An Edited and Annotated Autobiography


Of Ed Patton Footnote


Dale, Oklahoma


(FEBRUARY 2, 1940)

 

  

          I was born at Salyersville, Kentucky, on December 17, 1849. I will tell you why it was called Salyersville. A man by the name of Sam Salyers was elected to the State legislature. He was illiterate, didn't know “B” from “A bulls foot.” But he was a comical smart man, a fiddler, could play with his fiddle behind him or in front and dance after his own music. He was the life of both [Kentucky legislative] houses. When the legislative session was near the end, the legislators asked him what he wanted. “I want the county seat called Salyersville,” and the bill was passed without a dissenting vote. Footnote

 

          Now as to my ancestors, so far as I know, my grandfather on my father’s side was from Scotland and moved to Virginia. Then the family moved to Kentucky Footnote and his family included Dabe, Granville, Charley (my father) and two aunts.

 

          Now my mother’s family, the Suttons, was from Tennessee near Nashville. Their names were Matty, Footnote Ed, Louis and Charity Sutton. Matty married a man by the name of Sizemore who shot himself accidentally. The Suttons then moved to Kentucky in the neighborhood where the Pattons lived. Footnote Matty, the oldest one of my mother’s family, married Granville Patton. Footnote My mother, Nancy, married Charley Patton, my father. Thus, two brothers, Granville Footnote and Charley, married sisters, Matty and Nancy.

 

          When I was about five or six years old, I had a shock of curly hair which hung down to my shoulders. Mother would comb it and tell me how pretty it was. Aunt Sally, father’s sister, wanted me to go home with her and stay all night. So I went and as soon as we got there she pulled me down on her lap and cut my hair off close to my head. When I saw that her lap was full of my curly hair, I got mad and began crying and started home. On the way home, I fell and stuck a little sharp rock in my forehead. When I got up, I saw the blood dripping off of my face. Then I started smearing it all over my face with my hands. I got home with my head sheared and all bloody. Mother was mad. We didn't speak to Aunt Sally any more till my hair grew out.

 

          My father’s name was Charley and my mother’s name was Nancy. Their oldest child was Marthey, Footnote then Ed and John, Betty and Sally, the twins, Farney, Darkey and Snitha and Elic. Footnote

 

Charles Patton

 

 

          One of my uncles owned slaves. We lived on joining farms with this uncle. Ben, a Negro boy, about 10 years old, came to our house most every nice morning to play with me. He played like he was a horse. He would get down on his hands and knees with me on his back. He would go around and around the house and the knees of his pants wore out. One day, he thought he would play horse right and we went down to the creek, a swift small stream about 2 feet deep. As I straddled him, he crawled in, put his head down like a horse to drink and rolled over on his side. I fell off him and screamed and went down the stream. Mother heard me and got me out of the stream. I never rode Ben to the creek anymore.

 

          When I was nine or ten years, I began school with my first schoolteacher. It was a bright spring morning and father was out in the field. I saw a man coming, a long, lean, gaunt, bony looking man with a Beegram hat on like Giggs wear. He walked up to the open door and addressed my mother and said “Have you any children you want to go to school?” Mother said yes and invited him in. He leaned over and took hold of his hat and turned it upside down, dropped it on the floor and it sounded like a base drum.

 

          Then mother began talking about the school and asked what price he would charge. He said $1 for each child. But he added “I will take anything a merchant will take such as butter, eggs, chickens, feathers, tallow, beeswax, or gin sang.” Then she asked where would he teach the classes. He replied that if he could get 20 subscribers, we could build a schoolhouse.

 

Nancy Sutton Patton with her son Alexander Patton. Nancy Sutton Patton, wife of Charles Patton and was the mother of Martha Patton Stewart. She was born around 1824 in Virginia and died in 1906 in Rowan County. She is shown with her son, Alexander Patton. Her son was born in September of 1863 when she was 39. Oh, she had a daughter three years later.

 

Alexander "Elic", her son, died in a tragic accident on July 1, 1927 when he was going home to Clearfield and was hit by a train at a crossing. One of his daughters was named Birchie Patton, (1899-1991). On that day, Birchie not only lost her father but her second oldest son who also died in the train accident. His name was Stephen Elmo Caudill and Stephen is buried in the Stewart Cemetery on McBrayer. He was eight years old when he died.

 

          Mother asked him about his teaching and he took a book out of his pocket and read and spelled out in a (baritone) bear tone. Then he took another book out of his pocket and made all kinds or marks. I didn't know what he was doing, but he was explaining an arithmetic lesson.

 

          Then he took a white roll of paper out of his pocket and he tried to unroll it. The paper, however, flew out of his hand, fell on the floor and rattled like pasteboard. He removed a bottle of red ink (poke berry juice) from his pocket, turned his paper upside down, held it down with his left hand, then got his goose quill pen out of his hat band, and with the first stroke he made with that pen squeaked like a rat in a steel trap.

 

Birchie Patton when she was 13 years old. The photo is part of the Cora Wilson Stewart Collection at the University of Kentucky. On the back of the photo Cora wrote: "Birchie Patton, thirteen, year, old girl of Rowan County who won the state second in Tomato Club work for canning 150 gallons from tenth of a basket of tomatoes walking through a tomato patch collecting them" Birchie was born in 1899 and died in 1991. She married Stephen Wilson Caudill in 1916. Stephen is buried in the Stewart cemetery along with his son Stephen Elmo mentioned above. Brichie was probably named after her Aunt Birchie, the wife of Ed Patton, the author of this piece.

 

          Then he went out and got the number of subscribers needed to build a school. He invited the people to come and bring their axes, saws and oxen to the site for the school and they had the school house up in a few days. The building was covered with 4 foot clap boards, not a nail in it. The roof was weighted down with split logs, the flat side layed on the roof to hold it down. Our seats were split logs turned up side down with legs in the round side. We had to set still or the sharp splinters would prick our skins. The seats were on each side of the school room and across one end of the room and the door was on the other end of the room.

 

          The school was built around a big tree stump in the center of the building. The day for school came and we all rushed in and discovered that the teacher made a paddle. On one side he wrote out and on the other side he wrote in . He hung the paddle up at the side of the door and said, “Look here, when one of you goes out, turn this out. That will shows that one of you is out. When you come back, turn this side in. That will show that all of us are in, then another one can go.” Now, none of us could read but we could tell when we could go.

 

          One morning a little dog came in and the teacher with his long switch made a dive at it. The dog just went out through a crack like a scared rat. So the school went on and we all were studying the same words at the same time. We recited at the top of our voices for it was the one that made the most noise who was making the greatest headway. We learned to read and spell in two syllables. We learned all the same words at the same time.

