As Americans entered their first real generation as a “free” people (I know, I know – but it was still a huge leap forward in terms of natural rights and government of-the-by-the-for-the), the ideals of the Enlightenment which had shaped their founding documents were impacting personal worldviews as well. For thousands of years, the circumstances into which you were born largely dictated your life; now, it seemed anything was possible with good choices and hard work.
Within a few years, Patch had a reputation as a drunk – usually the fun kind, but sometimes just the drunk kind. It’s likely he was a heavy drinker before, but now people recognized him. They may have bought him drinks, in the way people do to show appreciation or solidarity. Along the way, Patch somehow found himself bestowed with a pet bear, which he began taking around with him and lived with as a pet of sorts.
As if that weren’t colorful enough, the bear joined Sam on many of his jumps - off of cliffs, bridges, and waterfalls. Wherever Sam jumped, so jumped the bear.
“Some things can be done as well as others.”
It’s not much of a catch phrase two centuries later, but at the time, this line of Sam Patch’s was considered quite golden. It probably helped that he’d say it right before jumping off a waterfall; that would add a little drama, I’d think.