Daughter of James Knox and Arabella Blackmore Patrick
Born: August 17, 1850 Died: Novemer 26, 1927
My grandfather, James Patrick, was born in Ireland in County Antrim near Ballymoney April 11, 1776. He married Nancy Knox who was said to be three years older than my grandfather—no record of the day of her birth is given but the year 1773. They were married in Ireland March 23, 1806, and emigrated immediately to America.
I once knew a lady here in St. Louis who told me that my grandparents stayed one night on their way to the ship at her mother’s home which was called High Top Farm. They settled in Pittsburgh where their oldest son, Hugh, was born December 24, 1806, and died February 6, 1807. Grandfather Patrick was a Master Mason and had the contract for the building of the Garrison at Pittsburgh. Grandfather Patrick died December 13, 1832, and his wife December 18, 1841. My father, James Patrick, was born July 17, 1808, in a house opposite the Garrison which my father took me to see in 1869.
My grandparents were Scotch Presbyterians. They were buried in Pittsburgh but as the cemetery where they were buried was being dismantled, my father moved their remains to Bellfontaine in the autumn of 1868. My father learned the trade of a stone mason. I remember seeing his trowel when I was child. He always exhibited it with great pride. He married Arabella Blackmore in Birmingham, Pennsylvania, June 2, 1840. Their first home was facing a square called the Diamond. I saw the place in 1869.
Mother’s Blackmore Family
My mother was the youngest child of William Blackmore and Lucy Richardson Blackmore. They were cousins. My great grandfather was born in Montgomery County, Maryland, near what is now Washington, D.C. The story goes that the land in Maryland was such poor farming land that he left there, giving a ninety nine year lease to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth. He settled in what he thought was northwest Virginia but when the state lines were made, he found himself in Pennsylvania and his slaves became free.
My grandfather died young and left my grandmother with a large family and a farm. She established a family burying ground on the top of a hill opposite my grandmother’s farm. I saw it in 1888 and again some years later. The epitaph upon grandfather’s tombstone was:
“Old and young as you pass by,
As you are now so once was I.
As I am now so must you be,
Prepare for death and follow me.”
My mother had a brother next older than herself who died when about twenty years old. His epitaph is:
“Reader as you pass by, look here
And drop a sympathizing tear,
For sprightly you laid low in dust
To await the rising of the just.”
My mother’s oldest brother, Thomas, had a farm of his own for a while near my grandmother’s but sold it and moved to Birmingham where he became a successful merchant. When my mother was a young girl, her mother’s house and farm were destroyed by a tornado. Then my grandmother moved to Birmingham and her son, Thomas, built her a house on his home lot where my mother lived until she married. Uncle Thomas Blackmore’s son, James, became a successful coal merchant and was once Mayor of Pittsburgh. The eldest daughter, Ellen, was the same age as my mother. She married a Dr. Wolfe who was a prominent physician of Birmingham for many years. His youngest daughter, Belle, spent many winters at our house when I was a child. She married Chris Graff who at that time had one of the largest steel mills in Pittsburgh. The only descendant of Uncle Thomas’ family now living is Chas. Wolfe who lives in Pittsburgh.
After my father married, he began having canal boats on the Ohio and Mississippi. He would take a load of coal or lumber down to New Orleans and return loaded with cotton and sugar. In 1844 my uncle William, Judge Warner and my father formed a partnership in the lumber business and Uncle William came to St. Louis to live and carry on the Business. The first yard was located on the SW corner of Main and Carr Sts. In June 1845, the yard was burnt and then the firm located at the NE corner of Main and Biddle. They rented the ground from Peter Lindell. It was formerly occupied by an old French fort to protect the people from the Indians.
Uncle William lived on Florida St. near Second. I remember the house was on an embankment with a stone wall to hold it up. They had a large yard which was my delight. In the early fall of 1848 my father sold his home in Birmingham and started for St. Louis on the steamer Union, which he owned, with his wife, two sons-William Knox born June 12, 1841 and James Blackmore born May 27, 1845. Their first home was on Collins St. near Columbia St. owned by Thos. N. West. Father, finding it to his interest to have a steamer to tow his barges of lumber from Cairo, bought the steamer Tobacco Plant and took command of her.