 

           My next teacher was an English man named Stewart. He was a large man with loose skin on his jaws hung that down below his jaw bones just like a chicken’s wings on a hot day. Mr. Stewart stuttered very badly.

 

          He, also, had no time piece and so he would go outside when he wanted to see what time of day it was. He would put his hand up over his eyes, look at the sun and then turn around and see if he could step over his shadow. If the sun was straight up and down, it was 12 o'clock. Then he would start back into the school and his jaw would commence shaking, “pu, pu, pu, put up books,” but we would all have our books up before he could get the word out and school just went on in the same old way.

 

          Then my next school teacher was Bill Grigsby. He was our neighbor and was almost like our family. I can shut my eyes and it seems as if I can see them. Their names were Wes, Andy, Sinth, Pats, Elviry, and Barlo. Well, that was in 1861 when the cruel war first began. Then my father was a prosperous farmer.

 

Joseph Alexander Patton and his cousin Winford Caudill. Joe was the son of Alexander Patton who is in the first photo with his mother Nancy Sutton Patton. Winford Caudill was a son of Birchie Patton and Stephen Caudill.

 

          Then in 1862, there were bands of outlaws roaming over the country side taking everything they wanted. We had a dapple-gray horse which we kept in the barn lot. A man that we knew came and took him. In a month and so one of my cousin came to our house and said Uncle Charley, if you will let Ed go with me, we will go and get your horse. So we went several miles across the county. We found the horse at a log cabin between two hills.

 

          My cousin went to the house. I didn't go. I didn't know how I would take the horse. I saw willow sprouts five or 6 feet tall, not bigger than a pencil. I cut one, pulled out one of my shoe strings, tied it to a willow sprout and the other end around the horses’ under jaw. I called my cousin. We got on the horse and rode to her home where she got off.

          I got home about dark and there had been a bunch of those outlaws there all day. They had burned the fence rails, killed turkeys and geese, made mother cook all day. They had a prisoner and they put had him in the hen house and nailed him up.

 

          About a month later, my cousin came and said that a man had said he would kill, on sight, the boy who took that horse. Father got busy and sold his farm and got Virginia bank money. We had the horses out in the woods at a watering place and carried feed to them. The old blacksmith, Jim Hughes, made shoes and nails. Jim took his kit of tools and shod them.                                                                        

 

          A man we were acquainted with said, “Uncle Charley, I will go with you two or three days to keep the soldiers from taking your horses.” And he went with us for two days and then said, “Well, I will leave you now.” He went on and stopped with an old man by the name or Neem Louis. That night his bunch, or supposed to be, came in and took father’s money and horses. Mother had a part of the money in her stocking leg. They didn't get that.

 

          My brother-in-law [Alexander Stewart] and I were behind driving the hogs and cattle. He and I went on to the Buffalo Furnace in Greenup County, Kentucky, before we knew my family had been robbed. Footnote Feed was so high we couldn't buy feed for the stock. We killed all of our stock. To raise money, we boarded wood choppers at $16 per month.

 

          I will mention one thing I never will forget. On New Year’s Eve night of 1863, it was a warm evening. My brother-in-law [Alexander Stewart] and I went across the county to what they called Old Town. We started back about 12 o'clock. We were going up a kind of a canyon and we heard a sound like low thunder. In five minutes, a hurricane came and the rain smashed the timbers as it came. We happened to be where there was a cliff of rocks. We crouched under it and a tree top crashed down on the rock. The storm was all over in a minute. We got out and it was raining a little. We got wet. When we got on the top of the hill, our clothes were frozen stiff and when we got home we could just kick the door open. After the storm, we chopped 500 cords of wood and made $250. Footnote

 

 

 

          Then my family moved to Rowan County, Kentucky. We bought a farm in the timber. The farm had no house on it but a vacant house was handy. The house had been occupied by men who had a saw mill and grist mill that was operated by water power. The water had failed, however, on account of dry weather. So we stayed the vacant house. It was a long house about 18 x 50 feet long. That was in 1863.

 

          There were roving bands of out laws who didn't belong to any regular command. They would take anything they wanted, horses mostly. They would kill everyone they were mad at. They were looking for two men for whom they had the descriptions. They wanted to kill them.

 

          My family and I were all in bed. A man, a draft dodger, who was staying with us who had been drafted and was trying to keep out of the war. We heard a rap at the door, saying, “Make a light. Only one man move or we will kill every man in the house.”

 

          Fathers said to me to get up and make a light. Then the draft dodger who had been staying with us got up and stuck his clothes under his arm and went for the back door, intending to step out and go under the floor. By this time, I had opened the front door and a dozen guns stuck in my face. I said “Come in, gentlemen.” They saw I was a boy. At that time, our guest opened the back door, A man, however, was standing at the back door with a bayonet on his gun. He punched our guest around to the front door.

 

          By this time the other outlaws in the group had searched the house and discovered an old bachelor who had lived with us for many years was in bed. One of the men whacked him on the head with a gun told him to get up. He rose up on his elbow, groaned, like a horse with colic. My brother who was eight or nine years old was with the old bachelor. One bandit said, “Who is that?” My father replied “That's my little boy” and the bandit said, “He's got the dandiest, biggest head I ever saw.”

 

          The outlaws left and went to next houses where they found a man who fit the description of one of the men they wanted. They put a rope around his neck, dragged him out on the porch, threw the other end of the rope over an overhead beam and began to pull him up. The man who had captured the draft dodger at our house, old John Jennings, came and looked at the victim and said, “Let him down, let him down.” They did. He was one of their own party.

 

          So the outlaws went to the next house where and aunt of one of the men they wanted lived. They kicked the door down. A man by the name of Mose Adams jumped out of the house in a hail of shots. Mose ran about 50 yards, jumped over a rail fence on a steep bank, and fell down 10 feet or more. He landed on a sharp snag. The men heard him groaning and they went and looked down over the fence. They saw him standing up groaning, they pulled him up, took him to the house, and left him for dead. The man, Mose Adams, however, recovered.

 

          Well, by this time my father had built a cabin on his new farm and we had got acquainted with folks. A man lived near us by the name of Alley. He hauled his back yard full of wood. He made a big wood chopping and dance at night.

 

          I was included. I was a real chopper and Alley came out and watched us chop. I could cut two sticks to the other choppers’ one. Well, the wood was chopped. Now the girls came to the dance and they got all in full swing. They danced two or three sets and they lacked one couple of having a set.

 

          An old maid was there who had cracks in her face that were all puttied up and then starch smeared over that. She jumped at me like a bull at a hay stack. She took me round like a feather in a whirlwind and when we stopped I was out of breath. I jerked my handkerchief out of my pocket, slapped it to my nose and said, “Excuse me, my nose is bleeding,” then I went home.

