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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP17 - Jake Shared His Memories of 1837

Updated on April 29, 2019
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Jake was proud to be the grandparent of a new baby girl

A baby girl was followed by another a week later
A baby girl was followed by another a week later

Jake Thought About The Importance Of Living Near A Creek In The Valley

In 1837 we knew of five springs, of various sizes, that fed the waterways through our Oak Creek valley. The largest, of course, was the one to the far north that fed Oak Creek itself along the eastern edge of our valley. The second largest spring was the one in the far west, on the ridge, that formed the pond/lake, and became the West Branch. Victor Campbell had settled on that branch in 1836. Two springs of about the same size formed smaller creeks that converged in the western part of my 320 acres west of our cabin. Center Spring, forming Center Creek, to the west of center a bit, is perhaps slightly the larger of the two. It is located up on the ridge with the creek wandering off of that. North Spring in located directly to the north of our cabin, below the ridge, and forms the creek that winds its way down to our current property and merges into Center Creek. The fifth spring is the small one near my blacksmith shop, of course. It has formed a small pond, now referred to as Patton Pond, and then runs off to the southwest, we call that Patton Run, to join the combined Center and North Creeks (we call it Center Creek after the merger).


I mention this because most of the first settlers in the valley want to be on or near a creek. In that spring of 1837 two very young couples appeared from the west and settled on North Creek, about a half mile apart, just to the north of the main east to west trail/road through the valley. They each arrived with a horse, a mule, and a milk cow. They each also had a small farm wagon with a few personal items and tools. And, one of them had a plow and the other had a harrow. They were initially simply squatters, it seemed. They didn’t come see any of us first, they just arrived and went to work plowing a plot of ground near the tents they had pitched. Henry first talked to them having seen them from the road on a freight run.


After a few days, they came down to our cabin and introduced themselves. They were Jesse and Eliza Bartlett and Oliver and Deborah Dodson. I don’t think any of them were yet 20 years of age, but they seemed both determined and mature enough to know what they were doing. After talking with them a bit, it was clear they had ‘done their homework’ over in the Big Piney area before they arrived. They were all four from hardworking farm families, just looking to make their own life here in this open valley. They knew we were here, and knew we would welcome them and offer assistance as needed. But, they also wanted to do their thing on their own. Just like each of the rest of us. They were pleased to see we did have the small General Store. And, they received our invitation to attend Fourth Sunday cheerfully. I could tell they knew it would be offered. They did say they would welcome assistance in raising a cabin later on, but they were in no hurry. They wanted to get some crops and their gardens in first. Then they would think about more permanent shelter. An interesting new experience for us all.

New settlers wanted to locate near a creek

A typical creek during the settlement period
A typical creek during the settlement period

Jake Made Another Trip South In July

That March also brought the two more new valley residents we had been expecting. Young Jane Truesdale arrived to the Hugh and Victoria home on March 7th. Just a week later, on the 14th, Allison Olson joined nearly three year old Liam in the Owen and Anna Olson home. The two little girls were welcomed by all, of course, and pushed the valley population to over 20 for the first time. Kate and I were overjoyed with having our first grandchild. There is nothing quite like it on this earth.


At Fourth Sunday in April, we got to know the Bartlett and Dodson couples a little better. They did have the money to purchase their farms, 160 acres each, on the north side of the east-west road that was already surveyed. They asked Robert to finish the surveys of their properties needed to make the purchase. Separately, but about the same time, I asked Robert to complete the survey on the 320 acres between my home place and these two new residents, as I intended to purchase that land, as well. As it turned out, when they found out I was buying the additional land, as well, we all decided to go down the land office together, shortly after the Fourth of July, to record all three deeds. Jesse Bartlett and Oliver Dodson admitted they really hoped that I would go with them. It worked out well for all of us.


I was happy to have the opportunity to visit briefly with my friends to the south, and as a side note, let them know our population was expanding. I also picked up that there was talk of county reorganization, again, so it was good to be aware of that pending development. I would be keeping in touch with that activity as time went by.

Robert Baldridge had decided to increase his beef cattle herd

A group of beef cattle
A group of beef cattle

Jake Was Pleased To See The Continuing Development Of The Valley

The harvests went well, with precipitation being good for the year without any dangerous weather. The Mill continued to get business from the north, which kept Robert happy. I was interested to realize that he had acquired eight head of beef cattle through trade and acquisition in recent months. He had decided that raising a beef herd would be a good proposition for he and his family. ‘I like raising cattle more that farming this land,’ he said. He would raise enough crops for the animals and his other needs, but not expand further. Each of us had our own goals.


My goal by this time was the creation of a town for our valley, based on the General Store and running to the north. That was the main reason why I was buying the additional land. I kept these thoughts mostly to Kate and myself, for now. It was becoming pretty obvious, to us, that this was the next logical step for us. It needed time to pass to be the right time to move further ahead with these plans.

[See JP18, to follow]

From the Author

This series of stories, JPx, is part of a first draft of what I hope and assume becomes a published novel in support of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories. It features the self-told story of one of the original settlers of the Oak Creek Valley, Colonel Jake Patton. Some, including him, would say he was the leader of the group. He had a very big ego, that is for sure, but he always tried to make it look like what he was doing was for the benefit of the community. And, of course, it was. But, there was always something in it for him, as well. He managed to grow the inheritance he was fortunate to receive from his father into something that left a nice trust fund for his descendants. We’ve already seen some of these stories, earlier, in the Saga tales. Come along, and let’s see how Colonel Patton tells his own story.


Note: I will publish JPx hubs, from time to time. I will write occasional notes at Patreon about Jake Patton. I may write other things elsewhere. These are each a part of the creative process to create the true first draft of a novel. You, my readers, can take part in this effort at www dot patreon dot com slash HomeplaceSagas. Join us there Today.

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 months ago from Hollister, MO

      No, they were focused on survival and bettering themselves. The nation was in turmoil for sure, but it did't yet have that much impact on folks in the interior, from what I've read. It certainly would arrive, soon enough, however, and with total devastation...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The drums of war were slowly approaching those fields....I wonder if the farmers in 1837 had any notion that the nation would be torn apart in 24 years.

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