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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP2 - Jake Gathered His Group With a Common Goal

Updated on November 29, 2018
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.

They each sought a place to call their own

A forest and savannah
A forest and savannah

Robert Baldridge Family

As I said, by the middle of 1832, for myself and a few others, a fairly solid, clear idea of what we really wanted to do had morphed into some pretty specific plans, with clear selection criteria of what we sought and how we wanted to go about it. We had become eleven people, men, women and children, who were committed to a specific plan, and we were ready to carry out this plan to build our future from it. The first person with whom I formed this tight bond was Robert Baldridge. Robert worked at a mill owned and operated by his father at the Big Piney lumber camps. He had been doing this for a number of years, and was ready to set out on his own, build his own mill, and build his own life. As I got to know Robert and his wife, Susannah, better, the more I found their approach to life was very compatible with my own.

Each of them lived a self-disciplined, focus life. They each had come to know what they wanted for their family, and worked each day toward that goal. These were the kind of people with whom I wanted to associate. As we got to know each other even better, we realized that we each wanted to set out on a new adventure to move closer to the goals of self-sufficiency and fulfillment. Their two children, a daughter, Sarah, and a son, David, were being raised to assist them in reaching that goal and to benefit from it in their own lives. Each child was taking on responsibilities of their own so as to make positive contributions to the family. They did this willingly and cheerfully. I liked that.

The Baldridge goal was to have a life centered on owning and operating a mill for a community. They wanted a small farming operation for themselves, including cattle as well as raising crops. But, they wanted the mill. This was a life Robert had come to know. He felt competent in this line of work, and enjoyed meeting diverse people that was a natural part of this type of work. Farming can sometimes be a lonely life. That was not what Robert and Susannah sought. They wanted to be part of a community with many interactions with others. A thriving community needs these kind of people.

They sought a fertile valley with virgin soil to farm


Henry McDonald Family

Henry and Laura McDonald, along with their son, Harry, were similar people to the Baldridge family. Basically, they were farm folks, and wanted to continue farming as their primary occupation. But, they also had more to their dreams and aspirations. Laura, in particular, was intriguing to me. On the surface, she appeared to be just a farm wife. In spending more time with this family, however, I discovered that both of them were avid readers, and had a fine collection of books. Laura’s family tradition was that they were descended from William Wallace of Scotland, and she was constantly reading new material to seek to support that family history. Just that fact that she was always trying to expand her knowledge, and her husband, Henry, and son, Harry, did as well, attracted me to them.

Henry and Harry were each also very attentive to their animals. They had oxen, mules, milk cows and beef cattle. They chose and bred their animals carefully and cared for each of them as members of their family. Harry was growing up especially attentive to their animals. I also learned that even as a very young man, he was already a crack shot with his rifle. His mother said she never wanted for meat for the table with Harry around. Henry wanted to start a farm on virgin soil, so his goal was to find a river valley that had good farmland. He was especially interested in locating such a place that had not previously been farmed. He was certain such a place was available to the south and east of where he was currently working in the lumber camps and earning money to buy that land. Along with Robert Baldridge, we had begun to explore where that exact place to settle that met each of our needs was located. We just knew it was out there.

They sought a valley with at least one strong stream in it

A strong stream in the valley was necessary
A strong stream in the valley was necessary

Hugh Truesdale, and My Family

As I mentioned earlier, I had come to the lumber camps to set up my blacksmith shop under the sponsorship, so to speak, of Eli Truesdale as he built his own saw mill operation. That had gone well for him, and it got me going well with my blacksmithing. As we got to 1832, however, the special work for him had diminished, and I found I was spending more time shoeing hooves on oxen and mules used in dragging fallen pine trees to the river than anything else. That work was not a part of my long-term plan. However, a side benefit of working with Eli was the opportunity to spend time with and get to know his son, Hugh. Eli had hoped that Hugh would have the same passion for the saw mill business that Eli had. That was not to be. This strapping young man, now 20 in 1832, wanted to be a farmer. He had continued to do farm work on his own, as well as work with his father. But, he was now ready to break away from his father, I learned, and get out on his own. I suspect that talking to me about our plans, especially with Henry McDonald, may have influenced him a bit.

Another, perhaps stronger, influence was that he had gotten to know my daughter, Victoria. Though she was only 15 at that time, she was a very mature young lady, with ideas of her own. They seemed to more and more include him, as the months went by. Along the way, my wife, Kate, and I also grew quite fond of young Hugh, as well. A young, clear-minded, strong fellow made a good addition to our group. That brought the group to eleven. [See JP3, 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 

      7 months ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure. They didn't all wait for the starting gun, either... amazing stories. Many winners, and losers. Must have been chaotic!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I was watching a documentary about the Oklahoma Land Rush last night....pretty amazing, really, tens of thousands, like your relative, lined up waiting for the starting gun, and racing across the Prairie in search of the perfect property.


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