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These pages have been written from notes taken during the past six months Father and I have sat together in the evenings. His recurring comment has been, "Oh, this is not worth telling," or "That is not worth the time it will take to read it," or, and oftener than any other remark, "This cannot be told without too much 'I'". So, in these last pages I shall sketch some of the later activities in which he has been the leading spirit of the community.
Back of any accomplishment in every locality there must be someone who with sincere enthusiasm and infinite labor, can get the attention and interest of the public and put over the enterprise, whatever it may be. In the past years, Hunter Patterson has been the one in a number of instances to do just that, and he was never in the least disturbed by adverse criticism or the fact that in some cases the credit went to others, or that at the eleventh hour when success was practically assured, the matter would be taken out of his hands.
A very small and amusing instance of this occurred many years ago in Ayr Township. The school house at Webster Mills was to have a flag. Father gave the flag pole and the flag. There was a flag-raising ceremony, and father presided at the meeting and a good program followed. The secretary of the meeting sent in an account of the affair to the county newspaper, giving a detailed report of the whole proceedings and the participants in the program--except father, whose name was not mentioned. His friends were highly indignant, but father thought it was a good joke.
In 1918, during the big Red Cross Drive, as president of the Fulton County Chapter, he conducted a campaign, traveling over the entire county, holding meetings, offering prizes to the different townships, etc., etc. $10,000 was raised for the cause in little Fulton.
In 1917 the Reverend William J. Lowe became pastor of the two Federated Churches in McConnellsburg (the Reformed and the Presbyterian). He is a man of middle age, upstanding, broad-minded and public spirited. These characteristics brought about a great friendship between him and father. In that year the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association was organized and Reverend Lowe was made Chairman of the Central Committee and D. H. Patterson, Chairman of the Finance Committee, with the result that four beautiful large bronze tablets containing the names of the twelve hundred Fulton County Soldiers who served in the Civil, Spanish American and World War were placed on the front of the Court House. These tablets were dedicated on November 13, 1920, with appropriate ceremonies, the address being made by the Honorable William C. Sproal, Governor of Pennsylvania.
In 1923 the County Historical Society was organized with D. H. Patterson as President and Reverend William J. Lowe, Secretary, and on July 26, 1924, the site of Fort Littleton, one of the frontier defenses of the Province of Pennsylvania in the French and Indian Wars, built in 1756 by Governor Robert Hunter Morris, was marked with a monument furnished by the County Historical Society to which was attached an inscribed oblong bronze tablet furnished by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission.
During the Civil War, a cavalry engagement occurred in McConnellsburg on June 30, 1963, between a company of Union men under Captain Jones and a Confederate company under Captain Irwin. In this battle, two Confederate soldiers were killed. They were buried by the side of the road where they fell, on the Mercersburg Turnpike. on July 2, 1929, the County Historical Society cooperating with the Elliott Grays Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy of Virginia and North Carolina, erected a monument to the memory of these soldiers. The unveiling ceremony was a delightful occasion. The presentation addresses were made by Honorable Rosewell Page for Virginia, Mrs. W. A. Roberts of Virginia, Dr. Archibald Rutledge of North Carolina and Adjutant General J. Van B. Metts for the Governor of North Carolina. The acceptance addresses were by Dr. Hiram H. Shenk, Historian of Pennsylvania and Judge Donald P. McPherson for Fulton County.
The officers of the County Historical Society have now under consideration the erection of two markers--one in Bethel Township at the site of the old Block House back in the frontier days and the other on the John B. Patterson Farm where General Bradley T. Johnston with his army of Confederate soldiers camped for a night in '64 and in the morning made a hurried departure on the hearing of the approach of General Averill of the Union Army.
For some years father has been much interested in his Men's Bible Class in the United Presbyterian Sunday School. He is a fine Bible student and enjoys teaching this class and for the past year he has not been absent one Sabbath morning. In our childhood at Webster Mills we did not go to Sunday School but on Sabbath afternoons he always instructed us in the Day's Lesson.
In the past ten years since coming to McConnellsburg, father has had a real estate office to which he goes every day except in the most severe winter weather. He has probably written more deeds and agreements and secured more pensions for more widows of veterans than anyone in the county, except possible the attorneys-at-law.
In the old days when in business at Webster Mills, he accepted more scrub colts and poor cows--with a past--in payment of debts that anyone will ever remember! He has not acquired worldly wealth, but he has more friends than anyone we know. His optimism and his keen sense of humor are two traits that have survived poor health, discouragements and tragedies.
A stanza from Robert Browning's "Asolondo" describes him:
"One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed tho' right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held--we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake."
April 2, 1930 Elizabeth Patterson Neeson
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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This page was last updated on Monday, 10-Sep-2018 09:15:11 MDT
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