George W. Patterson was born on Nov. 11, 1799 in Londonderry, N.H. to Thomas and Elizabeth (Wallace) Patterson. He was the youngest of twelve children, eleven of whom lived to mature age. Patterson received a common school and an academic education in his native town. At the age of 18 he taught school in New Hampshire for three months before moving to Livingston, Co., N.Y. with his older brother.
Patterson and his brother ran a successful business dealing with manufacture and sale of fanning mills. In Feb., 1825, he married Hannah Dickey and continued to operate his business and farm. In addition, Patterson was a member of the New York State Assemblyin 1832, 1833, and from 1835 to 1840 – the last two years he was speaker of the house.
In May 1941, Patterson was asked to come to Westfield and take over as Land Agent for the Holland Land Company. While in Westfield, he was elected as a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1846. In 1848 he was elected lieutenant-governor, on the ticket with Hon. Hamilton Fish, who was elected governor. He was also chairman of the harbor commission at New York from 1855 to 1857.
Later in life, after stepping away from state politics, Patterson served as Westfield Town Supervisor and president of the board of education. He was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1856 and 1860, and was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fifth United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1879. He died on Oct. 15, 1879 in Westfield and was buried at Westfield Cemetery.
Patterson’s daughter, Hannah, recognized the need for a public library for the citizens of Westfield and following her death on May 12, 1894, she willed enough funding to establish the Patterson Library, dedicated to the memory of her mother and father.
Bicentennial Biographies is a not-for-profit radio project designed to raise awareness and increase interest in local history. It is brought to you as a public service by the Chautauqua County Historical Society throughout 2011 to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday. To learn more, visit www.McClurgMuseum.org or contact your local historical society.