 

          Time went on. I saw Alleys frequently in passing by. In a few days, Mrs. Alley came to our house. She was the mother of two children. One was a blond girl as gay as a butterfly and a good looker. The pretty girl said, “Ed, Mr. Alley wants you to work for him.” Then she asked my father, he said, “Well, if he wants you to work for him.”

 

          Then she talked to me so nice. I agreed to go. She was on horseback and she said, “Ed, are you going to ride behind me and hug me or will I ride behind you and hug you?” I replied that “I'm not going to do either one. The water in the creek is not over my boots.” I waded it. We went on home.

 

          Mr. Alley showed me around what was to do. He wanted me to look after the horses, hogs, cows and many other things. He was gone most of the time, and there were three Negroes there besides me. They had not left after they were freed.

 

          There were two old Negroes and a Negro girl mean as old Satan. Farm hands were paid 50¢ a day. He paid me $1 a day. He lived at the outskirts of Morehead. He had a store and a blacksmith shop. When I was not on the farm, I would be in the shop or in the store.

 

          It was 1863 and the war was raging and it was a hard time to get bread. Footnote Father bought two bushels of corn. He went several miles to a watermill and got his meal. When he started home, he met a bunch of rebels. They made him get off his horse and one got up on his horse and his meal left at the roadside. One man said to my father “hello Uncle.” He reached his hand out, got father by the hand, spurred his horse, jerked him down. He hadn't more than got up and another man reached out, caught my father by the top of his head, jerked his hat off with a hand full of hair. My father came home afoot.

 

          The family was all going to church one Sunday morning when we met a bunch called Guerillas. They made father sit down and pull his shoes off. They gave father his shoes. Mother had a baby in her arms, a big wool shawl around it and they took the shawl so we had to go back home. I was still working for Alley then.

 

          The next year I rented land and farmed for myself. I didn't make anything. I went back to Mr. Alley’s. Then the great railroad builder, James A. Hill, came along. Hill was getting the right of way through Kentucky for the first railroad in the state. Hill made his headquarters at Alley’s where I was. Mr. Alley had a stone quarry on his place so he made a trade with Alley for stone.

 

          James A. Hill gave me the contract of getting out the stone for several miles of culverts and bridges and abutments. He brought his wife and his little girl to Alley’s where he made his headquarters.

 

          He came one day for dinner. He ordered his horse. Mr. Alley, he and I went out on what they called the stiles in front of the house. He stooped down, picked up a string, wadded it up and stuck it in his vest pocket. He looked down over the valley where they were grading and said, “40 years ago, I tramped this road with a Seth Thomas clock on my back.” At this time, the Negro came with his horse and buggy and in those days your driving bridle reins were sewed in the bridle bit. So he stepped down, went to his horse’s head, looked at his rein, and one was ripped. He took that string out of his pocket, wrapped it around his line. He was driving a sorrel Footnote horse a high stepper, went off at a 2:40 gait.

 

          His wife was a fleshy woman. The Hills’ little girl, Nellie, was a blond, and the two little Alley girls were about her size. I had always petted them and when I would come in the evening they would meet me out at the stiles and kiss me. Nellie was with them, and I said, “Nellie, argent you going to kiss me?” She very reluctantly kissed me. Her mother was sitting out on the veranda, upstairs looking down at us. Mrs. Hill said, “Oh, Nellie,” and Nellie looked up and said, “Well, Mama, she's been wanting me to kiss him for so long.” Her mother said, “Mama don't care for you kissing him.”

 

          Well, I was still working in the rock quarry and I had a man by the name of Nelson Nichols. Nichols had a short leg and he operated the derrick that lifted stone out and laid it on the wagons. The derrick had cog wheels about 3 feet off the ground. It operated by turning a crank. So Nichols put that short leg up on something close to that cog wheel and ground his big toe into that cog wheel.

 

          A man by the name of Donahue, my foreman, commenced teasing Nichols for grinding his toe into the cog wheels. Nichols hit him with a rock. Donahue knocked Nichols down. My brother jerked out an old hawk bill knife. Donahue started for the river. My brother reached for him with that knife and me behind him. Donahue went into the river like a hot steer. I told him to come out and he said “Them laddie bucks will kill me.” I told him I would send them back to work. Donahue came out. He had Nicholas arrested and put him in jail. Nichols broke out of jail that night and burned the jail. We never heard of Nichols anymore.

 

          In a few months the railroad was nearing completion. Everybody was happy. Hill and the bosses turned their horses and buggies over to me to sell for them. I took them to Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky. I sold them and brought their checks, and turned them over to Hill. He gave me a pass over the railroad until they put trains on scheduled time.

 

          So it wasn't long till they set the day for the first train to go through. The old grey-headed men, women and children came for miles around and took their stand where the main road crossed the railroad. They saw the train coming running slow on the new road. They began to move and one yelled out, “If that thing turns cross ways it will kill every one of us.” It passed through and no one hurt. They then indulged in realizing their dearest hopes of getting to ride on a train sometime.

 

          Well, the railroad was done and I was out of a job. A man came to town who took old tin type pictures. I hung around with him and he saw I was interested. He talked to me to learn me to take pictures and sell out to me. We agreed on a price if I could learn. In a week I could do as good work as he could.

 

          So I bought him out and then I loaded up and started out for northeastern Kentucky where you have to look twice to see the top of the mountain in Breathitt County. There are no towns only the county seat, but there were stores all over the country. I went to the merchant, asked him what his best trade was. He said produce such as butter, eggs, chickens, feathers, beeswax, tallows and jinn sang. Well, I made a deal with him to take that trade and pay me cash at 10% discount. Then I advertised I would take pictures and take anything the merchant would buy.

 

          So they started coming. Old grey-headed men, never had seen a picture taken and had never been out of the county in their life. Well, I went to work. A tin type that I sold 24¢ cost me 4¢. I sold two tintypes in a case for $1 which cost 20¢. I stayed there six months, run short of material, replenished my supplies, went to another store, stayed there till I run out of material and then I went home.

 

          It wasn't long till a man came to Morehead selling a wonderful cement recipe. It was fine, so I bought him out. Then I loaded up the samples, went to the next county seat, put out my samples and commenced barking, “Cement that will cement anything (except metal) woods, leather, granite, jewelry, earthen ware, horn or stove.” I would sell a bottle of hair dye and a recipe to make the cement for $5.00. I guaranteed every bottle to do the same kind of work you see in my demonstration.

