Patriot News


  It’s hard to believe that August is here. The summer has surely flown by! School is right around the corner! My mother has been canning green beans this week. I remember as a kid, growing up on Meades Ridge, the days used to seem as if they went by so slowly. I can remember thinking that I couldn’t wait until I turned 16 and could drive, and 18 and get out of school. I remember my grandfather telling me, “don’t wish your life away, it will go by quicker as you get older”. My, how I wish I could tell him how true those words were!

  If you lived around Patriot in the 1940’s through the late 1960’s you probably remember the Robbins family. They moved to their farm on Goose Creek in the 1940’s. They lived in the farm house that was later called, “Cold Water Farm” and the Hale family lived there for several years. Mr. Robbins, Robert R. Robbins, or R.R. Robbins, was a former County Agriculture Agent from Kentucky, and his wife. Lola, was a teacher. They were both graduates of Berea College and moved here for Mr. Robbins to farm. Lola taught at Cass Union School, and later taught Home Economics and Physical Education at Patriot High School. They were also very involved with the Methodist Church. They had two sons, Wayne and John. Wayne was a Methodist minister, and later went to school to become an airline pilot. Wayne was a teacher. Someone, maybe my grandfather, gave Mr. Robbins, the nickname, “Cocky”. Pretty much everyone knew him as “Cocky Robbins”! I know that he had quite a sense of humor. I remember going there with my grandfather, and he had a box in the front yard that had the words, “baby rattlers” on the outside. He told me to go look at it, and I very slowly raised the top to look inside — and found actual baby rattlers (toys) inside it! He laughed and laughed! Mr. Robbins died in 1971 and Lola died in 1983. They are buried in Boone County, Kentucky. If anyone has any information on the Robbins family, please share with me!

  I spoke with my cousin, Shanna Cook on Monday. Shanna lives in New Orleans. I was telling her how warm and humid it is up here, she told me she believes it is worse in Louisiana!

  I was thinking of what Snip Wiley did on these sweltering, hot summer days and I recall him telling me that he tried to stay under the North Road bridge on these really hot days. There was usually always cool water flowing out of the hills into the creek there by his abode. Snip was as connected to nature and the land as anyone could be. There is a little pool of water there by where Snip lived that always had cool water in it, perhaps due to a spring located there. Snip always claimed that he had a built-in, in-ground swimming pool, right in front of his house! He also had plenty of shade that he could stay in on hot days.

  I mentioned last week about Larry Ray passing away. Larry was a 1976 graduate of Switzerland County High School. He batted .585 in his senior year on the Switzerland County High School baseball team; they also went 14-0 in the conference that year. He had a stellar collegiate career at Roane State in Tennessee, and Kentucky Wesleyan, hitting .400 and .413 in his last two years, and was a 4th round draft choice of the Houston Astros in 1979. Larry was one of the top prospects in the Astros farm system all through the Rookie League through AAA.

  One of the other stars in the Astros farm system at that time was Cincinnati native, Billy Doran. Doran had a long major league career primarily with the Astros and the Reds. Doran now works in player development with the Reds. I was able to reach him through my friend, Charlie Frank, who works for the Reds to let him know about Larry. Billy’s comments were, “ this is very sad news to me. Larry and I were very close through our years in the Minor Leagues. We were called up to the Astros on the same day in September of 1982”.

  Through all of his success in baseball, Larry was always the same guy when he came back to Vevay in the off season. My brother, Mark, said he worked for Jim Lucas cutting and housing tobacco for one year. Larry was also working for Jim that year, and he said that he had never seen anyone cut tobacco any faster than Larry. Larry always said that was a big part of his off season training regiment, working in tobacco!. If you knew Larry’s father, Bill Ray, you know that Larry was raised to have a strong work ethic. Larry was the youngest in a large family, and no doubt began working in tobacco as soon as he was old enough to do so.

  Little League Baseball was what just about every boy either played in the summer or tried to play. The games were all played in the old baseball field next to the Shoe Factory on Seminary Street in Vevay. It seems like the leagues lasted about all summer back then. Of course, there weren’t a lot of things going on back then, either! On game nights, you could hardly drive down Seminary Street in Vevay. The game traffic, plus the shoe factory workers parking lots made it pretty congested. I can remember the smell in the air, probably leather and whatever dyes they used at the factory. It actually benefited me and other players from Patriot, because we were able to meet and get to know other players from Vevay, Allensville, Pleasant and Florence, since we would all soon be together in school at Vevay.

