Open main menu

George Smith Patton (September 30, 1856 – June 10, 1927) was an American attorney, businessman and politician who served as Los Angeles County District Attorney and the first mayor of San Marino, California.

George S. Patton
George Smith Patton 1856-1927.jpg
circa 1916
Mayor of San Marino, California
In office
October 11, 1922 – August 13, 1924
Preceded byWilliam L. Valentine
Succeeded byRichard H. Lacy
In office
April 15, 1913 – April 16, 1922
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byWilliam L. Valentine
Los Angeles County District Attorney
In office
January 3, 1887 – April 4, 1887
Preceded byGeorge M. Holton
Succeeded byJ. R. Dupuy
Personal details
George William Patton

(1856-09-30)September 30, 1856
Charleston, West Virginia (formerly Virginia)
DiedJune 10, 1927(1927-06-10) (aged 70)
San Marino, California
Resting placeSan Gabriel Cemetery, San Gabriel, California
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ruth Wilson (b.1861–1928) (m. 1884)
RelationsBenjamin Davis Wilson (father-in-law)
ChildrenGeorge S. Patton Jr. (1885–1945)
Anne Wilson Patton (1887–1971)
MotherSusan Thornton Glassell (1835-1883)
FatherGeorge S. Patton Sr. (1833-1864)
Alma materVirginia Military Institute
Orange grower
Real estate developer
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceCalifornia National Guard
Years of servicec. 1880s
Unit1st Brigade

Patton was the son of Susan Thornton Glassell and George S. Patton Sr., a Confederate colonel during the American Civil War. His mother moved to California after his father was killed during the war, and Patton was educated in Los Angeles. He returned to Virginia to attend Virginia Military Institute, from which he graduated in 1877. After studying law at his uncle's firm, he was admitted to the bar and practiced in Los Angeles. He served in local offices including school board member and was county district attorney in 1887.

Patton married the daughter of Benjamin Davis Wilson, one of California's wealthiest men, and moved with his family to a San Gabriel estate called Lake Vineyard. He was active in politics as a Democrat and made unsuccessful races for Congress in 1894 and 1896. When San Marino was incorporated as a city separate from San Gabriel, he was elected San Marino's first mayor, a post he held from 1913 to 1922 and 1922 to 1924. In 1916 he was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator.

A longtime friend of Henry E. Huntington, in 1902 Patton became an executive in Huntington's real estate development company, and played a major role in developing the San Gabriel Valley and other areas of southern California. He died in San Marino in 1927, and was buried at San Gabriel Cemetery in San Gabriel. Patton was the father of two children, including General George S. Patton.

Early lifeEdit

Patton was born as George William Patton in Charleston, West Virginia (then Virginia) on September 30, 1856.[1] Patton's parents were George S. Patton Sr. and Susan Thornton Glassell.[2][3]

Patton's father served in the Confederate States Army and attained the rank of colonel as commander of the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment.[4] By some accounts, he had been recommended for advancement to brigadier general, but was killed at the Battle of Opequon (Third Battle of Winchester) before the promotion was acted on.[5] His brother Waller T. Patton, Patton's uncle, was a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army, and commanded the 7th Virginia Infantry until he was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg and died several weeks later.[6][7]

Patton's mother moved to California with her four children in 1866 to live near her brother, Andrew Glassell, and she later married Hugh Smith, Glassell's partner in the Glassell & Smith law firm.[8] Patton was raised to follow in his father's footsteps[1] and in 1868, he changed his name from George William Patton to George Smith Patton as a way to honor his father.[2]


Patton was educated in the public schools of Los Angeles.[8] In 1873, he returned to Virginia to begin attendance at the Virginia Military Institute, taking advantage of a scholarship offered to the sons of Confederate officers who died in service.[1] He graduated in 1877, and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the class valedictorian.[1][9][10] He remained at the school for a year as an instructor of Latin,[1] then returned to California to study law at Glassell & Smith.[8][11]


Patton was admitted to the bar in 1880 and practiced in Los Angeles as a member of his family's law firm, now renamed Glassell, Smith and Patton.[8][12] According to some sources, he served as the first City Attorney of Pasadena,[2] but the city's records for its officeholders do not include his name.[13]

In 1882, Patton was elected to a seat on the Los Angeles board of education[14] and he served as the board's secretary.[15] Patton also became active in the California National Guard, and was appointed inspector of the 1st Brigade with the rank of major.[16]

In January 1887, he became Los Angeles County District Attorney and he served until resigning in April 1887 because of ill health.[17][18][19][20]

The Patton family later moved to Lake Vineyard, a large landholding in San Gabriel, California, where they grew oranges, operated a winery, and raised other crops.[21][22]

In 1894, Patton was the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives from California's 6th District and lost to Republican James McLaclan.[23][24] In 1896, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 6th District.[25] After he and another candidate were tied for several ballots, both withdrew in favor of a compromise choice, Harry W. Patton (no relation).[25]

