Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, May 2, 1844

Author: William Geddes

Date: May 2, 1844

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Palmyra May 2nd 1844

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

I am still here notwithstanding we had the best of weather in April and especially in the 3 first weeks of it; since it is cool and we had frost on the 29 & 30 of April We have not had so early a spring these 10 years. There was some Corn planted the 2nd week of April, and nearly all the rest before May came in. Those farmers only who are always behind have yet to plant. The Rye has been in heads a week ago, and grain and grass is all very forward and promises to be good. Motherinlaw is unwell and was quite so the latter end of March and beginning of April, and is too much so yet to be able to move on so long a Journey. The weather too now is unfavorable and we fear may continue that way some time as the weather has been too fine nearly two months back, and may now pay for it in bad. I now cannot tell when I may get started, but I am determined if our health will permit it to move, this summer spring or fall some time. I still expect to be able to start about the first of June or so, as motherinlaw is evidently recruiting [recovering] as all consump[hole] will or go altogether down while the leaves on the trees are coming out, and the woodlands are fast getting green. If I dont get started before the farmers commence mowing, I will have to assist my landlord and then wont be out in Michigan till after harvest. If we had been all well I am persuaded we would now have been all in your state, and I would have saved my vote for H. Clay. I feel confident that he will carry Pennsylvania and the union, but I Judge Michigan is lost at any rate. Our assembly adjourned on the 29th April, they passed a bill submitting the sale of the public works. The main line at least, to a vote of the people at the next general Election, and ordering a tax of 3 mills on the dollar for state purposes to commence in A.D. 1845, the present year two only. There is no doubt but that people will say sell them, by a great majority. The Sheriff of Lebanon County has more business at present than there ever was since it was a County. The People are breaking down in all directions. There is no farmer makes more than 4 per cent on their lands and very few that, and have mostly to pay 4 pr. Cent for money. Benj. Hocks bought John Wolfersberger’s old place in Campbellstown and it will take 3 years income to pay for the repairs necessary. He wont realize any way more

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than two per cent on the investment, and borrowed all the hand money at 6 pr. Ct. He keeps store now in the brick house, where John Wolfersberger first kept 35 years ago or more, the 1st roof is on that house yet and it might do 5 more with a little patching but the new holder means to pull it off & put a new one on this summer. I never had more businefs in my office, but it is a disagreeable business, and I would much rather this minute be in Michigan. Wheat is $1.00. Rye .50 Corn .40 Oats .31, Potatoes .50, Beef $5. pr. Cwt, Ham $6. Bacon $5. Lard $5. Butter 10 cts pr. lb. Eggs 8 pr. doz. Cows & Calves from $8 to $15, Hogs the most saleable article of all. I Clerk’d an assignee sale where an old sow brought $9.50 and the Cow only $8.50. In April. The farmers here are promising themselves wheat crops clear of smut because the weather has been so favorable and the harvest likely to be very early. They calculate that the smut will be growed out of countinance. Last year in many places there was more smut than wheat, and in some few fields it was nearly all smut. There are many more moveing west this spring than last. Old Philip [hole] the Hatter of Millerstown told me yesterday that he spoke with some Berks County dutchmen that were moveing to Monroe County Michigan, one of them had bought 4 Eightys at $3. $4 & $6 pr. acre He had fine fat horses in his wagon. If we can get off sooner I will write two weeks or so before we start. I got a letter from Agrippa in the latter end of March and he says the times are very hard there. Wm. Irvin a son of old John Irvin’s starts tomorrow for Chicago. We had expected to go together to Detroit. His brother John keeps store in Chicago. There was a strong turn out to the Baltimore Convention from our County. Passengers were taken from Harrisburg to Baltimore for one dollar and for the same back. You may leave the house you intended for me empty as it may have a good effect on any vermin that may be in it, and I will pay the rent willingly. My women dont leave Pennsylvania very willingly but they will come as I have moved into a log cabin here, not expecting to be here more than a month or 6 weeks after the 1st of April and they dont like it, so they will now move the more so to get out of it. I might have staid where I was in Campbellstown by paying $35. rent for the year, which I did not like.

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I now live in John Witmor’s tenant house at the rocky hill he had no tenant and I thought we could shift for 5 or 6 weeks there until the weather would be settled and we could get right ready. The house is comfortable enough but it is so far for water and in so out of the way a place, and looks so like your wilderness houses. We will not stay any longer here than we can possibly help it. The reason Mr Witmor’s house was left empty was because so many of his tenants paid him nothing like your Michigan ones, and he was determined this time to have a good one for none, and good ones can always suit themselves better and then of course he got none. Besides he is so very particular in every thing. I have discontinued all my newspapers for 6 months back and take no part in Politicks except in our township affairs, where all turns in the spring on school or no school. We carried the directors by a vote of 112 to 110. Last spring we carried the schools but the election was contested in Court and is still there. The school system is put in operation Derry township Dauphin Co, this year. The system is nearly gen[eral] over the state, I have sent my boy 3 quarters in all and [hole] spell with nearly the best in the school and reads well, [he is] very apt at adding and answering questions in oral Arithmetic. He can answer all the questions in the first Part of Emerson’s Arithmetic, and I now have him at writing. Our Teacher is Thomas Kramer one of the twin Kramer’s of Palmyra. He says my boy is the ablest boy that he ever had. The teacher is a crabit [crabby] old Bachelor & the boy very mischieveous so he gets whipped nearly every day. Kramers brother lives in Illinois and is a Justice of the Peace there. The old man still lives in Palmyra & is working away at Cabinet work. The loco’s are much dissatisfied with their candidate for Governor, as well as Martin Van Buren for Prest. The rank and File I mean, I think Tyler would do as well for their candidate as Martin. I dont like to send blank paper but I dont know how I am going to fill this sheet. All is well except motherinlaw

Farewell

Mr. John Geddes William Geddes

Direct your letters to Palmyra

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