Patriot News 07/16/2020


 Tomorrow (Friday, July 17th), is our scheduled Red HOT Hatter meeting which will be held at Moasis Grill in Vevay at 11 a.m. We will be seated in the room with the pool tables and by doing so, we can socially distanced to our hearts content. The tentative meeting schedule for the rest of the year will be distributed at that time. The majority of the meetings will be on the third Friday of each month at 11 a.m. Anyone with questions about becoming a Red HOT Hatter is encouraged to contact me Kay Cook (812) 594-2281 or (317) 443-8857 or by email at Everyone is invited and no dues are collected. The only two requirements are that you 1) make new friends and 2) enjoy good food.

  The Concord Community Church is planning its Yard Sale on July 30th, 31st and August 1st (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) so mark your calendar!

  Prayer list: All law enforcement officers and their families as well as everyone affected by the current national unrest; everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; Bill and Sharon Levell; Red HOT Hatters Laura Riga and June Lack; Karsen Cook, Eylah Leppert, Firefighter Ron Brunner, Pam Minch, Barbara Barnhill, Barbara DeNoon, Ellyn Kern and Jerry Brown and Lulu Belle Thomas.


  In honor of Patriot’s 200th Anniversary I am continuing with excerpts from H.F. Emerson’s 1931 publication Historical Sketch of the Town of Patriot:

  • Furniture and Baskets: “John D. Mottier introduced the growing basket willows into this vicinity years ago and they have been grown ever since, especially by Wm. Rea, who has supplied Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis markets with many styles of baskets for many years, among which is a type not usually thought of — dead baskets — for the use of morgues and ambulances. Mr. Rea, with his son Clarence, under the firm name of Wm. Rea & Son, still operate their establishment at Main and Second Streets, and beside making baskets they manufactured all types of reed and willow porch and sunroom furniture.

  • Banking: Prior to forty years ago (1891) most of the banking was done in Cincinnati which was quite a handicap to business men and farmers, so when in 1891 the Patriot Deposit Bank was organized it filled a long and much-felt want, and from the date of inception this bank has been strong in character and able and willing to finance local projects and needs. The bank opened in the frame building now occupied by The Patriot Restaurant with Hosier J. Harris, President; Silas Q. Howe, Vice-President; and Wm. F. North, Cashier.

  After a few years it purchased and remodeled the Lowe building at Third and Main where a modem steel vault and exceptionally good fixtures for a rural bank were installed. Some years after organization Wm. F. North resigned as cashier to take up the same duties with the Rising Sun Deposit Bank and John W. Johnson succeeded him. Mr. Johnson has faithfully and conscientiously performed his duties from that time until a few weeks ago when he was most unfortunately stricken with a heart attack while attending Odd Fellows Lodge, passing away in the lodge room. Rev. Johnson, who was an ordained Methodist minister and had filled the pulpit of the Patriot M.E. church as well as churches at other points, never ceased to be a minister at heart though he was a banker for years, and this man never overlooked an opportunity of doing good and passing on a word of cheer.

  The writer recalls when the bank safe was landed from the boat and what a task it was to get it up the riverbank, but the crew with blocks and tackle secured to a large tree in front of the hotel and with the power from the captain drew it slowly up the paved levee grade. This levee finally and for once, at least, served a purpose, for before nor since in its years of existence has it been of any use due to steepness of grade. The levee was built by public subscription for civic service in the days when steam boating was in its prime and might have been of service today had the engineers made the grade climbable. The bank has recently installed modem electrically operated bookkeeping machinery and is well equipped in every way to carry on a modem banking business. The present officers are Lucian Harris, President; William Miller, Vice-President; Adolph Siekman, cashier; Lucian Harris, William Miller, William Fletcher, Albert L. North and Lueian H. Emerson, Directors; Mrs. Perle Johnson, bookkeeper.”

  • Schools: “Mr. Fordice taught the first school in a log cabin with greased paper used in lieu of glass or windows. The building stood on the bank of Wade’s Run opposite the old Van Houten icehouse and in the school year of 1813 and 1814 accommodated eighteen pupils. The first building erected for school purposes was built in 1816 by James Herriek and it stood in Samuel Fisk’s pasture above the brick yard. The number of pupils averaged between fifteen and twenty-five with a tuition of $ 1.50 per pupil per quarter.

