Dr. Septer Patrick , California Gold Rush

Dr. Septer Patrick, California Gold Rush

Manuscripts & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library

Finding Aid by: Nikki Stoddard Schofield, January 2013

Biographical Note:

Septer Patrick was born in Pennsylvania in 1786. He was a surgeon’s “mate” in the War of 1812 with the 1st Regiment (Bloom’s) of the New York Militia. On October 25, 1829, he married Sarah “Sally” Ann Ross in Vigo County, Indiana. The 1830 federal census recorded him in Vigo County, Indiana. Sally and Septer had four children, Henry Clay Patrick, who went by Septer Clay, born in 1832; George, born in 1837; Emma, born in 1839; and Helen M., born in 1841. On April 7, 1849, Dr. Septer Patrick left Terre Haute, Indiana, for the gold fields of California. He died in Sacramento, California, on July 1, 1859.

Source: Information Found within Collection and Ancestry.com

Scope and Content:

The collection contains eleven typed pages, which are copied from the Wabash Courier, published in Terre Haute, Indiana. The reprints give the date, page, and column of the newspaper in which the items were published from 1848 through 1850. The stories pertain to Dr. Septer Patrick who, with his son Henry Clay (later called Septer Clay) Patrick), left Terre Haute for the California Gold Rush on April 7, 1849.

The first page is about “The Prairie Car,” which was a train car used by General Semple and intended for use between Alton, Illinois, and Terre Haute, Indiana. It could carry 50 passengers and go 10 miles an hour.

The second page, entitled “California and Gold,” is a letter from Rev. Walter Colton, formerly a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, wrote about the gold diggers: “The ditcher, hand-hopper, and butt-ender are the most independent men in the community – each has his bag of gold and can fill it ten times as fast as his wants can empty it.” 

Page three relates Dr. Patrick’s starting on “his great journey” accompanied by “his son Henry Clay Patrick, Mr. Joseph Baker, and Mr. Paine.” Page four is Dr. Patrick’s letter dated May 13, 1849, from St. Joseph, Missouri, where he arrived on May 5. He mentions friends from Vigo County who will be traveling to the gold fields with him: Chamberlain, Doctor Ketchum, Barbour, Crawford, and Hook. Page five is entitled “From the Plains” and was published in the Wabash Courier on July 21, 1849. Page six talked about lawless violence among gold diggers. Page seven tells about 5,500 wagons passing Fort Laramie.

Dr. Patrick’s letter of June 23, 1849, written from Fort Laramie, is printed on page eight. He wrote: “The country we have passed through from Fort Kearny to this place is well worthy the attention of a good landscape painter, the scenery is romantic and grand.” Also on this page, the date of his arrive is given as October 10, 1849, Pages 9-10 reprint a letter from Dr. Patrick, dated December 17, 1849, from Youba Diggins. The letters ends with: “Leave your women and children at home; this is no place for them at present.”

The last page, eleven, has two articles from March 10, 1849, and March 9, 1850. Young men who left for California in 1849 were: Captain W. W. Stuart, L. A. Booth, T. M. Lindley, M. D. Topping, W. R. Stewart, J. Blackburn, and N. Denniston. Those men who left in 1850 were Walter Booth, James Hitchcock, Walter Warren, August Nippert, John Riley, and Bartholomew Riley.     

Photocopy Policy:

Manuscript material CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in its entirety. Photocopies and/or digital reproductions (i.e. scans, digital photographs) cannot exceed 25% of a COLLECTION or FOLDER within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Please check with the Manuscript Librarian for possible alternatives.

Folder Listing:

Wabash Courier, Terre Haute, Indiana, articles about the California Gold Rush and men from Terre Haute who went in 1849 (11 pages).

Collection Information:

Size of Collection: 1folder.
Collection Dates: 1848-1850
Provenance:  Fairbanks Memorial Library, July 25, 1932
Access: The Collection is Open for Research Use
Restrictions:  None
Reproduction Rights: Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript and Rare Books Division, Indiana State Library.
Language: Materials are entirely in English.
Alternate Formats: 
Related Holdings: 
Collection Notes: 

MA BA 6-13-2013