| James Patton was born in the North of Ireland, County of Derry and Parish of Tamlacht, on the 13th day of February, 1756. His father was a farmer by occupation but was in failing health and died when James was 14 years of age. The names of his parents have not been identified as yet – but his brothers and sisters were Thomas (married to Jane Shaw in Ireland, and eventually of Coffey County, TN;) William (unmarried); John, who settled in the Calhoun Settlement, Abbeville District, SC; Daniel of Bedford Co. Tennessee); Neely (of the East Indies and later London); Joseph of Asheville, NC; George of Franklin, Macon Co. NC; Rosanna married to Mr. Campbell of Pennsylvania; and Jane who married Col. Andrew Erwin, later of Bedford County, TN. James Patton, the third son in this family was instrumental in bringing his mother and all these brothers and sisters except Neely to America about the year 1790.
In 1807 he moved his family and business interests to a farm located three miles from Asheville, and seven years later, into the town of Asheville. His mother was still with them, for there is reference in his paper of wanting to be buried beside his wife and his mother.
He and his wife (the daughter of Francis Reynolds) had eleven children, and were able to raise ten of them to maturity.
His eldest son James W. Patton together with his wife Henrietta K. succeeded to the homestead at the corner of Chestnut and Charlotte Streets, and among James Patton Sr.’s effects was found an extraordinary autobiography relating to his life from the time of his migration to this county. A copy of it, republished for the second time in pamphlet form is available from Dr. Helen Patton, 1231 Main Street, Racine, WI, a descendant of James’ brother George. One or two excerpts of significance are well worth quoting: In reference to his choice of a wife:
“Her Mother (Mrs. Reynolds) was a superior housekeeper; it was from the management of her domestic concerns, the neatness of her house and the nice arrangement of everything about it, that I took a fancy to my wife and I was not disappointed….”
“… I made it a rule to consult my wife on all weighty and important matters … and when I deviated from her opinion, I generally found that I was in error. I would advise all married men to consult their wives in every important undertaking. If they cannot fully understand the whole of any matter … they will be certain to catch at parts and make some observations that will set their husbands to thinking. My opinion is that women have never been allowed their just weight in society; were they permitted to use that influence in society to which I consider them entitled, they would contribute much more to the success of business through life, than is generally imagined, and particularly to domestic prosperity and happiness.”
He had some sage advice on how to dissolve a business partnership in perfect harmony in the shortest possible time. He wrote: “As he was the active partner, I told him to make a division of the whole, accompanied with a statement on paper, and give me my choice, which he did; and in this way we came to an amicable settlement at once.”
“… The little success I have had in life, was owing to industry and frugality, for I settled in the upper part of North Carolina, at that time the poorest part of the country I ever saw to make property; I do not entertain the same opinion now. Changes and improvements have taken place which have convinced me that there are few sections of the country superior to the western part of North Carolina.” Written – Asheville, NC, March 1839.
–Heritage I, article #502, p. 293