Patriot News 09/03/20


Please continue very special prayers for the two youngest members of our prayer list: Karsen Cook and Eylah Leppert.

  The Town of Patriot is having its annual 9/11 Memorial walk on Friday, September 11th at 7 p.m. Those interested in participating are asked to meet at Town Hall. A candlelight walk will begin there and end at the Memorial Park. While at the Memorial park there will be a Memorial Service and changing of the flags.

  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.

    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” entitled:

  • Accidents and Tragedies: The outstanding tragedy of the community was in 1868 when the (steamboats) United States and America collided below town near the mouth of Bryant’s Creek. The south bound steamer carried a wedding party and many passengers while in addition to a large passenger list the north bound boat carried a cargo of petroleum. After the collision fire broke out and as the crushed oil barrels let loose their inflammable contents the surface of the river became an inferno. Those not burned to death aboard jumped to as certain a death in the water until the toll taken mounted to the hundreds, though the exact loss of life was never determined. For years after the ribs of the old hulls could be seen in low water, ever a sad reminder of the terrors of that night.

  Another river tragedy was that of the Steamer Pat Rogers. She was lost upriver and the writer’s uncle, Theo. Bonnell, was a passenger and one of the survivors. Years ago, he told of how, while trying to swim ashore, people in their agony would beg to be saved and how one lady on her knee implored that someone save her baby if not her. For years he said the memory haunted him for he saw many go to their death in the catastrophe including the baby and the brave mother.

  What might have been a serious accident was the bursting of a cannon being fired from the bank in front of what is now my mother’s home during the celebration of Lincoln’s election. The cannon had been rammed with a trouser leg soaked in salt water, and when fired, burst, sending one piece of metal weighing 5 pounds hurtling for two blocks when it came down cutting through a tree and burying itself in the ground.

  Some thirty-five years ago the Steamer Buckeye State, a lower river boat, upward bound, burst her main steam line while abreast town. She made shore on the Kentucky side and sent for help as many of the crew were scalded and several dead. The writer recalls watching the accident and what is quite an odd incidence is that he was told of years later by a gentleman here from Cleveland, who was a passenger aboard at the time.

  In 1865 James Connell and Ben Faulkner became embroiled in a fight on Front Street. Connell drew a knife and cut the throat of Faulkner, killing him, for which he served three and one half years. On Christmas eve 1888 Marshall Smith Rice in the performance of his duty in arresting Chas. Whitson, was shot down by the latter, but even in his seriously wounded condition the officer drew and killed Whitson. Marshall Rice, wounded in the abdomen, lingered for a few weeks had finally dies. Due to this trouble, Whitson’s friends in Kentucky became enraged and threatened to attack the town so all G. A. muskets were loaded with buckshot and carried by guards while patronizing the river front. Fortunately, however no further trouble developed. Other town officers who have been forced to kill men while performing their duties were James Kite and Jacob Smith. In 1866 William Tait was killed while attending a dance in Donohue Deadening above town. Some differences arose between him and some men from Kentucky when he was unfortunately shot by one of them.

  • Robberies: In 1865 the safe in the office of the distillery of W.T. Pate & Co. was blown and $8000.00 stolen. The culprit was never captured. The old safe with its doors blown off is still in the office or was some few years ago. During my father’s early manhood, he was employed by S. Howe & Co., who conducted the express agency in connection with their store. This company handled much money, especially from the distillery, and among father’s duties was that of taking express to the wharf each night for the messengers on the mail boats. One night he took several thousand dollars to the wharf and as the boat was late, he called the wharf master, Mr. Kennedy, father of the present ferryman, and showed him where he was putting it under some sacks of wheat. Upon arrival of the down boat Mr. Kennedy went to get the money only to find it gone, which put both him and father in rather an unenviable light. Detectives from Cincinnati worked on the case and finally caught a local young man in Cincinnati, who confessed that he had lain on the outer guard and watched where the package had been placed. He later secured it, stepped aboard as the boat landed, went to Louisville and then by train to Cincinnati. For his act he served a sentence in the state penitentiary. 

  • Mystery and Counterfeiting: One of the unsolved mysteries of the village is the disappearance of a Mr. Terwillegar, a fruit tree salesman. This man had come to town driving a fine team of horses and was last seen one night with two local men who did not bear the best of reputations. The horses were taken to Cincinnati and sold apparently without authority, and though the unfortunate man’s relatives came on and did all in their power no trace was ever found of, what was generally suspected to be, the victim of foul play; nor did the state ever take any action in so far as tradition records it.

  Some seventy or more years ago there lived here a man who was quite a character. Abijah D. Bennett was a salesman for E. Case and a bookkeeper for several of the business firms of that period. His entries for whiskey on his books never used the name of the popular commodity but showed such names as “red eye,” “com juice” and “family disturbance.” This man was an expert penman and could imitate any style writing, and in fact could write almost equally as well with his toes. At certain times strange men and women would get off the down mail boat, call upon him and after mysterious actions in private with him they would leave on the up boat, and it was generally suspected that his ability to write in diverse manners was “the mouse trap that caused them to beat a path to his door.” An elderly citizen now dead once told of a local man, who had come from a late night boat and in the passing a building where Bennett worked, noticed a light through the shutters. He could see that paper money was being worked upon so hailed Bennett and was admitted, whereupon the worker asked him if he wanted some money, at the same time signing the name of another local man as president of the bank that he was particularly interested in at the moment. And it was said this paper passed as money without question.”


  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.