Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seeking Help

I am seeking anyone who can help me locate the following items.

1. A Picture of Sarah Florence Patterson (1857-1937). Florence married Lafayette Harrison, and both are buried at Pleasant Grove Church Cemetery in Union Co GA. If anyone has a picture of Florence Harrison, I would appreciate the opportunity to see it and take a picture of it.

2. A picture of Lula Patterson (1878-1939). Lula married James Gray and both are buried at Bethlehem Church Cemetery in Union Co GA. If anyone has a picture of Lula Gray, I would appreciate the opportunity to see it and take a picture of it. *** UPDATE *** One of Lula's grandsons, Sam Nichols, has informed me has at least one picture of Lula and her husband. Next time I go to Blairsville, GA, I'll plan to meet Sam and get a copy of that picture then. (22 July 2011)

3. The burial location of Lewis O. Patterson (1869-1959). Lewis was born in Union Co GA, but lived most of his life and died in Cleveland, TN. I assume he is buried there, but do not know where. If anyone can help me locate the grave of Lewis Patterson, I would appreciate it. *** UPDATE *** I would like to thank Vickie Moon for finding this post and sending me the answer to this question. Lewis is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Cleveland, TN. Plot 12 and 494. Born May 20, 1869 and Died March 22, 1959. (22 July 2011)

4. The burial location of Mollie Patterson (1867-1932). Mollie was born in Union Co GA, but lived most of her life in and around SE TN and North GA. Mollie married George Kelley. If anyone can help me locate the grave of Mollie Patterson Kelley, I would appreciate it.

The four people mentioned above were all siblings, and children of William Harden "Bill" Patterson and Elizabeth "Betty" Akins Patterson.

Thank you.
Wes Patterson

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Isabella Price of Union Co GA - "Mystery Woman"

For years I have made the case that Isabella Price could just be a daughter of John and Margaret Black Patterson (J&M). After all, we know that J&M had three daughters born between 1790 and 1800, according to the 1800 Buncombe Co NC census. Further analysis indicates that the oldest daughter was most likely born in 1790 or at the latest, 1791. The next daughter would have been born between 1791 and 1795, with the third daughter definitely born in April 1793, the latter being Amy Jane Patterson who is very well documented.

But we know nothing of the other two daughters as they are out of the house by 1810. So, were they married already? Or, had they died young? Both are legitimate possibilities. At one time I thought one of the mystery girls was an Elizabeth who later married James Morrow. I've since learned she was not J&M's daughter, but rather the daughter of Peter Patterson, the uncle of both J&M.

"Then along came..." not Polly, as the movie title goes, but rather one Isabella Price. Who? Yes, Isabella Price. No sign of any husband, just a son named Joseph Price, born in 1818. Isabella was born in 1792, some records say SC, others NC. But the scenario fit. She lived immediately next door to J&M in 1840, Union Co GA. She was near other Pattersons of the J&M clan as well, until her death in 1869. She is buried next to all these Pattersons in the Bethlehem Church Cemetery. It made sense.

But too many questions remained. Where was she prior to 1837 when she bought 160 acres in Union Co GA? No sign of her around these Pattersons. Who was her husband? Was she ever married?

Turns out, last Sunday's trip I made to visit a long lost Patterson cousin in Blairsville, GA (Elaine Patterson Gibby), opened a huge can of worms concerning Isabella Price. That wasn't the intent of the trip, but it turns out that Elaine owns the land Isabella Price used to own. She knows precisely where Isabella's house stood on the lot! You see, Isabella's son Joseph married into the Walker family, and Elaine's mother was Arva Walker Patterson. Her family knows the family legends concerning Isabella Price!

Some of the stories indicate the Prices were English. All of the stories say Isabella was pregnant out of wedlock and never married. She was sent away to raise her son Joseph. This prompted immediate research, both by yours truly and also Elaine's son, Timothy Gibby. Tim found a site that says Isabella descends from a Price family from Rutherford Co NC. I found another site that corroborated that story. Extensive research and documentation has been done and shared on both websites regarding the Price family and it's allied families such as Lively (aka Lyfolly) and McGhee.

I'm still waiting for a response from both webmasters regarding their specific info concerning Isabella, but at this time I am satisfied that Miss Isabella Price was born with that name and was NOT a daughter of J&M Patterson. Odd thing, however. I am still related to her. She descends from the McGhees of coastal Virginia from the 1700's and even 1600's. I am as well, on my mother's side of the family.

