The Village of Patoka was laid out on the 4th of July in the year 1854 by James CLARK and BRIGHAM. A year later there was an addition made to the village by C. F. JONES 11 May 1855. The Railroad addition was also added the same day in 1855.
The first building in the village was the depot, which was actually built before the railroad came through. It was used to house the men who were building the railroad. It was ran by Mr. CRAWFORD and later by Cyrus WALKER.
In the spring of 1854, Cyrus WALKER built the first house in the Village of Patoka. He operated the first General Mercantile in the Village of Patoka from his home. The post office was soon established in his store.
In 1855, RICHARDSON & GRAY opened the second business in Patoka, a produce store.
In the fall of 1855, WILLIAMS & KESSNER opened the third business in Patoka. All of the businesses were on the west side of the railroad. Cyrus Walker’s home was the only building on the east side of the railroad.
In 1856, Cyrus WALKER built the first business building in the Village of Patoka, moving his General Mercantile into the building. Before this, all the businesses were built into the homes of the owner. The building built by Cyrus was later the office of Dr. E. M. BEACH, Patoka’s first doctor.
In the year 1857, the first blacksmith shop was established in the village by SNYDER & HARRISON, this being the first industry in Patoka. They had a steam engine and manufactured farming implements. Snyder also was a gunsmith.
On 24 Aug 1857, James Lessinger WICKERSHAM was born in Patoka, Marion County, Illinois, son of Alexander and Mary J. (McHANEY) WICKERSHAM. James later became a Judge of the United States District court for the Alaska Territory. His home in Alsaska is a State Historic Site and on the National Register of Historic Sites. You can see the web page at: Wickersham State Historic Site
In 1858, the first church was established in the Village of Patoka. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It consisted of twelve members. The elders of the church were Dr. T. N. LIVESAY, J. L. DAVIS, David DUNBAR, W. D. NEWMAN, R. D. PATTON, J. H. GRAY, Madison BELCHER and B. R. HORNER. The building was not built until around 1865. This church is not longer in existence.
In 1861, Cyrus WALKER built a grist-mill, enlarging it in 1862. It was called WALKER & Sons and was operated until 1873, when the Patoka Milling Company took it over.
In 1863, the first saw mill was established by Alexander WICKERSHAM. Later saw mills were owned and operated by Esquire FARMER and by Jesse ALTOM.
In July of 1867, the First Baptist Church was established, making it the second church in Patoka. They met in the old Presbyterian Church. The first pastor was I. A. DALE. The founders of the church were: J. NICHOLS, H. E CAROLINE, W.R. & J. M. SETTLE, W. P. HARRISON, Lucy A. DAVIS, Martha NEWMAN, Thomas & Elizabeth ADAMS and Catherine MATHENY. A new church building was built about 1990 in the middle of town, right across where the railroad tracks used to be located, just north of Effingham Avenue, 209 North Oak Street. The first four pastors of the First Baptist Church were DALE, BILLINGSLY, ANDERECK and CARTER.
The fourth Sunday of May, 1875, the third church of Patoka was organized. It was the First Christian Church. The pastor was Samuel HAWLEY. Elder was Alfred EAGLIN and deacons were Alexander McNICOL and John WADELL. It lasted two years. In 1880, the 4th Sunday in May, they reorganized. This church is still flourishing today and is located on West Fayette Avenue.
Also in 1867, the third church to be founded in Patoka was the Methodist-Episcopal Church, South. It was organized in the old Presbyterian Church building. I don’t have the founding date of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, North. It was located on Fayette Avenue. The reason of the two churches was a result of Civil War feelings. The north church were abolitionists. The south church were not. The South church built a church building, which burned in 1913. The North church allowed them to use their building until the South church had a new building, which the dedicated on the 13 and 14th of June, 1914. It was built on Poplar Street and is still there today, as the two churches joined in 1939 and became the Patoka United Methodist Church. They made an addition to the building in 1950. They built a new United Methodist Church circa 2003.
In 1875, the fifth church of Patoka was organized by Farther John ENGLEBERGEL. It was originally named Congregation of the Most Precious Blood. A building was built in 1891. In 1895, the name was changed to St. Anne’s Catholic Church. The church was located on the corner of Spruce Street and Jefferson Avenue. It was damaged by a tornado and later torn down. (Note: Speaking of tornadoes, this is the only tornado that I have ever heard about for Patoka. If anyone has any information about tornadoes anywhere in the Patoka area over the years, please email me. My email at bottom of page.)
One of the major industries of Patoka was an evaporator plant, which was used to dry apples. It burned to the ground. Following it was the cannery, which processed locally grown tomatoes and peaches. Patoka also had a brick kiln.
