Patriot News 08/13/2020


 I join everyone in the shock of losing Dr. Elizabeth “Itsy” Jones this past week. I truly was honored to call her my friend and try as I might, I can not think of anyone who has had more influence than she on the people of Switzerland County that she so dearly loved. Truly a servant of the people. As the county school superintendent she played a major part in the education of each and every child in the local school system. The impression she left on her loved ones and friends will continue to enrich us for generations to come.

  The Red HOT Hatter meetings tentatively scheduled for the rest of the year are as follows: August 21st at The Red Pepper Deli (Madison); September 18th at Stream Cliff Farms (Commiskey); October 16th at the home of Co-Queen Joyce Johnson for our Annual Halloween Bash and Pitch-In (Vevay); November 20th at Batar (Seymour); and our Christmas luncheon will be at the Pleasant Rose Mansion (Vevay). All monthly meetings are scheduled on the third Friday of the month at 11 a.m. Specifics are forthcoming concerning the Christmas luncheon and will be made available at a later date. 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.

  Prayer List: Posey Tappers Kathryn Turner, Jake and Mickie Rader and Lulu Belle Thomas; 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. As well as all law enforcement officers and their families as well as everyone affected by the current national unrest; everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  Having only lived in Patriot myself since 2006, I am intrigued with the narrative included in Mr. Emerson’s book that I have been including in honor of Patriot’s 200th Anniversary. I love to read how it was and then compare that information with how things are now. Patriot was once a thriving metropolis! I hope you too read it and enjoy and if your roots are deep here in Switzerland County, I trust some names will be familiar. I am continuing with excerpts from H.F. Emerson’s 1931 publication Historical Sketch of the Town of Patriot:

  • Professional:

  “A Dr. Campbell was the first physician to practice in the settlement but he lived in Kentucky. The first resident practitioner was Dr. Wm. Chamberlain in 1820, followed by Drs. Jessup and Brooks practiced here, the latter having quite a reputation as an oculist later moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Following were Drs. R. R. Ruter, W. A. Oleott (1861) and R. A. Jamieson (1868), who continued here until their deaths.

  Drs. Pryor and Benedict were contemporaries of the two latter but both moved to Oklahoma. Later Drs. Benj. Searcy and Condy Beck until their removal to Rising Sun. Until recently Dr. Shaw practiced, he now being in Cincinnati, and at Present Dr. Wilbur Houston has offices in the building so long occupied by Dr. Jamieson.

  Dentists that have practiced here are Drs. DeShazo, Given, A, B. Cunningham and Theo. Douglass. Dr. Edmonds was the pioneer Veterinary.  Dr. Charles Palmer practiced here until his removal to Shelbyville, Ky., while Dr. Daniel Scudder represents this profession at the present time.

  Attorneys that have practiced are Thomas Edrington, John Houston, and Lucian Harris.     Pharmacy was practiced by a Mr. Beckwith, Silas Howe, Dr. W. A. Oleott, Elsworth 

Oleott, and Otis W. Oleott.

  • River Activities:

  In the early days many flatboats were loaded here for lower river ports. These were of several kinds: potato boats, hay boats, those with whiskey and pork cargoes and boats carrying general merchandise.

  It was due to Jesse Hunt of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, that it became possible to ship hay south at a profit. He, in 1819, conceived the idea that there should be a good market along the Mississippi as little or none was raised there, and as he had increased his meadow land until he cut more hay than could be sold locally an outlet seemed a necessity. The dilemma was that hay being so bulky a boat could not carry sufficient to make the voyage of one profit. He knew a man in Hardintown by the name of Morrison, who was looked upon as a “universal genius,” so he sent for him and presented his problem, and after a few weeks the first hay press was invented. Due to these two men Indiana ports were the first to supply baled hay to the south and to the world.

  My grandfather, Samuel M. Emerson, was a flatboat pilot and knew the river channel from Cincinnati to New Orleans. I have heard him tell of one trip when many boats were hung up on bars due to the extremely low water and of the great efforts that were being made to get, at least, a few boats through as the market prices were always at a premium when boats making the trip were scarce. At one place, Granny’s Gut, (not an elegant name but nevertheless the accepted one) other pilots hailed him saying not to attempt passage as it was impossible but grandfather hailed back that it was possible if one knew exactly where to steer and he slipped smoothly through with the first boat for weeks to be greeted by eager buyers.

  On another trip with a store boat when he had taken his young wife, he was awakened one night as they were moored alongside a plantation by hearing the hatch being stealthily removed. Upon arising and going into the cabin where the goods were carried, he saw a huge young slave dropping through the hatchway intent upon helping himself to things that no doubt his simple mode of living had never favored him with. Grandfather, a just man, was also austere when he felt it necessary, so grabbing a blacksnake whip he began laying it on the back of the young giant not ceasing until the little lady, who was to be my grandmother, begged of him on her knees to desist. The poor slave had learned a dear lesson at the expense of his back but yet escaped with fewer stripes only through the intercession of the weeping bride.

  As my father became old enough, he would make the trips with grandfather and one trip was gladdened for him by a cub bear that they caught in Arkansas. This little fellow became a great pet but a she developed a penchant for pulling up the fish lines that were thrown out from the boat each night, and an incurable complex for throwing every nail he could find overboard it was deemed necessary to get rid of him much to father’s disappointment. Among those operating flatboats the names of Pate, Howe, Dibble and Eaton are recalled.” (To be continued)


  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.