 

          I had a patch on my boots and one bridle rein cut in two cemented together. I told those assembled that I would give them a bottle of cement and bottle of hair dye if anyone could twist it loose. Then I promised, “Here is a $10 bill. I will wager that I can cut a double tree 12 inches from one point to the other and cement it, and you haven't got a team in town that could break it loose. Now, if I'm a fool, my money is not.” I had them hoodooed. I meant what I said and they commenced buying.

 

          Some times there would be two or three holding out their money at the same time. I had my vest pocket full of recipes. Handing them out and all the money I got and what I would get out of my pockets, I would hold it in my hand. “I haven't come here today to go away tomorrow. Try your cement. If it’s not what I say it is, bring the bottle back, and get your money.” I tell you I sold the recipe like hot cakes. I was gone for months. I came home.

 

          I started trading in livestock. I bought and sold hogs, cattle, sheep and horses. I will mention one trade I made to a certain man, George Green. Green skinned me out of a good mule. I waited to get revenge on him.

 

          I had traded for a fine horse, known by the name of Yellow Dog. He had been strained at the race tracks. Yellow Dog had blood stain on the insides of both hind legs. I cured that up. I met with George Green, the man that had skinned me out of my mule. I swapped with him, got $115 to boot. I invested that in cattle, sold them for $300 cash. I saw Green after that. He laughed and said, “Pay me what you owe me.” I said, “I don't owe you anything. I just payed you for skinning me out of that mule.” He just laughed then.

 

          Then I opened a store close to the new railroad. I ran it well onto two years. My health was failing me. I went to Dr. Banfield in Morehead, Kentucky. He told me I would have to get out of that store and go west if I wanted to regain my health. I sold the store. Footnote

 

          Pardon me. I want to go back to relate one thing. A man by the name of Bill Masters came to my store and said, “I want a bill of goods. I haven't got the money to pay right now, but I have got a beef cow that I can sell at anytime and I will pay you next Saturday if I am living.” Well, Saturday came and he didn't show up. So, Sunday morning, I got on my horse, went to an old friend, Alex Locker.

 

          I yelled “Hello.” He came to the door. I said, “Do you know Bill Masters is dead?” He said, “No, when did he die?” Friday night. “What was the matter with him?” “I don't know.” “How do you know he is dead?” “Well, he came to my store, got a bill of goods, and said, “I will pay you next Saturday if I'm living.” Well, he drew a breath of relief, raised his head, squirted his tobacco juice 10 feet down between his front teeth and laughed and said, “If that would have killed him, he would have died 20 years ago.”

 

          Well, I'm getting ready to leave the many, well-remembered places and faces of my old Kentucky home. My mind goes back as if by magic to the cherished memories of my school days. But I must face the wild West. With a new light in my eyes, and a new determination in my heart, I was going West.

 

          I only knew two persons in Kansas. One was a man who had worked for me. I purchased my ticket to Oxford, Kansas, 556 miles west of the Mississippi River. Footnote I boarded my train at Winchester, Kentucky and rode to Indianapolis and got there about 11 o'clock at night. The station was called the Big 4. All trains from St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and Cincinnati went into that depot.

 

          I was looking for my train and a man came to me, said “Where are you going.” I gave him my ticket and he took me across several tracks. They looked like silver cords under the glare of lights. He said, “Here is your train.” I got in the car, and it pulled out. It seemed it went a long way before the conductor came. He said, “Ticket.” I gave him my ticket. He said, “What in hell are you doing on this train?” I said, “I'm riding.” He said, “You will have to pay if you ride on this train.” I said, “I have paid once and I'm not going to pay any more.”

 

          The conductor put me off at a little blind shack and no one there. He gave me a match and paper. He said, “There will be a train going back to Indianapolis. Flag it and get on it.” I sat there all alone in the dark and after a long while the train came. I got on. The conductor came, said, “Ticket.” I handed him by ticket. He said, “What the hell are you doing on this train?” I replied “I paid once and I will not pay any more.” He said, “I will put you off.” I said, “I will make it hot for you.” He left me alone. I got back to Indianapolis at daylight and was ready to start for the wild West. I should cease to think of the past and look forward with the realization of my fond hopes of a new world.

 

          Well, I landed in Oxford about 11 or 12 at night. I went to the Frenchery Hotel, the only hotel in town. It was about 50 yards from the railroad. Several other persons got off the train and registered when I did. I went to bed.

 

          I woke next morning and the sun was in the wrong place. I had found the new world I was looking for and all at once I heard a commotion downstairs. I looked out and saw men running across the street with guns and clubs. I dressed, got my gun, rushed down to the street. I said, “What's the matter?” “A mad dog here.” I said, “Where is it?” They said, “Under the depot platform.” I started walking toward the depot. They said, “Stay back.” I walked up in 10 steps of the place, knelt down. I saw the dog under the floor. I took a good aim. At the crack of my gun, I saw his head fall. I said, “It won’t bite you now.”

 

          I started to go breakfast and got a way off and someone said, “He's a Kentuckian.” He said, “Damn fool hasn't got sense enough to be afraid of a mad dog.” I went on to my breakfast and sat down at a long table about 30 feel long. The waiter came with a bill of fare. I ordered fresh catfish, corn cakes, and coffee, and seven other men gave the same order. I looked across at them and said, “I guess I have run into a hot bed of Kentucky corn crackers, as they are called.”

 

          Well, after breakfast, I wanted to find my old Kentucky friends. They lived 3 miles south of Oxford I started, got about one mile, I looked ahead of me. I saw something standing up in the road, looked 4 feet high. I shot it and it crawled into a hedge fence. I could hear it kicking in the hedge. I got down, pushed my head in the brush, stuck my hand out, looked at it, it was just a rabbit. I went on and found my old Kentucky friends.

 

          I went to the door and Mrs. Ham met me. I went in. It was a cool morning. There was a big box stove in one corner of the house. Mrs. Ham opened the stove, put in a dozen or more ears of corn. I said, “Why don't you burn wood?” “We can’t get wood here, and coal is eight dollars per ton and corn 18 cents a bushel.”

 

          Well, it had been a wet fall and people hadn't thrashed yet. Thrashing was in full blast and they helped each other. I went out with them. I volunteered my help until I could do good work. I went to town worked in the carpenters trade, staying at the Frenchey Hotel.

 

          Well, in the meantime, a life insurance man came to town and wanted an agent. I took the agency and started to write life insurance. Ed Reames, a bridge contractor, came to town. He had shipped in big timber and put it on blocks and one night he came to the lobby inquired for a bridge carpenter. None answered. I said, “You looking for a bridge carpenter?” “Yes. Well, I will work for you one or two days, and you can tell by that time whether I can do the work or not.” He said, “When can you go to work, in the morning?” “What do you pay per day?” “$3 per day.”

