For various reasons the subject of this sketch is deemed eligible for
specific mention in this volume, not the least of which is the fact that he
was one of the brave "boys in blue" who offered his services in defense of
his country during the dark days of the sixties. His life has been one of
honest endeavor and filled with good deeds throughout, and now in its golden
evening he is enjoying a respite in his serene home in Centralia township,
Thomas A. Patton was born in Mt. Vernon township, Jefferson county, Illinois, December 8, 1837, the son of Austin and Angeline (Thorne) Patton, the former a well known physician, both natives of Virginia, of which state William Patton, the subject's grandfather, was also a native. Austin Patton grew up in Virginia, receiving only a limited education, but he was ambitious and became self-educated, reading medicine with Dr. Frost, of Jefferson county, Illinois, beginning practice at Walnut Hill, where he located about 1830. He secured a farm of three hundred acres, but devoted most of his time to his practice, which was always large. He became widely known, and is remembered as a very jolly man, resulting in his winning hosts of friends. Although a good Democrat, he never held office. His death occurred in 1896. His first wife died December 24, 1837, and he was married a second time to Ann Bateman, a native of Jefferson county, Illinois. She is now living at Walnut Hill. Austin Patton and wife were the parents of three children, namely: William, deceased; Mary, also deceased; Thomas A., our subject. Nine children were born to Austin Patton and his second wife, as follows: James L., deceased, was a farmer at Walnut Hill; Livona J., deceased; Lewis J. is a farmer, living at Newton county, Kansas; Joseph T. is a farmer in Harvey county, Kansas; Iduma A., deceased; George B. is a farmer, living in Jefferson county, Illinois; Carula, who first married Bell Talbott and then Frank Gore, of Walnut Hill; Ila C., who married Willa Copple, of Centralia township; Omer P. is farming on part of the old homestead in Centralia township. He married Helen Telford.
Our subject had only a limited chance to attend school, having studied in a subscription school for a time. Living at home until he was twenty-three years old, he then started in business for himself in Centralia township, section 36, and farmed there with great success for seven years, when he bought a farm in Raccoon township, consisting of forty acres of new and unimproved land on which he remained for four years, then selling it and renting near Walnut Hill in Jefferson county. In 1881 he bought one hundred and fifty acres in Rome township, Jefferson county, which he worked with most gratifying results until he retired in 1902, when he sold out and moved to Walnut Hill, having since lived retired.
Mr. Patton was first united in marriage in 1861, to Alena Smith, of Walnut Hill, and she passed to her rest May 19, 1901. He married again, his second wife being Augusta Maltimore, whom he married October 5, 1905. She was the widow of Christopher H. Maltimore, of Ohio, and she was the daughter of Benjamin F. Nelms, who married Nancy Bailey, the former was of Virginia and the latter of Kentucky. Benjamin Nelms was the son of Jerry Nelms, a native of Virginia. His father was also a Virginian. The first of the family to come to Illinois was Jerry's wife, Mary A. He died in St. Genevieve, Missouri, and his wife, in 1854, came to Marion county, Illinois, and located on a farm near Walnut Hill, where she died, in 1897. He now lives at Decatur, Illinois. Mrs. Patton had one daughter, Mary L., by her first marriage.
Five children were born to the subject by his first wife, namely: William L., who is living in Centralia township on a farm, and who married Cordelia Snow; Zina D. married Alta Kell, and is living on a farm in Jefferson county, Illinois; May married Oscar Breeze, of Jefferson county; Mary married Edward Watts, of Centralia, Illinois; Frank L. is a stationary engineer in the mines, now located in North Dakota.
Our subject has always been a farmer, and being interested in public affairs, he has been entrusted with various local offices. He was Highway Commissioner at one time and School Director for twenty years. He has always voted the Republican ticket, having cast his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having been identified with lodge No. 710, at Walnut Hill for the past thirty-five years.
Our subject enlisted August 12, 1862, in Company H, Eightieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Centralia, under Colonel Allen. He was sent to Louisville, and later to Perryville, Kentucky, being in the battle there, October 8, 1862. He was in the battle of Stone River, also at Knoxville, and at Chattanooga in the spring of 1863. He was picked out of a division of men to go on an expedition into Georgia. At Rome the whole number of men on this expedition, consisting of fifteen thousand, were captured and sent to Belle Isle Prison, where they were held for fifteen days and paroled. They went to Camp Chase, Ohio, where they remained for ten days, when they were sent to St. Louis, Missouri, where they remained fifteen days. On July 4, 1863, they reorganized and went to Nashville, Tennessee. They opened up the valley leading to Lookout Mountain, and after remaining there for about forty days, they went to Missionary Ridge and engaged in the battle there, also at Lookout Mountain, after which they went into winter quarters in Chattanooga. The subject contracted rheumatism and could not go on the Atlanta campaign, consequently he was transferred to the veteran reserve and was detailed to the hospital steamer for Washington City, District of Columbia, and was sent to City Point, Virginia, to look after the sick and wounded of Grant's army. Part of the time the subject was located in Washington City, New York, Annapolis, Fortress Monroe, Virginia, having served in this capacity until the close of the war, and was discharged June 15, 1865, at Washington City. He received two scalp wounds and was shot through the hat once. These wounds have troubled him a great deal since the war.
Mr. Patton is a good scholar, is well posted on current topics and is a fine conversationalist. He is held in high esteem by the people of Marion county for his life of industry, his honesty and friendly manners.
Extracted 11 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 224-226.