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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP29 - Jake Remembered the Effects of the Gold Rush of 1849

Updated on July 16, 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.

In 1849, the Nation was Fixated on the Gold Rush in California

A Gold Rush Stamp
A Gold Rush Stamp

Jake Recalled the Gold Rush year of 1849 in the Valley

In American history, 1849 is probably best remembered as the Gold Rush year. Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley were not totally immune to Gold Rush fever, it turned out. Although everyone talked about it, only one family actually got caught up in it. Frances Holt sold his farm to his neighbor, Grant Carroll. He took off for Springfield to join up with a group of ‘forty-niners’ hoping to get rich in the California Gold Fields. His wife, Elizabeth, left the valley with him, with the stated intent of going to live with relatives in the Springfield area until he could send for her or come back with his riches. I am not aware of anyone ever hearing from either of them again. We feared others might do the same, but they never did. I was happy to see that the valley was meeting their current needs.


Robert and Susannah Baldridge had purchased the south half of Block N in Oak Springs, diagonally northwest across Central Avenue from the General Store. In the fall of 1848, as promised, they had build their new residence on Lot 3. In the spring of 1849, they began work on what became a feed store and lumberyard on Lot 4, at the corner of Central Avenue and what was being called Patton Street or Patton Road (running east-west between the General Store on the south and the Tavern on the north). This provided a central valley location from which to sell products produced by the mill operation in the east valley. Over time, it developed into a major Oak Springs business.


In the east valley in 1849, Harry and Sarah McDonald had their youngest son, Alex, joining Caroline, 6, Thomas, 4, and Patrick, 2. Also in the McDonald household, of course, were Grandpa Henry and his son, Harry’s brother, Daniel, now 11. In the west valley, Nathan and Sharon Bishop also had a son. They named him Joey. Those two boys were the only ones born in the valley, in 1849, as I recall.

Jake and Kate Patton Hosted Many Dinner Parties in Jefferson City

A Carriage Arriving at a Dinner Party
A Carriage Arriving at a Dinner Party

Jake Talked About the Dinner Parties He Hosted in Jefferson City

I spent more time than usual on political activities in 1849, as it turned out, including quite a bit of time in Jefferson City. I think Kate may have spent more time there than any other year, as well. While attending to legislative business, and my re-election, we also kept up quite a round of dinner parties whenever we were in residence there. I used these dinner parties to be sure to interact with all the ‘right people’ that I could in order to work at meeting my goals and objectives. I had read how Thomas Jefferson had done this very effectively and patterned my activities after his. I felt this was a pretty good model.


One of my motives for some of those dinner parties was to introduce people to our home of Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley. I did not necessarily expect any of our guests to actually move there, but to give them the information to talk about it to their friends and family members who might be considering a move to a new area. Often both Hugh and his father, Eli Truesdale, were among the invited guests. Eli liked to tell how we organized our initial trek near the Big Piney lumber area where he was active. Hugh, of course, was a great spokesman for our valley. We always mentioned the high degree of support and interaction among the residents as well as our Fourth Sunday events that encouraged those activities.


Levi Weston was a frequent guest, as well, along, from time to time, with his father, Jacob, who ran a major regional freight line. Harry McDonald was able to come up a few times, and enjoyed interacting with Jacob and sharing information about our valley with both Jacob and Levi. Harry and Jacob knew each other because they each worked with some common freight stations. I noticed how several times Harry mentioned that our valley did not yet have a wagon builder or a woodworker, when those subjects came up. Harry became a very effective recruiter, it turned out. I think Levi actually began to think about joining us in the valley one day.

Developments Continued in the Oak Creek Valley and in Oak Springs

A scene in the valley
A scene in the valley

Jake Recalled Other Town Development Activities

I had mentioned earlier that each of the new Oak Springs Town Council members agreed to purchase two lots from the Town in order to provide working capital and a start toward a capital fund. Robert purchased his two lots as mentioned above. I purchased Lot 1 on Block T to expand the work space for the General Store to the east. Kate and I also purchased Lot 1 of Block W as the start of two residential blocks south and east of the community building. We planned to build a new residence there. Victor Campbell purchased Lots 3 and 4 just south of us for his new town residence. Hugh and Victoria purchased Lot 2 of Block W, just east of us, for their new town residence. They also purchased Lot 1 and Lot 3 of Block L, as an eastward expansion of the Livery and a planned Sale Barn. Owen Olson purchased Lots 2 and 4 of Block Y to expand his residential area to the west.


It was also during this relative time period that Victor and I began discussions that eventually led to formation of the Oak Springs Savings Bank. That activity occurred over a number of months, a couple of years, actually. Getting organized from our mutual points of view, determining who else to involve initially, and then doing the paperwork for all the required permits from the state and others was a time-consuming process. It was well worth the effort in the long run, of course, but somewhat tedious and even painful sometimes during the process. But, it was just one more key element of creating our town and continuing success of the business operations of the valley.

[See JP30, 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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Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Interesting observation. Interesting subject!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The Gold Rush is one of those events which had a huge impact on growth, but it's also one which receives very little historical credit. It was nice to see you mention it.

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