Transcribed by Teresa Kesterke from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


In the pioneer days of Des Moines county's development the Patterson family was established within its borders, and from that time to the present its representatives have taken an active and helpful part in matters pertaining to the general progress. They have been the champions of many measures for the public good, and none have been more helpful in public work. Horace Patterson has won a foremost place in the ranks of the leading agriculturists of the county, and as the result of judicious investments is now one of the prosperous citizens of southeastern Iowa.

Mr. Patterson is a son of John and Martha (Darbyshire) Patterson, his birth occurring March 17, 1860, on the farm on which he now resides. His father, Hon. John Patterson, was a son of Charles and Virginia (Dawson) Patterson, and was born October, 1820, near Cumberland, Md., in which place he received a very limited education. His first occupation in life was to drive the transportation wagon on the national road between Cincinnati and Baltimore. These huge wagons preceded the railroads which are stretched over the world so universally today. Hotels and boarding houses were very scarce then also, and the two years that Mr. Patterson made these trips were full of hardships and privations. His mother died during the '30's, and his father came West and settled in Keokuk county, Iowa. In 1840 Hon. John Patterson came to Burlington, and his first few years were spent on the farm of the late Judge Mason and Alexander Hilleary, for whom he worked by the month. In 1841 he married Miss Martha Darbyshire, daughter of John and Jane (Barret) Darbyshire.

Her parents were English, and were raised in the city of London. Mr. Darbyshire had a cabinet-shop attached to his home, and had on one occasion just finished a very fine chair for the ruler of Austria when a fire broke out which destroyed shop, home, chair, and all. Mrs. Patterson was then but a mere child, but distinctly remembered being carried out from the fire in her high chair. In 1833 the Darbyshires came to America, and located near Bushnell, Ill. They brought their own twelve children and two belonging to a friend with them. During 1835 they moved to Burlington, where another child was born, and where Mr. Darbyshire died. This large family of children are dead except the Reverend Mathew Darbyshire, who is the oldest settler in Washington, Washington county, Iowa. One of the Darbyshire girls married a gentleman by the name of Smith, and used to live on a farm which is part of Crapo park. In 1834 Mrs. Patterson came to visit her, and her sister offered her a half of this large farm if she would but stay one year with them. Mrs. Patterson did not accept this generous offer, but returned to her home; however, she came the next year to reside in Burlington. After the death of Mr. Darbyshire, Mrs. Darbyshire lived with her daughter in Burlington, and died in 1863.

Hon. John Patterson and wife were the parents of thirteen children — six boys and one girl living, and five boys and one girl dead. They are: John William, lives in Kansas; Charles, died in infancy; Charles T., resides in Burlington, and was born March 6, 1847, and always assisted his father on the farm till 1874, when he took charge of the Burlington street railway for his father, which position he held for eighteen years. May 18, 1871, he married Miss Fynetta Arrowsmith, and has one daughter, Laura Almeda; Frances Elizabeth Patterson, married Theodore Thompson, and resides in Burlington on a farm: Henry, died when young; Wallace, died at the age of eight years; Mary was two years and Henry D. was three years when they died; Horace, of this review; Edward, now in business in Des Moines; Everett, died when two years of age; Wesley, lives at Patterson Station; and George, in Burlington.

When the parents of our subject began life together, Mr. Patterson was in debt fifty dollars, and they had to begin housekeeping in very small quarters. They first rented the old house of one room on the Judge Mason farm, where they were very comfortable for a while, and later rented a part of the Hilleary farm; and in 1846 he bought fifty-two acres of land about two and one-half miles from the center of the city from the late Governor Grimes. He then farmed for many years, and became a noted stock man, introducing the better grade of cattle and hogs in this part of Iowa. His labors were crowned with great success, and in a few years he purchased a farm of some four hundred and thirty acres from the late Dr. Chamberlin, which was located at Patterson's Station. He kept on investing in farm land buying the Darbyshire farm and two from the Darbyshire boys till at the time of his death he owned over nineteen hundred acres of cultivated and swamp land. Fortune truly smiled on him, as he rose from working at fifty cents a day to be a capitalist and stockholder in many different enterprises. He was the president of the Agricultural Society for years, under whose direction this society was in a very flourishing condition, and was then always able to meet all premiums. He was a large stockholder in the German-American and Merchant's National and Iowa State Bank, and also a director of the first bank mentioned for years.

