From 1870 to 1880
- * -
My brother Web was with me in business until a few weeks before he died and father was free of the store. While he had never done farm work, almost every day he mounted his horse from the big "upon block" in front of the house and rode over the farm, seeing and overseeing everything. In 1871, he began spending much time in McConnellsburg, coming home over Sabbath. He was helping Uncle Tom in his store (Uncle Tom's wife had had a mental breakdown) and I never suspected there was any other attraction. When father told me in the early spring of '72 that very shortly he would be married to Mrs. Sarah Scott, widow of Dr. Samuel Scott, it came as a shock to me, but he assured me that we, Kate and I, were firmly fixed at Webster Mills and that he and his wife would live in McConnellsburg, in a house she owned. I am sure father believed this, but he had not reckoned with Sarah!
I was making money and we felt anchored. Father was married in May and they lived at the "Wollett House" for a little while. Mrs. Patterson soon sold her house to Mr. Over and it is now owned by Mr. Charles Stevens.
In a short time, without any reference to what had been previously said, father told me they wished to come to Webster Mills to live and proposed that Kate and I move up into the little stone house, consisting of two rooms downstairs and two upstairs and occupied just then by the family of Jane the cook (this plan was undoubtedly Sarah's, not father's). In a patronizing and honeyed manner, Sarah began a system of persecution--especially of your mother--complaining to father of petty slights (imagined or invented) for which apologies from your mother were expected. To keep peace, your dear mother did this. Father, to whom Kate had been kind and thoughtful always, now became critical, antagonistic and embittered.
I point blank refused to go into the little stone house and sold my stock of goods to father, who in a very little while, in 1873, sold it to Mr. William Hiteshew and he in turn sold it to Mr. Jacob Reisner in 1877. We moved to Allegheny in October, 1872. We boarded for awhile with Aunt Mary Carson, who had left home on the farm south of McConnellsburg after her mother died. Grandma Sarah Burns Patterson died in '70 or '71. Aunt Mary lived with her mother after losing her husband, until after her mother's death, when she moved to Allegheny to be near her daughter, Mrs. Riddle (Anna). Her son, "Pat" (Thomas Patterson Carson) was then in Peru, Pa., in the store of Robert Patterson and much later married Lilly Patterson, sister of Robert Patterson. After their marriage they went to Arizona. he was superintendent of silver mines; they had two children, Ross and James. Ross is in the automobile business, James became an aviator and went to France during the World War. I do not know where they are located at present. Lilly and Pat died in the West. Pat was a great friend of ours and the children loved him.
Well, as I was saying, we boarded with Aunt Mary. We were expecting our first baby sometime in February and very shortly your mother went to Mercer County to be with her mother until after the event.
I had an opportunity to buy a good grocery business on the corner of Federal Street and "The Diamond" from a Mr. Wilson Smith. I took the store over in January '73. Our daughter, Elizabeth, was born on February 18th and on April 1st we moved into a little home on Franklin Street, moving a year later to Ledlie Street.
Recently I read a letter from father dated Christmas Day 1872 in which he describes a fire occurring just before daylight that morning:
"The family were up very early in order that Mr. Ferguson, the minister and an overnight guest might have an early start for McConnellsburg, where at 8:30 o'clock he was to perform the marriage ceremony for Dr. Cook and Sarah Seylar. The Large Stone House, lived in by Milton Unger the farmer tenant, took fire and before we could put it out it burned the back building (summer kitchen) to the ground. We succeeded in saving the main building, everything being favorable--a heavy snow on the roof and but little wind. I thought at one time it would all go. All hands turned in and worked faithfully, except Milton. I worked from 7:00 o'clock until 10 o'clock and when the fire was extinguished I was perfectly exhausted and went to bed for a good rest. Mr. Ferguson came back for dinner and started for home a few minutes ago; we had a pleasant time notwithstanding the fire. I am truly thankful to a merciful God that it was no worse. Mr. Ferguson has just returned, could not get across the mountain owing to the snowdrifts--he will likely stay until the Sabbath. You perhaps would like to know how the fire occurred. The little girl was left in a room upstairs, with a candle, her mother had a new infant two days old, and she says she set some clothes on fire before she came downstairs. I think the fire could have been prevented when first discovered--but so it is, and I will not say a word reflecting on anyone. It was an accident and cannot be helped."
