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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP23 - Jake Recalled the Changes in the Valley in 1843

Updated on June 4, 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.

The roads in the area were improved, as Jake recalled

A trail road through a forest
A trail road through a forest

Jake Remembered That The Roads Were Getting Better by 1843

Other parts of the state were also undergoing reorganization of counties as more people moved into the area to settle down and grow the population of Missouri. Early in the year of 1843 I learned that the country to the west, including the lumber camps, had been established as Ashley County. I had visited once in the summer, to check on some investments there. I realized a village was forming to the south of where the main lumber camps had been located. We knew there had been increasing population along the road in that direction. Henry and Harry had kept us updated with news of new settlements that had continued to contribute to the development and improvements in that road. Some of the new families in the valley had come along that road.


Speaking of roads, what had been a trail, along Oak Creek to the southeast, was now developing into a road as well, toward the county seat of Eminence. I continued to make that trip, three times in 1843, as I recall. A road to the north was developing about a quarter of mile west of the mill, through the Baldridge place. A few farmers several miles to the north continued to bring their grains through the woods to be milled here in the valley. I tried to spend some time at the mill every month. Robert was doing a fine job adding improvements to serve his customers. He continued to increase the size of his cattle herd each year. He was becoming a real stockman, along with his son, David.


In the spring of 1843, Frances and Elizabeth Holt, a young newly wed couple down from the north, purchased 160 acres and settled into their new house just west of Center Creek and on the north side of the East-West road. About a month after the Holt’s arrival, Jacob and Patsy Pryor bought the 160 acre farm just east of the Holt’s and built their house on the east side of Center Creek.

Ralph was brought to the central valley to work with the mule breeding business

A pair of working mules
A pair of working mules

Jake Has Happy to Have Ralph Campbell Working in the Central Valley

After spring planting season in 1843, we three partners in the mule breeding partnership decided it was time for someone to be on-site on a regular basis. Victor suggested that his eighteen-year-old son, Ralph Campbell, was well suited for the job and was interested in doing that. So, Ralph moved to the central valley being available regularly to work for the mule breeding partnership operation. Previously we had gotten along with part-time help, supervised by the partners.


Also, during that summer, seeing the success of Donagan’s Tavern, I began construction of what would become a two-story hotel immediately to the north of the Tavern. Our hotel was intended to cater to a somewhat different clientele than the tavern, and that worked out well. Especially in the beginning, it also served the needs for a boarding house, for longer term guests, for instance. Women felt more a ease at our hotel than at the tavern, I was told. Over time, both establishments prospered.


Early on, this property was also the staging area for eventual development of a livery stable north of where the hotel was being built. We had been using that area for the horses and mules and already had some sheds built there. Now, we were transitioning the areas to new uses as we continued on with what we had been doing before. Having Ralph there full-time, also helped, a lot. Before long, he could stay in the hotel building and use it as his base of operations. I used him part-time with the building of the hotel, as well, which helped reduce his costs to the partnership. It was a good use of all of our resources. Ralph quickly became a valuable community resource, looking after many of the details as I spent my time developing other interests, as well.

Jake welcomed new grandson, Lewis, to the valley

A baby boy
A baby boy

1843 Had Brought Jake and Kate Another Grandchild

In mid-June, Hugh and Victoria Truesdale became parents a second time, this time a son, Lewis, to join sister, Jane, now 6. Kate and I were thrilled to become grandparents for the second time, as well, of course. Also during that summer, Harry McDonald and Sarah Baldridge, in August, also added to the valley population with the birth of their first child, a daughter, Caroline. She became the sixth McDonald in the household. The McDonald family had made the decision when Harry and Sarah married to add on to their cabin rather than build a new one. Harry McDonald’s younger brother, Daniel, was now an active 5 year-old. It was a very prudent decision by and for this family.


As I recall, that was also the summer that the Bartlett family added a daughter and the Duncan family added a another son. The valley population was slowly growing internally along side the addition of a family or two each year from the outside. As noted by the activity at the Tavern, and the General Store I might add, there was ever more increasing travel through the valley, now that roads were improving a bit. Day labor was often available from some folks passing through. Some stayed days, weeks, even months, then moved on. While I suppose some folks were concerned this added instability to our population, I saw it as normal growth. More people, more growth to the economy.


As I noted earlier, the General Store now saw a regular pattern of business. Kate was able to slowly grow her inventory so more items could be depended on being available most of the time. Her orders helped keep the freight runs profitable for the McDonalds. More inventory meant more steady profit for the store. She supplied the Tavern as well, of course, so as their business thrived, so did hers. The same applied to the Hotel when it got going. I was pretty confident that my Hotel would add to that prosperity for us all. I believe it did, over the long haul.

[See JP24, 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 

      5 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure, Bill, for sure!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Roughly speaking they were roads and yes, that was a play on words. :)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Mary. I find that aspect especially intriguing!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Again another interesting account of how development takes place. I am sure every city can tell a story.

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