Patriot News 08/20/20


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Red HOT Hatter meetings tentatively scheduled for the rest of the year are now on hold. There will definitely not be a meeting in Madison on August 21st as previously planned. The September 18th meeting could possibly come back to the Ogle Park pavilion for another brown bag luncheon. Again, our primary concern is everyone’s health. We still hope to have our Annual Halloween Bash and Pitch-In October 16th at home of Co-Queen Joyce Johnson and our Christmas luncheon at the Pleasant Rose Mansion (Vevay). 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.

  Happy Belated Birthdays wishes to Laura Riga and Anthony Christiani! Without church, it’s hard to keep up with members of our Church family! Miss you both!

  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.


  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 on River Activities:

  One of the early but now extinct projects carried on at Patriot was the loading of boulders on Big Bone Island, two miles above town, to boulder boats and delivering to Cincinnati and Louisville where streets were paved with them. Only this summer (1930) there appeared in an issue of “The Castle,” a publication by the engineers’ employees composed of crews of the various U.S. Government boats on the Ohio, an article by Captain Hensler of the “Indiana”, on this old business. It stated that though many streets of these two cities have been paved with Big Bone boulders he felt there were still enough left there to pave half of New York and all of Chicago. The “Indiana” was dredging Big Bone channel and while all season previous to this work his boat had held the record for fast dredging the boulders of the island slowed them up to a walk. Now can’t some local thinker figure out a present day use for these boulders and bring his town back to prosperity?

  During the heyday of distilling in the village, corn boats gave much employment as the distillery consumed many thousands of bushels of corn each year. Pate & Co. operated these boats bringing corn for miles from both Indiana and Kentucky ports.

  On the writer’s desk is now an old journal picked up one time from a trash heap of old papers discarded. Among the entries, and all pertain to the old distillery, is one of Nov. 17, 1868. “Bought off T.H. Stephens & Co., 1500 bu. Corn at Rabbit Hash, Ky. To send boat in next two weeks. Price $.50 per bushel. Solon Stephens & I. W. Scott.”

  This old journal has entries of wide scope. It gives dimensions of all the mash tubes, receiving cistern stills and chargers, of all the 24 fermenting tubs, and following is the notation of the buildings:

  Size of mill: Built of brick entirely. Mill 123 feet front. Mash room 50×38, 2 stories high.

  Main mill 3Ix56, 3 stories high. Corn room 42×24, 2 stories high.

  Grain elevator 76×30, 2 1/2 stories high.

  Warehouse, situated Lot No. 40, 85×40. Brick office 18 1/2 x 28 1/4 1 story.  Cribs 60 1/2 x 60 1/2, 1 story. Carpenter Shop 19×30, 1 story. Cistern room 24×28 (Burned). Frame building 13×18, 11/2 story.

  Another notation is of pens and cattle yards: (Dec. 31,1868) 766 Hogs in pens, actual count. 1 M.T. Barrels used for grease during months. barrels salt to put in slop.

  Many other notations as to permissions from commissioner of Int. Rev. Dep.’s; others as to loss of hogs and cattle by death appear, and there is even the warning note: “Refuse all $50.00 bills on First National Bank of New Jersey at Newark, as the plate has been stolen. The bills are genuine but the signatures are forged.”

  Within the memory of the writer the big lower country boats carried much hay and straw from this port and it was a gala event when they docked for hours at the hay warehouse of Robinson & Wickman and we boys could watch the bales go down the chute often with a happy “rouster” riding a bale that occasionally bucked like a bronco as it hit the stage or deck to throw the deckhand heels over head to our delight.

  My maternal grandfather, Alvin M. McHuron, was a steam-boater for thirty-five years, either in the New Orleans or Memphis trade. Many is the time I have drawn him from his paper or almanac to tell me of those days that were so fascinating to my young mind. He always carried peppermint drops so one was necessary before the store began and of course that meant one for me, and as we munched these before the fire we would voyage again the Ohio and the Mississippi, he in memory of years ago and I in make believe.

  Grandfather’s parents came from New York in the early 30’s and bought a farm two miles south of town. They had only become nicely settled when it was found the deed was not valid, an Indian having figured in it in some manner, so they lost their home. This loss was a sore one so an older brother, Alonson, went on the river to help support the family. When grandfather became 12 years old his brother offered to take him as a cabin boy, he being a steward on one of the lower river boats out of Cincinnati, but as the boat was not going to land at Patriot the little fellow walked barefoot 12 miles to Rising Sun to begin his adventures.

  It was in the days when cholera raged along the Mississippi and the new cabin boy had a fear of it that greatly worried him. Strange as it may seem he felt that he could breathe the air of the boat’s cabin with impunity but that one breath from the guards meant sure and terrible death, so when it was necessary for him to go outside the poor little chap would hold his mouth and nose and long to get back where he felt safe from harm.

  How interesting it was to hear of the three boats he had been on when they burned and of the two that had sunk. Time and again must he recount the names of the thirty-three steamers he had run on, and today I can recall many of them – the Thompson Dean, Alice Dean, Telegraph, Cons Miller, Golden Crown, Golden Rule, Reuben R. Springer among them. Then, too, would he have to tell how General Morgan captured and burned the Alice Dean at Brandenburg after using her to ferry his army over the river. He was not aboard at the time but his brother, Silas, was, and he lost about a thousand dollars in silver that he had with him.

  Several small local packets have had Patriot as their home port on the end of their run in the past. In 1883 S. Howe & Co. operating a department store equal to many in larger places, ran the Tug Tom Ross from North’s Landing to Sugar Creek, primarily to bring custom to their store, and later to Vevay. The Florence ran for years from Patriot to Warsaw, and for a time Wm. Rowan operated the Iron King and Capt. Watts and Kate French.

  In the early 1900’s Capt. R. K. Akin ran the Steamer Swan in the Patriot and Aurora trade. R.O. Wickman for some years ran the Carolyn in towing trade, until unfortunately he was killed when he became entangled in the boat’s machinery. This vessel was later operated by Wm. Rea & Son in towing on the Ohio and Kentucky rivers. For a time, the Lee H. Brooks ran in the Cincinnati and Patriot trade and no sprucer little bottom ever plied western waters than she.

  The wharf boat has been operated by many owners but for the past quarter of a century it had been under the ownership of R.O. Wickman until his death, following which his widow, Mrs. Julia Wickman, as ably conducted the business and continues to do so at the present time. At the time of Mr. Wickman passing he was one of the most progressive businessmen of the town. In addition to his water interests he operated a flour mill, produce business, and was at one time junior partner of Robinson & Wickman in a general store. The Patriot wharf was one of the last to be kept afloat along this section of the river but at present is beached and used to store freight.”            


  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.