Just this week I sent an email to a fellow researcher (Janice Rosenthal) regarding the status of our oldest known Pattersons and the research / documentation we have to date. Harald Reksten and I have been going through many records of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina, etc over the last several months (years).
Janice on the other hand specializes in researching the oldest Patterson immigrants in order to better delineate between the various branches, and also to correct many errors being propagated across the Internet. So, I thought perhaps a third perspective (Janice's) would be good concerning our Patterson family. So, I sent her an email as presented the following information to her, which will serve as a "status" for our family, as of March 2010.
I was reading some of your comments / corrections posted on another researcher's website, and I must say thank you for working tirelessly to get the info right, and then to attempt to set the record straight at so many other errant sources. I'm not sure which is the more difficult task!!!
We've spoken before, but I just wanted to pick your brain for a bit. I, too, used to think I may have a connection to those various Pattersons of PA and so I'm "vaguely" familiar with them. I recognize them when I see 'em, but I have no expertise on them at all. What I've learned over the years is to focus on "my" Pattersons and follow the trail. Mine apparently came over before most of those PA Pattersons.
In the course of your research, have your ever run across any particular line of Pattersons that the following group might "fit in"? Harald Reksten (and others) and I have worked very hard for many years going through the records of MD, DE, NJ, PA, etc (still more to cover though) trying to find our group. Harald's done most of the heavy lifting, ordering books, microfilm rolls, you name it. But we both do a lot of research and we both share everything we get with each other.
We do know that our Robert Patterson was in Sussex Co DE in 1732 and 1738. That we're 100% certain of. He bought 106 acres in 1732 from Matthew Ozbun Jr, and then sold it in 1738 (along with his wife, Sarah), apparently preparing to move to the Linville Creek part of Orange Co Va along with the Harrisons, Stewarts, Cravens, Blacks, and many other families.
We have not conclusively found any record of this family prior to 1732. I believe Robert to have been born ca 1711 (1710-1715). He died in 1775 in Craven / York Co SC. His wife Sarah died there in 1790. We know for certain that his father was William Patterson. We know his mother was Mary Margaret. Many people have tagged her with the maiden name of Donnell, but I have determined in the last couple weeks (conclusively) where that assumption came from (Dellmann O. Hood in his book The Tunis Hood Family), and the assumption made was based on faulty data to begin with. So scratch the Donnell name. There may have been a connection to the Donnell / Donaldson / Donelson / McDonald family, but I say prove it!!!
She went by the name of Margaret, but one time did use her name Mary in a land patent, so we can assume her name was Mary Margaret _____ Patterson Adams. She first married William Patterson, and they had at least two children, but no more than two are known. The oldest child (presumed oldest) was Elizabeth, first wife of Jeremiah Harrison. He was born about 1707, and they were married by 1730 or so, at the latest, probably more like 1727 or 28. I think she was born roughly 1709 ish. Next, was Robert Patterson. He obtained his first tract of land in 1732. He appears to have married after that, and certainly before 1738. I suspect he was born around 1711, but approx 1710-1715.
The Harrisons were in Long Island NY for many years, as early as 1680's, but the Pattersons are not found in any of those records, to my knowledge. The Harrisons were in Sussex Co DE by 1721, and began leaving there in 1737 and later for the Shenandoah. If Elizabeth Patterson married Jeremiah around 1727-30, then my Pattersons were certainly here in America no later than that time, obviously.
I think William Patterson must have died no later than 1715 or so. Margaret remarried by 1720 approximately, to John Adams. She was known most of her life as Margaret Adams or widow Adams. She got her Orange Co Va land patent under the name of Mary Adams, that based on later probate records of her grandson Samuel Adams, making that link. John and Margaret Adams had at least three children, but that's all we know about. The oldest daughter's name is not even known, but we know she must have been born 1720-25, and she married Andrew Donelson (b 1722), who was from Somerset co MD. I don't know where they were when they married, nor exactly when they married. They had 3 children by 1744, and she must have been dead by then which was when Margaret Adams wrote her will, naming Margaret "Dollinson" (actually Donelson) in the will. This was the oldest child of her dec'd daughter and Andrew Donelson. They also had sons Robert and Humphrey Donelson by 1744. Andrew died in 1755 leaving them as orphans.
John and Margaret Adams also had a son Samuel Adams, and a daughter Jane Adams, who married Daniel Love around 1743 or 44. Samuel must have been married by 1744 or soon thereafter, as he died by 1748, but later we see his heir, also named Samuel Adams, inheriting Margaret Adams' plantation in Va after she died in 1769/1770. Apparently John Adams died by 1725-1730 after these 3 children were born.
I don't know when this family immigrated to America. Depending on whether it was in the 1730s, or 1720s, or before 1720, you can see there would be many possible scenarios for how this family could have been recorded. Could have been a Patterson couple with 2 kids, or a Patterson widow w/ 2 kids, or an Adams family with 2 Patterson kids and some Adams kids, or even an Adams family with 2 to 5 "Adams" children listed. "Patterson" may not have even been in the names of their immigration record (I'm hoping one still exists for them).
Of course, the Patterson clan may have come a generation or two earlier for that matter.
The oldest record we know of for sure is 1732 when Robert Patterson bought land in DE. We "know" other events had to have happened a few years earlier in DE, such as his sister marrying Jeremiah Harrison. There may have even been a John Adams and Margaret Patterson wedding to find in some old church record somewhere. And of course, an Adams girl marrying Andrew Donelson, possibly in PA, around 1740 or so.
I'm shooting in the dark here. But Robert Patterson, who made his mark "R", had sons Thomas, Peter, Robert, and William. He had daughters Abigail, Mary, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Lydia. There may have been others, but these we know about, from the late 1730s to the late 1750s. They all were probably born in Augusta Co Va, before they moved south to what is now York Co SC.