In 1849 there was a big fire took place in St. Louis which destroyed many steamboats. Also in 1849 there was a fearful epidemic of cholera in St. Louis. My father took his family to live on his boat, never allowing them to leave it even in port. When it was considered safe to live in the city, my father rented a house on Howard St. east of Broadway. This house stood on a high embankment protected by a stone wall. It was what was called an L house. There were many of them in the early days-built far enough back on the lot to put a front on them when means were more plentiful. It contained about six rooms and it was in this house that my twin brother, Thos. Richardson, and myself were born August 17, 1850. Just north of this house on Broadway was the Big Mound extending east to Second St. and from Mound to Brooklyn. I have often climbed this mound. It was cut away years ago. From Howard St. we moved to Collins St. I remember it was what is now called a Duplex house. It was on the corner of Biddle. It was also on a high embankment. It was in this house that my brother Tom, fell down the stairs injuring his head so that was feeble minded all is life. I remember a passage way in this house that must have connected the main building with a side L. It was enclosed with glass and had a stairway leading downstairs which must have been the one my brother tumbled down when he was injured.
We had an Irish wet nurse who lived with us many years. I remember my mother telling me that when we lived in this house. One Sunday morning when she was alone in the house with my brother and me, several Indians came in the front door, walked up the stairs to the attic and went to sleep.
My father’s and uncle’s business grew so large they had to have a line of boats to Cairo. When the Illinois Canal was opened, they began to buy lumber in Chicago. They established a branch yard in Chicago. Father decided to go there to live but the yard burnt and he decided to stay in St. Louis. He used to go up the Illinois River to Peoria, then stage it to Chicago.
My father had two sisters—Jane born October 23, 1810, died Oct. 13, 1855. She lived with my Uncle William’s family and never married. She was one of the first women in St. Louis to volunteer as a nurse in the Civil War. She served on the Mississippi boats that brought up the wounded from the South. She contracted malaria while in the south and never recovered from it. While she lived in the house on Collins St., my father’s sister Mary Ann, married Alexander Riddle who was a widower with two little boys, George and Truman. They lived across the street from us on Collins & Biddle. His residence was on Collins and his lumber yard back of the house extending to Broadway. Mary Ann or my Aunt Mary was born June 27, 1816—died August 8, 1869.
In 1853 my father bought a home on the north side of Wash St. between ninth and tenth sts. The house extended the whole length of the end of the lot. It had a wide entrance with a large porch over the entrance. It was two stories and a half high. The lot was about 100 ft. wide on the corner of an alley. The man who built the house was a carpenter so there was one wooden shed two stories high that he had used as a carpenter shop. There was also a stable and carriage house of brick. There were three attic rooms in this house, one of which as given to me as a play room. A public school, the Jefferson, was on the corner of Ninth and Wash. My brothers attended this school until they were sent to private schools. My brother William, went to Washington Academy which became Smith Academy. My other brother, to Prof. Edward Wyman’s academy on 16th and Pine.
When I was six years old, I was sent to the Jefferson School—Ninth and Wash St. I was kept there until I was old enough to go to a private school—Bohan’s—which was situated on Locust near tenth on the north side of the street. While we lived on Wash St., I remember seeing the hand fire engines—also remember some kind of riot. I remember the “Wide Awake Parades.” I also remember the colored bell men who used to go through the streets, ringing a big bell and calling out the description of lost children.
About 1857 my father bought a tract of land west of the city in Cote Brilliante. He soon erected his stable and out buildings and improved the land, but when the Civil War came on he delayed building his house. When we lived on Wash Street in my childhood, we attended the United Presbyterian Church situated on Fifth & Locust Streets where now is the Federal Reserve Bank. We used to have our church picnics in Carr Place—19th & Carr Streets, the estate of Judge Carr. I believe 19th Street was the western city limit at that time, a little later it was extended to Grand Ave.
In the early 60s there was no bridge across the Mississippi. All the eastern trains started from East St. Louis. Large buses went around the city gathering up the passengers, they all met at the Planters House on Fourth St., then drove down to the Wiggins Ferry boats and so were carried across the river to East St. Louis.
About 1862, my brother Will had to go East on some military business. My parents insisted on my going with him. It was my first railroad journey. I remember passing through Canada and how thrilled I was to see the red coated soldiers and be in a foreign country. I saw Niagara for the first time. On the way to Washington we stopped at Mount Joy, a place in Pa. where a cousin of mine was attending school. It was only a few days after the Battle of Gettysburg [July 1863]. The trains and all the hotels were filled with people returning from Gettysburg where they had been to assist with the care of the wounded and look for friends. I had a cousin who was a physician who had gone down to Gettysburg at the call of government to help care for the wounded. The night we spend at Mt. Joy, we had to sleep in a saloon with my brother asleep in a chair nearby. I went from there to Pittsburgh with my cousin, my brother continuing his journey to Washington. I visited some cousins there.
