Robert Patterson was born March 15, 1753, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, a son of Francis and Jane Patterson.
Col. Patterson, one of the earliest settlers of Dayton, Ohio, was well-known as a pioneer of the Northwest Territory and officer in the American Revolution. He was one of the founders of Georgetown and Lexington, Kentucky, in 1776, as well as Cincinnati in 1787, before coming to Dayton.
[Col. Patterson built a cabin in Lexington, Kentucky, about 1780. About 1901, his grandson John H. Patterson bought the cabin and had it removed to Dayton (exterior photo, interior photo). The cabin was later returned to Lexington about 1939.
Here is a more recent photo of the Patterson log cabin on its current location on the campus of Transylvania University, which Patterson helped charter:
Col. Patterson purchased some land in Clifton (Greene County), Ohio, in 1803, but later decided to move to Dayton instead. He purchased a farm just south of Dayton and moved his family there in 1804; he named the homestead “Rubicon Farm.” He later purchased more land adjacent to the original tract, and his farm eventually occupied 700 acres.
Col. Patterson was a participant in several expeditions against Native Americans on the western frontier. He fought with the Pennsylvania Rangers in 1774. During the American Revolution, Patterson was with General George Rogers Clark on the Illinois Expedition in 1778, and he was a captain under Clark when he fought the Shawnee on the Little Miami and Mad Rivers in 1780. He was second in command at the Battle of Blue Licks (Kentucky) in 1782 and, now a colonel, subsequently accompanied Clark on his second expedition into the Miami Valley. Patterson also served as a colonel under Col. Benjamin Logan against the Shawnees in 1786. He also participated in the Battle of the Wabash, also known as St. Clair’s Defeat, in 1791.
Robert Patterson received the commission of colonel from Virginia Governor Patrick Henry in 1787. Robert Patterson served as a delegate to the Virginia legislature in 1790; after the state of Kentucky was formed, he served as a representative to its first state legislature, in 1792.
During the War of 1812, Robert Patterson served as a quartermaster, transporting supplies from Camp Meigs (located near Dayton on the Mad River) to troops located north of Dayton.
Robert Patterson married Elizabeth Lindsay on March 29, 1780, in Pennsylvania. They had 11 children, all born in Lexington, Kentucky:
- William, who died as an infant.
- William, who died as an infant.
- Rebecca (1784-1858), who married Dr. John Goodlet and died in Kentucky.
- Margaret (1786-1861), who married three times, to Dr. Samuel Venable, Rev. James Welsh, and Samuel Caldwell, and died in Iowa.
- Elizabeth (1788-1827), who married James I. Nisbet.
- Francis (1791-1854), who moved to Missouri.
- Catharine (1793-1864), often called Kitty, who married Henry Brown, then after his death married Andrew Irwin and later Horatio Gates Phillips.
- Jane (1795-1876), who married John Steele.
- Harriet (1797-1822), who married Henry Stoddard.
- Robert Lindsay (1799-1833), who died of cholera during the epidemic of 1833.
- Jefferson (1801-1863), who married Julia Johnston, daughter of the Indian agent John Johnston of Piqua, and inherited Rubicon Farm. Two of Jefferson and Julia’s children, John H. Patterson and Frank J. Patterson, founded National Cash Register Company in Dayton.
Col. Robert Patterson died August 5, 1827, in Dayton. He was originally buried at the old graveyard on Fifth Street, as was his wife Elizabeth, who died October 22, 1833. Both were later moved to Woodland Cemetery, which is adjacent to land previously owned by Patterson.
This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in May 2010 for the Brown-Patterson Papers (MS-015) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654. Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection and in the citations below. Please contact the library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.
Bibliography & Further Reading
Conover, Charlotte Reeve, Builders in New Fields (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1939). Dayton B P318C 1939.
Conover, Charlotte Reeve, Concerning the Forefathers (New York: Winthrop Press, 1902). Dayton B92 P318C.
Conover, Charlotte Reeve, Dayton and Montgomery County Resources and People (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1932), vol. 3: 11, 84. Dayton 977.173 C753D 1932.
Conover, Charlotte Reeve, Dayton, Ohio: An Intimate History (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1932), 28-30, 58-59. Dayton 977.173 C753DAY 1932.
Conover, Charlotte Reeve, The Patterson Log Cabin (Dayton: The Press of the N.C.R., 1906). Dayton B P318CP.
Conover, Frank, Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1897), 913. Dayton 977.172 C753C 1897.
Drury, Augustus Waldo, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago and Dayton: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), vol. 1: 109-10, 119-23, vol. 2: 912-36. Dayton 977.173 D796.
Edgar, John F., Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton: U. B. Publishing House, 1896), 88-91, 94-99, 172. Dayton 977.173 E23.
History of Dayton, Ohio (Dayton: United Brethren Publishing House, 1889), 77-78, 132-33, 697-98. Dayton 977.173 H673.
History of Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co., 1882), 370-84, 560-63. Dayton 977.172 H673.
History of the Patterson Log Cabin (S.l.: s.n., 19–). Dayton T77173 H673.
Hover, John C., and Joseph D. Barnes, Memoirs of the Miami Valley (Chicago: Robert O. Law Company, 1919), vol. 3: 476. Dayton 977.1 M618.
Steele, Robert W., and Mary Davies Steele, Early Dayton (Dayton: U. B. Publishing House, 1896), 32, 82-83, 96-97. Dayton 977.173 S814E 1896.