Letter From William Geddes to John Geddes, September 24, 1844

Author: William Geddes

Date: September 24, 1844

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Palmyra Sept. 24th 1844

Dear Brother [John Geddes]

Yours of the 14th was received last evening and the first thing that I done was to write an answer thereto. I did not write since your May letter, because I did not know what to write. It seemed as if my women would never be ready and now I believe they would not budge an inch if I had them not in a cabin that they cannot live in comfortably all winter. It has been so intolerably hot since harvist & particularly in this month, that it would have been very disagreeable traveling. We have had a fine season here about Campbellstown, having had rain enough to keep vegetation in motion, but still not enough to wet the earth to plouging depth but seldom. The wheat has much less smut this season than the two last, and is fine in the grain, but was thin on the ground & may be a little over a half crop, Rye as it has been these many years rather poor, but there is not so much sowed any more. The Oats crop was very fine, and the Corn is pretty fair, it has been rather dry for it latterly [torn – but I think] I never saw Corn so ripe on the 1st of Sept. Five miles North of us there has been very little rain all summer & about 10 miles South & in all the lower counties it has been very dry & there is no Corn scarcely, I am told that in this County near Schafferstown the farmers have to feed their Cattle the pasture being totally burnt up. Western Cattle find but a poor market below us, Wheat is worth 85 cents the rest in proportion. Temperance has blowed out nearly all our distilleries & it appears to operate against all prices. Land itself is much cheaper than last year & there is a great deal in market. But I am wandering from the main point, this moving. I have commenced writing the advertisements for to sell the few things we have, & my women are all in a bad humor and when I brought home your letter & read it, the wife & her mamma came out for staying where we were that there was no other country like this. But we cant & wont stay where we are & of course move we must & the difference between a long and a short move is not so much the mischief is to get started. I would have been with you before this but there is no moving them hardly and I never could say when I would or could come so I said

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nothing. And now dont be too sure of me notwithstanding I will sell out & pack up for the west for I have to call in Franklin County to see William Clark & family & there will be another great effort made to stop our Journey further west. I am here now so long that I would like to vote for Markle for Governor & will hardly leave here till the 9th October & then may stay a week at Clarks and another week to land in Michigan, so that the 25th if all are well may bring us there. This is putting it off too long, but it is unavoidable and may be for the best. The first time I went to Michigan Clark & me we left home the day after the election and we had fine weather the whole time we were going & coming which was near Christmas, If any thing does detain us another letter will follow this one close. When we start for certain I will start a letter also to you & if we dont beat it you may know that we are detained somewhere on the road. I have attended more political meetings this campaign than ever. The meetings of the Whigs have been more numerous than in 1840 and larger & the loco’s the contrary. There dont appear to be that party rancor in the rank & file of the loco’s that there used to be, the leaders are as heretofore, but cant some how rouse their men. When their Convention met to nominate Mr Shunk they leaders made a mighty effort, but it was a complete failure there not being more than 600 at it, And on this day week the Whigs had there meeting & it exceeded every thing I ever saw in numbers in triumphal arches, banners, flags and waggons with the different trades in full operation. There was from 12 to 15 thousand men there. The loco’s were thunderstruck. If Pennsylvania aint Whig through out then there is no dependence in appearances whatever, I gave a Shilling that day to see a young man & woman from Scotland & I suppose 2000 did the same. He was 7” 4 3/4 in. in height & thick in proportion, weighing over 400 lbs. & could lift 2500. The woman measured six feet four. He was a real Giant & sat on a table instead of a chair. It was as much as I could do to reach to the top of his head. He is 28 years old & speaks good english as well as his lady, and are friendly and sociable people.

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There has been no moving all summer but this week past there has been a good many going west. If such people & their children can move & have two & three weeks & more of a Journey I cant see why we may not, especially when we take the most comfortable way of it.

All are well.


Mr John Geddes William Geddes