Forgotten American Cult Heroes: Sam Patch
Before Evel Knievel was a twinkle in his father’s eye, Sam Patch was thrilling audiences across America. As a child laborer in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Patch would entertain his friends by jumping off the mill dam. By 1827, now living in New Jersey, his increasingly higher jumps had started to attract large crowds. Wanting something more than the life of a mill worker, the 22-year-old Patch began a jumping tour across the then 24-state Union.
“Sam Patch the Yankee Jumper” quickly became a household name, and his catchphrase “Some things can be done as well as others” become popular among his fans. A whopping ten-thousand people came to watch him jump 125 feet from a cliff near the base of Niagara Falls. Shortly after, another eight-thousand came to Rochester, New York to watch him jump the 99 foot Genesee Falls.