James W. Patterson

James Willis Patterson (July 2, 1823 – May 4, 1893) was an American politician and a United States Representative and Senator from New Hampshire.

James Willis Patterson
James W. Patterson - Brady-Handy.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1867
Preceded byThomas M. Edwards
Succeeded byJacob Benton
United States Senator from
New Hampshire
In office
March 4, 1867 – March 3, 1873
Preceded byGeorge G. Fogg
Succeeded byBainbridge Wadleigh
Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1823-07-02)July 2, 1823
Henniker, Merrimack County
New Hampshire, USA
DiedMay 4, 1893(1893-05-04) (aged 69)
Hanover, Grafton County
New Hampshire, USA
Resting placeDartmouth College Cemetery
Hanover, Grafton County
New Hampshire
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sarah Parker Wilder
ChildrenGeorge Willis Patterson
Arthur Hubert Patterson
ParentsWilliam Pattersona
Frances M. Shepard Patterson
Alma materDartmouth College

Early life, education and familyEdit

Born in Henniker, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, he was the son of William and Frances M. Shepard Patterson.[1]

Patterson pursued classical studies, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1848,[2] and was principal of the Woodstock Academy in Connecticut for two years. He attended the Theological Seminary at New Haven, Connecticut, where he studied law.[3]

He married Sarah Parker Wilder and they had two children, George Willis Patterson and Arthur Hubert Patterson.[1]

Early careerEdit

Patterson was a professor of mathematics, astronomy, and meteorology at Dartmouth College from 1854 to 1865.[3]

Patterson was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1862.

U.S. RepresentativeEdit

Elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Congresses Patterson was a United States Representative for the third district of New Hampshire from (March 4, 1863 - March 3, 1867). He was elected to the U.S. Senate and served from March 4, 1867, to March 3, 1873.

In the Senate he was chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills during the Forty-first Congress and a member of the Committee on the District of Columbia during the Forty-first and Forty-second Congresses.[4]

In 1873, Patterson was found to have given false testimony to both House and Senate Committees who recommended his expulsion from the Senate for bribery in the Crédit Mobilier Scandal. Patterson's term expired before further action could be taken.(1873)[5]

Later careerEdit

Patterson was a regent of the Smithsonian Institution and in 1877-1878 was again a member of the State house of representatives. He was State superintendent of public instruction from 1881 to 1893, and president of American Institute of Instruction.


Patterson died in Hanover, Grafton County, New Hampshire, on May 4, 1893 (age 69 years, 306 days). He is interred at Dartmouth College Cemetery, Hanover, New Hampshire.

The Patterson School, which was merged with the Garnett school in 1929 and then became Shaw Middle School at Garnett-Patterson, in Washington, DC was named in his honor because he sponsored the legislation creating a public school system for black students in Washington, DC. It was closed in 2013.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "James W. Patterson". 1997-2014 Ancestry.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  2. ^ Dartmouth College. General catalogue of Dartmouth college and the associated institutions: including the officers of government and instruction, graduates and all others who have received honorary degrees. 1890. p. 220. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Baxter Perry. The History of Dartmouth College. Houghton, Osgood, 1878. p. 871. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  4. ^ Grossman, Mark. Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed. ABC-CLIO, 2003. pp. 253–255. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  5. ^ The Expulsion Case of James W. Patterson of New Hampshire (1873) (Crédit Mobilier Scandal) [1]

External linksEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
George G. Fogg
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Aaron H. Cragin
Succeeded by
Bainbridge Wadleigh
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas M. Edwards
U.S. Representative for the 3rd District of New Hampshire
March 4, 1863–March 3, 1867
Succeeded by
Jacob Benton