  Thomas Ayres, a Revolutionary veteran, was one of the early teachers of the young settlement. It was his regular custom to take a nap each afternoon and just as regularly the pupils took advantage of the situation to catch flies and toss them into the open mouth of the instructor. In 1830, Capt. John Hicks opened a school on Front Street back of where Dr. Olcott’s drug store later stood and in 1831-32 Henry Brown taught in a log house built by Elisha Wade. In 1834 a one-story brick schoolhouse was built on Main Street next to where Mrs. Mary Kent lives. The narrator vividly recalls this building, used some forty years ago as a carriage painting shop, and a street scene that someone in past years had penciled on the white plastered walls. Whoever the artist was he left a picture that greatly impressed my young mind. 

  The basement of the Universalist church was fitted up in 1845 for a school and later Mrs. Vienna Herriek Wood refurnished it and for years taught Young America there. However this private school did not sufficiently relieve the crowded condition of the public school so some of the good citizens, who were very much interested in education, by strenuous exertions built in 1868-69 the present three-story brick building on Columbia Street that houses grade pupils. This building was erected at the cost of $10,000 by public subscription and the leaders in the movement and most generous donors were Dr. W.A. Olcott, John Watts and W.T. Pate, who together with many other generous citizens made possible the beginning of the excellent schools this village has enjoyed for the past sixty years.

   This new school was opened January 25th, 1869 with T.J. Charlton (a graduate of West Point Military Academy and later the superintendent of the Indiana Reform School for Boys) as the first principal; May Latham, intermediate department and Alice Emerson (my aunt) primary department. In 1876 the pupils numbered 173, and the first class was graduated from high school in 1884 under Prof. Sherman and made up of four graduates — Rev. W.T.S. Lowe, Prof. David Mottier, Morton K. Houston and Alma Lucas. In 1919 a movement was started to consolidate the town and township schools and to the credit of the entire community this was the first school in southern Indiana to accomplish this forward movement and at present is the only school in the county with both high and grade school consolidation. The grade school at Quercus Grove is also operated as part of the consolidation and the auto busses are required to transport pupils to and from school. By the bringing together of all children in the township the grade congestion was caused in the available space and a new building was necessitated, so in 1924 a high school building was erected at the side of the older structure at the cost of about $13,000.

  The present school is in a flourishing condition and offers a course one would expect of a small city rather than of a small rural village. The school at Patriot has 251 pupils, 91 of which are in high school and 160 in the grades.

  Patriot High School Alumni Association was the first organization of its kind in Switzerland County and has for years aided and continues to help in improvements of school buildings. This association almost annually gives plays the proceeds of which are used for this purpose and among improvements installed are placing of metal ceilings in classrooms, wiring for lights, redecorating of walls and building sanitary drinking fountains. The Alumni players were the only producers of “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” which was dramatized by Miss Fanny White, a most loyal member and for years a valued teacher in the local school. The present school board is comprised of Silas Hickman, Milo Harma and William Cunningham; and the corps of teachers are as follows: O.M. Given, Superintendent; Guy S. Harris, Principal; Howard Cook, and Eva Smith in High School with Bessie Peabody, Thelma Bradford, Dorothy Olcott, Marie McKenzie, Miss Culbertson and Mrs. Edwards in the grades.

  Back in 1849 Francis Jackson, with his wife, who was a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College, built a frame three-story seminary on the hill just outside the southern corporation line of town. It was a select boarding and day school to accommodate 100 pupils, but not more than half that number attended at one time. This school was in a beautiful location with terraces and. wide stone steps leading from the lower road. Local boys and girls attended as day pupils while the boarding pupils were made up of young ladies mostly from the South. The school burned in February 1860 and was not rebuilt. Ever since this tract of land has been known as Seminary Hill and until a plow share cut into its sod for the first time a few years ago it was the pasture for most of the village cows. Many and many a cool morning would the compiler of this village history have gladly breakfasted without milk rather than bring the family cow, but by the cow driver was routed out and in due time the milk supply was delivered. But for picnics, chicken soups and egg roasts this old hill was made to order. The old foundations still remain and no place offered a better spot for a furnace fire than the cellar where the nearby brook, sparkling through margins of spearmint, furnished the water for making the soup of the unsuspected old hen, that had probably been surreptitiously lifted from some neighbor’s roost.


  You may contact me several ways: by leaving a note or message inside the door of 1995 Front Street in Patriot; or by calling my home at (812)594-2281; or dropping me a note at P.O. Box #01, Patriot, Indiana, 47038. In addition, you may send me an email at If you have anything for me to include in this article, please send it to me. Information can be received any day of the week but normally my deadline is Sunday at noon for that week’s issue of the paper. Any news received later will appear in the following week’s article. If you need something in a particular issue, please get it to me early.