In 1904, a series of articles on the residents of “Watson Grade” began to appear monthly in the Tifton Gazette. Watson Grade, near Empire Church just northeast of Ray’s Mill, GA , was the location of the Watson family farm and the home of Sam I. Watson, among others. The first issue of Watson Grade News, as reported by “Trixie,” included several bits on the family of William and Betsy Patten.
January 22, 1904
Killed by a Lumber Cart.
Mr. W. C. Patten has been very sick for the past few days, but is improving.
The school at Round Pond was to have opened up last Monday, but was suspended for two weeks, owing to the disagreeable weather.
Mr. Mann Rouse is all smiles; he’s a girl.
Mr. William Patten, aged 83 years, is very ill. He was stricken about a year ago with paralysis and it is supposed that he has the second attack.
Mr. W. H. Watson has killed forty-nine porkers, of very good average, this season. Mr. Watson is one of our hustling farmers.
Mr. and Mrs. J. I. Patten had a thrilling experience last Monday in a runaway scrape. They were going to see Mr. Patten’s father, who is very sick, when their horse became frightened and ran away. Mrs. Patten was thrown from the buggy at once while Mr. Patten remained until the shafts came loose, which left him in the buggy unhurt. Mrs. Patten was bruised bu not seriously injured.
The young folks of this section enjoyed a nice pound party at Mr. D. P. Kent’s one night last week.
One of our young men went to Valdosta a few days ago and came back with a new buggy and a lot of furnitures.
Quite a crowd of our young folks enjoyed nice dance at the beautiful home of Mr. Z. Spell last Saturday night.
Miss Belle Patten is visiting relatives in Tampa, Fla.
The many friends and schoolmates in this county of Miss Creasie Cook, of Coffee county, were shocked last Wednesday to hear of her death, which occurred near Willacoochee Tuesday. Miss Cook was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Cook, who for years had lived near this place, but Mr. Cook had moved his family only a few days ago to superintend the logging of a saw mill near Willacoochee. Miss Cook’s death was caused by falling from a timber cart and the log breaking her skull and severely bruising her body eight days before her death. The remains were interred in Empire cemetery late Wednesday afternoon. Her bereaved parents and relatives have the sympathy of many friends in this, their time of sorrow.
Watson Grade, Jan. 18.
Some additional notes on the personal mentions in this article.
W. C. Patten referenced in the article was William C. Patten (1849-1944), a son of William Patten and Elizabeth “Betsey” Register. William C. Patten was a Notary Public and Ex Officio Justice of the Peace, He was married to Sarah Lee, who was the daughter of Moses Corby Lee and Jincy Register. When his wife’s neice, Jennie Lee, married Samuel I Watson in 1900, it was W. C. Patten who performed the ceremony. W.C. Patten, after the death of his first wife, married Sam Watson’s sister, Laura Watson.
Round Pond was one of the common schools of the area. In 1906 Round Pond School was consolidated with Possum Trot and Guthrie School.
Mr. William Patten, age 83, born Nov. 3, 1820, was the oldest son of James and Elizabeth (Lee) Patten. He was the husband of Elizabeth Register, and father of William C. Patten and James Irwin Patten, also mentioned in the article.
William Henry Watson was a son of Mark R. Watson and Rachel Slaughter, and the husband of Dicey Guthrie. Dicey and William Watson made their home on the Ray City and Mud Creek road northeast of Rays Mill in the Empire Church community, in that part of Berrien county that was later cut into Lanier County.
James Irwin Patten was the eldest son of William and “Betsey” Patten.
Daniel P. Kent, host of the “pound party” was a farmer raising a family in the 1300 Georgia Militia District. The 1899 Young Folk’s Cyclopedia of Games and Sports provides the following definition:
POUND PARTY, an entertainment to which each guest is required to bring something weighing exactly a pound. These may be eatables, toys, useful articles, or whatever the giver pleases. Each package is numbered and laid aside as it is received. When the guests are ready for the distribution of the parcels, numbered cards, or slips of paper, are passed around and each draws one. Some one then takes the packages one by one, calling its number aloud; the holder of the corresponding number becomes its owner, and must open it in the presence of the company.
Belle Patten was a daughter of James Irwin Patten and Leanna Patten.
Creasy or Creasie Cook, 13-year-old daughter of William Jackson Cook and Annie Laura Mathis, died as a result of a tragic accident that occured on January 7, 1904 during logging operations supevised by her father at a Willacoochee sawmill. He father, W. J. Cook, was a registered voter in at Rays Mill, GA in the 1890s, and others of the Cook family connection lived in the town and surrounding area. Creasy Cook was buried at Empire Cemetery.