The Patoka of 1881 was a busy little town. The Village had:
Seven Doctors: E. M. BEACH, B. F. RODGERS, W. J. KNAPP, E. MARTIN, Sr., T. N. LIVESAY, J. B. LEWIS and E. CONNER.
Three General Mercantiles: FARMER & LEINGER, S. ULMAN & W. K. SIMCOX; and Jesse ALTOM’s General Store and Drugs.
Drug Store: LIVESAY & LEWIS.
Drugs and Groceries: E. M. BEACH & Sons.
Grocery Store: Stephen WADKINS.
Hardware: James SIMCOX.
Furniture & Lumber: THIELL & EAGLIN.
Harness & Saddles: W. T. CLARK, and Byron SMITH.
Livery Stable: Aaron FARMER.
Blacksmiths: Thomas QUAYLE, F. GEIGER, and John CHURCH.
Hotels: T. WADKINS, and R. UNDERWOOD.
Millinery: Mrs. D. E. LIVESAY, and Mrs. Marion McHANEY, who was also the first Post-Mistress.
Churches: Methodist-Episcopal, and Presbyterian;
School: Two-story brick school with three teachers.
In 1896, the Irvin Lumber Company was established by Thomas E. IRVIN on East Fayette Avenue. He came to Patoka from Foster Township, where he had been teaching school. He ran the lumber and hardware store the rest of his life, being very successful. This remained in the Irvin family until July of 1978, when Philip H. FRAKES and wife, Monna M. (CONANT) FRAKES purchased it and changed the name to Frakes Lumber Company and Hardware Store. With the help of their son, Stephen FRAKES and daughter, Terri (Mrs. Richard Dale ADAMS), and employee's Albie DALE, Russell STOFFEL and Fred TOWLER, they ran the business for several years. It is now closed and the only part of it is still standing is the hardware store building. The rest of the lumber yard was torn down. The ornamented wood over the door molding of the original lumber yard office is now in the historic Lemen-Frakes home in Salem. A fire in the house had destroyed it’s original molding and thus the house was kept in historic perspective and also preserved a bit of Patoka history. The wooden flag pole in front of the Lemen-Frakes House was from the old Patoka school.
In 1906, Patoka's school burned. A new four-room, two-story building was built. Two rooms added on the north in 1923. This building also burned. It was located where the community apartments are now located. The gymnasium was built across the street to the east of the school. It is still there today and serves as the Patoka Service Center and Patoka Library, 210 West Bond Avenue. The high school was a 3 year high school. For the 4th year the students would have to go to Kinmundy, Sandoval or Vandalia, which ever school was closest. A new school was built in the 1950’s on the Kinoka Road and Highway 51 and serves both Patoka and Vernon and much of Foster and Carrigan Townships. The high school was a 4 year high school from this point on.
In July of 1911, Watson’s Mineral Springs Resort opened southwest of Patoka with great anticipation. In August of the same year, Governor Charles S. DEENEN of Illinois and other prominent officials were guests at the up and coming resort. Unfortunately, in September of the same year, the resort burned to the ground and was never rebuilt.
On the 27 July, 1916, the Patoka Telephone Exchange Company was granted a certificate of convenience and necessity to maintain and operate a telephone system in the village of Patoka, Illinois, and vicinity.
In the spring of 1925, the sixth church to be organized was the Pentecostal Church of Patoka. They are located on the corner of West Marion Avenue and Walnut Street.
Patoka in 1933 was still quite the busy village. According to the “Centralia Sentinel” of 28 Sep 1933, Patoka was one of Marion County’s thriving little towns. Quoting from the paper, “Built at a cost of $17,000 a few years ago, the fine high school gymnasium which also is used as a community building is pointed to with pride by the Patokans. With the grade school and high school combined, the total school property value in Patoka is placed at $25,000.
“Patoka’s well kept cemetery, maintained through the donation of interested citizens, also is one of the spots of community pride.
“The Patoka Dairy Company, the community has a live industrial plant that pays out approximately $4,000 for dairy products and payrolls, employing several haulers and three person at the plant. The Patoka Elevator Company employing five persons the year round with additional help part of the time also is one of the community’s outstanding business establishments.
“Donald WILSON is Patoka’s mayor with Charles HILL, L. W. BALLANCE, Lowell BELCHER, Roy BALLANCE, J. R. WASEM and W. E. FIELDS as other members of the city’s governing body.
“The city and business men together hire O. E. EAGLIN as night watchman as the city has no regular police officers and neither does it have fire apparatus, depending upon bucket brigades and assistance from neighboring towns.
“E. L. DeLAY is principal of the high school and also acts as superintendent of the Patoka grade school. High School assistants are Verle KIRK, coach, and Miss Ruth PUGH, English teacher. Grade school teachers are Homer N. POTTS, Miss Rettie SIMCOX, Miss Anna BELCHER and Miss Ruby EAGEN.
