Bryan, Williams County, Ohio
In 1863 the population of
, was close to 1500 people. This
community and its nation were in the midst of the Civil War.
In the spring of 1863 Robert N. Patterson traveled to
and established a weekly newspaper which came out each Thursday.
This paper known as the “Bryan Democrat” missed only three printings
from its inception to 1882 – once later in 1863 for repairs, once in 1865 when
the office was moved, and once in 1871 for a holiday vacation.
The first issue was printed on
30 April 1863
above Samuel Will’s grocery store located on the southwest corner of
and Main Streets. This two-story
frame building was owned by Samuel White, a hatter.
Robert Patterson, born 19 Jan 1831,
, OH, the son of Andrew H. and Roxanna Vining Patterson, began his early
training as a printer for the “Buckeye Eagle” in
. [Father Andrew H. Patterson died of consumption in
30 Aug 1863
@55Y 4M.]. As editor and
proprietor of the “Bryan Democrat”, he served in that capacity from 1863 to
1900 when he retired. A
biographical sketch of Patterson can be found in Weston Goodspeed’s History
of Williams County, Ohio, 1882, p583-584; however the biography stops short
of much accurate personal details. It
states that he was married to an E.J. Fulkerson in 1852.
[Her name was Eliza Jane Fulkerson and she appears to be a native of NY,
b. 1831 according to the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census p27 (print);
Eliza Jane died in Dec 1910.].
It tells that the couple had six children but
only names the surviving four. [These children appear to be Cora Z 1854 – May
1919; mar Andrew Obrist, 19 Jan 1876, Wms Co, OH (V4 p444); Addie 1858-?; Madera
M. (male) 1863 – Aug 1931, mar. Cora Mason,
15 May 1892
, Wms Co, OH (V6 #690); and Mary Margaret 1868 – Feb 1901; mar. Olin Root,
6 Aug 1899
, Wms Co, OH (V8 p49).] A more
recent history of the county states that Patterson died in 1901. [His obituary
appeared in the “Bryan Democrat” on
7 May 1903
14 May 1903
18 June 1903
p7-8. County death records show
his demise as
4 May 1903
(V3 p105). His estate was probated
17 July 1903
What is also interesting about a man who for 37
years was one of the major journalistic and political voices of the county is
that he was buried in
Ohio, without any tombstone inscription or stone; the same is the case for his wife
and several children. Burial
information comes from the cemetery lot data included in the Williams County
Genealogical Society’s publication, Pulaski
Twp, Williams Co, OH Cemeteries.
---Pamela Pattison Lash