The city of Burlington is indebted to Hon. John Patterson and Judge Mason for the building of the water works. Mr. Patterson was first vice-president and then president of the water company. In 1873 the first street railroad was built, and John Patterson was one of the original founders. It was put into operation Jan. 8, 1874, and in 1883 the car barn with all of its contents and some of the private property belonging to Mr. Patterson was destroyed by fire. After this he assumed entire control of the whole south hill line. In 1892 the electric cars were put into operation, and Mr. Patterson sold out entirely to the Electric Company.

In politics he was one of the strongest Republicans, and served his township, county, and State in several different offices. He was a man who believed in the public school system to a large extent, and was always happy when he could promote the educational interests in any way. His ability was ever of the best, and all trusts held by him were discharged with the greatest of care and accuracy. For several years he was township trustee, county trustee, school director, and had charge of the poor in Burlington township for several terms. In 1881 he was elected to the State Senate.

As Mr. Patterson advanced in years, his health became somewhat impaired, and at times he was a great sufferer, so that some of his active pursuits of life had to be abandoned: but the great and universal interest he had taken in all public enterprises was still maintained to the end of life. He was a large well-built man, with a kind word for all, and of a very generous nature, ever seeking to assist the poor and needy. He contributed the ground for the Spring Grove church, and also contributed largely towards the building of the same. After a long and useful life he was compelled to lay down his burdens, and on May 18, 1896, passed peacefully and quietly away, at the age of seventy-six years. His loss was one greatly deplored by not only his immediate family and friends but by the whole community at large. His life was an upright one, his business principles were of the highest, and the position he took in all public enterprises is equaled by very few. His name will ever be revered by one and all. His good wife, who also had known much of the early struggles and privations of pioneer times, and was a woman of strong character, possessing all the virtues that make an ideal wife and loving mother, survived him for some years. She did not remain in the country a great length of time after her husband died, but made her home with her sons, and passed away Dec. 13, 1901, at the home of her son, George Patterson, of Burlington. Mr. and Mrs. Patterson sleep side by side in the beautiful Aspen Grove cemetery.

Horace Patterson, of this review, received his early education in the public schools of Burlington township, and later attended the high school, after which he took a commercial course in Elliott's Business College. He first launched out in life as a traveling salesman and later as bookkeeper for Robert Donahue, with whom he remained for eight years, when he had a desire to return to the home farm. He rented this large place of four hundred and twenty-one acres, for one year, but this year he has the superintendency of the same, and raises stock and grain to a very large extent. His stock comprises horses, cattle, and hogs.

His land is rich, and is close to the railroad station, which is a great advantage to him in handling the product of the farm. Oct. 1, 1890, Mr. Patterson was married to Miss Carrie Newman Acres, who was born and educated in Burlington. Her parents were Stephen and Sarah (Newman) Acres, both old and highly respected citizens of Burlington, where for many years Mr. Acres was identified with the firm of Acres & Blackmar, who dealt largely in paper goods. Mr. and Mrs. Acres were the parents of a large family, some of whom are dead. A more complete record of Mrs. Patterson's parents will be found in connection with that of Mr. Scott Wortring, who is a brother-in-law of Mrs. Horace Patterson.

Mr. Patterson is a member of Excelsior Lodge, No. 268, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Burlington. His worthy wife is a member of the Methodist church. He followed in the political footsteps of his father in choosing the platform that he thinks meets the requirements of the people. He conducts his business in a manly manner, and is always much interested in any measure that will be for the promotion and general good of the county. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Patterson is ever open to the hospitality of many friends, where many social and pleasant gatherings are held, and they are recognized as firm friends and good neighbors.

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