Patterson, A.W.

From Lane Co Oregon

[edit] History

A.W. Patterson was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, October 4, 1814. Having received his early scholastic training in the village of Freeport in his native county, he afterwards entered the Western University at Pittsburgh, subsequently studied medicine in the office of Dr. J. P. Gazzam, and old and prominent physician of that city; and in 1841 graduated in the Pennsylvania College of Medicine at Philadelphia. Returning westward, he located for a time in the practice of his profession at Greenfield, Indiana.

In 1852 the doctor crossed the plains to Oregon over the Oregon Trail, and coming directly to Lane County, settled on a donation claim near the present site of Eugene City, when, abandoning the practice of his profession for a time, as no emoluments awaited in a new and thinly settled country. So he took up surveying, and in 1854 laid out the town of Eugene. The business of surveyor was engaged in and numerous government contracts in Oregon and Washington Territory were successfully executed.

In the course of his life, Patterson also was an army surgeon, school teacher and superintendent, textbook writer, publisher, state senator, pioneering hop-grower, and chairman of the committee that recommended building the University of Oregon in Eugene. In 1854 he was elected to represent Lane county in the territorial legislature. He served in the Indian war of 1855 and 1856, as first lieutenant and afterward as surgeon in the medical department. In 1859 he was married to Miss A. C. Olinger, whose father, Abram Olinger, with his family, in 1843, had crossed the plains with the first wagon train that as yet had reached the Columbia river. In 1861 Dr. Patterson was appointed to the chief clerkship in the surveyor-general's office under Col. W. W. Chapman, which was then located at Eugene City. In 1863 he began practicing medicine in Eugene, and continued doing so for over thirty years. Patients who needed constant attention in the early days were moved to Patterson’s house, where they were cared for by his wife, Amanda, and family. His daughter, Harriette, recalled in later years that patients were kept “under constant surveillance.” She wasn’t sure if the deaths of three of the eight Patterson children were related to this practice.

In 1870 he was elected to the State senate to serve four years; where, in 1872, owing to the very active interest taken, it was mainly due to him that the Oregon State University was located at Eugene City. About this time he entered into a contract with A. L. Bancroft & Co., of San Francisco, to prepare the manuscript for a set of school readers; but, afterward, being pressed for time to complete the work by a given date, the contract was limited to a speller and the first three readers, and, at his suggestion, Samuel L. Simpson employed to prepare the remaining fourth and fifth readers. The new school law, requiring the selection of a uniform series to be used throughout the state, going into effect was much opposed, still, these Pacific Coast readers and spellers were adopted and used until recently displaced. In 1882, and again in 1884 he was elected to the position of county superintendent of schools, an office for which he is eminently qualified. Versatility of occupation, which so often settlers on this coast, has also been here displayed. Dr. Patterson is a pioneer hop grower of this county, in the cultivation of which he has engaged for a number of years. He was the first to import new varieties and experimented in their adaptability to the climate, and is at present, probably, the most extensive grower of that vine in the State of Oregon.

In recognition of Patterson’s contributions to education, the city of Eugene in 1901 dedicated the Patterson grade school at 13th and Alder streets in his name. It operated for nearly thirty years, with the doctor’s daughter, Ida, serving as principal for a time. The present-day Patterson School on Eugene’s west side is named for her. Patterson also saw to the education of the populace back east, writing a long description of early western Oregon for the Family Journal and Visiter of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1858. After describing the rivers, mountains, soils, crops, timber, game, grasses, minerals, natives, and agreeable life, he concluded his findings with a prophecy of the times to come. “Oregon bids fair to be a prosperous and populous country,” he wrote. “ It possesses the rudiments of wealth and prosperity; and probably the sun illumines the valleys of no healthier region. In its mountains slumbers untold mineral wealth, and in its fertile soil are the resources of the abundance which may be required to sustain the dense population, which is doubtless destined to seek its shores.”

He died in 1904.

"Illustrated History of Lane County, Oregon." Portland, Oregon: A. G. Walling, publisher, 1884. pg. 481.

[edit] Related Articles

Eugene's The Guard (1867), July 13

Personal tools