 

          He furnished me a man to help me. I went to work next day. Three 80 foot spans across the Arkansas River. I built two 80 foot spans in other places. Well, I worked maybe a month, got done and he said, “We are ready to put up that bridge.” I said, “I'm not going to help put it up, my job was framing.” Well, he went on, put the bridge up and said, “The bridge is up,” and how is it?” I never had a better job.

 

          I said, “I never worked a day on a bridge before in my life. He said, “If I had known that I wouldn't have hired you.” They framed the other 280-foot span. He wanted me to go with him to Leavenworth, Kansas. But I decided to stay with my life insurance business. Some days I made $25 a day. I got 40% commission. Then my friends, the Hams wanted to go on west where he could get government land. I wanted to see more of the west.

 

           We went to Ulysses, Grant County, Kansas. Footnote We filed our claims. The Hams lived on one corner and lived I in the other corner. We were close neighbors. Mr. Ham went to work on his land. I hired a man to plow for me and I went to town and commenced campaigning for the county seat which was to be decided by a vote of the people. Ulysses in the center of Grant County and Appomattox were the contending towns to be the county seat. I was for Appomattox.

 

          I stayed at the Elite Hotel the only hotel in town. I had not been there long when the President of the town site gave me a 21-meal ticket at the hotel. When that was punched out, I got another one. Well, a convention was on hand as well as an election. I walking down the street and a man came out and said to me, “We want you in the Convention.” I went up and they said, “We have nominated you for Sheriff.” I thanked them for the honor. I am not an office seeker, I'm a home seeker and I would not have the Sheriff’s office if you would give it to me.

 

          Then a man jumped up and said, “Patton hasn't anyone to care for only himself. If I can get a second, we will nominate him to represent Grant County in the Legislature.” He got his second. I was nominated.

 

          I talked them and asked them to withdraw the nomination and nominate a man more competent than I was and wants to serve. They paid no attention to me. I went on with my campaign for county seat. We had a big Sunday School picnic. I went out to my sod house to take Mr. & Mrs. Ham to the picnic. It was a dark morning. We drove 18 miles.

 

          I put my team in a livery stable and went to the picnic building. A storm struck. The mail hack blew over. It was dark. I heard a crash. The stairs went up the outside of the house. I rushed up the stairs. The building’s roof was gone. The women and children were frantic. I stood at the head of the stars on the little platform. I caught the door knob with all the power I had and held the door open. I let them out one at a time so they wouldn't break the stairway down. Women were wringing their hands and crying, “My house is gone.” Well, I wanted to get away for the scene was sad. Men and women were going the way the wind was blowing. They were picking up their garments and other things. Well, I got home and discovered that my area had no rain, only hail.

 

          I didn't go back to town for a few days until they had gotten over the shock. I went back but I didn't campaign much for myself. I wasn't interested as much in my own race as I was in the county seat fight.

 

          On the election day, I was one of the judges. Footnote We got a tip that Ed Short, a noted outlaw, and his crew were located about just across the street in the upstairs of a vacant house. They were going to kill certain men if they came outside of the voting place. I could see them upstairs from where I was. But we stayed in, went out under cover of darkness and not a shot was fired.

 

          Ulysses was made the Grant County seat by illegal votes. Appomattox contested the election. The legal dispute went to the Supreme Court. We all had a rest. Footnote

 

          Then I turned my attention to organizing a town site in the county. The proposed site was about 18 miles from the county seat. We chartered the bank with a total investment of $10,000. We received $1,000 from each investor. I went to Seward County and got a relinquishment for 80 acres at a beautiful location. I had the site surveyed.

 

          The next thing was to see if we could get water. We sank a well and got a fountain of water. I paid $160 for a U.S. Wind engine pump. We made a big cistern and filled it with water. Then we built a store house, a blacksmith shop and a post office. Now the farmers could come for miles to get water, goods and mail once a week. They were the happiest people I ever saw. They had 160 acres of as good land as I ever saw. They had the world by the tail and a downhill pull.

 

          I was notified to come to Ulysses and get my Certificate of Elections. I beat my opponent two to one. Footnote

 

          Later I went out to my claim and laid out my program for fall and winter. Ham and I went around gathering up anything we could burn, dry cow chips, buffalo horns to use in case of an emergency.

 

          Many times you couldn't get coal at Garden City. One time, men at Garden City waited for coal and a carload of coal finally came in. The men broke the seal, opened the rail car, loaded the coal into wagons, weighed it, paid the coal dealer the price of his coal. When they got home, however, some families had burned their furniture to keep from freezing to death.

 

          Well, I went to Kentucky on a visit and returned to Topeka, Kansas, the capital. The Legislature convened. It was all new to me. I kept quiet until I got the run of things. Then I played my part. I passed three bills which were an average for each member.

 

          Governor Humphrey Footnote called me into his office to question me about the Grant County election. We also discussed the appointment of a Circuit Judge to fill a vacancy. He had made his views public through the

Governor Humphrey

press.

 

          He would appoint the man who had the most endorsements by the representatives from that district. J. L. Pancost had two votes and Bodkins had one. Humphrey asked me about Bodkins and Pancost. I told him I was acquainted with Pancost and I thought him competent but I did not know so much about Bodkins. He said Bodkins had placed him in nomination that started him out in public life.

 

          I returned home. I told Pancost that we have been calling you “judge,” that's our nick name for you. I told him what the Governor said. I said, “He has a warm spot in his heart yet for that old sot and appointed him.” Well it was over. I went to get my pay. I hadn't collected a dollar. He stacked my pay up in gold. I said I wanted currency. He said, “Rent you a gold standard man?” and I said, “Currency is worth 100 cents to the dollar and easier to handle.” He gave me greenbacks.

 

          Then I went to Ozark, Arkansas to visit my old friends, the Alley, who had moved from Kentucky to Ozark. In six years they had gone from wealth to poverty. The Alley girls were working in a canning factory. The old Negro and small children tended to the garden. The young man was learning plasters’ trade. The old man was working at the carpenters trade. It looked pitiful to me.

 

          I got a letter calling me back to Grant County. Everything was moving along nicely, but we couldn't get people to move to our town. Everyone had a claim and had to stay on it, as it was a homestead. We kept boasting our new town site.

 

          We had three droughts and people were getting discouraged. They had spent all of their money. They could only raise stock feed and had mortgaged their farms and were not able to repay the loans. They begin to leave at once. Four from our town site had left. Now we had a hard problem to solve. We had spent almost all of the $10,000. We couldn't sell anything since no one had any money and everyone wanted to get away.

