Thom Patterson: Storyteller, Writer, Producer, Editor
Our family tradition started with Harry
Storytelling is a tradition that runs deep in the roots of my family.
It all started with my great-grandfather Harry, more than a century ago in a tiny town in Indiana called Pine Village. In December 1896 Harry and his father James bought a failing newspaper called the Pine Village News and transformed it into a dynamic and essential part of the community.
A 1913 book on the history of Indiana's Fountain and Warren Counties described the Pine Village News as “a very unpretentious four-page sheet.” As the 19th century was ending, Harry used his printing press to bind the county together while experimenting with a burgeoning technology called photography.
Harry partnered with his brother Will in 1897. Eventually “enough money was saved to buy a new press and some type," the book says. From then on, "the paper made such gains in prestige that after operating it for three years the plant was sold for six times the purchase price.”
Later Harry moved to the big city to take his storytelling to the next level.
According to the book: "As special correspondent for several Chicago papers and The Associated Press, he furnished to the world the greatest part of the history of that widely known city during its most thrilling period, and in that connection received metropolitan news reporter training of the highest order."
Next, Harry “joined his brother in Indianapolis, where he took up work on The Indianapolis Star as a reporter.”
Harry's legacy helped teach his grandchildren and their children, including me, how sharing information and images ties all kinds of communities together, making them stronger.
It's a concept that continues to prove itself, well into the 21st century.