Springfield - Graduation
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We moved to Springfield about October 1, 1863. The things we took with us were loaded on a Conestoga Wagon, sent to Bloody Run (named so during the Indian Massacres and now known as Everett) and from there shipped to Ohio.
I was sent ahead of the wagon and after seeing everything safely on the freight car, I went by train to Pittsburgh staying at the Monongahela House until the family arrived. We rented a house on Limestone Street in Springfield and father rented a large store room. He employed from four to six clerks; William Sloan of Fulton County was one of them. Father had two partners. With the first one, Mr. Dinwiddie, he disagreed. The second one was Joseph Counts. Father should have made money in Springfield, but he was too conservative and the business was a large one. He disagreed also with Joseph Counts and finally in 1865, father sold out to Mr. Counts.
John Dinwiddie was a very nice man. After he and father dissolved their partnership, he presented me with a handsome silver top ebony cane. Later on, in New Wilmington, I was walking with my future wife one evening when a student on the street made an insulting remark. I stepped aside and struck him with this cane. The blow broke the cane.
We had been living in Springfield three years. My mother was happier there than she had ever been and it was a sad day to her when they moved away. She had made many friends who were congenial and she loved the town. According to her diary, they left Springfield on December 5, 1865. Father came East with the idea of looking about first and possibly locating in Baltimore--going into business with W. K. Carson & Son (wholesale coffee and tea merchants), but post-war business depression was extreme and according to Ma's diary, they were forced to go back to Webster Mills. She never ceased to regret it.
When we first went to Springfield, father wished me to enter Wurtemburg College, a Lutheran school in the town, but this was one time I rebelled and for a year I was a clerk in father's store. During that year, I studied French under a French woman, Miss Haguerre.
While we were in Springfield, my sister married Thomas Erskine Carson, on January 18, 1865. They lived in Baltimore. They had four children, Herbert McKenzie, now Superintendent of the Erie Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad; Reverend Ralph Erskine, a missionary first in Egypt and then in the Sudan, South Africa, who died in El Paso, Texas, in 1922; Reverend Ernest Houston, a clergyman in Spokane, Washington; and Ethel Cromwell, wife of the Reverend Charles H. Robinson of Wheeling, West Virginia. There are eleven grandchildren. Sister Henrietta is eighty-eight years old and has three great grandchildren.
When we had lived a year in Springfield, I returned to Westminster College, entering the junior class. I had been there but two or three days when I met the girl who was to be my wife. She was walking with two girls I had known when there before, Molly Pearson and Jennie King. I stopped, of course, and was introduced to Kate Campbell of Greenville, Pa., who was just entering college. I fell in love with her at once and never swerved in my devotion to her. She was the prettiest girl I ever saw.
The two literary societies were very active, holding a contest each year. I was elected essayist for the year 1866 by the Philo Society. My closest friend at college was Jim Watt of Kenton, Ohio. He was four years my senior. He became a lawyer and practiced in his home town. We were friends and exchanged letters all through his lifetime--he died in 1918. He was a great fellow! I had been married three years when my first child was born and after the first year almost every letter I received from Jim would close with "Let me know, Pat, when to send you the cradle."
Some of my other college friends were Homer Stewart, later a lawyer in Youngstown, Ohio; Jim Stewart, Pat Cooley, Dave Brown, John Francis, Will Owens and Jim Taggart.
The faculty of Westminster at that time was the original faculty, founders of the college. The President was James Patterson, D. D. The other members of the faculty were Dr. William Mahard, Dr. George C. Vincent, Dr. William D. Findley, Dr. Andrew Black and Professor T. M. Cummings. The class of '66 was the last class graduated under this faculty.
I resent the fact that when the new Main Hall which replaced the old building that was burned in 1927 was dedicated, no mention was made of the original faculty nor any sort of memorial placed to their memory, notwithstanding the fact that I called this to the attention of the Alumni Association.
Dr. Findley, Professor of Latin, preached in a church out of town every Sabbath, so that on Monday mornings he was unable to teach his first two classes and in my junior year he made me a substitute and for two years I had the freshman and sophomore Latin on Monday mornings. One morning during class, I heard a student to my left whisper "Let's carry Pat out." The message started down the line (in whispers, of course) while I considered, and quickly decided that "discretion was the better part of valor." I suddenly dismissed the class, much to the boys' disappointment.