 

          We called a meeting of the town site county. We talked the matter both pro and con. Our town site was a failure. We divided the money we had left. We had $750 each, had nothing to hope for and life was too short to spend it on a desert land. Ham and I had a nice bunch of cattle. I wrote on a board and stuck it over my door: “In God we trusted, In Grant County, we busted.”

 

          We headed for Arkansas City, Kansas, the town which we had left. Mr. Ham rented a farm. I went into David L. Payne and his Boomers in the Cherokee Strip. Footnote I lived in a tent town. We published a paper and called it The War Chief. We were a jolly set.

 

Capt. David Lewis Payne (December 30, 1836 – November 28, 1884) is considered the Father of Oklahoma for work in opening the state to settlement.

 

He organized, trained, and led the Boomer Army on its forays into the Unassigned Lands. His actions eventually succeeded in opening the public lands for settlement some four years after his death. The opening of the Indian lands soon followed, leading the formation of the Twin Territories and eventually to the entry of the state of Oklahoma into the Union.

 

          Then the government officers came and arrested Payne. They took him to Forth Smith. He was tried for trespassing on Indian land and was acquitted. He then went to the Phillips Hotel, ate breakfast, slumped in his chair, and was dead in five minutes. Footnote

 

          After Payne’s death, Captain W.L. Couch called the colony together again in November of 1884. We all went back looking around one evening and we saw some cow boys coming to us. Couch said yonder come some cow boys. You all keep still, let me do the talking and if they want anything else, then you can help. Well, they came to us and said, “What in the hell are you doing here?” Couch said, “We are going to put some calico in here for you boys to look at.” They said, “We don't want any calico around here to look at.” Couch said, “It is not what you want that will do you good, but what you get.” They passed a few short words and left.

 

 

 

          It was almost sure that the territory would be opened soon. A lot of us planned to find out when it was to be opened through a signal. The news of the opening would be flashed to Arkansas City first by planting a bomb outside of Arkansas City. A man with a swift horse would stay at the telegraph office and as soon as notice of the opening of the territory came, he was to run and explode that bomb.  

 

          One day we heard the bomb go off. We ran over each other and did not take time to get our saddles on our horses or put on our overcoats. We dashed at full speed into the promised land. We went down several miles the Indian territory. We didn't see any rush of people to get there with us. We looked over our claims.

 

          It was getting late and a snowstorm came. We went down into a canyon to get out of the wind. The wind blew and it snowed all night. It kept us busy to keep from freezing. The next morning we went out to look at our claims again. Here came the man who was to set the bomb off. He said the bomb going off was a joke. Someone, we never knew who it was, had exploded the bomb. We had to face the snow and winds to get back home.

 

          Well, the government ordered everyone out of the Indian territory and so I went home. Later in the summer, I got on my horse one day and went down to the Arkansas River to pick plumbs. I met two young ladies picking plumbs at the river. We passed a few words, I left them and went home.

 

          In a few days I heard about a man from Kentucky by the name of Neal. I wanted to see him or anyone from my home state. In my rambling around, I went to the river again. It had been raining hard. The water was almost thick with mud.

 

          I saw fish coming to the river bank with their mouths open. I saw a catfish come to the bank with its mouth and gills open. Its head was almost as big as my head. I went and cut me a stick and cut a limb off of it. I made a hook on the end of it. I hooked it in its gills of the big fish and pulled it out. I dressed the fish and cut out about 10 pounds of meat out of one side.

 

          I put the fillets in my buggy and started for my old Kentucky friend who lived in a 2-story stone house. When I arrived, he came out and I said, “Is this Captain Neal?” He said, “Yes.” And he said, “Who are you?” I told him. We talked a while and I said, “I have brought you a piece of a fish.” He said, “A piece of fish?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “It must have been a hell of a big one.”

 

          A girl came out on the porch. I remembered her as one of the girls I had seen in the plumb patch. Neal was known as Captain Neal. He was a captain in the Civil War. Well, I visited them frequently. The girl and I became good friends. On November the 18th, 1891, we were married and we are still enjoying life almost a half century later. Footnote

 

Ed Patton with his wife, Birchie Neal. They were married on November 18, 1891, in East Bolton, Kansas. Ed's brother, Alexander (pictured above) was a witness at the wedding.

 

 

          Well, the news from the Cherokee Strip news was getting hot again. Every town along the south side of Kansas was packed full of people and tents and wagons, waiting for the opening of the territory. It was not until April 16, 1893.

 

          So I wanted to go back and relate one incident that happened in Kentucky. A widow woman had a dance at her house. I never danced and was asked to keep order. Well, the dance was well along about 11 o'clock. I was standing out in the hall. Some boys came to me and said, “Will Markwell and John Keeton are fussing.”

 

          I went out and shamed them and pushed them out of the yard. Keaton said, “When he takes back what he said it will be all right.” I said, “What did he say?” He said, “He said he could whip me.” I said, “Wait till you get sober and settle your difficulties.” Keaton pulled his knife and Jim Oxley. His uncle caught him.

 

          Markwell had been taken 10 or 15 steps away. I was between them. Keaton cut his uncle’s hand and he let him go. He started for Markwell. I knocked him down. Markwell got down over him and began pounding him in the face. Keaton was laying on his back and he was cutting Markwell in the face and head. He stuck his knife through Markwell’s arm. He was trying to cut Markwell’s throat.

 

          I grabbed his arm and the knife went through my arm. That would have cut his throat. I had a pair of box toed boots on. I kicked Markwell off of Keaton and then Keaton started to get up. I kicked him over and then men pulled them apart. They were afraid to come in while the fight was on.

 

          It was a bloody fight. I felt my arm was weak. I was standing by a fencepost. I pulled my sleeve up and the blood shot out against that fencepost. I watched it run down that fencepost making a black circle as it went. Then the girls came out and commenced to wrap handkerchiefs around my arm. I stopped bleeding.

 

          There was a bright moonlight with snow on the ground. The party broke up. I was sick from the loss of blood. I went to the house and stayed all night. Keeton came and he wanted to get a doctor. I told him I didn't want a doctor. I was well in a month. I have a witness to what I have said: on my left arm a scar.

 

          Now I'm going back to Kansas. I am idle so I wanted to get something out of my western Kansas property. I traded that property for 80 acres of land in Cowley County, Kansas. Then I struck a real estate man in Arkansas City, C.W. Weaver, who had a hotel in Kingman City, Kingman County, Kansas.

 

          I traded him my 80 acres of land for the hotel, subject to a $750 mortgage. Weaver said the hotel had cost him $5,000. In addition one half of block was set out in fruit trees. He said that he had rented it to a man to apply the rent on the mortgage until the $750 was paid.

