Moses Goodwin Patterson.A man's real worth to his community is best determined by inquiring into the sentiment of his neighbors and fellow citizens. Their estimate of him is found to be of more value in uncovering the truth than all other sources of information. However, if there is found in this sentiment a diversity of opinion, it is difficult to arrive at accurate conclusion. On the other hand, if absolute harmony prevails in it, if it is found to be a single unit, if a man's neighbors and daily associates, without a single dissenter, proclaim him to be a worthy citizen and a power for good in the community, then accuracy of conclusion is made easy; for no precedent exists in which perfect harmony of public opinion has proved to be wrong. The conclusions formed and herein set forth with reference to the man under consideration have been moulded entirely from the sentiment of his friends and fellow citizens, and since this sentiment had in it not a single discordant note, its accuracy can be fully vouchsafed and relied upon.
Moses Goodwin Patterson was one of Clay county's most influential men of affairs. He was a resident of Clay Center for twenty-five years, interested directly or indirectly with many of its business enterprises, realized a large and substantial success in the commercial world, and in attaining prominence and wealth retained the friendship and esteem of all. He was born in the city of New York, February 9, 1848. He was a son of Hiram G. Patterson, also a native of that city, who died in 1855.
Young Patterson was left an orphan when but seven years of age, and he was early compelled to rely upon his own resources, so his boyhood life of hardship, struggle and early privations taught him frugality, and at twelve years of age the fine elements of character turned him away from the city life, and at the age of sixteen he was holding a position of responsibility and trust as manager of a general store at Pond Eddy, N. Y. At the age of eighteen he sought the opportunity then offering in the West, and removed to the city of Chicago, and established himself in the mercantile business.
In the spring of 1869 he went to Dexter, Iowa, as railroad agent for the Rock Island. While at Dexter, on May 22, 1870, he was married to Nettie Eleanor Young, daughter of James and Caroline (Lewellen) Young, who was born at Appola, Pa., February 25, 1850. She was a home woman in the very best and sweetest meaning of the word, possessed many lovable characteristics, exercised a wholesome influence on all that was best in society, and was a helpmate who was ever ready to encourage and assist her husband and children to overcome the disappointments and trials which at times came to all. Her death occurred July 7, 1908, at her home in Clay Center.
From Dexter, Mr. Patterson went to Fairfield, Iowa, to serve as agent for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. In 1871 he was transferred to Barry, Ill., to become agent for the Wabash railroad, holding this position for fourteen years. During this time he also engaged in the grain and coal business, buying and shipping in large quantities. After one year spent as cashier of the Barry Exchange Bank, in which he held stock, he went to Kirksville, Mo., where for one year he served the Wabash Railroad Company as its agent. In 1887 he secured the position as agent of the uptown express office at Clay Center, Kan., where he resided until his death. While the express office did a good business it did not give outlet for his business energies, and he bought and sold poultry and grain in connection with his duties as agent. In time he resigned the agency of the office to be able to devote himself to larger activities. He purchased an elevator and engaged in the grain business, later adding coal and marble.
In the year of 1905 he sustained a very heavy loss in the failure of the Barry Exchange Bank. This loss coming late in life, and after the effort put forth to accumulate some of this world's goods, it was a severe blow. He met it bravely and it seemed now, as before, everything to which he gave his personal supervision was successful, and he died a man of means, from a most humble beginning. He was liberal with his town and all its aspirings; with his church and all its ambitions; with the dependent poor; with less fortunate relatives and the many charitable demands that must be met and carried. At the time of his death, which occurred suddenly, January 7, 1912, the following offices of trust were held by him: Vice-president and director of the First National Bank, Clay Center; director of the First State Savings Bank, Clay Center; director of the Bank of Wakefield; director of the Bank of Industry; treasurer and trustee of the First Baptist Church, Clay Center; treasurer of the Masonic lodge, Clay Center, and treasurer and director of the Clay Center Chautauqua Association. It was his fine business capacity that enabled him to perform these duties with marked ability and skill, and at the same time conduct and manage his own extensive business affairs. With it all, he was quiet and unobtrusive, and few realized the many responsibilities borne by him. Political office never appealed to him, although he never neglected his civic duties and obligations. He was a Republican.
He was one of the most prominent Masons of his county, and one of the most active as well. He had attained to the Knights Templar degree, and was a Noble of Iris Temple Shrine, Kansas City, Mo.
Two daughters survive, viz.: Caroline, born at Fairfield, Iowa, on March 15, 1871, a graduate of the Clay Center High School, with the class of 1891, and of the Kindergarten Department of the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia. For ten years she followed the profession of teaching, holding position as primary instructor in the schools of Wamego, Wakefield and Clay Center. On January 9, 1895, she married Joseph Clark Thompson. His death occurred December 24, 1898.
Ada Pearl Patterson, the second daughter, was born at Barry, Ill., September 18, 1873. On November 22, 1904, she married Louis Mitchell Linnell, of Chicago, Ill. They have two daughters, Eleanor Louise, born at Chicago, Ill., November 26, 1906, and Lois Carolyn, born at Oak Park, Ill., September 3, 1913.
Mr. Patterson was an unusual and remarkable man. While not educated technically, he had at his command a surprising fund of general knowledge, and on any occasion or in any meeting he could talk interestingly and informingly upon whatever topic was forward for discussion. He was a good traveler and a great reader, taking special interest in anything pertaining to successful business men or self-made men.
He was a man of the highest integrity and character; a Christian man and served his Master as a member of the First Baptist Church of Clay Center. He united with the church of this faith while living in Barry, Ill. He gave much of his time to the church, and conducted his life as a believer in the teachings of the gospel. He was a typical progressive and successful man of affairs, a leader and teacher in whatever he undertook, and, within the lines of his endeavors, Clay Center has never had a more useful citizen.Pages 544-547 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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