John Patton Erwin

John Patton Erwin (1795–1857) was an American Whig politician. He served as the Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee from 1821 to 1822, and from 1834 to 1835.

John Patton Erwin
BornJanuary 8, 1795
DiedAugust 27, 1857
Resting placeNashville City Cemetery
OccupationPolitician, newspaper editor
Spouse(s)Frances Lanier Williams

Early lifeEdit

John Patton Erwin was born on January 8, 1795 in Wilkes County, North Carolina.[1] His father was Col. Andrew Patton Erwin, a land speculator, and his mother, Jane Patton.[1][2] He had nine siblings.[2] His brothers-in-law included John Williams, U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Lewis Williams, a U.S. Representative from North Carolina, and Thomas Lanier Williams, Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.[2]


In 1817, he became an alderman in Nashville and in 1820 he was admitted to the bar.[2] He served as Mayor of Nashville from 1821 to 1822.[1][3] He also served as Principal Clerk of the Tennessee House of Representatives as well as editor of the Nashville Whig.[2][4] He was opposed to Andrew Jackson.[4] In 1826, President John Quincy Adams appointed him United States Postmaster in Nashville.[2][4]

In 1827, he described David Crockett as, "not only illiterate, but he is rough & uncouth, talks much & loudly, and is by far, more in his proper place when hunting a Bear" yet also "independent and fearless & has a popularity at home that is unaccountable."[5]

Later, he served as Cashier at the Yeateman, Woods Bank.[2] In 1830, he became Justice of the Peace for two terms.[2] From 1834 to 1835, he served as Mayor of Nashville a second time.[1][3]

Personal lifeEdit

He married Frances Lanier Williams (1796-1872), a member of the Lanier family, in 1815.[1][6][7] They had four daughters, Ellen, Mary Caroline, Rebecca and Amelia.[1] In his last years, he was paralyzed.[2] In 1831, he bought the "Buena Vista" mansion.[2]

Death and legacyEdit

He died on August 27, 1857, and he is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery.[1] After his death, his widow sold them "Buena Vista" mansion to the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Friends of Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson County, TN". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Nashville City Cemetery
  3. ^ a b Nashville Library
  4. ^ a b c Lynn Hudson Parsons, The Birth of Modern Politics : Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 120 [1]
  5. ^ Glenn C. Altschuker, Michael Wallis' biography of David Crockett at once authentic, contrived, Tulsa World, 7/10/2011
  6. ^ Daughters of the American Revolution, Lineage Book, The Society, 1925, Volume 81, p. 60 [2]
  7. ^ Hannah Daviess Pittman, Americans of gentle birth and their ancestors: a genealogical encyclopedia, embracing many authenticated lineages and biographical sketches of the founders of the Colonies and their descendants found in all parts of the United States, Genealogical Pub. Co., 1970, Volume 1, p. 139 [3]
Political offices
Preceded by
James Condon
Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee
Succeeded by
Robert Brownlee Currey
Preceded by
John Meredith Bass
Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee
Succeeded by
William Nichol