  My first team was the Dodgers (yes, I wanted the Reds), the coaches were Bill Ray and Elmer Johnson. Larry Ray, Bill’s son, and future professional baseball player, was on the team. Even back then, you could tell that Larry had a special talent for the game. Bill took the game very seriously, and you had to stay on your toes! Whether you were a good player, or not, Little League was part of the “rites” of growing up. Being on a team meant something special. Our uniform consisted of a hat and a short sleeve blue shirt with “Dodgers” on it. I can still remember how it felt to put that hat and shirt on!

  Football will be starting soon. I see the school corporation has a bus that picks players up in town for the summer camp/practices. This is a great service for children who live in the farther points in the county from Vevay. Thanks to the school corporation for providing this service!

  Sympathy to the families of Lavern Wagner and Angie Kelley. I co-officiated at Lavern’s memorial service this past week, along with Reverend Shawn McMullen of the Vevay Church of Christ. Lavern’s husband, Sonny Wagner grew up in Posey Township and attended Patriot Schools. Sonny’s father, Dick Wagner, was our neighbor on Meades Ridge for many years.

  The Long Run Association Men’s Brotherhood Prayer Breakfast will be this Saturday, August 5th at 8 a.m. at the Patriot Baptist Church. Steve Allen, the District Minister for the American Baptist Churches of Indiana will be the special guest.

  The little building on the east side of Patriot, next to the home of Linda Fisk, was once the site of Stephenson’s Garage. It’s hard to believe that a business operated out of that tiny building! They had it fixed where automobiles could drive upon a platform to do oil and filter changes and light mechanic work. You can still see part of the structure where they worked on autos. They also carried candy, soft drinks and other snack items. The proprietors, Roy and Lena Stephenson, lived in the house that used to sit directly across the street. The house was recently torn down. The business continued to operate through the early 1960’s.

  The Stephensons had a son, Leroy (Steve) Stephenson. Leroy was born in 1930, and was a 1948 graduate of Patriot High School. Leroy graduated from Bradley College in Peoria, Illinois, and served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Leroy opened the Stephenson Jewelry Store in Greensburg in 1953, where he worked as a jeweler until he retired in 2015. Leroy passed away on Thursday, January 24th, 2019 and is buried in Greensburg.

  Marlene and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary on Saturday. We had an early dinner at Texas Roadhouse in Florence and saw the movie, “Oppenheimer”. It was a long movie (three hours), but very good. The movie was based on the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist who was the director of the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos, New Mexico. Laboratory. He is also known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb.

  This past week was the 70th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Armistice which brought an end to the Korean War. Two Patriot military members were killed in action in the Korean War, James W. Buddenburg, United States Marine Corps, killed on September 7th, 1952, and Harvey Eugene Thomas, United States Army, killed in action on April 13th, 1951. My father, Benjamin Franklin Jones, United States Army, also was in the Korean War. William Jester, from Vevay, United States Army, was also killed in action in the Korean War.

  The Cook Reunion will be coming up on August 20th, at 1 p.m. at the Patriot Town Hall. This is my mother’s father, Marshall Cook’s family. The Cooks lived on Bodey Hill. In fact, my mother, her father, and her grandfather were all born in the same house on Bodey. When I was a kid, the Cook Reunion was held in Greensburg. I would ride to Lawrenceburg with my grandparents to meet our cousin Harvey Cook. We rode with Harvey to the reunion. Harvey had a big car with a V-8 engine. Harvey told us that his car had a four barrel carburetor and that he had to go slower so the four barrel would not kick in. So we drove up Indiana 1 to 46 to Batesville to Greensburg, at about 35-40 mph. I thought Greensburg was hours away when I was a kid, because it took us so long to get there! One particular year, we took a boy named Mike with us who was staying at my grandfather’s that summer, working on the farm. My grandfather took Mike to Collins Department Store to get him a pair of pants to wear. When it was time to come home, we couldn’t find Mike. After a time of searching, we found Mike at the pool there at the park in Greensburg. Mike was swimming, and had torn the pants above the knees, so he could swim. My grandfather went on and on about that episode for days!

