Biography of John R. Patterson

JOHN R. PATTERSON. The office of sheriff is one that has been filled by the illustrious head of this Government, and is a position that demands great circumspection, great personal courage and a general and apt intelligence. The county of Cleburne, Arkansas, is fortunate in its choice of its present incumbent, John R. Patterson, who is also county collector and adds to strict integrity the other qualities essential to the thorough discharge of the responsibilities connected with the station. Mr. Patterson was born in Dover, Arkansas, January 16, 1848, his parents being James H. and Civility R. (Bettis) Patterson, the former of whom was born on the eastern coast of Maryland, and the latter in Wayne County, Missouri When a lad of twelve or fourteen years of age James H. Patterson was sent to Natchez, Miss., where he made his home with an uncle, studied law, and graduated at Oxford, Miss. His tastes, however, were rather in the direction of mercantile pursuits than to the practice of law, and in 1843, with Ransol S. Bettis,he opened a store at Dover. In 1852 they went to Patterson’s Bluff (named in honor of Mr. Patterson) and opened a general mercantile establishment there, where they continued to do business until 1856, from which time until 1861 they were in business in Clinton, Van Buren County, Arkansas Mr. Patterson then entered the Confederate service as quartermaster of McRae’s regiment, was honorably discharged in 1862, and became enrolling officer of Van Buren County, which position he held until 1864, when he was killed by jayhawkers. He had been treasurer of Pope County two years, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1861 when Arkansas seceded from the Union. He was forty-five years old at the time of his death, was a Mason, helped organize the lodge at Clinton and became master of the same. He was a member of the Methodist Church, while his wife, who died in 1865, was a Presbyterian, although she had been reared a Catholic. To them were born five children, John R. being the second child and the eldest of the four now living.

Johns education was obtained in the public schools of Van Buren County, and there he grew to manhood. In October, 1863, he joined Witt’s regiment and served in southern Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas throughout the remainder of the war. He was at Mark’s Mill, Prairie De Hann, Poison Springs and Mt. Elba, where he was wounded in the leg, but not very seriously. He surrendered at Little Rock May 23, 1865, and upon returning to Van Buren County commenced working on a farm. At the early age of eighteen years, or in 1866, he was married to Lou J. Greeson, and by her became the father of three children: George O., who is now an attorney at Clarksville, Arkansas; Alice, who is the wife of John Conner, of this county; and J. H., who is a successful merchant of Heber. After his marriage Mr. Patterson farmed for a time, then opened a general mercantile store in Big Bottom. In 1881 he moved to Sugar Loaf Springs, where he was in business one year, then commenced selling goods on the road for the D .G. Tutt Grocery Company, continuing two years. He was then elected sheriff and collector of Cleburne County, which office he has held two terms, with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of political foes and friends alike. He was postmaster at Heber during the first administration of Cleveland, and it is almost needless to say that he is a stanch Democrat. Socially he is a member of the A. F. & A. M.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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