“Six churches have been established in this lively little community. They are the First Baptist with Rev. A. C. BROWN, pastor; Christian with Rev. L. V. LOVELL, pastor; M. E. South with W. D. HUMPHREY, pastor; Methodist with P. R. GLOFELTY as pastor; Pentecostal with Rev. Paul GRANT, pastor; and the Catholic church with no pastor at present.
“Among the active women’s organizations is the Patoka Household Science Club with Mrs. Albert CREESE, president; Mrs. E. W. BELCHER, secretary; and Mrs. T. E. IRVIN, treasurer.
“Other women’s organizations are the Order of Eastern Star and the Patoka Rebekah Lodge No. 480. Officers of the Eastern Star include Mrs. Eunice ALTOM (W. M.), Artie ROGIER (W. P.), Mrs. E. M. ELLIS (A. M.), P. J. MOJONNIER (A. P.), Mrs. Josie SIMCOX (Sec.) and F. M. SMITH (Treas.) Rebekah Lodge officers are Miss Rettie SIMCOX (N. G.), Miss Ruby EAGEN (Sec.), and A. L. IRVIN (Treas.).
“Patoka’s Odd Fellow lodge is headed by Thomas R. ALTOM (N. G.), A. M. PEEK (V. G.), T. F. HALEY (Sec.), and T. E. IRVIN (Treas.), T. S. WOOTERS was worshipful master of the A. F. and A. M. Lodge until his death and no successor has been named. Other officers are Artie ROGIER (S. W.), W. M. ELLIS (J. W.), F. M. SMITH (Sec.) and A. M. PEEK (Treas.).
“The Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbor lodges at Patoka re inactive. M. D. BALLANCE acts as clerk of the Woodmen and Mrs. Della HALEY acts as recorder for the Royal Neighbors.
“Patoka has its own light plant and a city park both of which are considered to be valuable assets to the community.
“Patoka is also home of an excellent weekly newspaper, The Patoka Register. James EMMERSON is the capable editor, having built up a good circulation.
“The people of Patoka are very much interested in getting a county gravel road across to Kinmundy, a project of major importance to them and that section as well as tying in the leading communities of the county to the state road system. It is a road badly needed and should have early construction.” This ends the article on Patoka in 1933.
Dr. L. P. BASCH escaped the Nazi take-over of his native country of Austria and moved to America. In the 1940’s he became Patoka’s beloved doctor and he served the community for many years. He and his lovely wife, who lived through the nightmare years of Nazi Germany, were assets to the Village of Patoka and the surrounding community. After he retired, his office was taken over by Dr. ASGHAR.
Richeson's Restaurant in Patoka.
Left to Right: Marion ___?___ (now Mrs. Pete BALSIS), Miriam ___?___ and Dorothy WILLIAMS (now Dorothy HAVLIN-GRAHAM). Taken in the 1944/45 by Dorothy's sister, Thelma WILLAMS. This was a photo that someone, name unknown, had submitted to The Sentinel, Centralila, Marion County, Illinois.
In 1980, Patoka had a population of 662 people.
Taken from “The Register” 21 May 1981, “Patoka has two very nice restaurants: Patoka Cafe, owned by Raymond HALBROOK, and Jolliff’s Dairy Mart and Restaurant, owned by Neil JOLLIFF. We have a truly nice grocery store, Patoka IGA, owned by Harry JANSSEN. We have a good lumber company and hardware store, Frakes Lumber, owned by Philip H. FRAKES. We have a marvelous Gift Shop and Bible Book Store, The School House, owned by Mrs. Lois A. STEPHENS WILIAMS. We have two gasoline stations: Les’ Texaco, owned by Lester D. VANDEVEER, and Bates’ Shell Service, owned by Larry BATES, who also owns Bates Auto Sales. We have Jenkins Truck And Farm Service, operated by William R. JENKINS. We have Woolsey and Thoman Applicator Service. We have Jones Auto Repair, owned by Butch Dale JONES. We have Lange Equipment Company, owned by Don LANGE and Gary BIRD. We have our own funeral home, Cox and Martin Funeral Home, owned by Mark COX. We have four churches: Patoka Christian Church, Patoka United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church and Patoka United Pentecostal Church. We have our own post office and a nice school and public library (Mrs. Lynn EAGLETON is librarian) and Service Center.
Continued in “The Register” 4 Jun 1981First State Bank of Patoka, Leslie M. “Les” GRIFFIN as president. It is a very fine bank with many good and friendly people working within. One enjoys doing business where the people are so friendly. A bank is very important for a town’s growth...G & G Appliance and Parker Appliance. Businesses which are very important in today’s world of modern appliances....Patoka Laundromat, owned by Neil JOLLIFF, and Jolliff’s Body Shop, owned by Wesley JOLLIFF.
