Biography of Leonard Harrison Patterson
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Leonard Harrison Patterson. Among the representative citizens of Wild Cat Township, Riley County, Leonard H. Patterson, whose hundreds of acres of valuable land stretch farther than the eye can reach, came first to Kansas in 1860. For many years his subsequent life was one of danger, adventure and hardship, and it was not until 1867 that he settled down to peaceful agricultural pursuits, at that time purchasing the land on which he has since resided.
Leonard H. Patterson was born April 5, 1836, near Washington, Erie County, Pennsylvania. He was the eldest in a family of nine children born to William James and Eunice Samantha (Hardy) Patterson. They were natives of New York and were married in that state in 1835 and soon afterward removed to Erie, Pennsylvania. There they spent the rest of their lives, the mother dying in 1857 and the father in 1878.
Reared on the home farm, on which he remained until he was twenty-one years of age, Leonard H. Patterson grew tired of his environment and as his father did not need his assistance any longer, he started then into the world to make his own way among strangers. For one year he worked as a farm hand in New York and then engaged in farming on his own account but not altogether to his satisfaction as in 1860 he came to Kansas in the hope of bettering his fortunes. He found a more or less disturbed country because of the political agitation of the time that greatly affected Kansas. In the following spring war was declared between the North and the South and he soon began to feel that as an unattached and patriotic young man, his duty must lead him into the army, hence on August 4, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company I (afterward Company F) Sixth Kansas Cavalry. Prior to 1863 this regiment was employed chiefly in hunting bushwhackers along the Kansas and Missouri borders, but in that year was sent into Indian Territory and later into Arkansas. Mr. Patterson received his honorable discharge October 1, 1864, at Leavenworth, Kansas. He had escaped the many hazards that encompass the career of a soldier and retired from the army practically unharmed, nevertheless he immediately embarked in several undertakings that were almost equally hazardous. He took charge of two droves of horses and safely piloted them to Fort Larned and Mound City, Kansas, and afterward he was engaged in freighting from Leavenworth to Fort Laramie.
Mr. Patterson then paid a visit to his old home in Pennsylvania, arriving on December 23, 1865, and remained in the neighborhood until his marriage, on March 1, 1866, to Miss Dilla Freeman, who was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1834. With his young wife Mr. Patterson, in the spring of 1867 returned to Kansas and then purchased a part of his present farm, in Wild Cat Township. To the original purchase he added from time to time until now he owns 700 acres. Farming and dealing in stock have mainly engaged his attention and success has attended his efforts in all his agricultural undertakings.
For forty-five years Mr. and Mrs. Patterson were permitted to travel life’s pathway together, but the tender tie was broken in 1911, when Mrs. Patterson was suddenly called from earth. She was a woman of beautiful character, kind and devoted as wife, friend and neighbor.
A staunch republican, Mr. Patterson freely admits his political preferences but he has never been willing to accept any public office for himself. He is a valued member of Lew Grove Post No. 100, Grand Army of the Republic.