Born in 1801 in Pennsylvania, John Geddes settled in Ann Arbor with his brother Robert Geddes in 1825. In 1826 Robert built a sawmill, and John worked there until 1868, "The greater part of the time he would be at work before daylight, and never cease his labors until darkness compelled him to desist."


Geddesburg, with it's school, post office, train depot, farms, mills and vernacular Greek revival houses, prospered along both sides of the Huron. John Geddes (1801-1889) was a state representative, township supervisor, justice of the Peace, as well as founding member of the Michigan Pioneer Society. Geddesburg's location, 34 miles from Detroit, was also the route of fugitive slaves following the Underground Railroad in the decades before and during the civil war. John Geddes reportedly served as a "conductor" to freedom in Canada.

This collection is comprised of papers of John Geddes, an early Washtenaw Country settler. The highlight of the collection is the correspondence between John Geddes and his brother William from the first half of the nineteenth century, large portions of which were transcribed by the donor, Russell E. Bidlack. The collection also contains papers from John Geddes' daughter--Sarah Geddes Randall--and her family, as well as notes and correspondence regarding the collection and secondary source material compiled by Professor Bidlack.

See also