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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP19 - Jake Looked Back To 1839

Updated on May 7, 2019
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Land surveys have always been vital in land purchases

Each survey of land includes signs and symbols placed on the surveyed land
Each survey of land includes signs and symbols placed on the surveyed land

Jake Shared Information On New Resident Eli Rhodes

We soon learned that Eli Rhodes was a man of many talents. At an early Fourth Sunday gathering, he had brought along his fiddle and quickly added a new activity to our gatherings. Everyone enjoyed the music he provided. It wasn’t long before a couple of others brought along their instruments, and joined in. This became a regular part of the Fourth Sunday activities. Having this sort of entertainment along with the other activities certainly helped continue this useful tradition over the months and years. Attendance continued to be nearly 100%, with the exception of weather and illnesses. It was a very satisfying part of our lives for many years.


In addition, early on, we learned that Eli had done work as a surveyor in his earlier years. As he talked with Robert about the work, he soon realized that if he helped out with our regular surveys here in the valley, along with Robert, and documented his work, he could possibly earn his certification as a surveyor himself. We all agreed it would be very useful for him to do that, if he decided it was something he wanted to pursue. During the spring of 1839, Victor Campbell decided he wanted to purchase another 160 acres next to his current place, and would probably want to buy the 160 acres on the other side the following year.


With that in mind, it was decided to lay out a plan to do Victor’s first added plot first, then follow up with the second during the summer as time could be made available. Robert worked with Eli in the work and move toward doing more surveys of land in the western area that were most likely to be chosen in upcoming years. In the process, they would document Eli’s work so that he could get certified. In addition, as time allowed, they would work on plots north and south of the main east-west road, and have those sections ready when more settlers inevitably arrived.

Both Jake and Victor Returned with additional breeding stock

Typical of horse breeding stock
Typical of horse breeding stock

Jake Discussed The Early Talks Of County Reorganization

In July, Victor and I again went to the south to record his new land purchase. By this time, working together and with Hugh, we had developed a mule and horse breeding plan, jointly, that benefited each of us. We still were investing individually, but it was becoming clear that by working together we were each much more effective. On this trip to the south, we had some specific priorities in mind for acquiring some additional breeding stock to bring back with us. We each brought back two animals that would best meet out needs. Between bought and raised animals, we were each building our herds faster than we had originally thought would be possible.


It was during this trip also that serious discussions began that led to formation of our valley into a formal Township organization within the new county reorganization in 1841. None of us really wanted ‘more government.’ But when it became apparent it was coming, it was much better to be involved and able to shape it the way we wanted it, to the extent that we could. Ongoing discussions were the way we were able to make that happen. We were already talking about roads and bridges on a regular basis. That is where having some local government really came into play. We had not yet had law enforcement issues, but we knew they were coming, from each of our personal experience. As more people gathered in a given area, it was simply inevitable. Best to be prepared. As I always seemed to be looking ahead, I was also assessing which of our residents could be called upon to serve in the various functions that would needed when the reorganization took place. I asked a lot of questions to help make these determinations.


When we returned to the valley, we shared our findings and discussions with our other residents, to the extent they were interested, so that they could help us understand the impact this series of upcoming decisions would have on us all. It had become a regular part of our Fourth Sunday discussions, as I recall. That way, we all knew where we stood on the issue of how much government we each had to deal with.

The sawmill was providing more lumber to the valley residents

Typical sawmill output
Typical sawmill output

Jake Reminded Everyone Of The Contributions Of The Mill To The Valley

By this time in the life of our community we had come to sort of expect the operations of the Mill under Robert Baldridge to continue to meet our community needs. Our grain was being processed to the extent we needed it to. Neighbors to the north were using these services, as well, adding to the economic well being of our community. He was also now regularly providing a variety of useful lumber from the saw mill that was available for different construction projects his customers may have wanted to take on. Each of us used this service to one extent or another without really thinking about what a great accomplishment this really was for all of us.


Although no one had yet actually built a frame house, but there had been several other smaller buildings built on a wood frame construction. Robert had built a couple of storage facilities. Henry had built a shelter that eventually became a barn. Hugh had built a shed. I had built a shed for my horse, and I believe it was this year that I added a tack room to keep the harness and saddles in, all together. Victor had built a couple of small buildings. Just a thought, in passing, but that is what a memoir such as this is supposed to be for. I am supposed to share some of these little details that we might not include if we were only writing our history.

[See JP20, 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.

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill, for your visit and comments. Sawmills were critical to growing communities, for sure! They were also often a social center, and business center, as well, of course! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The importance of sawmills to early settlement cannot be under-stated. The same for community involvement and community action. Great history lesson.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      2 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Mary, for your insightful comments. I do find this especially fascinating. I would love to have been a part of building a community such as this. ;-)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is interesting how places grow and now, this place is thinking of organizing and having a government. As communities grow, other needs reveal itself and I can just imagine how people adapted to this.

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