Patterson an early hero who survived financial ruin


Rosalie Yoakam

When Col. Robert Patterson moved to the Dayton area in 1804, he was 51, married, still had eight children at home and was starting over again financially.

Patterson was born on March 15, 1753, in Pennsylvania.

At 17, he began military service and was active in it for 25 years. At different times he served under Col. George Rogers Clark, Col. Bowman, colonels Boone, Wayne, St. Clair, and Gen. Logan. He participated in 10 American Indian battles.

In 1775, Patterson traveled to Kentucky. He made a claim on a piece of land on the north fork of Cane Run.

He built a cabin on it and later, for the military, he donated land and helped build a fort nearby. This site eventually became the city of Lexington.

Patterson and six other men left the Kentucky area in 1776 to go to Pittsburgh for needed supplies and ammunition. Because of danger from the Indians, they usually cooked their food before dark and then traveled farther upstream before settling down for the night. One night, after they were near settled areas, they were less cautious, fixed a fire and retired. That evening they were ambushed by 11 Indians. Patterson was wounded in the right arm and tomahawked in the right side. The tomahawk went between two of his ribs and entered the cavity of his body. Patterson managed to escape into the woods. After the Indians left, he returned to the camp and found one companion dead and one missing. Of the survivors, two were seriously wounded and could not move very far. Patterson went for help and the injured group was rescued eight days later.

Patterson returned to Pennsylvania to recover. There he became engaged to Elizabeth Lindsay.

They married on March 29, 1780. The newly married couple moved to the cabin in the woods of Kentucky.

Patterson founded Lexington and was one of the three founders of Cincinnati.

In the Lexington area, he accumulated 5,000 acres and built a stone house.

He was a trusting person and made the mistake of signing on a loan for a friend, who defaulted causing Patterson to lose everything.

In 1804, the Patterson family moved from Lexington to Dayton, where they started over.

Patterson bought 322 acres and a log house from Daniel Cooper.

He called his new farm the Rubicon.

The log cabin was replaced by a farm house in 1816.

It is now named the Patterson Homestead and is located at 1815 Brown St. It is owned by the city of Dayton, managed as a museum by Dayton History and administered by the Patterson Memorial Center Board of Directors.

Patterson was 74 when he died on Aug. 5, 1827. He was first buried at the old Fifth Street graveyard and then later moved to the Woodland Cemetery.

In the Rev. A. W. Drury’s book “History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio,” he quotes Gov. Charles Anderson as saying Patterson was “one of the earliest, bravest and best of the pioneers and heroes who made the great West.”

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