  I had a good talk this past week with Tammy Armstrong Cole. Tammy grew up in Patriot and graduated from Switzerland County High School in 1977. She is married to Duane Cole, and lives on Beatty Ridge in York Township. Tammy has been battling an illness, and is recovering. Please remember her in your prayers.

  I would like to know if anyone has any specific history on the old Patriot Jail? I would like to write a story about it. Please let me know if you know of any information that I could use.

  I spoke with Laverne Ballard Hayes this past week. Laverne had been in Christ Hospital for a few weeks and is now at the Woodland Hills Care Center in Lawrenceburg for rehabilitation. She hopes to be back in her home soon! Laverne attended Patriot Schools.

  Prayers for Joe Brady of Patriot, who is recovering from a medical procedure.

  Patrick Jones of Meades Ridge will be returning to Rising Sun High School this week for his second year as a teacher there. His son, Mason will be in the 8th Grade at Rising Sun Middle School this year. Rosa will be a senior at Switzerland County High School.

  My buddy, Sam Schroer of Patriot, will also be starting his senior year at Switzerland County High School.

  I had a good conversation with Reverend Steve Ward this past week in the Patriot General Store. Steve is a retired music teacher and the longtime Pastor of the Concord Community Church west of Patriot.

  Jachoby McKay will go to football camp on Wednesday through Friday at the Whitewater Christian Camp near Lake Geneva with the Switzerland County High School Football team.

  Sean and Kim Hutcherson-Jannsen will hold their first annual Consignment Auction at the Dam Auction Company which is located at 13219 Innovation Drive in Florence, Indiana. Their business is adjacent to the Markland Bridge on the west side of Circle K. I drove through there on Sunday, they have a tremendous amount of equipment there. Wishing the best of luck to Sean and Kim, and their staff. I know they put a lot of hard work into this project.

Barrie’s Tidbits

  I do not need to write about the horrific heat during the summer of ‘23. It is here and I do hope it will pass soon. Furthermore, no need to remind you that it is so necessary, and could save your life, to always remain hydrated, “With Water” but I did!

  “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” — Oscar Wilde.

  The Patriot High School Alumni Association (PHSAA) is currently putting together its first ever “PHSAA Bulletin”, to be published the first of September and mailed to each high school graduate. The plan is to print and mail this periodical each quarter. It will contain current information about the members and to include the History of the High School. Stay tuned! I would like copies of the “Bulletin” to be placed in nursing and rehab homes in the area. Need your input and any information you may have concerning the members. Also, any ideas for the periodical are welcome!

  The town of Patriot was alive during the ‘50’s and 60’s with the sound of a “Shuffle” and the aroma of freshly baked goods! The “Gertie Shuffle” was prominent on Third Street. Gertrude See, each Thursday and Friday would bake bread, rolls, and biscuits, the wonderful aroma would follow her as she delivered them to the residents that ordered from her. She always stopped by my house on the corner and left a half-loaf, which may have lasted 3 minutes, but oh was so good! Gertie was a sister to the Mother of the Gurley family and she was to spend the last years of her life living with her Niece Alice Gurley Jackson in Patriot. Aunt Gertie was a gem in our little town.

  Had a phone conversation with Reta Minks Sprecher. She informed me that her mother Pearl Rider Minks is doing fine. You can only imagine the heat in Florida this summer. Wish you well ladies!

  Further conversations occurred with Carolyn Martin Stroobandt and Sara Lynn Peebles Blades. Last week I had written the PHSAA Officer positions incorrectly. Oops! The correct order is: Sara Lynn Peebles Blades, President; Barrie Lee Watters, Vice President; and last but definitely not least is Carolyn Martin Stroobandt, Secretary/Treasurer. Sorry!

  Til’ next week !

Mike’s Closing

  That’s all for this week! Please remember to send me news to use to (812) 290-3088, or You can send news to Barrie at (828) 335-8270, or

  Until next week, in the words of Glen Campbell, remember to “try a little kindness, and shine your light for everyone you meet.”