A Napa County pioneer family, the Partricks, were progress-minded community leaders who spearheaded local infrastructure improvements and upgrades. These qualities and attributes were especially true for a Partrick father and son, William and Jasper. This family also has an interesting association with the unique local Halloween trick tradition known as the Rebobs. The Partricks were also local purveyors of Halloween treats.
The patriarch, William, was originally from Putnam, Ind. After crossing the plains as a wagon train member, William arrived in Napa County in 1856. He purchased and lived on a large Browns Valley land tract. In addition to farming his land, William surveyed and constructed many Napa County rural and mountain roads. William and his wife Sarah Elizabeth, a Texas native, had seven children: Nancy, Marion, William John, Jasper, Hettie, Mary Elizabeth and Martha.
William Sr. passed away in 1878. By that time his son Jasper, at 15, had already shown an interest in roads and farming, just like his father, although he was still in school.
As an adult, Jasper devoted considerable time to managing his share of the Partrick farm, 197 acres, where he raised cattle and other stock as well as hay. Jasper also doted on his 10-acre vineyard. In addition to working his own farm, Jasper provided farming services throughout Napa County. For 18 years he operated mobile hay pressing and baling machinery at local farms and ranches.
And as if he wasn’t industrious enough, Jasper served as the Browns Valley Telephone Company president for several years.
Author Tom Gregory, in his 1912 “History of Solano and Napa Counties,” wrote that Jasper “made a life study of road-building and often sacrificed his personal interests in order to promote the work so important to the permanent welfare of the county.
“If he may be said to possess a ‘hobby,’ it is that of good roads, and he is justly proud of the fact that Napa County has built the cheapest roads, per mile, of any county in California.”
Jasper was a Napa County supervisor for the area that included Browns Valley. He was elected to his first term in 1906. Following his re-election four years later, Jasper became the board’s chairman and served as president of the Board of Supervisors’ Association of California. Jasper had “intelligence, keen judgment and wise discrimination,” Gregory wrote. “His district was the first in the state to vote a direct tax on itself for road-building and by his system he was able to greatly reduce the mileage cost.”
Jasper married Elizabeth Margaret Wilson, a member of another prominent local pioneer family, in 1883.They had four children, Earl, Elmer, Frances and Frank.
In the early 1900s the Partrick family opened shop for Napans to satisfy their sweet tooth. The Partrick’s Candy Store remained a family-owned and operated institution for three generations of Partricks.
Elizabeth passed away in 1908. Jasper suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in 1917, at the age of 54.
As for the Partrick family tie to the local Halloween legend known as the Rebobs, that connection is through their namesake road and final resting place. Partrick Road leads to the site where the Rebobs are said to hide out, near the private Partrick family cemetery.
For those unfamiliar with the legend of the Rebobs, local legend holds they are half-human and half-ape with wings, long fangs and claws. Supposedly, Rebobs lay in wait for young lovers to park at this secluded location. Once the couple is distracted by their amorous activities, the Rebobs attack the oblivious couple. The legend also says the Rebobs then satisfy their craving for young, passion-filled flesh and blood.
This gruesome legend is thought to have begun in the era of those B-rated monster movies of the 1950s and ’60s. By the 1970s, the Rebob legend was the catalyst for a lot of practical jokes involving naive and unsuspecting pigeons set up by “friends” in gorilla masks laying in wait alongside Partrick Road.
While the legend of the Rebobs have caused some rattled nerves over the years, the Partrick family made life easier, smoother and sweeter for Napa County residents and visitors alike.