In 1863 my father built his home in Cote Brilliante. The only hard roads to the west were the St. Charles Rock Road, the St. Charles Natural Bridge Road, and Olive Street Road. The Natural Bridge Road was so named for a natural bridge of rock east of Grand Avenue. There were toll gates on all the roads at that time. There were coal mines in Forest Park, and Kingshighway was a lane with only three houses facing it between Forest Park and St. Charles Rock Road. The Park was not opened until about 1874.
After moving to the country, I attended Mary Institute. I had to leave home early in the morning. Often I would hear the six o’clock church bells ringing as we went out our front gate. I would go to my Uncle William’s home on 17th and Washington Avenue, then wait until it was time to go to school. My father would call for me in the late afternoon to take me home. There was bobtail, one-horse car that made the trip every half hour from the car barns on Prairie & Haston(Eastern????) Avenue to Euclid. There was no heat in the car. We kept our feet warm in the straw that was on the floor.
My father’s vehicle was a two-seated rig. Sometimes we picked up school children on their way to town to school which was very pleasant to me. The St. Charles Rock Road now Easton Ave. was poorly paved and the street on which our house was situated was only a mud road so it took some time to make the trip to town. I did not have many companions after we moved to the country. My oldest brother married during the Civil War and left home. My next younger brother died in 1866. His death was a great sorrow to me as we were just beginning to be companionable. My cousins Eliza and William spent almost every week-end with me so I had some good times. Addie Shute, who was afterward, Mrs. Jos. Allison was my only girl companion. She had an Indian pony and I a gaited horse, so we had many a good horseback ride together while waiting for my father to come for me. I spend my afternoons playing with the young people of my age who lived about Sixteenth & Olive Sts., also at the home of Mary Morton whose parents owned a home on 17th & Locust Sts. That was considered the finest residence in the city at that time.
The summer of 1867 I spent a few weeks at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where I realized for the first time in my life what it meant to have the companionship of young people and have a good time. I was in the first St. Louis party that spent the summer at Oconomowoc which later became a very popular and fashionable summer resort. I spent a few weeks of the next summer there with the same party of friends. There I met a young man who became my ideal of what a good man should be. We became engaged, but he died in a few years of consumption.
I used to have malaria—dumb chills so much that my health became impaired. The fall of 1868 I was sent away to school to Elmira College where I remained ten months without seeing any of my family. I made friends there that have been true friends all my life.
A few weeks after I returned from Elmira College, I was invited by Mr. Nathan Cole, who was then Mayor of St. Louis to join a party he was taking to the Pacific Coast. My Uncle William and Cousin Eliza were in the party. We started about six weeks after the completion of the Union Pacific Railway. We had a very interesting experience as there were no station houses established—no hotels or eating houses—Indians still very much in evidence and the buffalo quite numerous. It was before the days of canned goods so we had to pick up what was available along the route. We made a journey by stages from Unitah [sic] to Salt Lake City were we were escorted around the city and entertained by Brigham Young’s eldest son. We continued our journey to San Francisco which we found very interesting. Some of our party were entertained by Mr. Ralston who was the President of the Bank of California. He had a fine estate at Palo Alto where the party was entertained over a week-end. We took a coast steamer at San Francisco to Portland, Oregon. It was a small, dirty vessel and we were all terribly seasick. Portland was a small place then, the principle streets were very unattractive, many josh houses along the street. We had a stage ride to Salem, Oregon where a brother of Mr. Cole’s resided. We visited Tamanawas Falls where we saw the salmon collected at the foot of the Falls so thick that we stood on the shore and speared them with hooks the Indian women were using. We returned home the same way we came, as there were no railroads from Oregon to San Francisco. It has always been a pleasant memory for me.
The summer of 1870 I remained at home. The summer of 1871 I went with my father on a steam boat to St. Paul. I spent a month in Minneapolis as I was not very well. I stopped in Chicago on my way home, leaving there only a few days before the great Chicago Fire.
The summer of 1872 I went with Mrs. Sawyer who was a Mary Institute teacher and two young ladies to Europe. We visited England, Scotland, France, Germany and Switzerland. I enjoyed every day of it, supposing it was the only European trip I should ever have. Soon after my return at an evening party I met my beloved husband. After our first meeting we were never interested in anyone else. To me he was as interesting as the first time I met him and we had a lovely companionship together for fifty years. We were married about a year after we first met each other,–December 4, 1873. I had for my bridesmaids Laura Chamberlain, Mary Frisbie, Mary Morton, and Hattie Birge. Our groomsmen were Judge Amos Thayer, Geo. Edgell, Mr. ____rick, and my cousin, James Patrick. We were married by Dr. Dicky, pastor of First Presbyterian Church. We joined Pilgrim Church the first communion after we were married—January 1874.