I was shortstop on the first baseball team of Westminster College in 1865. A friend of your mother's (Kate Campbell) came back from Australia and brought her a gorgeous white ostrich plume. She wore it on a turban hat. This always enabled me to locate her in the crowd Sabbath evening after church. It was important for me to reach her side promptly or someone else would get there first. One evening I was unable to locate the white plume. Homer Stewart was six feet four inches tall and in an instant he had grabbed me and lifted me high above the crowd with "Find that plume, Pat!" -- and I did.
Father and mother came to see me graduate--it was a proud day. I was twenty-one years old and I wore a frock coat to the exercises. The subject of my oration was "True and False Nobility". My class numbered twenty-one and about one-third were girls. I graduated in June 1866.
Kate did not take the classical course. She was a music student of Miss Ella Mahard's and quite gifted, I think. She did not return to school after 1866 and taught school for two years thereafter. I visited her frequently and was her faithful suitor.
On one occasion, Kate was making a long visit to Dr. and Mrs. Swisher of Canton, Ohio. Her uncle was a prominent surgeon and her Aunt Sue, sister to Kate's father, Joseph Campbell, was a sweet and lovely woman. I met many of their friends there, of course, and Kate and I became engaged before I came away.
Had I gone to the school of my choice, I should not have met your mother. This was in Academia, Juniata County. The head of the school was a widely known and wonderful teacher, Dr. Alexander, a fine man, but my parents felt I was too young to be entirely on my own (I was not sixteen). As they knew Erskine Carson of Baltimore, several years my senior, and he had already entered Westminster, I was put in his care and sent to New Wilmington. So I never got to Tuscarora Academy.
For the first three months, Erskine and I roomed together at Fort Buchanan. We called all the boarding houses "forts". We took our meals with some cousins of ours, Mr. and Mrs. John Hunter. John was a brother of Ma's cousin, Polly Hunter, and his wife was Ann Johnston. For two years I roomed with Jim Amberson (Doctor Amberson later) of Waynesboro, Pa.
When I was graduated from Westminster, I was thinking seriously of studying law, but mother and father were opposed to the idea and they earnestly counselled me to enter the Theological Seminary. I was very reluctant to do this and I am quite sure it was the influence of my mother whom I adored, which finally made me decide to enter the Theological Seminary of Allegheny with the understanding that if I did not feel truly inclined to the ministry, I should not continue. I entered the Seminary in February, 1867, and by the following Christmas I felt I should not continue and when I went home at the holidays, I found my mother very ill. We realized that she was seriously ill. I was her almost constant companion and nurse until she died December 31, 1869.
I think there was an impression that your mother, to whom I was then engaged, was not in favor of my becoming a preacher. Such is a mistake. Kate at no time raised the slightest objection to my entering the ministry.
My brother Web had been at college two years. He had a brilliant mind, was temperamental, erratic and inclined to be wild. He was a handsome fellow with a winning and lovable personality. He did not return to college in the fall of '67. Shortly after this time he became engaged to Miss Lillian Pott of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He died in January 1872, two years after the death of my mother, at the age of twenty-three. Utter disregard of health was surely the cause of his early death. A heavy cold followed by hemorrhages from the lungs and the end came in a few months. I nursed him those last few weeks and he died in my arms. A gay and happy youth--one thinks of him always with a shake of the head and a tender smile.
Introduction … by David Hunter Patterson
Chapter 1 … The Valley of the Big Cove
Chapter 2 … The Tall Oaks & Towering Pines of Gallant Little Fulton
Chapter 3 … The Pattersons and the Hunters
Chapter 4 … Concerning Some of my Forbears
Chapter 5 … Childhood Memories
Chapter 6 … Some Church History
Chapter 7 … Boyhood Days
Chapter 8 … I Go Away to School
Chapter 9 … Incidents of the Civil War
Chapter 10 … Springfield - Graduation
Chapter 11 … Your Mother
Chapter 12 … A Quaker Family of Western Pennsylvania
Chapter 13 … From 1870 to 1880
Chapter 14 … Home Again at Webster Mills
Chapter 15 … The Centennial - I Buy a Farm and get into Politics
Chapter 16 … Last Years in the Old Home
Epilogue … by Elizabeth Patterson Neeson
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