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Mrs. Jane Patton. To live beyond the age of ninety is in itself a distinction. But in the case of Mrs. Jane Patton, whose home is out in the country in Kerr Township, many more substantial things and associations are connected with her long life. She is one of the notable women of Champaign County. Children and grandchildren have a source of pride in referring to their relationship to this venerable woman whose life began so early in the nineteenth century and has never ceased to bear the fruit of good deeds and wholesome influences.
Her maiden name was Jane Cade. She was born in Fountain County, Indiana, May 3, 1824, and has the distinction of having been the first white child born in that section of Indiana. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. William Cade. They were honored pioneer settlers of Fountain County, and during the War of 1812 her father had fought in the American army. He was long active in politics. She was born when James Monroe was still President of the United States. The Erie Canal was still in process of construction and not a single mile of railroad had been laid in the United States. Indiana was only eight years old and Illinois had been a state for six years. She was in her twenties before the Mexican War was fought and was well on toward the middle period of womanhood when the Civil War closed. Mrs. Patton grew up in her native county and had to depend upon the meager opportunities of the district schools at a time when they were supported by the subscription plan and when there was no public system of education anywhere in the West.
It was on December 10, 1844, that she married David Patton. They began their married life in Vermilion County, Illinois, where Mr. Patton acquired 480 acres of Government land. In time he came to be one of the largest land owners and most extensive farmers in eastern Illinois. At his death he owned 2,000 acres in Ford, Champaign and adjoining counties, and his integrity of character and business judgment were respected and esteemed wherever known. David Patton was called to final rest February 29, 1880, more than thirty-seven years ago. Since her husband’s death Mrs. Patton has continued to live on the old home farm in Kerr Township. While the early current of her existence took her through the rough experiences of pioneering, she has lived for many years in the quiet calm of peaceful surroundings and with inclination and opportunity for doing good to all around her. Mrs. Patton has distinguished herself for superior business and executive ability. She and her young husband started life with a splendid stock of energy, and it was their mutual labors and cooperation that brought such abundant prosperity to their hands.
In the early days of her life in Illinois Mrs. Patton could look from the door of her humble home for miles out on the prairie. Not infrequently she would see as many as twenty-five deer in a single drove. There were wild turkeys and abundance of every kind of game, nature having provided bountifully for the needs of the early pioneers while they were subduing the prairies and changing their productiveness to other forms. Mrs. Patton was constantly busy with the cares of her household and with the rearing and training of her children. She sent these children to the district schools, the Kuder, Flagg and Sugar Grove schools, and later afforded them every opportunity to get better training in colleges of different cities.
The eight children of Mrs. Jane Patton were: William T., Samuel H., Martha, Lafayette, Charles D., Frank, Ida and Mary Allie. Martha married J. W. Flagg of Vermilion County. Charles D. died at the age of twenty-seven on February 23, 1884. Ida is the wife of C. A. Lamb of Ford County. Mary Allie has given many years to the profession of teaching.
William T., the oldest child, was for many years a farmer on the home place and finally moved to Paxton, where he died in January, 1903. He married Fannie Flagg, and their children were Ada, David A., Charles D., Carrie and Elsie. Their daughter Ada is librarian at Champaign.
Samuel H. Patton, the second son, died August 19, 1895. He married Grace Kirkley of Paxton.
Martha, wife of J. W. Flagg of Paxton, has two children, David Ross and William.
