The C.R. Patterson & Sons Company: Background information when reading The Davenports

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The Davenports

by Krystal Marquis

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis X
The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
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  • Published:
    Jan 2023, 384 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

The C.R. Patterson & Sons Company

This article relates to The Davenports

Black-and-white photo of the open frame of the first Patterson-Greenfield automobile, with engine visible Krystal Marquis mentions in a brief author's note that her debut novel The Davenports was "inspired by the story of the C.R. Patterson & Sons carriage company, founded by a proud patriarch who escaped enslavement to become a wealthy and respected entrepreneur."

Charles Richard Patterson was born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia in 1833. Like many enslaved people, his life was not well documented, and sources vary about whether his family bought their freedom or whether he alone escaped. Either way, the historical record finds him settling in the small abolitionist town of Greenfield, Ohio, between the 1840s and 1860s, where he worked as a blacksmith (a trade he may have learned while enslaved) and later went into business with a white carriage-maker, J.P. Lowe. Eventually, he bought out Lowe's shares and took over sole ownership of the business, which employed more than two dozen people by the turn of the century. The company's slogan became "If it's a Patterson it's a ...

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