There was a very heavy snowfall and when black Tilly (six feet tall) arrived at the scene of the fire, she set to work and seriously and methodically made large snowballs and threw them into the fire. Jacob Reisner from the store came running and not stopping to use the bridge, he waded right through the creek and as he reached the house, one of the women handed him a package saying, "Take this to the little stone house." He rushed over, opened the door and threw the package inside--it was the new baby! Uncle George Hunter rushed into the main building which did not burn, ran to the garret and snatched several yards of stuffed sausage handing from the rafters. On reaching the yard he opened the outside bake oven, flung in the sausage and shouted, "If some of you men don't do something, the whole d---d house will burn!"
Will, I've gone far afield--where was I? Oh yes, we moved to a house on Ledlie Street. We joined the Fourth U. P. Church in Allegheny, one of the largest U. P. churches in the city. Dr. William Fulton was the pastor and we became warm friends before he died six months later. Your mother and I enjoyed the church activities and we made some very pleasant acquaintances. Some of my good friends were Joseph McNaugher, Major Monroe, James Leach, J. W. Arrott, John Hopkins, J. W. Grove and many others.
I had a very good business in Allegheny and made money until the panic of that year. This was the worst panic this country had ever experienced. In the same square with my store, nineteen business houses went into bankruptcy. The terrible slump in business made the strain terrific. I held on "by the skin of my teeth" until 1877. Then I decided to sell out to "Pat" Carson who was then my partner and had been since '76. I know now I made a mistake. Two of my good friends, men much older than I, came to me offering to finance me and insisting on my staying in Allegheny. My health was not good at the time and I allowed that to weigh in the balance. I should have remained. When I went to Allegheny, I had about four thousand dollars and when I sold out I had lost most of it.
Our second child, Blanche Cromwell, was born April 29, 1875, and in May 1877, I brought my family to McConnellsburg, renting half of the house occupied my Miss Sara ("Sada") and Miss Hepsibeh Greathead, now owned by Mr. William Nesbit. We were there a year and during the year little "Lizzie", aged four and a half, went to Mrs. Sterrett's private school. Mrs. Sterrett was the grandmother of Miss Elsie Greathead. Blanche was a little tow-haired baby of two and a half years who when she wanted something she could not have, would turn blue and rigid and finally and always get very sick at her stomach, frightening your mother nearly to death until she learned to throw a cup of cold water in her face. A very effective cure!
While we were still in that house (1877), as I came up the street one day I saw my eldest child seated on the front door step with a paper bag in her arm. Standing nearby was an old white-haired darky, Jim Neece, with a basket of chestnuts on his arm and as I drew near I heard my little girl say "just charge them to my Papa, Jim!"
In '78 I bought a new house now owned by Dr. J. W. Mosser. It had a nice big yard at the back where the children had good times and down at the end of it stood a shanty which housed a colored family--a big brood of little darkies all sizes and ages.
I had gone into partnership with Uncle Tom Patterson, but this did not last long and in '79 I became bookkeeper and cashier for the firm of W. K. Carson & Son, wholesale coffee and tea merchants of Baltimore. This "tided" me over for six months. On August 12th of this year my son J. Campbell was born. The day after the boy arrived, Blanche was down at Uncle Tom's and the first thing she said was "we've a baby at our house and he's white!"
The children went to the Methodist Sunday School. The church was across the street from our home. One Sabbath afternoon I went to the yard to see what the children were doing. I found Elizabeth mounted on a big box preaching, and Blanche seated down in front of her, saying at short intervals, "Amen! Amen!" One day they were at Uncle Tom's who had several little boys and we found them all solemnly holding a communion service, much to Uncle Tom's horror!
My position with the Carson firm was followed by one in the office of R. B. Wigton & Sons, a coal mining company at Morrisdale, Pa. After I had been with them for some months, I was offered the superintendency of the mines, but before I accepted, my stepmother died from paralysis. This was in May, 1880.
Again duty called me, or so I thought it did, and being strongly urged by father, I bought the store once again, this time from Jacob Reisner. As soon as I could sell my house we removed to Webster Mills as we had done just ten years before so that father might have a home. I was now about thirty-six years old. During these years in McConnellsburg, your mother had quite a large music class. Shortly after I took back the business at Webster Mills, I built a warehouse connecting it with the store room.
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
This website is part of the USGenWeb Project for Pennsylvania and is the county level site for Fulton County, Pennsylvania research.
Return to the PAGenWeb Project homepage.
This page was last updated on Monday, 10-Sep-2018 09:15:11 MDT
Address all comments or questions about this webpage to Bill Patterson