Patton was a longtime friend and neighbor of businessman Henry E. Huntington.[26] Beginning in 1902, Patton worked as an executive for Huntington's real estate development company, which was responsible for construction and settlement in much of the San Gabriel Valley, and extended throughout southern California.[26]

In 1913 the city of San Marino was incorporated separately from San Gabriel, and Patton was elected the first mayor of San Marino.[27][28] He served from April 1913 to April 1922, and again from October 1922 to August 1924.[27][28]

Patton was the 1916 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from California.[29] Running as a conservative opposed to women's suffrage and other reforms, on November 7, 1916 Patton lost the general election to Governor Hiram Johnson, a progressive Republican.[30][31][32][33]


Anne Wilson "Nita" Patton, daughter of George S. Patton

In 1884, Patton married Ruth Wilson, daughter of Benjamin Davis Wilson, a prominent landowner, businessman, and politician, and Margaret (Hereford) Wilson.[8] They had two children, Gen. George Smith Patton (1885-1945) and Anne Wilson "Nita" Patton (1887-1971).[8]


On June 10, 1927, Patton died at his Lake Vineyard home in San Marino.[34] He was buried at San Gabriel Cemetery in San Gabriel, California.[35][36]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Glenn, Justin (2014). The Washingtons: A Family History. 5 (Part One). El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Publishing. pp. 326–327. ISBN 978-1-940669-30-4.
  2. ^ a b c "George S. Patton". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  3. ^ John Steven McGroarty, Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea, Volume 2, pages 391-392
  4. ^ Earle Rice, George S. Patton, 2009, page 24
  5. ^ Terry Lowry, 22nd Virginia Infantry, 1988, page 75
  6. ^ Michael Keane, Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer, 2012, page 84
  7. ^ The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Notes and Queries, Volume 27, January 1919, page 75
  8. ^ a b c d e f Spalding, William A. (1931). History and Reminiscences, Los Angeles City and County. III. Los Angeles, CA: J. R. Finnell & Sons. pp. 203–204 – via HathiTrust.
  9. ^ "Graduates of the Virginia Military Institute". Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, MD. July 7, 1877. p. 4 – via
  10. ^ "Beta Theta Pi Meeting". Los Angeles Herald. Los Angeles, CA. June 22, 1898. p. 7 – via
  11. ^ James Miller Guinn, A History of California and an Extended History of Los Angeles, Volume 3, 1915, page 509
  12. ^ Thorpe, James (1994). Henry Edwards Huntington: A Biography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-520-08254-0.
  13. ^ Pasadena Lawyer. Pasadena, CA: Pasadena Bar Association. 1963. p. 6.
  14. ^ "Los Angeles Election". The San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, CA. December 5, 1882. p. 3 – via
  15. ^ "Bids for Purchase of School Property". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. April 28, 1883. p. 4 – via
  16. ^ "Major Geo. S. Patton, Inspector, First Brigade, N.G.C.". Los Angeles Daily Herald. Los Angeles, CA. June 9, 1883. p. 3 – via
  17. ^ "Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office: George S. Patton (1886-1887)". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  18. ^ "Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  19. ^ Pasadena Bar Association, Pasadena Lawyer, Volume 1, 1963, page 6
  20. ^ "Patton Resigns". Los Angeles Daily Herald. Los Angeles, CA. April 5, 1887. p. 7 – via
  21. ^ Steven J. Zaloga, George S. Patton, 2011, page 6
  22. ^ Alexandre Holinski, California's Gold Rush Days, 2006, page 116
  23. ^ "November 6, 1894 General Election". November 6, 1894. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  24. ^ Minneapolis Journal, The Journal Almanac and Political Handbook for 1896, 1896, page 354
  25. ^ a b "Made Friends With Everybody". Los Angeles Daily Herald. Los Angeles, CA. August 24, 1896. p. 5 – via
  26. ^ a b William B. Friedricks, Henry E. Huntington and the Creation of Southern California, 1992, pages 58-59
  27. ^ a b "San Marino". sanmarinohistoricalsociety.irg. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  28. ^ a b City of San Marino, Mayors of San Marino 1913 - Present, 2014, page 1
  29. ^ "George S. Patton: candidate for U.S. Senate". Berkeley Daily Gazette. (California). (advertisement). October 21, 1916. p. 4.
  30. ^ "November 7, 1916 General Election". November 6, 1916. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  31. ^ Alden Hatch, General George Patton: Old Blood and Guts, 2006, page 63
  32. ^ Dodd, Mead and Company (New York), The New International Year Book, 1917, page 108
  33. ^ Charles D. Willard, California Outlook magazine, Woman's Inherent Right to the Ballot: An Answer to George S. Patton's Argument Against Equal Suffrage, October 7, 1911, page 7
  34. ^ Nellie Van de Grift Sanchez, California and Californians, Volume 4, 1930, page 302
  35. ^ "George Smith Patton, Jr". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  36. ^ San Gabriel Cemetery Association, Burial Record, George Smith Patton (1856-1927), retrieved July 1, 2014

External linksEdit