| Robert Patton was born in Ireland in 1741, the son of John Patton and his unidentified wife. In 1755 John and two sons, Robert and Elijah, came to America, eventually moving inland to Rowan County, NC. From there they moved into Burke Co., and Robert moved to Swannanoa in Burke County (now Buncombe County) in the 1780’s. He and his wife Rebecca, established a home on the site of the present Laura Shuford’s home, near the present Swannanoa Elementary School. They owned 1000 acres of both sides of the Swannanoa River. Robert and Rebecca Patton were Presbyterians, and donated the land for the Patton Meeting House (Presbyterian) which is believed to be the first church established west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The couple also donated the land for the Patton Cemetery, located 100 feet east of the Meeting House, and believed to be the first white cemetery in Buncombe Co. The Patton Meeting House was later moved about a mile away and became the Swannanoa First Presbyterian Church (Piney Grove). Robert and Rebecca had a family of eight children, 2 sons and 6 daughters. Rebecca Patton died sometime between 1820 and 1830, and is believed to be buried in the Patton Cemetery.
In 1831 their daughter Elizabeth Patton Crockett, wife of David Crockett, came home from West Tennessee for a visit, and when it came time for her to go back, Robert decided to move to West Tennessee with her, as he had a stake in that part of the country. He had had 1000 acres of land granted to him out there by Col. Griffith Rutherford on April 1, 1784, when it was still part of North Carolina. He died there in Gibson County, Tenn. on November 11, 1832, just about a year after making his move, and is believed that he was buried on a bluff overlooking the Obion River.
He left a will in which he named his son George Patton, and his son-in-law David Crockett to be administrators of his estate. George thought it unnecessary for him to travel to Tennessee so “Davey” Crockett became the sole administrator. Because the will left them only $10.00 each, Robert’s daughters Sarah Patton Edmundson and Ann Patton McWhorter contested the will. However, they supposedly had received their share of their father’s estate prior to his death.
The eight children of Robert and Rebecca Patton were as follows:
1. Sarah Patton, born in North Carolina about 1780, married William Edmundson. They lived in Buncombe County for a good many years after their marriage, but moved to Tennessee shortly before Robert moved there. They later returned to Buncombe County, but in the 1840’s they moved to North Georgia.
2. James Patton, born about 1782, married a lady whose name is now unidentified. Her brother-in-law, Davey Crockett, referred to her one time in a letter to George as “that old woman.” James moved to Mississippi and apparently died before his father’s death which was in 1832. James and his wife had two children – Sarah who married George W. Harper, and William Patton who died “at the Alamo” with his uncle, Davey Crockett.
3. Ann Catherine Patton, born in 1783 according to the 1850 Gibson Co., TN., census records, married Hance M. McWhorter about 1800. He was born in 1772 in South Carolina, according to the 1850 Gibson Co., Census records in Tennessee. They had moved to that county where Hance died in 1860. They had seven children.
4. Margaret Patton, born about 1885 in Swannanoa, Buncombe Co., NC, married Abner Burgin (also born about 1785). They moved to Weakley County, Tenn., where they were on the 1830 census, and had at least one child, Abner Burgin Jr.
5. George Patton, born in Swannanoa on Sept. 20, 1786, married Nancy Patton, daughter of Aaron and Magdalene (Cunningham) Patton. Nancy was born Sept. 22, 1792, and died in November 1860. George was the only one of Robert and Rebecca’s children to remain in Buncombe County. They had nine children, and all the Swannanoa Patton families today descend from this line. George died on April 13, 1840, and both he and his wife Nancy are buried in the Patton Cemetery in Swannanoa.
6. Elizabeth Patton, born in Swannanoa on May 22, 1788, married, first, her first cousin James Patton, son of Elijah, her father’s brother, and they moved to Tennessee. He was mortally wounded in the Creek War and died in 1814. She married (2), David Crockett, and they also settled in Gibson County, Tenn., and they had three children.
7. Matilda Patton, born in Swannanoa about 1795, married Peter Trosper. They were settled in Gibson County by the time of her father’s death in 1832. 8. Rebecca Patton, youngest child, married James Edmundson, and it is supposed that they also moved to Gibson County, Tenn., but this is not known for certain.
Sources: Thomas, Lillian Bird. “Patton History,” 1961. Census Records, Buncombe County, NC and Gibson Co., TN. Research of Sarah Y. Stockinger, and Laura Shuford.
–Heritage II, article #442, p. 289