"Small world. Large family." (Rod Sharp)

In conclusion, I am convinced that Isabella Price was not a Patterson. It may just be that those two older daughters of J&M did not survive childhood. We may never know. As for Isabella Price... "Mystery Woman" no longer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

George Patterson died in 1860 - just discovered​!!!

John and Margaret Black Patterson's son named George Patterson was born in 1800. His 1st wife was Rebecca Chastain, his 2nd wife was Sophia Dunagan (m. 1850). I descend from George by his 1st wife. George and Sophia had 5 children by the 1860 census, in which they were enumerated on July 20, 1860.

James Neal, CC'd, last year sent me a PDF document containing 5 letters Sophia wrote to her Dunagan relatives between 1858 and 1862. These letters are quite enlightening, to say the least. However, hidden within the lines of these letters was one of the most important pieces of information I've been looking for, for many years. When did George Patterson die? All I've ever known was between 1860 and 1870.

I now know he died between July 20 and Dec 23, 1860. Letter #1 was written in Aug or Sept of 1858. Letter #2 was written May 2, 1859. Letter #3 is the key letter in pinpointing George's death. It is dated December 23, but no year. I'll come back to this. Letter #4 was written about August of 1861. And Letter #5 was written in late May or early June, 1862.

James and I had narrowed down Letter #3 to either 1859 or 1860. This week I have transcribed these letters, so it has been quite an exercise and has certainly made various details jump out at me. Tonight, the words "MY YEAR SUPPORT" jumped out at me in Letter #3. I realized that George was only mentioned in the first 2 letters (as the "old man"). Nothing was said of him in the last 3 letters. Letter 3 specifically talks about her cutting and carrying the wood by herself, and then having gone to town to see the ordinary about her "year support".

Sophia Patterson 1860 Letter

So, I googled 1860 GEORGIA A WOMAN'S "YEAR SUPPORT" - and what I found was that Georgia law allowed for a widow with minor children to receive financial help for 12 months following her deceased husband's death, until such necessary funds could be obtained from his estate. That means 2 things!

1. Letter #3 was written on Dec 23, 1860, and
2. George Patterson died between July 20 and Dec 23, 1860.

In case anyone wonders if it could have been written in 1861 or later, no it couldn't have. Letter #3 mentions Sophia's brother Ben and wanting him to come visit her. He enlisted in the CSA the next year on Aug 31, 1861 and died the following July 1862. 1860 is the only year this letter could have been written.

James, I can never thank you enough for sending me these letters from Sophia. It has "only" taken me 9 months to read these letters enough times for it to sink in and figure this out.

But WOW..... what a nugget to find buried within this 150 year old letter.


P.S. My descent from George is his son William Harden Patterson (b 1832), Joseph Elijah Patterson (b 1871), Clinton Willie Patterson (b 1904), Francis Oliver Patterson (b 1940), me (b 1968).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hard times during Civil War Georgia

My great-great-grandpa was Billy Patterson - aka William Harden Patterson. He was a private during the Civil War as a member of the "horse company", initially serving in the Cavalry Battalion of Smith's Legion. His company was later merged into the newly formed 6th Regiment Ga Cavalry.

Billy's mother died when he was about 12 or 13 years old. When he was 18, his father George remarried, to a much younger woman named Sophia Dunagan. Sophia was only a few years older than Billy. During the late 1850's and early 1860's, Sophia wrote at least five letters to her parents - letters which have been preserved to this day. I am grateful that James Neal has shared these letters with me as they have given me greater insight into the daily goings-on within this Patterson clan in Union Co Ga during those dark days.

But more details exist than what's in the letters. The following story was shared initially by a man named Ewel Dunagan of Cullman, Alabama. The story highlights the tragedies many individuals and families faced during the Civil War - not just in war, but at home. Sophia's parents were Ira and Elizabeth Dunagan, and her brothers were Abner and Benjamin Dunagan. Again, thanks are in order for James Neal for sharing this link with me.

Wes Patterson


(full story obtained from:

In 1850 Ira and his family lived on the Fairmount Road leading out of Jasper in Pickens County [GA]. May 15, 1854, Ira served on the Superior Court Grand Jury, which was held under a huge oak tree before Jasper was a town. Ira was a farmer and a miller and people came from many miles around to his mill to get their corn ground into meal. Ira and Elizabeth had two sons and three daughters. Their sons Abner and Benjamin joined the Army of the CSA soon after the Civil War began. Abner was a farmer and was married to Lucinda Swofford of Union County. They had one son whose name was Andrew Jackson Dunagan who was about six years old when his father went to war. Benjamin was single and ran a grocery store when he had to enlist.

