or Agrippa lately. Beef can be had for 4 1/2 ct lard is 6 cts. pr. lb. The Corn crop & potatoes are good. Our Wheat is so full of smut that there is not more than 2/3 crop. Flour is taken for 44 & 50 cents pr. Barrel to Philad, Salt is sold at $2.25. We have no preaching at Derry, Old Mr. [hole] confined to the house and his physician forbid [him even] to read. He has such a dizzinefs in his head, a new graveyard wall is abuilding. Ere long Derry will be totally deserted. Old Mr. Snodgrafs still holds forth as lustily as ever. His son Benjamin has lost his wife this is rough writing but I want to send it with the mail as it returns. Yours was re’d yesterday. My reason for coming out this fall was to see how I would like your country for a home, perhaps when I look round me I may not fancy it. Politicks is [?] us your head that you forgot to tell what it costs to make rails by the 100, and I in my last particularly requested it. John Wolfersberger has sold his fathers homestead for $80 pr. Acre 130 acres of land only to it. The buildings Cost half the money. It cost him $100 pr. A. and he put a new Bank Barn, wagon shed on it. John is troubled very much with the hypo. He is not worth $10,000 in my opinion & holds property worth $30,000. All are well.


Mr John Geddes William Geddes

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