“Then there are our beauty shops: Elanor BATES EASTON’s, DuAnn HAHN JENKINS’, and Judy PHELPS’. All very good beauticians and people.
“The Patoka Farmer’s Co-op is a business a farming community must have. We are proud of it.
“And last, but most assuredly not least, there is our splendid doctor’s office. Exceptionally nice for a village the size of Patoka. And our fine doctor, Dr. L. P. BASCH, and his lovely wife. They are two very kind people who came from their native country, Austria, set up practice in Patoka, far from home, and have helped us out greatly. We could ask for no better doctor, or family in Patoka. We look upon him with the most high respect as a person, doctor, and both as Americans, friends, and fellow Patoka citizens. Thank you Dr. BASCH and Mrs. BASCH.”
In 1990, the census records a population of 656 for the Village of Patoka.
The Patoka of 1991, had a fine fire department, the Patoka State Bank, Patoka IGA, Post Office, Cox & Martin & Day Funeral Home, Shilling Real Estate, Jenkins', Bill's Repair, J. M. Schultz Seed Dealer, Lucy's Cafe, C. J. & Company Restaurant, Bates' Shell & Auto Sales, Marathon Gas Station, Tolka's Building, Lange Equipment Company-Massey Ferguson, Woolsey & Thoman Custom Application Service, Tune's Trucking, Tabor Grain Company, Patoka Christian Day Care Center & Pre School, DuAnn Jenkin's Beauty Shop and Tanning Spa, Patoka High School, Edgar R. ROGIER American Legion Post # 543, Victoria Post # 253. Patoka has a nice Park, simply named Patoka Park. Every year the Patoka Fall Festival is held there Friday and Saturday before Labor Day. A parade is held on Saturday. There are usually bands and a rodeo also. The park is located west of the Dick & Jane (NATTIER) ADAMS home on West Bond. Directly north of the home is the Peter Basch Memorial Field, a baseball field that was built and dedicated to the memory of Peter BASCH, son of Dr. L. P. BASCH, who had been killed in an auto accident.
In 1994, the First State Bank of Patoka became the First National Bank, merging with the First National Bank of Vandalia. Doug ELLIOTT Vice President of the banks and manager of the Patoka branch; Lynn HILL HYDE as head Cashier; and LuAnn BALDRIDGE as Loan Officer.
The Village of Patoka is basically a peaceful town, but when it comes to basketball, they are known for getting a bit excited. The whole town shows up for the games. And quoting Thelma ARNOLD in her history of Patoka, written in 1957, “If the younger generation think that Patoka Fans are rabid Basketball Fans, they should have lived here fifty years ago. A group of boys organized a Baseball team. They played every good team from Decatur on the north, to Marion on the south. They played together for seven years and were seldom defeated. They never played on Sunday, but played before hundreds of people, for when they played the store closed, work stopped in the field, and it was a Gala Holiday. On that famous team that spread goodwill in the Athletic Contests for Patoka, Illinois were: George WASEM, Walter MURFIN, Porter SIMCOX, Hugh LEMAY, Howard SIMCOX, James WASEM, James DAVIDSON, George SIMCOX, Joe HUMES, Louis ZIMMERMAN, Bill HUMES, Harry SOLLER, Clarence PORTER, Roy BELCHER and Butler HIMES, with Ira BALDWIN as manager.”
In the 2000 Census, Patoka is said to have 633 citizens.
In 2004, Patoka had one full-time policeman and 1 part-time policeman and 29 volunteer firemen. The elementary school enrollment was 171. The Junior high school had an enrollment of 60. The high school had an enrollment of 95. The employers of Patoka are Adams Grain Company founded in 1989 (Grain Elevator with 4 employees); Bird Equipment founded in 1951 (Farm Equipment Sales with 7 employees); CJ’s Restaurant, founded in 1986 (Restaurant with 5 employees); First National Bank of Patoka founded in 1910 (Financial/Investment); Foltz Welding and Contractor founded in 1993 (has 28 employees); Jenkins Farm/Truck Supply, founded in 1940 (supplies rock, concrete, etc. with 10 employees); Kuhn Excavating founded in 1978 (Excavating, with 5 employees); Patoka Community School District since 1951 (Education with 50 employees); Patoka Fast Stop founded in 2003 (Convenience Store with 12 employees); Tune Trucking founded in 1945 (Farm Commodities Trucking with 13 employees). The mayor of Patoka was Eddie DEAN. The treasurer of Patoka was Ruth Ann SUMMERS. Lynn EAGLETON was the Patoka Librarian and had been librarian since 1974.
In 2010, the United States Census gives Patoka a population of 595 people. 580 white people, 1 Black, 1 Asian and 11 Hispanic.