John M. Patton

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John M. Patton
John Mercer Patton.jpg
Acting Governor of Virginia
In office
March 20, 1841 – March 31, 1841
Preceded by Thomas W. Gilmer
Succeeded by John Rutherfoord
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th district
In office
March 4, 1833 – April 7, 1838
Preceded by Joseph Chinn
Succeeded by Linn Banks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 11th district
In office
November 25, 1830 – March 3, 1833
Preceded by Philip P. Barbour
Succeeded by Andrew Stevenson
Personal details
John Mercer Patton

August 10, 1797
Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S.
DiedOctober 29, 1858(1858-10-29) (aged 61)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Relations George S. Patton Sr. (son)
Waller T. Patton (son)
George S. Patton Jr. (greatgrandson)
ParentsRobert Patton and Anne Gordon Mercer
Alma mater Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania

John Mercer Patton (August 10, 1797 – October 29, 1858) was a nineteenth-century politician, physician, lawyer and judge from Virginia. Patton served in the United States House of Representatives representing two different Virginia Districts, and was the acting governor of Virginia for twelve days in 1841. [1] [2]

Early life, education and family

Patton was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia to Robert Patton (1760–1851), a Scottish immigrant, and Ann Gordon Mercer (1762–1857), daughter of General Hugh Mercer. [3] Patton attended Princeton University and graduated from the medical department at the University of Pennsylvania in 1818. He went on to study law and was admitted to the bar, commencing practice in Fredericksburg.

He married Peggy F. Patton and they had John M. Patton, Waller T. Patton, James F. Patton, Joseph F. Patton and William Patton, as well as daughters Lucy A. WIlliamson (who returned to live with the family by 1850) and Eliza Patton. [4]


Patton was elected a Jacksonian and Democrat to the United States House of Representatives originally to fill a vacancy in 1830, but he won re-election twice and served until 1838. He became chairman of the Committee on Territories from 1835 to 1839. [5]

After leaving Congress, Patton was appointed the senior councilor of the Virginia Council of State and therefore the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. [3]

After Governor Thomas W. Gilmer resigned in 1841, Patton served as Acting Governor of Virginia for twelve days, until his term ended on March 31, 1841.

Grave at Shockoe Hill Cemetery

Patton returned to the private practice of law, including work on a revision of the Code of Virginia. [3]

Death and legacy

Patton's legal practice continued until his death in Richmond, Virginia on October 29, 1858. He was interred at Shockoe Hill Cemetery. [6] After Patton's death, his sons James French Patton, George S. Patton Sr. and Waller T. Patton all became Confederate States Army officers, with James French Patton briefly serving on the West Virginia Supreme Court. His grandson George S. Patton became a California attorney and his great-grandson was World War II General George S. Patton Jr..


  1. ^
    • United States Congress. "John M. Patton (id: P000140)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  2. ^ Appleton's Cyclopedia vol IV p. 677
  3. ^ a b c Tyler, Lyon Gardiner (1915). Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography; Volume 2. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 53.
  4. ^ 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Richmond Virginia family no. 18
  5. ^ "PATTON, John Mercer, (1797–1858)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  6. ^ John M. Patton at Find a Grave
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Philip P. Barbour
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 11th congressional district

November 25, 1830 – March 3, 1833
Succeeded by
Andrew Stevenson
Preceded by
Joseph Chinn
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th congressional district

March 4, 1833 – April 7, 1838 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Linn Banks
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas W. Gilmer
Acting Governor of Virginia
March 20, 1841 – March 31, 1841
Succeeded by
John Rutherfoord
Acting Governor