By 1840, Patterson households registered were ten with population with that name 55. These families were William (3 m, 2 f), Amos (3 m, 4 f), George (6 m, 2 f), John (1 m, 1 f), Samuel (3 m, 3 f), Lewis (1 m, 2 f), Joseph (5 m, 4 f), John (2 m, 2 f), John (6 m, 2 f), and Baily (1 m, 2 f). These numbers gave 55 with Patterson surnames. The fact that heads of four households were named John posed a definite challenge to identification.
The 1850 census, the first to give names as well as ages of those within a household, and the states where born, can still be confusing about the Patterson clan in Union. To save space, I will just list heads of the 11 Patterson households, the spouse, if married, and the number of male and female children: William (37) and Elizabeth (32) [NC] and 10 children, 6 m, 3 f and an infant—gender unspecified; John (35) and Sarah (29) [NC] and 5 children, 3 f, 2 m; Samuel, 44 [NC} and Jane, 43 [TN], 9 children, 6 m, 3 f; Joseph, 61 and Agnes, 55 [SC] and 6 children, 1 m, 5 f, with an 84 year old Sary Durham [VA] in the household, as well as Joseph’s sister (?) Ann, age 47 [NC]; Amos, 26 [GA] and Jane, 24, [NC] and 3 children, 1 m, 2 f; John, 28 [NC] and Marian, 24 [SC]; no children; John, 52 [NC] and Sarah, 47 [SC] own 1 slave, the have 5 children, 4 m, 1 f, and living in their household, Margaret Patterson, age 83 [SC], and also Lucinda Hix, 45 [SC]; William, 23 and Margaret, 22 [both born in GA] and 2 children, 1 m, 1 f; George, 50 [NC] (no spouse listed; she had possibly died by 1850), 5 children, 4 m, 1 f; and James, 34 [NC] and Esther, 26 [NC] and 4 children, 2 m, 2 f. A tally of these Patterson residents in 1850 shows that they and those living with them somehow related, no doubt, numbered 76 people, plus the one slave held by John and Sarah.
How did the Patterson name originate? We find that it is a patronymic—named for the father long ago, as is almost any surname with the suffix son. Some who have studied the history of names say it harks back to Peter (spelled in the Latin, Pater); others say it stems from followers of St. Patrick. It is Scots-Irish-English in origin. A William Patterson founded the bank of England in 1694. He was a farmer’s son from Dumfriesshire who did well. It was through him that the “Darien Scheme” in Panama was begun, an economic development that collapsed in 1700.
I owe much to the research and writings of Wesley Patterson (b. 1968) who has done extensive research and posted an online blog about the Pattersons in his line, who go back to the early settlers in Union—and much beyond that. It is from his research that I learned the four Patterson men listed in Union County’s 1834 census were brothers from North Carolina who came into the county when land became available from some of the first Cherokee Removal.
Wesley Patterson believes that the father and mother of the four brothers were also in Union County in 1834, then living in the household of Amos, their youngest child and the first to settle in Union County. The father and mother were John Patterson (born about 1765, died in Union County before 1850) and his wife, Margaret (oftentimes called “Peggy”) Black Patterson (b. about 1767, died between 1850-1860). Wes Patterson believes that the elder John Patterson and his wife Margaret were buried in unmarked graves in the Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery, Union County, where some of their children and other descendants were buried.
John and Margaret were married in the Pendleton District of South Carolina about 1788 (no marriage record found). They had at least ten children, maybe eleven.
In his extensive research, Wes Patterson has traced his fifth great grandparents’ children and has them listed as follows:
(1) A son (?) born in Lancaster County, SC before 1789Wesley Patterson believes, after having studied land transactions in the Ivy Log section of Union County for the early days of the county that Amos Patterson, the youngest child, was the first to purchase land in the about-to-be Union County, and then some of his brothers and sisters, along with their parents, moved to Union. It was a rather tightly-knit community where the Pattersons settled—Amos leading the way, with his brothers Joseph, John and George following shortly.
(2) Joseph Black Patterson (1789, SC – 1860, GA)
(3) Margaret “Peggy” Patterson (b. about 1790, SC)
(4) Isabella Patterson (b. about 1792-95, SC. died in Ga, 1869; married a Price (?)
(5) Amey Jane Patterson (1793-SC – 1889, GA) married William D. Kincaid
(6) Robert Patterson (1796, SC – 1860/70, TX)
(7) John Patterson (1798, NC – 1854, GA)
(8) George Patterson (1800, NC – before Nov. 1866, GA)
(9) Ann Patterson (1802, NC – after 1870, GA) – never married
(10) Amos Patterson (1803/04, NC – 1861/70, TX).
Also in the 1834 census was William D. Kincaid who had married the Patterson brothers’ sister, Amey Jane. Later this couple became citizens of Fannin County when their land lots were absorbed into the new county Fannin in 1854. If, as Wes Patterson believes, Isabella Patterson married a Price, she purchased land as Isabella Price on April 8, 1837, Land Lot 290, District 9, in Lower Young Cane. Her household was listed in the 1840 census as living next door to the elder of the John Pattersons (who was her father?).
Many questions still remain about early settlers with the surname Patterson. But one thing we can say with certainty: Many remained, for that name is still quite prevalent in the mountain counties of North Georgia. And from Wes Patterson I learned that the combined Patterson-Turner Family Reunion is an event of the 3rd Sunday in October each year at Oak Grove Baptist Church on the Loving Road (That will be October 17 this year). The church building is located right on the Union County/Fannin County line in the section where so many of the early Patterson ancestors settled. Descendants of John and Margaret Black Patterson, and of Bailus E. Turner are especially invited to attend. The service begins at 10:30 a. m., with “dinner on the grounds” at noon, and visitation and “reunionizing” in the afternoon.
c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Oct. 7, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.