Industrialization brought new opportunities for wage workers in the early nineteenth century. One of these was Sam Patch, who became famous for his daring jumps into Niagara Falls and other large bodies of water. Paul E. Johnson’s book tells the story of Sam Patch and the Industrial Revolution that made him possible.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the United States was going through a change from Thomas Jefferson’s idea of an agricultural nation to Alexander Hamilton’s vision of an industrial country. During the Early Republic, Sam Patch, The Famous Jumper provides a fascinating look at what America was like.
Sam Patch was a man who worked in the factories and mills that were springing up all over the Northeast. These Industrial Revolution factories were places where people worked long hours for little pay. Sam Patch grew tired of this way of life and instead decided to make a name for himself by becoming a famous jumper.
He started out by jumping into the Niagara River from a height of thirty feet. This stunt made him somewhat of a local celebrity. He then moved on to bigger and better things, such as jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. His jumps became more and more daring, and each time he completed one successfully, his fame increased. Finally, he attempted to jump off the Falls at Paterson, New Jersey. This jump ended up being fatal, but even in death, Sam Patch was still famous.
The Industrial Revolution changed America in many ways, but it also created new opportunities for people like Sam Patch. Even though he lived a short life, he was able to make a name for himself and become famous. This book is a great example of what life was like during the early days of the Industrial Revolution.
The industrial era would transform the United States into a nation that is reliant on manufacturing work. Sam Patch was born in a long line of farmers and shoemakers. His father Mayo Greenleaf Patch married into a wealthy family after his family’s name went bankrupt due to their failure. He borrowed money from Greenleaf Patch to launch a shoe factory so he could carry on his family’s tradition.
However, the Industrial Revolution created a change in the family’s lifestyle. Machines that could mass produce shoes made it difficult for small businesses, like the Patch family, to compete. As a result, Sam Patch was forced to leave school and go to work at the age of eleven as an apprentice in his father’s shop.
At the time, America was still new and many people were moving westward in search of opportunity. The Industrial Revolution had not reached the West Coast yet and there were plenty of jobs in farming, mining, and logging. Sam Patch longed for the adventurous life of the west but his father would not allow him to go. So instead, he ran away and found work on a farm. He soon got bored of the work and moved on to a series of other jobs including, barbering, waiting tables, and eventually ended up working in a textile factory.
The Industrial Revolution had finally reached the West Coast by the time Sam Patch was in his twenties. He soon found work in a water-powered sawmill. It was here that he first started to develop his reputation as a jumper. He would often climb to the top of the mill and dive into the river below. This dangerous stunt quickly made him popular with the other workers.
One day, Sam Patch decided to jump from the top of a cliff into the Genesee River. He had done this jump several times before but this time he miscalculated the distance and hit the rocks below. He was severely injured but miraculously survived. This jump made him even more famous and he soon became known as “Sam Patch, the Famous Jumper.”
In 1827, Sam Patch decided to attempt the most dangerous jump of his career. He would jump from a platform erected over Niagara Falls. Thousands of people came to watch him make the jump. He climbed to the top of the platform and waved to the crowd before leaping into the air. He plunged over one hundred feet into the raging waters below. His body was never found.
Sam Patch’s short life is a symbol of America’s Industrial Revolution. He went from being a farmer’s son to a factory worker to a celebrity. He embraced the Industrial Revolution and used it to his advantage. He died doing what he loved, jumping into the unknown.
According to Sam Patch, his father Greenleaf Patch had the qualities of an adult manhood, such as being the head of his household and participating in neighborhood issues. Greenleaf Patch’s debts caught up with him eventually, forcing him to move his family and leave his business to seek a better life in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a labor market town.
Industrialization was in its early stages in Pawtucket, and jobs were available for those with the right skills. The Industrial Revolution led to an increased demand for labor, which in turn led to an increase in wages. Sam Patch began working at a young age, first as a errand boy and then as a factory worker. He eventually became a journeyman cordwainer, or shoemaker.
While working at a local factory, Sam Patch came up with the idea to jump into the Niagara River from the Falls’ edge. He successfully made the jump and survived, to the amazement of onlookers. This stunt made him famous and he was soon being hired by showmen to perform jumps at exhibitions around the country. As his fame grew, Sam Patch began to see himself as a celebrity and started to demand higher wages for his jumps.
At the height of his fame, Sam Patch decided to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the tallest structures in the world at the time. He succeeded in making the jump and survived, further cementing his reputation as the Famous Jumper.
While Sam Patch was celebrated by many as a brave and daring man, others saw him as a reckless fool who was risking his life needlessly. As his stunts became more dangerous, some began to worry that he would not survive his next jump. Nevertheless, Sam Patch continued to perform jumps until his death in 1829.