DR. SPICER PATRICK
[From the Kanawha Gazette.]
On the morning of the 21st day of October, 1884, there died, and on the Wednesday following was buried, a noted man in his State and the Kanawha Valley, Dr. Spicer Patrick. He was born in Oneida county, New York, on the 28th of July, 1791, removed to Kanawha county, Va., in 1816, resided in Charleston until about the year 1848, and afterwards at Rose Hill, a few miles below Charleston, where he died. He had passed the ninety-third year of his life, mercilessly spared the bodily infirmities of his many years, till within the last few months, and when he passed away in that early morn, was fully possessed of his mind and memory, and, as his friends hopefully trust, with the entire belief that his conduct in life was not only sufficient unto himself, but to his Christ.
Before he came to Kanawha county, Dr. Patrick had been thoroughly educated in his profession of Doctor of Medicine, the practice of which he pursued in his new home all his life, ardently in his early and riper manhood, and never relinquished in his declining years whenever his great skill was sought for his friends, or the weak and poor of his neighborhood. As a physician, his reputation was not surpassed by any, his success remarkable, and the trust and confidence in him by the community unbounded.
Dr. Patrick early became a member of the Protestant Episcopal church, in St. John's Parish, and a commnnicant of that church; served as one of its Vestry and as Senior Warden for near sixty years, and held the latter office at his death.
Dr. Patrick was admitted a member of the Old Kanawha Lodge, 104, of the Order of Masons, on the 8th December, 1816, and lived a zealous supporter of its precepts, filling offices of high trust and honor, both in the Grand Lodge of the State and its subordinate Lodges.
Of his life as a Christian, his devotion to the church of his choice, his protracted and consistent work therein, his fellow members have spoken in terms, to which nothing can be added, either to console his family or the unfailing trust of his friends, that he has entered upon that rest "which remaineth to the people of God."
His brother Masons, too, have paid an eloquent tribute to the entire performance of his duties, both as a member and officer of high trust in that ancient and most honorable Order.
Dr. Patrick's first marriage was with Lavinia, the daughter of Major James Bream, a native of England, well remembered by the older citizens as one of the ''Worthies of Kanawha." The ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. Chaddock, many of whose descendants still live among us, among them Mrs. Laidley, wife of Major A. T. Laidley. Of this marriage were born several children, of whom still survive Mrs. R. C. M. Lovell, of Covington, Ky., Mrs, H. D. Ruffner, Mrs. L. Gramm, of Charleston, and Dr. A. S. Patrick, of Lewisburg. Another son, John, was a member of the Kanawha Riflemen in thf late civil war, was captured at Cold Harbor in 1864, and killed by that fearful railroad accident at or near Elmira, N. Y,, whither he was being conveyed as a prisoner of war, and by which so many Confederate soldiers lost their lives or were made cripples. Brave John! How well do his comrades in the army remember tbe gallant young soldier, the generous, loving and beloved boy, and still shed a tear over his untimely fate.
A few years after the death of his first wife, Dr.Patrick married, in 1848, Mrs. Steele, widow of Col. Robert M. Steele, formerly of Kentucky, by which marriage there were no children. Again bereaved in this sacred relation of life, he married in the city of Richmond, in April, 1852, Miss Virginia Harvie, a grand-daughter of the eminent Chief-Justice Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States. Of this marriage were born one daughter and three sons, who, with their mother, live to mourn the loss of a fond and devoted husband, and most considerate and affectionate father.
Although actively engaged in the practice of his profession, Dr. Patrick's earnest patriotism and warm temperament led him to take an active part in the politics of his State and national government. In 1845 he was elected from Kanawha a member of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly of Virginia, in which body he consecutively served until 1852. He was elected from the same county to and served in the Convention of Virginia of 1860-61, the memorable body that passed tbe ordinance of secession in 1861. Born soon after the organization of the government of the United States, intelligently familiar with its early trials and contests, he, like so many of that time, was imbued with an intense devotion to the Constitution, an ardent love and admiration of the young Republic, the highest appreciation of those who had shaped its organic laws, and the fullest confidence in its perpetuity and success. With the manliness that always marked his private life and public acts, and the independence which followed his convictions of what he deemed right, ho voted against the ordinance both as a member and a citizen, though he felt that it must sever some of the closest ties and friendships of his life. During the progress of the fateful war that soon commenced, he maintained his position with dignity and firmness, alleviating as far as in his power its horrors, protecting his friends with whom he differed, rebuking those with whom he acted when need required, watching with a just fear and fond heart the issue of the great battles that were being fought, on the fields of which he had two sons in the Confederate army. To all it was a fearful time, to none more than him, but his high qualities of soul and heart sustained him well, and at its end he had all friends and no enemies on either side.
During the war Dr. Patrick was elected to the House of Delegates of the Provisional Government of Virginia, from Kanawha county, and served as such for the year 1802. After the creation of the State of West Virginia in 1862, he was elected to the House of Delegates for the years 1863 and 1865, and was chosen as Speaker of that body for the session commencing June 20th, 1863. He was elected to the Senate of West Virginia from the Kanawha District for the session commencing January, 1870, and served the full term.
In noting Dr.Patrick's public life, it is proper to recall the duties he performed as a Justice of his county, and a member of the County Court of Kanawha, Va. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in Kanawha, then Virginia, in 1839, commissioned by Gov. Campbell, and qualified on 13th May of that year. He held the office until 1851, when it was made elective by the people. During his incumbency he often sat as presiding Justice in the County Court, that well remembered judicial tribunal, so much abused by many, so justly lauded by some of the wisest legislators, statesmen, and judges of the day, and now looked back upon with deep regret by those who participated in and felt its action.
In his duties as a magistrate and as a member of that Court, he was active, prominent, impartial, conscientious, and useful. He was noted for the promptness of his decisions, the somewhat brusque but decisive language in which they were given, the good sense which marked them, the impartiality always maintained, and the unusual respect they commanded. This slight sketch of the events of Dr. Patrick's life shows how eminently busy and active it was. It also shows the high qualities of head and heart given him, who lived it successfully as he did. He was possessed of a strong will, a clear and quick intelligence, a generous heart and an open hand. His observations of men and things were quick, well retained, and applied with great profit and benefit in whatever he was called upon to do. No hesitation marked his action, no fears deterred him from following his convictions in doing what he thought was right. Whilst he was courteous in his intercourse with the world of men and women, and, as has been said of a greater man, he was not lavish in his phrases of ecstatic fondness, was saving in his commonplace expressions of endearment, and did not depreciate friendship's currency by the lavish employment of its smaller coin. Thero was no pretense or sham about him. He was always sincere; such a man will always be respected and esteemed. He was eminently sincere; a true friend, he was a frank enemy, we have looked upon him for the last time. We shall see his strikingly earnest face no more, his emphatic voice no more, but as we recall both or either, the retrospect will bring back no painful thoughts, but be replete with pleasant memories. Peaceful be his rest.
Note: M. may be Richard Mauzy, proprietor and editor of the Staunton Spectator. His wife was Mary Edgar Mathews Mauzy and her sister was Virginia Amanda Mathews Patrick, wife of Alfred Spicer Patrick, son of Dr. Spicer Patrick, whose obituary above was re-printed in the Staunton Spectator.
(Obituary courtesy of Kathy Taylor)