Bob Patterson

The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
December 23, 1884, page 3
Transcribed by:  

[An excerpt from a longer article, concerning a recent election in which “Bartow had gone ‘Against whiskey.’”]

I have been asked to write something about old Uncle Bob Patterson, who died last Wednesday morning in the rear of a bar room in this city. I scarcely know what to say. There was something pitiful in the life he led, and there is something pathetic in his death. In the long ago he was respectable, well-off, and had around him a happy family. The demon of drink fastened its clutches upon him and he began to fall. His property melted away – his friends and family left him – his self respect was gone, and in his old age he wandered around our town a poor, pitiful, helpless pauper. Through it all his love of drink shadowed him like grim despair. I do not know what noble desires to reform may have moved in his heart in his earlier life, but in his old age he seemed to lose his powers of resistance and yielded himself up to the bowl. Often and often I have passed his poverty stricken tenement at night and looked in on his desolate loneliness. No fire, no family, no comforts. Feeble, forlorn, forsaken. How I pitied him! Yet he did not pity himself. The very vice that had ruined him was still his constant companion. He hugged it to his bosom with hooks of steel. The war “against whiskey” seemed to worry him and I am told that he had sworn on the night before election day to vote “for whiskey in spite of hell.” That was a rash vow. As the first grey streaks of day were chasing the shadows of the earth last Wednesday morning, God laid his hand on the old man and called him away. Before the polls were opened the form of Bob Patterson was cold and pulseless. It may have been old age that killed him – it may have been whisky. At any rate his time had come and plunged into an unknown eternity with the rash vow to vote for whisky almost warm on his lips. Whatever may have been the cause of his death, one thing is sure, it spread consternation on many faces when the news of it circulated on the streets. It may be that prohibition would have been defeated but for his death. “God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.” Aside from the effect it may have had on the election. I feel in my heart a strange loneliness when I think of how he died. As I write I can almost see his old shrunken form as it lay on a bundle of sacks in a bar room DEAD. No soft hand to arrange his gray locks –no warm lips to kiss his wrinkled face – no pleading voice to woo him back to life – no tears, no sobs. Who would live such a life? Who would die such a death? And above all who would not save our boys from such a life and such a death?


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