 

          Well, I let it go on till I thought it was almost paid out. I went to see about it. The man had never paid a dollar on the mortgage. The property had been foreclosed upon and another man had a deed for the hotel. Then I went to see Mr. Weaver. He had left Arkansas City. I wrote several letters to different places, got no answer.

 

          I went to Guthrie and inquired at the post office if a man got mail there by the name of C. W. Weaver. They said yes. I asked what time the mail was distributed from the north. I was informed that the mail would be delivered in a short time. It was only a few minutes till Weaver came. I greeted him nicely and talked to him for a few minutes.

 

          Weaver looked haggard and shabby. I said, “I addressed a letter to you here. Did you get it?” He said, “For the same reason I don't write to my wife, I haven't a penny to buy stationery.” “What are you doing?” I asked. He said, “Just anything I can to get a meal and a place to sleep.”

 

          I told him that man he had rented his hotel to had never paid a dollar on the mortgage and it had been foreclosed and deeded to a woman. He said, “If I ever get able I will pay you. I haven't only one thing that is my own. I haven't anything but an office desk in the office where you talked with me. I don't need it anymore. You can have it if you want it.” I said, “Give me a bill of sale.” He said, “You make it out and I will sign it.” I did so and he signed it. I went and got the desk, I have it yet. That was all I got for the hotel valued at $5,000. Then I consoled myself by saying my western Kansas property wasn't worth a dollar.

 

           Then I went back to the Cherokee Strip. The time was set for opening on April 22nd, 1889. The government had registration offices at different places. We had to register before we went into the territory. We stood in line for many hours. We couldn't leave. If we did, we would loose our place in line and would have to start all over again.

 

          Well, the hour came at 12 o'clock. The big shot fired. Most of the men were on horseback. Some vehicles dashed off screaming and hollering like demons. Some got a mile or two ahead of others. Those in the lead struck matches and dropped them in the dry grass to hold the people back. We had a fast mule team, one a white mule the other one a dark one. We ran them up within about 100 yards of the fire. We stopped waited for the fire to get in low grass. It simmered down.

 

          We laid the whip on and when were in 60 feet of it flared up 6 feet high. There was nothing to do but race through quickly the hot blast. I opened my eyes. I saw a blue smoke rise from the mules. They were both the same color. A dark brown. I looked at my father-in-law and his eyebrows, mustache and hair all singed off and we all looked like we weren't burnt. We went on and it seemed the farther we went the more people we saw.

 

Settlers in line for the land grab in the Cherokee Strip in September of 1893.

 

          We went back home and didn't get a thing. After the rush was all over my father-in-law and I made a trip across the Strip to Tecumseh. We went from Arkansas City, Kansas to Chandler and to Shawnee. There was no railroad there yet. We stopped south of where the railroad is now in Shawnee to feed and eat dinner. That was just an Indian trading post, one store, a blacksmith shop and post office.

 

          All the men in town were at our camp fire. One man walked round my team and said, “Will you trade me that team for a claim here, pointing back where Shawnee is now. I said, “I'm not a farmer and if I was I couldn't make a living on it.”

 

          We went on to Tecumseh and went back home. I had a small house. I sold it, loaded two wagons and drove to Tecumseh. I rented a house and stayed there until next spring. I bought several vacant lots.

 

          Then they began to survey the Rock Island Railroad. The first survey went through Tecumseh. They went back and another one crossed the river at Dale got into Indian land. Then Tecumseh enjoined them. They made bonds and went on and got to Shawnee to start a town. I knew Tecumseh was doomed. I sold my lots in Tecumseh.

 

          The Kickapoo was not opened yet. I found four or 5 acres of vacant land on the south side of the North Canadian River located one mile east of Old Dale site, or one mile south of present Dale. ) I built a two-room house on both sides of the river. I intended to file on it when the Kickapoo came in. It was just a fraction that lapsed from the Kickapoo side.

 

          Well, the Kickapoo opened. Footnote I dashed across the river, stuck my flag up. No one stopped me. It was low land. I tried to get a filing on it. I couldn't I wrote to the Land Office in Washington, D.C. They wrote me why I couldn't They said the North Canadian River was made a government stream to decide the different tribes of Indians for 25 years. While the Indians were here as government wards and no fraction could be filed on to cut them off from water. So I was out.

 

          Well, the railroad was a sure thing, and the Dale town was evident. Footnote I bought lots and moved my house to Dale. I had an imported stallion and a big jack. I had a good business for 10 years. My stallion died with colic. I bought another one the next year from a man that owed me for a colt for two years and I attached his cotton crop.

 

          He said to the officer, “Patton will loose more than he will make in the deal.” My barn was 100 yards away from the house, so I went to the barn as usual before I retired at night. My jack had his mouth open, sweat dropping off of him. I worked with him all night. He died the next morning.

 

          Then I went to Texas. I bought another jack and chartered a car at Broonsville. I went in the car with my jack and got to Oklahoma City at daylight the next morning. They run my car up to the freight depot platform and left it there. My car door was open. I heard a slam and my door went shut. I called out, “Open this door, this is my car. I chartered it at Broonsville, Texas. I have a jack in here.” They looked in and saw me and the jack and opened the door and went back to the depot. I followed them back and what I said to them was a plenty. I unloaded my jack and led him home. It took me two days. Then the next year I bought 80 acres of land in three months I sold it for $500 profit. Then I had two big mares both had colts. One died and the other one raised both colts. I had a young horse out on pasture and other horses herded him in a corner of the fence and kicked him to death.

 

          Then I went back to Texas and bought three jacks. One was ok—the other two I sold. Then by the time the country was getting full of that kind of stock, I had a saddle pony. It died with blind stagers. It seemed like the hand of fate was resting hard on me, so I decided to get out of the livestock business. I had a fine horse and a jack. I sold them for $600.

 

          My father-in-law, Captain Neal, died and I was appointed the administrator for the estate. I finished that job, collected my money and started to get investors interested in a bank in Dale, Oklahoma . I got M. L. Caldwell and others were interested in the bank. We got a charter and went to work.

 

          Ed Jenner was our first Cashier. He was a better tennis player than he was a banker. We fired him. Then M. L. Caldwell came from Tecumseh to Dale and we put him in as Cashier. One night after he had been here about two years, Joe Stewart heard an explosion at the bank. He told Caldwell and they came and told me. We went to the bank, found the safe blown to pieces and battered coins scattered over the floor. We arrested one man on suspicion but the evidence was not sufficient for his conviction.

