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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Nathan Patton

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


NATHAN PATTON, although of Southern parentage, is a native of Vermilion County, this State, where his birth took place in Georgetown, Jan. 9, 1830. His parents, ISRAEL and HANNAH (MILLS) PATTON, were natives of Tennessee, where his grandfather, ISRAEL PATTON, first opened his eyes to the light, his birth taking place in 1800 in the eastern part of the State. His family were mainly engaged in farming pursuits, and Israel Patton after his marriage spent a short time in his native State, where his two eldest children were born, then, in 1825, emigrated to Vermilion County, Ill., of which he was among the earliest pioneers. The father of our subject, however, had learned the hatter's trade in his native State, which he followed for a time in Vermilion County, but later abandoned it and took up the pursuit of agriculture. He built up a good home in Elwood Township, carefully trained his children and gave them the best advantages for education which the period and the place afforded, and closed his eyes upon the scenes of earth in the month of March, 1864. The mother only survived until December, 1865. Their ten children all lived to mature years and six still survive. Nathan Patton was the fourth child of the parental family, his birth taking place five years after the removal ofhis father from East Tennessee. He remained under the home roof until reaching his majority and subsequently served an apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade, which he followed in his native county for a number of years. His childhood and youth were comparatively uneventful, and the most important step which he took after becoming of age was his marriage, when twenty-four years old, to Miss MARY E. BEVERLIN, which took place in his native county, Sept. 25, 1854. His bride, the daughter of WILLIAM and REBECCA (COMMONS) BEVERLIN, was a native of Wayne County, Ind., born June 21, 1837. The young people after their marriage crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, locating in Hardin County. While in that State Mr. Patton enjoyed an elk hunt. There came about 100 elk from Minnesota into Iowa, and the few people living there joined the sport and followed the herd until all were captured, our subject carrying off five elk as trophies of the chase. Returning to Illinois, our subject engaged in farming in Vermilion County until after the outbreak of the late war. In the spring of 1862, feeling that he had a duty to perform in assisting to perserve the Union he enlisted in Co. A, 79th Ill. Vol. Inf., and for three years afterward followed the fortunes of a soldier. He met the enemy in many of the important battles of the war, including the engagements at Perryville, Stone River, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, and in June, 1865, after the surrender of Lee's army, received his honorable discharge and returned to his home and family. He had been remarkably fortunate in his army experience, receiving no serious wound and never being captured by the rebels. Mr. Patton continued in Vermilion County until 1870, and then removed to Stanton Township in this county, where he located on a tract of land and commenced building up from the uncultivated prairie the homestead which he now owns. He labored incessantly for five years thereafter, breaking the sod, putting up fences and buildings, and in due time had provided comfortably for himself and family. After twelve years, thinking that a change of scene would be beneficial both physically and mentally, he sold off his stock, rented his farm, and took a trip to California. He remained on the Pacific Slope eight months, and returned greatly improved in health and spirits. He decided then to retire from active labor, and selecting a snug little home in St. Joseph, took up his abode there, where he has since lived, surrounded by all the comforts of life. Mr. and Mrs. Patton have no family, but have cared for and supplied the place of parents to seven orphan children. Our subject since coming to this vicinity has closely identified himself with its local interests, being first chosen one of the Drainage Commissioners for Union District, which comprises an area of about six miles square. He has served as Commissioner of Highways, School Trustee, and in various other offices where his cool head and ripe judgment were of excellent service in adjusting township affairs and shaping them for the best good of the people. He is an active member of the G. A. R., belonging to St. Joseph Post No. 220, and with his estimable wife has been in communion with the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years. They, in 1876, visited the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia and later took another trip to California, riding over a large portion of the State by private conveyance, which enabled them to visit and view many interesting places not easily accessible to travelers depending upon a railroad train. In this respect, Mr. Patton has wisely disbursed several hundred dollars, affording himself and wife a pleasurable and profitable experience.

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