“The Patrick family’s businesses stretched all the way to Elora Tennessee.”
City Directories and History:The historic Brice – Patrick Store and house at Woodward, was one of two primary rural businesses, serving the larger Woodward farm
community. The store and home was for decades associated with Mike Patrick and members of the Patrick family who also owned and operated a cotton gin behind the current store location.
Current owner, Lori Russell wrote and submitted the following information to R&R on her home’s history: “The Miss Robinson that built the original part of the house is Mary Mobley daughter of Samuel Mobley (1771 – 1854) and Elizabeth (Pickett) Whitehead (widow) – (1774 – 1836). Mary was first married to John Barrette Woodward, widowed and then married John A. Robinson. She was left this property (originally granted to Daniel Huffman in 1815 or so) and the McDaniel property in her father’s will. She built the three room house and kitchen house roughly around 1840. Added one more room to the house in 1850. The store originally was operated by John Mobley at an early location across the railroad. It was moved and managed by John A. Brice and his family members; R.W. Brice, Jr., John A. Brice, Calvin Brice, and T.S. Brice until in 1892, William Mintor Patrick purchased it in 1892. The store closed in 1955. As of Oct. 2013, the house is being extensively renovated with new siding and windows.
Walter A. Blaine served as the local official signing death certificates for hundreds of local Woodward farm families who had lost family members. Many of his death certificates remain in the Russell Collection and a few of these can be viewed on R&R by typing in “Death
Certificates”, into the search bar. Please include the quotation marks for best results. Additional information on the store and hundreds of individuals associated with it can be researched at – Patrick Store and Gin as well as at the Patrick Store – Too, just click on the highlight.
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INFORMATION GALLERY – M. PATRICK FARM IN TENNESSEE
Mixed in with papers dealing with the Patrick store in Woodward, Fairfield County, SC were a number of documents dealing with a farm in Tennessee. It seems that W. M. Patrick owned this farm from at least 1914 to 1933. A review of these papers failed to identify the size of the farm, the date he acquired it, and how he acquired it. A number of families went from South Carolina to central Tennessee in the 1800s, but we don’t know if it was family land or how he acquired it. On one document from 1919, farm manager G. W. Derting reported on letterhead that had the notation “Fairfield Farm, Elora, Tennessee.” This is the only use of the name seen, but it would make sense to name it for Mr. Patrick’s home county in South Carolina.
The land was located near Elora, Tennessee. This community is located in Lincoln County in the south central part of the state. It is just north of the Alabama state line and 15 miles southeast of Fayetteville, the county seat. Elora was begun as Baxter Station, a stop on the Fayetteville & Decherd Railroad in the 1850s. In the early twentieth century, it was a thriving small town serving as a center for the surrounding farming community. Today, it is unincorporated.
From the papers in the Patrick collection, the following merchants can be identified in Elora: Elora Gin Company (1929), J. H. Walls, Ginner and Cotton Buyer (1926), Conant Hotel (1915), J. O. Conant Groceries (1919), Oscar Parks General Merchandise, J. T. Robertson, Dry Goods, Notions and Groceries (1915), Robertson & Hudson, General Merchandise (1915), J. A. Pylant, Druggist (1915). There was evidently no bank in Elora, as Mr. Patrick’s banking business was with Elk National Bank in Fayetteville. There is an account book for various periods, including 1914 to 1920.
The difficulty of managing a farm from a long distance away is clear in much of the correspondence. Mr. Patrick employed several farm managers, and there is correspondence concerning crops, houses, tenant farmers, and laborers. It was especially difficult to determine when to sell and what price to seek. The market for crops fluctuated, and Mr. Patrick often sent instructions as to what price to seek. However, the time frame for correspondence made this impractical. It is clear from some correspondence that Mr. Patrick visited the farm at intervals. He seems to have used the Conant Hotel as a base of business on some of these trips.
There were several farm managers mentioned in the correspondence. R. A. Money is listed on a 1915 letter, and he reports income from lumber sales and expenses for supplies, and includes an inventory of livestock and equipment.. J. F. Couch is listed on some papers. A letter from February 14, 1919 shows an inventory of articles turned over by J. F. Couch to G. W. Derting (sometimes spelled Dirting). On September 18, 1918, Mr. Derting had answered an advertisement for the position of foreman and gave references in Huntsville, Alabama. Mr. Derting was on the farm for several years. By 1926, U. C. Baxter was the farm manager and stayed for several years. H. L. Thrower is mentioned several times, but it is not clear if he is a share cropper or manager. O. Conant was a constant presence, and whether he had a business partnership with Mr. Patrick is not clear. He often sent bills and reported on affairs. Mr. Patrick seems to have used the Conant Hotel as his office when in Elora, and often used the letterhead for the hotel for notes and lists of payments for Mr. Patrick’s farm. Mr. Conant also was on the checking account and signed checks for Mr. Patrick with the Elk National Bank in 1918 and 1919. When Mr. Derting was hired in 1918, Mr. Patrick told him to talk to Mr. Conant, because he knows how Mr. Patrick wants things done. It seems that Mr. Conant was Patrick’s business manager on site.
We do not know the size of the farm. In one letter, Patrick mentions tracts of 112 acres and 100 acres that are part of the farm. From the correspondence, it seems that there was a “big house” and the “McCray house” which were rented to farmers. For example, in March 1928, U. M. Baxter reported that he was sending a check for rent paid by Claude Loyd, but that Arthur Donaldson owed nine months’ rent on the McCray house. Some documents mention the “mountain land.” It is not clear of this was a separate farm or simply a description of part of the farm.
Crops were varied. In the spring of 1919, G. W. Derting reported on crop planting. The crops mentioned were cotton, corn, crimson clover (for seed), rye, wheat, and spring oats. He also mentioned cattle, and the cutting of timber for cross ties. The cutting of timber for various purposes was an ongoing project. Hay was sometimes sold.
In the 1920s, Mr. Patrick made several attempts to sell all or part of the land. There were several disruptions during the 1920s in the cotton market. In 1927, Patrick wrote to John W. Taylor in Flintville, Tennessee, offering to sell land because he needed cash. He had 112 acres of cleared and fenced land on the Flintville Road and another tract of 100 acres with a building.
The final document is dated August 2, 1934 and is from “Cousin Chris” in Fayetteville addressed to William Banks. Evidently, W. M. Patrick had died, and Cousin Chris was assigned the job of closing the estate. The county agent in Lincoln County had requested a signed statement from the Clerk of Court in South Carolina that Banks was the Chief Administrator from “Uncle Will’s” estate. Chris reported that a crop of apples was good and he was going to put some in storage in Nashville. He mentions “Uncle Lex.” Whether Chris and Lex were relatives living in Tennessee or not is unclear. Chris reported that Uncle Lex was in Cleveland Ohio, where “he thoroughly enjoyed the air races.” (Research and written by R&R Scholar – Paul Gettys – 2016)
Lori Russell, the owner of the Patrick House, wrote R&R on, 10.22.16 “It was a pleasure working with R&R Co-Founders, Wade Fairey and Rusty Robinson. They were professional, personable, knowledgeable, and always treated my collections with care and respect. Their passion and dedication to preserve the past shines through when working with them. I also look forward to working with Roots and Recall in the future.”
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