The first character, of course, is Sam Patch himself. Sam Patch grew up in an impoverished town in Rhode Island. His fate, as an uneducated boy born into poverty, would be to work in a mill. However, his daredevil nature showed itself early on. He and a group of boys, known as the Pawtucket Boys (after the town they grew up in), would perform risky jumps over Pawtucket Falls:
“The Pawtucket boys,” Johnson writes, “all jumped in the same way: feet first, breathing in as they fell; they stayed underwater long enough to frighten spectators, then shot triumphantly to the surface."
Another character Sam Patch came across was Timothy Crane. Crane was an entrepreneur who was building a bridge over the falls, which would cut through Sam Patch's jumping "playground." Crane's "moment in the sun" was interrupted by Patch's jump over the falls. Since Crane's bridge would create an area only available to the wealthy, Patch became a working-class hero. Crane, it seems, inadvertently catapulted Patch to fame.
However, Patch fell into obscurity following his death, as he was often drunk (which probably led to his death).