Do you know: the Patterson family
By Richard Karns
Special to the Herald Review
John Q. Patterson brought his family from New York in 1873 and settled in the Reed City area.
Many of us drive down Patterson Road every day and don't really think about how it got its name. When Consumers Power came to the area, they named the roads after their largest land clients going north, south, east and west. Going north/south was Joe Patterson. Just who was he?
In talking with his son Max, it was obvious there was a lot of history and knowledge about not only what Joe had contributed to Reed City, but what his family did as well. He recalled about his father working for Sam T. Johnson selling cars. It was during that time Joe met Sam's neice, Ethel. They were married and then worked for his uncle. During the war effort, car sales went down and Joe started farming. Did you know there was a Patterson Dairy in Reed City? It ran from 1928-29 to 1937 and sold milk to the Butcher Boy Market on the corner of Upton Avenue and Higbee Street. This became the Red and White Grocery Store, which is now Family Optometric Center. The Nash's Dairy bought the route in 1937.
Joe went into farming and purchased a Guernsey cow from the Island of Guernsey. This was an expensive purchase to bring the cow by boat, but it was a good one. He was able to sell that cow and purchase two others. Joe named his prize cow for his niece, Gretchen Bielow and their farm, named Homeword. In 1948, Homeword Gretchen won a world record for butter fat production. Max and his brother Haley carried on with the farming until 1983 when the U.S. 131 freeway was built.
In talking with Max, he made it clear to me that this wasn't about him, but his mother and father. It wouldn't be fair not to mention that Max, in his own right, has contributed to Reed City, serving on the board of education. Max is the only living board member that was on the board when the new high school was built for the 1963-64 school year. Max also has served on the board for the State of Michigan.
It is fascinating how families are linked. Ethel Patterson was the daughter of Gus Johnson, Sam's brother. Sam T. Johnson married Maude Burley, who was the sister of George Burley, who was married to James and Albataine Reed's daughter. Reed City was named after James Reed.