Guide to the Papers of John S. Patton, c1851-1926

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Papers of John S. Patton
John S. Patton
Collection Number
Date [inclusive]
1.5 cubic feet (3 boxes and 1 shelf volume)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
John S. Patton was a farmer who lived in Washington Township (Fayette County), Pennsylvania. These papers include correspondence, diaries, financial materials, Patton's poetry and other writings.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Papers of John S. Patton, c1851-1926, MSS #126, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

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Biographical Sketch of John S. Patton (1844-1926)

John S. Patton was a farmer who lived in Washington Township (Fayette County), Pennsylvania. Patton's ancestors were from Scotland and originally settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He was born in 1844 to Stephen and Susan (Galloway) Patton at the family farm, Rich Hill, that had been purchased the same year as his birth. Stephen and Susan Patton had nine children: Anna E. (1839-?); Sarah E. (1841-?); John S. (1844-1926); Robert G. (1846-?); Martha (1851-?), Noah W., Mary A. (1856-?); and Joseph G. (1860-?). Noah W. Patton graduated with an M. D. from Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia) in 1882 and practiced in Charleroi (Washington County), Pennsylvania. Joseph G. Patton graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1884 and served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Brownsville (Fayette County), Pennsylvania, for ten years. Later, he managed a mission in Washington, Pennsylvania for thirteen years and served as a pastor for a church in Weatherford, Texas.

From the age of twelve, John S. Patton helped with the operation of the Patton family farm and later took over the operations completely. John Patton became well known in agricultural circles by writing numerous articles for agricultural journals. Patton held stock in local commercial ventures including the First National Bank of Belle Vernon (Washington Township, Fayette County) and the National Bank of Fayette City. Patton also served as the auditor for Washington Township for twelve years around the turn of the century. As a youth, Patton attended the Rehoboth Presbyterian Church (Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania) and later joined the Harmony Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Patton taught Sunday school for over sixty years at the Harmony Church, a Presbyterian Church. John Patton did not marry, but remained close to other members of his family. His nephew was with him at his death in 1926 and recorded some of the last entries in his diary for Patton.

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Scope and Content Notes

These papers include correspondence, diaries, financial materials, Patton's poetry and other writings. The bulk of these papers are daily diaries, kept by Patton from 1864 until his death in 1926. The diary entries contain descriptions of events in Patton's daily life, his work on the farm, the weather, and deaths of family members and those in the local community. Patton's entries are brief, often ranging from ten to 25 words and focus on the weather and his farming activities. Farming activities are well documented and include general work on the farm, his travels to market to purchase or sell items, and agricultural fairs that he attended. Patton also recorded the numerous times he served as Sunday school teacher, but offered little information beyond the days he taught. National and local events, such as President Lincoln's assassination in 1865 and the Johnstown Flood of 1889, are met with little more than a cursory mention. Generally, Patton did not use the diaries to record lengthy narratives or personal thoughts and motivations. However, Patton recorded lengthier entries in the earliest and latest diaries, providing more detailed information on his activities and brief notions of his thoughts and life. Recorded in the rear of many of these diaries are financial records and calculations documenting his personal and farm accounts. Often, financial information from multiple years is found in a single diary. Also kept in the diary volume from 1864 are financial records from c1851-1865, possibly from other family members.

The correspondence includes primarily letters from Jacob G. Funk, who served with the 62nd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War. Funk's relationship to Patton is not known or clear. These letters were written to Patton in 1863 and document a soldier's life during the War. Also included are extensive reminiscences written by Funk, documenting his service in the War through the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Included in the reminiscences are mentions of enlistment, camp life, and numerous battles including Antietam (1862), and Gettysburg (1863). Correspondence from other time periods is less comprehensive and provides information on his personal and business concerns. The financial materials include bills, receipts, newspaper receipts, tax material for Washington Township, stray correspondence, and promissory notes, all originally kept in the rear pocket of the diaries. These financial materials document both household and farm expenses. Included among the receipts are illustrated billheads and letterheads for numerous companies in the region. The authorship of the few poems and writings housed with these papers are not clearly identified, but appear to have been written during the 1860s-1880s. One poem appears to have been signed by members of the Galloway Family (probably John Patton's cousins), as a penmanship exercise.

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The John S. Patton Papers are housed in three archival boxes and 1 shelf volume. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title with miscellaneous material arranged to the rear.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Summer, 2001

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These materials came in one accession in 1976.

Acc# 1976.0102 Gift of Donald Patton, (Papers).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Linda Moulton on July 7, 1994.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Doug MacGregor on July 7, 2001.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Pennsylvania Infantry. 62nd Regiment

Geographic Name(s)

  • Belle Vernon (Pa.) -- Commerce
  • Fayette County (Pa.) -- Agriculture
  • Fayette County (Pa.) -- Commerce
  • Fayette County (Pa.) -- Politics and Government
  • Fayette County (Pa.) -- Religion
  • Fayette County (Pa.) -- Social Life and Customs
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Washington Township (Fayette County, Pa.) -- Agriculture
  • Washington Township (Fayette County, Pa.) -- Commerce
  • Washington Township (Fayette County, Pa.) -- Politics and Government
  • Washington Township (Fayette County, Pa.) -- Religion
  • Washington Township (Fayette County, Pa.) -- Social Life and Customs

Personal Name(s)

  • Patton, John S. (1844-1926)
  • Funk, Jacob G.
  • Galloway Family
  • Patton Family


  • Agriculture -- Pennsylvania -- Fayette County
  • Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862
  • Gettysburg (Pa.), Battle of, 1863
  • Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A. -- Pennsylvania -- Fayette County
  • Religion -- Pennsylvania -- Fayette County
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence  1865-August 16, 1867 11

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 1865-August 16, 1867 2
 August 17, 1867-1870 3
 1871-1873 4
 1874-1876 5
 1877-1879 6
 1880-1882 7
 1883-1885 8
 1886-1888 9
 1889-1891 10
 1892-1894 11
 1895-1898 21
 1899-1901 2
 1902-1904 3
 1905-1907 4
 1908-1910 5
 1911-1913 6
 1914-1916 7
 1917-1918 31
 1919-1920 2
 1921-1922 3
 1923-1925 4
 1926 5

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Financial Materials 
 1879-1902 6
 1903-1924 7

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Poetry and Other Writings  c1860-1880 8

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Miscellaneous Materials  c1873-1925 9

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