Patton, Hon. John. Before entering into a narrative of the events of the life and life's work of John Patton, or any comment upon his personal traits of character, it is appropriate that some mention be made of his antecedents; and inasmuch as his paternal ancestors were so intimately associated with the stirring events that gave life and liberty to the nation, a brief mention of those persons and of those events is not only appropriate, but desirable; and furthermore, furnishes a record of personal sacrifice and personal heroism, in which any descendant may feel just pride.
General John Patton, the grandfather of our subject was born in Sligo, Ireland, in the year 1745, and emigrated to this country, at Philadelphia, in the year 1761. He engaged actively in the stuggle for national independence, as colonel of the Sixteenth Regiment of Pennsylvania troops. For a time, he had charge of the defenses of Philadelphia; moreover, he was one of that noble band of merchants of that city, composed of Robert Morris and other patriotic men, who raised, on their own personal responsibility, some two hundred and sixty thousand pounds to relieve Washington in the greatest crisis of the Revolution. He also was a member of the famous Cincinnati Society. In 1791, he moved to Centre county, where he passed the rest of his life. He died in the year 1804. He built, in the latter named county, the old Centre furnace, one of the first erected west of Harrisburg.
John Patton, the father of our subject, was a native of Philadelphia, born in the year 1783, and when eight years of age came with his parents to Centre county. He married Susan Antes, a woman of great strength of character, and loved by all to whom she was known. Prior to the time of his marriage, John Patton served in the navy as lieutenant under Commodore Stephen Decatur. He afterwards moved to Tioga county, having been commissioned by Governer Heister as prothonotary of that county. In 1827, he came to Clearfield county and two years later, 1828 made a permanent location at Curwensville, He served one term as associate judge of the county, his colleague upon the bench being Hon. James Ferguson. He died February 2, 1848. His wife Susan (Antes) Patton, survived him many years, and died at the advanced age of ninety two years.
John Patton, the subject of this sketch was born in Tioga county, this state, on the 6th day of January, in the year 1823. With his father's family, he came to Curwensville in 1828, then being but 5 years of age. At the age of fourteen years, young Patton went into the store of William Irvin, in the capacity of errand boy, and being honest, faithful and obedient, he was soon advanced to the postion of principal clerk. On arriving at the age of twenty one years, and having acquired a fair understanding of the several branches of trade in which his employer was engaged. Mr. Patton embarked for himself in the mercantile and lumbering business. Having borrowed means at the beginning, his operations were necessarily small, but by careful investments and good judgement his means increased, and his field of operation became enlarged, until it extended thoughout the county, and he became known as the most extensisve and sucessful business men of the region. He was thus engaged until the year 1860.He organized the first National Bank of Curwensville in 1964, and became it's president. In this capacity, he served for a period of twelve years, when in 1976, the Curwensvbille Bank succeeded the First Naitonal and he was made president of that, an office he still holds.
Such is, in brief, a resume of the principal business operations of John Patton. If it indicates anything, it is that he is a remarkable man in his capacity ot grasp and successfully direct large enterprises, the details of which would destract and paralyze the powers of men less favorable constituted; but his manifold interest never worried him; in all these his power has been found sufficient for any emergency, and his time adequate for all requirements. And he has found time, too, for other duties than those confined to his business operations, and has give his substantial co-operation to every enterprise that tended to promote the interest of his town and county. Unselfish and unstinted have been his contributions for all purposes. For the building of the Tyrone and Clearfield Railroad, he donated the gross sum of $12,500; the Patton Graded Public School Building, and ground on which it is erected, were his free and voluntary fit (costing over $12,000), and stand an enduring monument to his generosity and public spiritedness.
No less munificent and no less worthy have been his donations for other purposes, particularly the frequent contributions made to church and benevolent institutions; in act, no worthy enterprise has sought his assistance and been refused. During his long and active business life, General Patton (for by this title is he generally know, having held the commission of a brigadier general in the militia service) formed an extensive and favorable acquaintance throughout this county and others adjoining, and being a man of undoubted integrity, straightforward honesty and recognized ability, he possessed the confidence and esteem of his fellow men; therefore, it could not be a surprising fact that he should be pressed into the political service as the representative of the party, to the principles of which he held and gave support --- the Republican party. In the year 1860, he was elected and represented the Twenty-fourth Pennsylvania district in the Thirty-seventh Congress, serving during three sessions of the Federal Legislature, while our divided country was battling in civil war. Again, in 1884, Mr. Patton became the candidate of the Republican party for the office of representative in Congress but was defeated at the polls by hon. Andrew G. Curtin, the candidate of the Democracy, by only twelve hundred votes. In 1886, a third time was General Patton nominated for the same office, and for a second time was he successful, carrying the district by about one hundred and fifty plurality over Hon. James K.P. Hall, the Democratic nominee. At this time, the standing Democratic majority in the district numbered some four thousand votes. Prior to his candidacy for any office, General Patton was an active worker in the field of politics. He was a Whig, and upon the merging of that party into the Republican, joined with the latter and the principles advocated by it. His first vote was cast for Henry Clay for president. He was a delegate to the National Whig Convention in 1952, and also a delegate to the National Republican Convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
John Patton has been twice married. He married, June 17, 1847, Catharine M. Ennis, daughter of Alexander Ennis of Hollidaysburg. Four children were born of that marriage, three sons and one daughter. Catherine (Ennis) Patton died November 28, 1855. On the 18 day of June 1858, John Patton married Honora Jane, daughter of William C. Foley. Of this marriage, eight children have been born, five sons and three daughter of whom five are still living.
Source: Pages 679-681, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed August 1999 by Gloria Gloss for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/~clearfield/)
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