Lafayette Patton, who is one of Champaign County’s leading agriculturists, occupies a farm adjoining that of his mother in Kerr Township, the two places being in sections 4 and 5. He married Ella McHenry. Their children are: Freddie, who died at the age of two years; Alfred Ray; Samuel H.; Harry and Ruth. Alfred Ray, the oldest child of Lafayette Patton and grandson of Mrs. Jane Patton, was graduated from the law department of the University of Illinois in 1910 and is now an examining attorney for the Chicago Title and Trust Company and resides at Wheaton, Illinois, where he owns a half interest in the DuPage County Abstract and Title Company. Harry Patton, his brother, specialized his education in the School of Mines in Denver, Colorado, and enjoys the distinction of being the youngest supervisor in Champaign County, a bright, energetic young man whose popularity has won for him rapid advancement. He is now in the field artillery at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Samuel H. Patton, the other son of Lafayette Patton, completed his education in the University of Michigan and while a student there met Opal E. Trott. He was a Kappa “Sigma fraternity man and she was a Delta Gamma sorority member. They were married at her home in Saginaw, Michigan. She was born at Buffalo, Ohio, a daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Spaid) Trott, also natives of Ohio. After their marriage Samuel H. Patton and bride went to New Mexico, where he held a position under the United States Government as civil engineer in the construction of the great Elephant Butte Dam, one of the greatest irrigation projects in the United States. He was afterwards a civil engineer in the employ of the Government in New York under Secretary McAdoo and was subsequently sent by the Government to the island of Hayti, where he engaged in railroad construction. For three years he was a civil engineer engaged in locating railways in the Central American countries of Salvador and Guatemala. From there he returned to Champaign County and has since been successfully identified with practical agriculture in partnership with his brother Harry on their father’s estate of 700 acres. These two young men are fine types of educated and scientific agriculturists, young men of high principles and thoroughly capable of making a success in their chosen vocation. Ruth Patton, the daughter of Lafayette Patton, was educated in the Illinois Woman’s College at Jacksonville, and after graduating there entered the University of Chicago, where she took special work in domestic science and art. She is a cultured young woman and at present is living at home and assisting in the management of the home.
Frank Patton, the other son of Mrs. Jane Patton, is now deceased. He married Okie Mendenhall. Ida Patton, who married C. A. Lamb and has her home at Champaign, Is the mother of the following children: Nellie Ely, Charles Augustus, Jr., Allie Bie, Edith Jane and Hallie Eunice. The children were all liberally educated in the University of Illinois. Nellie B. Lamb is an instructor at Breckenridge, Minnesota. Charles Augustus, Jr., is bookkeeper and assistant manager of Lloyd’s University Store at Champaign. Allie Bie is filing clerk in the registrar’s office at the University of Illinois. Edith Jane graduated from the University of Illinois in 1916, and during the following year was in the State University of California at Berkeley, and in May, 1917, returned to Illinois with her master’s degree. For two years she had taught English in the high school at Martinsville, Illinois. Hallie E. Lamb is pursuing the classical course in the University of Illinois.
Thus nearly all of Mrs. Jane Patton’s grandchildren have had college and other liberal training and are young people whose attainments and character are properly a matter of pride to their grandmother.
Mrs. Jane Patton has always shown a great ability to accomplish things. Her life has been an exceedingly practical one, busy and filled with usefulness. While devoted to her home and children and grandchildren, she has shown an active interest in public affairs and in many subjects that do not claim the attention of most people. A few years ago she found time to write a pleasing book of memoirs, including the genealogy of her family and also the story of her own life and experiences in early days. This is a contribution to real history and when the book was published she afforded a delightful surprise to her family and many old neighbors and friends by having delivered 104 copies to as many homes, not only in Champaign County, but in widely scattered communities of the United States.
Mrs. Patton proved herself a most loyal friend of the soldiers who went to the front during the period of the Civil War. Some of the surviving veterans of that struggle have again and again referred to their gratitude to Mrs. Patton for her kind deeds and her loyalty. Since she was sixteen years of age she has been an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1914 she was instrumental in the building of a fine little chapel of the church, costing $4,000, and half of which sum was contributed by herself. She also bought and presented to the church society the site occupied by the edifice, which is destined for years to be a center of religious worship in that community and stands as a monument to her liberality and generosity. It is now more than seventy years since Mrs. Patton was married and started out a brave and loyal young woman beside her husband in their mutual task of carving a home and fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. She has gained a crown of glory by her deeds and her ministrations to others, and now at the age of ninety-three is taking a well earned rest, and peace and serenity are the companions and attendants of her last days.