Biography of Hon. Thomas Patton

HON. THOMAS PATTON. – There is scarcely a man in Oregon, who enjoys a greater measure of esteem, both in his own community and abroad, than the gentleman whose name heads this memoir. With the usual substantial and popular qualities of the pioneers, he has a touch of dash and a breadth of view which lift him somewhat above the horizon of even the first business men and thinkers of the Pacific Northwest. He is prominent among those who have given the tone and pose to the peculiarly refined and genial society of the Capital city. He was born in Carrollton, Ohio, March 19, 1829, and in 1838 moved with his parents to Findlay. His education was secured at Martinsburg Academy, and at the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware. He chose the law as his profession, and after the usual preparation passed a very satisfactory examination, being admitted to the bar in 1850.

The very flattering reports, which returning parties from Oregon had circulated relative to that territory, reaching his ears, he determined to come West, and in 1851 joined a party of emigrants at Council Bluffs, arriving at his destination in October of that year. In that company he first saw the lady, then a girl of fourteen years, who afterwards became his wife. He first settled on Yamhill county, where he remained until December, when he located at Salem. In the spring of 1853 he removed to Jackson county, and was shortly afterwards elected county judge. During the Indian war of 1855-56 he served as orderly sergeant in Company A, commanded by Captain John F. Miller.

On August 3, 1854, he was united in marriage to Miss Frances M., the only daughter of Hon. E. F. and Eliza Cooke of Salem. The first year of their married life was passed in Jacksonville; when, at the earnest solicitations of the parents of his wife; they removed to Salem. He served as chief clerk of the house in 1860, and, in 1861 was appointed chief clerk in the office of the superintendent of Indian affairs, under W.H. Rector. He was for several years secretary of the people’s Transportation Company, and was again elected chief clerk of the house in 1866. In 1872 he was elected representative to the legislature from Marion county, and in 1876 was appointed appraiser of merchandise for the District of Willamette, serving in such capacity for seven years. In 1884 he was appointed United States consul at Hiogo, Japan, and held that position until 1887.

Mr. Patton has for many years taken an active interest in Masonry, and has ably filled the greater number of the more important offices within the gift of that fraternity. He has served as grand secretary, grand treasurer and deputy grand master. In June, 1889, he was elected grand high priest of Royal Arch Masons, serving one term, and for sixteen years served as chairman of the committee on foreign correspondence for the grand chapter, with acceptance at home and abroad, his annual reports being received with marked favor in every grand jurisdiction. During his career in public life, many and varied acquirement’s were demanded to meet all the positions he had been called upon to fill; yet he has adorned all of them. Being a shrewd business man, and cautious in his investments, success has attended his enterprises. He owns considerable real estate in Salem, and is credited with being well fixed in worldly affairs.

Mr. Patton’s greatest sorrow has been brought about by the death of his estimable wife, which occurred December 7, 1866. His family consists of three children, two sons and one daughter, the latter being the wife of John D. McCuly, of Joseph, Union county, Oregon. Politically speaking, Mr. Patton is a Republican; and his religious tendencies are cast with the Congregational church.


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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