 

          Well, we didn't loose any money. We had insurance. Caldwell stayed in the bank for two or three years. Then he bought his partner out in Tecumseh and had to go back to Tecumseh. Then we called Dillard Saylor from Yucon at a salary of $150 per month. It was all new to him. He was not acquainted with the elements of lending money. , That made it hard on me. I was acquainted with them. At that time I was a mail messenger but that work came before and after banking hours. Then Saylor got on his job and he was a good cashier. Things went on fine for two or three years.

 

          One cold evening, snow was blowing from the north at about 4 o'clock. Saylor was at the side of the vault door balancing his books. I was in the back room with the door shut. I heard Saylor say, “Don't shoot.” I turned my head. I saw him go in the vault like a scared rat. I knew that it was a hold up. I jumped up, kicked the chairs over, made all the noise I could, they run off. Saylor came out of the vault with a gun in his hand and run to the front door and me after him.

 

          The men weren't more than 50 yards away. He raised his gun at about 40 degree angle, bang, bang, bang, bang, I caught his arm and said, “Give me that gun.” But he kept on shooting. We looked in the top of a 2-story building about 75 yards away and all of his shots were in the top story. We branded him as a bad marksman.

 

          M. L. Caldwell came and we declared a dividend of 100%. Then we had doubled our money in five years. Everything went on nicely. Then C. M. Cade bought Saylor out and gave him $2 for one for his bank stock. Then Cade came into the bank and went on well. He always brought his dinner with him. I went to my dinner and came back to the bank and Cade looked wild. I said, “What's the matter?” I looked around. I saw a bullet sticking in a chair post. They had got all the money and gone.

 

          He called the Oklahoma City Police and informed them of the bank robbery. They picked up a man on suspicion and found $750 on him and called Cade. When he got there and he told them he had a $10 bill pasted together in the stolen loot. They found that bill and robber was sent up for 20 years.

 

          So business went on for two years. I could smell whiskey on Cade frequently. One day while he was out, I looked over his books and discovered that he hadn't balanced his books for a week. The bank examiner got a tip and checked on Cade’s bookkeeping. He discovered that he was $10,000 short. Cade was indicted by the Grand Jury for embezzlement. He saw where he was headed.

 

          Caldwell told him if he would pay back the $10,000 back, he would stop prosecution. Cade paid it. Then we called Dillard Saylor back to the bank. We called a meeting of the stockholders to make good Cade’s 10 thousand dollars. The bank examiner came to our bank on Saturday to examine our books but he didn't get done. He came back Monday morning to finish his work. Saylor asked the examiner, “Shall we open up for business?” He said, “Yes your bank is all right. We opened the safe, took in a few deposits, paid a few checks and the telephone rang. Saylor picked up the receiver and listened. The bank commissioner at Oklahoma City and said Caldwell’s banks were closed. We were told to close the Dale Bank even though ten minutes before that he said our bank was ok.

          It was like a clap of thunder from a clear sky. I had just paid $1125 for nine shares of bank stock, three each for my three children. My wife had $125 in the bank. Now it was all gone. What would I do? I said, “The Lord is my shepard, I shall not want.” As soon as the bank examiner could type a notice and stick on the front door I turned my back on all the savings of my life. I was a charter member of the bank. I was a director the first year and then elected vice-president each year for 17 years. After the bank closed and each morning, just from force of habit, I wanted to go to the bank. It closed on April 26, 1924, 16 years ago. I was bankrupt. I didn't know what to do. I said, “The Lord is my shepard, I shall not want” and I hadn't

 

          Now when I go over my life I see it has been a warfare, mingled with joy and sorrow. There never was a life so happy, but had its time of tears and never a day so sunny but a little cloud appeared. I can only think of about two things in my life that I have done that were worthwhile. That is what I and my wife have done in raising our family and for the church and family and for Sunday School. That means much to us now.

 

          I am ninety years, two months and 13 days old this day. I realize I'm not going to stay here but only a short time. I'm far down on the other side of this life, just traveling down the steps of time, thinking over the past and wondering how long it will be till I come to the end. I'm as confident of my future as I am that I am living. I had nothing to say about coming into this world and I will have nothing to say about going out of it. But when God gets ready to transfer me into the great beyond, where there is no sickness, pain or death, but joy and peace and happiness, throughout endless eternity, and Jesus said, “They will be as the angels in heaven, neither do they die any more.” Well, I've been sick for a month, hadn't written a word, my mind goes back to when I came to Oklahoma.

 

          It was a new country, a new people, a mixed class going hither and thither, looking for something they hadn't, lost, no church, no Sunday School. I saw the need of a church. I headed up a subscription list. I canvassed the country. I got money enough to buy lumber, we started a church. Some donated work. Some gave money. Well, we were two years before we got it done and dedicated. We hired a preacher, organized a Sunday School and Ladies Aid and we had a full house.

 

          Then we wanted a bell. We got Witty Gentry to build the belfry. He donated his work. The Ladies Aid gave a box supper and I sold the boxes. We got money and got a bell. I had charge of the church. I would go make a fire and ring that bell for five minutes at a time and it seems to me that was the sweetest music I ever heard. I commenced teaching the bible class.

 

          My wife taught a class and before the Baptist had a church. I taught the Methodists in the morning and Baptists in the afternoon. Small boys and girls when I commenced teaching were fathers and mothers when I quit. It was the pleasure of my life. But there I was 70 years old, my eye sight was failing me and my hearing was impaired. I gave up my job and after I quit some of my old class insisted that I come back. It didn't seem like Sunday School since I quit. For I had been there 25 years or about that long and not missed that many Sundays . I had been selected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but I had more interest in the Dale Bank than in the constitution of Oklahoma, so I stayed with the Bank. My Sunday work continued until misfortune and old age retired me.

 

          I felt like the old apostle Paul when he had given a long life to the service of God and he said. “I have kept the faith. I have fought a good fight, hence forth, there is a crown of life laid up for me.” His faith was the substance of his hopes of eternal life and our lives are just what we make it. This life is only a dressing room for eternity. There is that great day of all days when God will judge the world in righteousness. There we will inherit our reward for what we have done in this life.

 

          I have cut my book short on account of my eye sight and health. I thought at one time that I would not get to finish it. I am still here and I'm going to stay here as long as the good Lord wants me to. It seems that time is almost in sight and I am ready.

 

          I pray that God may help you all to be ready when that time comes and what a grand reunion that will be when we all meet in that world of pleasure to be together to part no more.

 

Ed Patton: Goodbye. Footnote

 

May God be with us till we meet again.





































Note: Edward Patton’s autobiography transcribed by unknown persons, transcription date unknown.


 

(*) Retranscription by Kate Patton on November 18, 2006, inclusive of misspellings and grammatical errors from the original typed copy given to Linda and Kate Patton.