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Catlin History Online

Eighty-seven-year-old George Patterson, who was born in Montgomery, county, Ind., remembers with vividness Catlin of Civil War days, when, as a boy of 13 he came here to live.

When interviewed Mr. Patterson said that landmarks of those days are all gone. The swampy road between his home northwest of Catlin and 'Butlers Point' was almost impassable in those days.

Mr. Patterson's schooling was received in what is now known as the Bethel neighborhood. The school, the Keeney school, stood about where the Howard Wolfe home now stands. Some of Mr. Patterson's schoolmates were Fletcher Keeney, Charles Church, John Shepherd and Henry Bennett. Miss Lizzie Love, long deceased, was their teacher.

In those days, he said, the Catlin school was in the south end of town and stood on the location of the Geo. Taylor home. It was a one-room building and G. Wilse Tilton was the teacher.

Mr. Patterson remembers the days when Catlin had saloons. Dick Broderick's saloon was across from the A. Jones' son store and Tom Sandusky also had a saloon here.

The business section of the town was not as it is today although A. Jones' son store has always been in its present location. Oakwood and Booly had a grocery store where John McIntyre's home is now. The post office, too, was in this neighborhood. This was back in the 60's -- possibly in 1862.

Mr. Patterson then spoke of Wilse Tilton's long store and Sam Tilton's drug store in the southeast end, in the spot where the Frank Meneley Hardware store has stood for years. When joked about the old building Mr. Tilton said that when they opened the coal bank here, he would build a new store. And he did. For, Mr. Patterson said, old man Falls opened a mine west of Catlin around where the green house stands now, in the year 1867 or 68.

There was only one church here, then, the Methodist, which was though not the same building, in the same place that it now stands.

Mr. Patterson remembers attending the County Fair here when he was 13 years old, and later he said he was policeman at the fair grounds. Wilse Tilton was president of the County Fair Association, and Sam McGregor secretary. Mr. Ellsworth was marshall then. Mr. Talbert was chief of police, and Bird Pate and George Hoil also police officers.

Mr. Patterson did his courting on horseback and laughingly tells how he took his wife behind him for many a merry jaunt.

Serving as Catlin's assessor for seven years, Mr. Patterson states that at that time, (which has been some years back) Dennis Rouse and G. Wilse Tilton were [t]he richest men in the township.

Catlin looks at George Patterson and smiles. He doesn't know he is 87 years old. He thinks he is in his prime. He jumps in his car and drives around like a young man. Nor do snow, ice or sleet stop his morning trip to the Post Office. In fact, if the walk is icy, he skates a bit.

It is nice to grow old and still stay young


 A headstone in Oakridge Cemetery says George W. Patterson was born in 1849 in Alamo, Indiana, and died in 1942.

Patterson lot

Catlin Historical Society
210 North Paris
Catlin, Illinois 61817