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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP21 - Jake Saw New County And Township Formed In 1841

Updated on May 21, 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.

Township Trustees were responsible for roads and bridges

A typical stone arch bridge of early rural days
A typical stone arch bridge of early rural days

Jake Recalled How The New County And Township Came Into Being

After participating in several more county reorganization meetings, I was very pleased to see a new county, Shannon, created in late January of 1841, out of Ripley County, that including our valley as Oak Creek Township, as we had requested. As expected, the county seat would be centrally located at what would be Eminence, where we had been meeting regarding the reorganization. A key element of the enabling legislation that set up our Oak Creek Township was the call for election of three Township Trustees, for the West, Central and East sectors of the valley. Trustees would be responsible for roads and bridges, cemeteries, and contact with the County Commissioners on items of interest on behalf of the Township.

During the summer we held the elections required, even with the few residents we had, to make the Trustees official. Robert Baldridge was elected as East Township Trustee. Victor Campbell was elected as West Township Trustee, and I was elected Central Township Trustee. Now, with these offices filled and in place, some other things we had talked about informally regarding roads and bridges, for example, could actually be considered as potential official policy. Over time, some ‘outside funding’ out of money we would be paying in county taxes anyway, could be brought back into our Township for the highest priority of these items being considered.

During my time at, and between, meetings in the Eminence area, I had been approached by a local resident who had recently sold his tavern operation there. He approached me with the idea of establishing such a business in the Oak Creek valley. I was familiar with his business and his reputation there. I knew the number of persons traveling through the valley had continued to increase during our time here. These people needed meals and occasionally overnight accommodations. He was proposing just such an establishment. I let him know I was considering his proposals, and kept asking him questions each time I saw him.

Several of the creeks in the valley needed bridges at certain times of the year

There were several creeks in the valley
There were several creeks in the valley

Jake Remembered There Was One New Family in 1841

Michael and Amanda Duncan, along with their less than a year old son, were the only new permanent residents in the valley in 1841. They located on the Western Branch on the 160 acres located between the George King and Eli Rhodes families. The land had already been surveyed because of its location so their purchase was easy to complete.

It was also during this spring, as I recall, that people started talking with Kate and I about constructing a ‘community building’ south of the General Store where we regularly met for Fourth Sundays. We also frequently met there when the occasional circuit riders came through the valley and wanted to conduct services. Sometimes inclement weather made that difficult. They wanted a place to meet that was protected. This discussion also arose along with my comments that a gentleman had approached me about building a tavern north of the General Store. Some folks liked one of the ideas and not the other. Some objected to both. Some like both ideas. I remember I put a lot of thought into my decision, and continued to talk to everyone about the ideas being suggested.

A new community building was added in 1841

Typical of log construction
Typical of log construction

Jake And Kate Talked About The Two Buildings Being Proposed And Made A Decision

Kate and I talked about each of these building proposals at length. It was really up to us because they were each being proposed on our land. It would be up to us whether or not either could or would be done. Ace Donagan had actually originally proposed a long term lease for the tavern. He said that was his preferred approach. He would build and operate the two story building, with four rooms for rent on the upper floor. The lower floor would include a kitchen to serve a limited food offering along with a bar for drinks. It was what travelers wanted and needed.

By the fall, Kate and I decided that the best approach would be to do each project at basically the same time. We would make the land available, to Mr. Donagan on a long term lease, and to the general public for the Community Building if the community would furnish the material and labor for the building. As we developed the plans for both properties, I was careful to assure they were placed in such a way as to conform to a plan that had begun to take shape in my mind for a town in this location. The central road would run north and south between the General Store on the east and the Blacksmith/Gunsmith Shop on the west. To the north of the General Store, which already faced on this ‘central street,’ the Tavern would be placed to face to the west, onto that ‘street’ as well. To the south, the Community Building would be placed and faced similarly. The land it faced was already practically a park, anyway, over to the little pond and what we were calling ‘Patton Run’ - the water way from the spring and pond, south and west to Center Creek.

Before winter arrived, the modest Community Building had been constructed and we had entered into a contractual agreement with Mr. Donagan that resulted in his tavern being built over the winter and opened in the spring. He moved into town to supervise the building, hired his part-time helpers, and ran the operation when it opened in the spring of 1842 as planned. It turned out to be a very welcome addition to the community, well received by all - well, almost all - and kept busy and active from the day he opened for business. Similarly, the Community Building, as a community-wide project, was well received and used more that I really expected it would be. Community support had been excellent. With these additions, we had become a ‘town’ in actuality, if not officially. It was time to apply for a Post Office and a name.

[See JP22, 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.

Learn more about The Founding...

American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)
American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)
This book has the full, original set of short stories on the Founding of Oak Springs in the Oak Creek valley for first settlement in 1833 to the Centennial celebrations of 1876

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer


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