Grace’s Morristown Trip Report #1
November 3, 1998
We ate a nice cool, rainy-morning breakfast of oatmeal and skim milk and a shared homemade biscuit before leaving for Morristown.
First stop in Morristown was Patty Doc’s house. (Patty Doc was Dr. Vernon Cole Patten, Margaret Applegate’s dad.) The owner greeted us warmly and since Morristown is a tiny town and everyone knows who’s doing what to whom … his wife was there in a flash. She lives next door in her stepdad’s (Red Frazer) house wih her husband. Beverly (Red’s daughter) was a teenager in the days when Patty Doc was alive so she knew him well. Red kinda looked after Dr. Patten when he was alone, not that he needed taking care of. Anyway, I had my picture taken in the living room where Mr. Big (large light brn. dog) used to make himself at home as did Mama Pat’s (his second wife, Anna) small dog. (We discussed the dogs plus Mattie, the black maid who used to come out by bus daily from Indianapolis). We walked the upstairs and I remembered visiting Patty Doc in his upstairs bedroom the night before we left (Mother, Daddy and I, Oct. 58). He gave me an Elbert Hubbard poetry book. At Daddy’s funeral I had the preacher read from it.
After the tour of the house (now the funeral home) we went to Hanover Cemetery where our ancestors are buried. Saw Seth Cole’s plaque at the entrance of the cemetery and his headstone. Also our grandfather, Dr. Vernon Cole Patten and his first wife, Julia Ann, second wife, Anna. Also saw the Gordons: Grandmother Gordon (Margaret Gordon) and some of her kids. She was mother’s (Margaret Patten Applegate) maternal grandmother. Grandmother Gordon had 4 or 5 sons and Blanche and Julia, our grandmother. She died at an early age, when Mother was 12 – 15, of food poisoning. The guy who now runs the funeral home thought it was in the house fire but I corrected him. Their house burned before 1925 or around there but she died after a picnic “thing” … mother at one time mentioned picnics, then mentioned that Patty Doc had accepted some fish from a fisherman (or maybe Bill, Mother’s brother told me that) and maybe that was where she got it. Mama Pat, Patty Doc’s second wife, was burned in a grease fire early one morning (bacon?) and lived 3 weeks. Mother went to Morristown to see her after the accident. That was in about 1957 and Patty Doc died in March of ’59.
After the cemetery foray we went to see Jo Ann Tracy who is a second cousin to us. Right now I cannot remember who she was, but let me go to my fanny pack and check it out…….OK, her grand? was (this is kind of a foul up) one of Julia Ann’s brothers (Julia Ann, our grandmother). I have down in my notes that her grandmother was Julia Ann but our’s was Julia Ann. But: So Applegate girls, we had a common greatgrandmother: Margaret Hoffman Gordon. Sue, Jo Ann and her older sister Lou Annette were about our age and Mother took us over to visit them when we were in town. Jo Ann never married and now lives in the family home (owned by her sister, Lou Annette).
Next, Jo Ann thought I should see cousin Kent Gordon whose grandfather was Howard, one of Margaret Hoffman’s children. Anyway, he is a real history buff, kinda like Bill Patten, Mother’s brother, he even has shaky hands like him (and Patty Doc) but he has all sorts of family pictures and if you want info on any aspect of the family, call him. He has the poop. Another distant cousin here in Morristown is working on updating the Patten – Gordon genealogy and they were only missing our info so I’ll get it to him soon and try and not misspell anyone (like Sue-Due).
There is also a divorce document of Grandmother Gordon (Margaret Applegate’s grandmother). Happened in 1896!!! Her husband, Henry Pond Gordon, was “fiddling around” with _____ the local prostitute (!) (that’s what it said) (adultery) on several occasions and she (G. Gordon) had 5 or 6 kids and needed a settlement. She ended up with lots of the farm but had to raise all of those kids alone. He ended up married to another lady (not the “prostitute”) who had a daughter (Mary) who was in Mother’s class in school!!! Can you imagine the disgrace and embarrassment to all in the Victorian age? Wish Mother had told us more!!!
After we left Kent’s (a beautiful cabin way away from civilization on Grandmother Gordon’s property) we went to a cherry wood furniture making place… near Shelbyville. We are there now, in Shelbyville, at a Lees Inn – Tues. night only.
I’ll call Sonny one last time then go to bed.
Hope all is well with my loved ones. We, too, will be like these buried ones someday… (saw that in Rome at a crypt)(paraphrased)
Love to all,