We know that Robert and Sarah had at least four sons, which were named in Robert's 1775 will - written in York Co SC. But we also believe the reason Robert updated his will at such a late date (he died a few months after writing this last will) was due to one of his FIVE sons (James) having just died.
Such an event would have forced him to re-write his will, something that he certainly already had in place for years considering the magnitude of his land holdings.
In July of 2011 I wrote an article called "How Many Sons Did Old Robert Patterson Have After All?" That was the first such article dealing with this topic of James being a son of Robert and Sarah. Much of this analysis has been done by cousin Harald Reksten. Harald descends from Robert's son Robert II. I descend from Robert's son Thomas.
Here is an excerpt from the article last July dealing with the chain of evidence regarding a tract of land that James had owned which passed to his father Robert - indicating a son (James) dying without any dependents.
3) York Co SC, Book H, Page 100. 6 June 1802 Robert Wallace of York District to John Wallace of same for $10, (1) 150 acres on Clarks Fork of Bullocks Creek joining Robert Patterson, being originally granted to Robert Cravens and from said Cravens conveyed by deed to Robert Patterson deceased; (2) 40 acres on Hendersons Branch of Clarks Fork of Bullocks Creek joining John Patterson, a part of tract granted to Robert Patterson in the year 1794. Signed: Robert Wallace. Witnesses: Samuel Love, Samuel Brown, Andrew Love. Proved: 18 January 1816 by Samuel Brown before Thomas Simpson. Recorded: 4 March 1816.
So this deed proves the same 150 acre tract passed to Robert Patterson. Which Robert Patterson? Robert Sr died in 1775. Robert Jr died in 1828. This deed was in 1802, so clearly "Robert Patterson deceased" is referring to Robert Sr. We know that Cravens did not sell the land to Robert directly, but rather to James, but the chain of title shows it passed to Robert. The only way that could have happened without James selling it to his father, was for it to pass to him through inheritance. James had to die after February 1774. And since his father died in 1775 between July and November, James had to have died prior to that.
This is about as solid a case as one could ever present. My hat is off to Harald Reksten for nailing this one to the floor. He presented the theory to me a few months ago and then recently found this 1802 deed, which to me is empirical evidence.
The deed listed within this excerpt is the 3rd deed presented in the original article, but references within to the first two are made and noted. This land was located along Clarks Fork of Bullocks Creek in what is now York Co SC near Kings Mountain State and Military Parks.
Again, I would like to thank Harald for his keen eye for detail and his analytical approach to sorting out these old records and relationships.
So once again, this tells us there were (at least) five sons of Robert and Sarah Patterson. They include James who died in 1774/75, plus the other four sons named in Robert's 1775 will, to wit: Thomas, Robert, Peter, and William.