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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
James C. Patterson
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
Although an eastern man by birth, training, association and activity during the early years of his manhood, James C. Patterson, of Elmer, has lived in Missouri thirty-one years and throughout the whole of that period has taken an active part in the industries and been a force of value in the public affairs of the state. He is, therefore, thoroughly imbued with the spirit and aspirations of its people and in full sympathy with all their proper wishes and undertakings. They acknowledge with pleasure his worth as a man and his usefulness as a citizen, and freely accord him the esteem these high qualities of merit deserve. Mr. Patterson was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, on February 19, 1835, and is a son of Uriah and Katharine (Groover) Patterson, the former a native of New Jersey and the latter of Pennsylvania. The father was born in 1799, and early in his manhood moved to the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, where every industry was thriving, and there worked diligently at his trade as a tinner until his death, which occurred in 1885. The mother died eight years earlier, passing away in 1877. They had thirteen children and eleven of them grew to maturity. Those living now are only James C. and his sister, Adeline, who is the wife of L. M. Coovert, of Harmony, Pennsylvania. Both have lived useful lives and are comfortable in their advanced age in a worldly way, and cheered by the universal regard and courteous attention of all who know them.
James C. Patterson was reared in his native city and obtained his education in the district schools that flourished in its midst. After leaving school he was apprenticed to a wheelwright and learned the trade in several years of faithful and industrious attention to the instructions of his preceptor. After completing his apprenticeship he worked at his trade until the beginning of the Civil war. He was cordially attached to the Union of the states and deemed it his duty to aid in preventing its dismemberment. He therefore enlisted for the war in the Eighteenth Ohio Battery of Artillery and was soon at the front. His command was a busy one during the whole period of the momentous conflict. It was constantly on the march or in the field, and in numerous bloody battles paid its full tribute to the cause it was defending in the blood and lives of its valiant members. Mr. Patterson took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and many others of varying degrees of importance. He escaped the fate of many of his comrades and returned from the deluge of death unharmed. After the war he again took up his residence in Ohio, having moved to that state before he enlisted, and resumed work at his trade. He remained in Ohio until 1878, and during his residence there served as postmaster at Garden, in Athens county, four years, then resigned the office. He also served as a justice of the peace there for a period of five years. He came to this state in 1878 and located in Macon county. Here he determined to follow a new line of enterprise and devoted himself to contracting and building until 1905, when the weight of years induced him to retire from active pursuits and enjoy for the remainder of his days a much-needed and well-earned rest. He has since dwelt at Elmer in peace and comfort, and is entitled to the pleasure which springs from the retrospect of a well-spent life and fidelity in the performance of every duty.
His political faith is given to the Republican party and he has at all times rendered it loyal support and effective service. In 1884 he was elected a justice of the peace and has been re-elected at the end of his every term since then. In 1906 he was also commissioned a notary public and he is still available for service in that capacity. He was also a member of the school board of Elmer for four years. It is manifest that wherever he has lived he has been deeply interested in the welfare of the people around him and willing to do whatever he could to promote it. He sprang to the defense of his country when war spread terror and devastation through the land, and in times of peaceful industry he has helped to build up and develop with the same sturdy sense of duty and persistent industry that characterized his course in the army. In the latter, it should be stated, he rose to the rank of lieutenant in his company, reaching the distinction through merit and as a reward for conspicuous gallantry.
In 1861 Mr. Patterson was united in marriage with Miss Orphea J. Buck, a native of Ohio. They had six children, five of whom are living: James E., who resides in Elmer; Cora M., the wife of L. L. Shoemaker, of Adair county, Missouri; Herbert B., and Elmer U., whose homes are in Washington, and Myrtle, the wife of W. P. Bunch, of Elmer. Their mother died in 1901. The father is a leading member of the Universalist church and always active in the promotion of the best interests of the congregation to which he belongs. In his case the sands of life are necessarily running low—the plow is nearing the end of the furrow. But the current of the sands has been a clean and bright one and the furrow is straight.Mr. Patterson has rendered his full service to his kind in his day and generation, and now there is none among those who know him that does not call him worthy and revere him as an excellent citizen and highly estimable man.