During the Civil War in the south there were men in every community assigned as "Home Guards." One night seven of these Home Guards went to Ira's house. They thought Ira had some money and wanted it. He had over three hundred dollars in gold and silver which he had placed in a gourd and hid in a hollow stump. He covered the stump with rocks like many people did in those days when there were a lot of rocks in their fields. They would pile these rocks in a pile and plow around it. Ira would not admit to the men that he had any money. They were sure he had some money and they planned to make him tell them where it was hidden. He was close to sixty years old.

They tied his feet with a rope and threw the end of the rope over the ceiling joist and had him swinging back and forth with his head down near the floor. Each man would knock Ira from one side of the room to the other, while two other men were pulling Elizabeth by her hair trying to get her to tell them where the money was hidden. Andrew Jackson Dunagan, Abner's son, was staying with his grandparents. He had gone to bed and was asleep when he was suddenly awaken[ed] by the noise. He ran into the room and was knocked over into a corner and told if he moved or said a word they would kill him. He was about eight years old.

The war had been going on for over two years when Abner decided he needed to go home to check on his family. He had been stationed in Memphis, TN, and was able to get a leave of absence for fifteen days. When Abner arrived home his parents told him about the incident and who the men were, because they knew each one of them by name. Abner stayed around for a few days, but abruptly left one day never to return taking his fathers only horse. Both Abner and his brother Benjamin were killed in the war.

After the war was over one of Ira's neighbors who had served in the same Confederate unit with Abner, told Abner's parents what had happened that eventful day when Abner had left so suddenly. He had killed all seven of the "Home Guard" who had violated his parents and son that fateful night. When Abner had left that day he had gone to the home of the last man he was to kill and asked the wife where he was and called for him by name. She said he was in the corn crib shucking corn. This is where Abner killed the man. After Abner returned to his unit it was later told that he had become very bitter and extremely hardened. He killed many men before he met with his own death.

Soon after the war came to an end, Ira and his family including Lucinda, Abner's widow and son Andrew Jackson Dunagan, moved to Winston County, Alabama. This is where Ira lived when he and Elizabeth died. They are buried in the Liberty Church Cemetery, in Winston County.


Friday, June 3, 2011

William Harden "Bill" Patterson Family Photos

The William Harden "Bill" Patterson Family Photo Gallery
Last updated: 3 January 2020

Bill Patterson was born in April 1832 in the Indian Territory of what later became Union Co, GA. His parents were George Patterson and Rebecca Chastain. The Patterson clan settled in the part of Union Co that became known as Lower Young Cane, and also in nearby Ivy Log.

Click any picture to see a larger version (in most cases).

William Harden "Bill" Patterson
(courtesy Kenneth Patterson)

William Harden "Bill" Patterson
(taken from a slide that Frank Patterson made
of a framed photo in the possession of
Nellie Patterson Mason during the 1980's)

Bill married Elizabeth Akins, and together they had 12 children. The six sons were:
  1. James Alonzo Patterson - Alonzo (1855-1940)
  2. John Henry Lumpkin Patterson - Lump (1859-1953)
  3. Lewis O. Patterson - Lew (1869-1959)
  4. Joseph Elijah Patterson - Lije (1871-1957)
  5. William Elisha Patterson - Lishe (1871-1963)
  6. George Bunyan Patterson - Bunyan (1881-1969)

The six daughters were:
  1. Sarah Florence Patterson - Florence (1857-1937)
  2. Martha Elizabeth Patterson - Jeff (for Jefferson Davis) (1862-1957)
  3. Rebecca Emeline Patterson - Emma (1865-1948)
  4. Mary N. Patterson - Mollie (1867-1932)
  5. Venetia Caledonia Patterson - Callie (1873-1967)
  6. Lula L. J. Patterson - Lular (1878-1939)

Bill Patterson died in 1883. Some said he died of some sort of blood poisoning, others a tick bite. His widow Betty died in 1914.

More pictures of this family are coming to my attention, so I will begin posting all of these pictures here. Perhaps one day we can obtain a picture for each child, and also Bill's wife, Elizabeth. I would like to thank Phyllis Patterson Shook, Dave Huskey, Elaine Patterson Gibby (and her son Timothy Gibby), and June Walker Brown for many of the following pictures. As of 2015, we have pictures of Bill and Elizabeth, as well as all 6 of their sons and 4 of their 6 daughters. I am still hoping to find pictures of the other two daughters some day... Lula and Florence.

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