Biography of A. W. Patterson, M.D.
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A.W. PATTERSON, M.D. – Doctor Patterson was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1814. He received his scholastic education in the village of Freeport, of his native state, and afterwards entered the Western University, at Pittsburgh. He subsequently studied medicine in the office of Doctor J.P. Gazzam, an old and prominent physician of that city, and in 1841 graduated with high honors from the Pennsylvania College of Medicine, of Philadelphia. Coming westward, he located at Greenfield, Indiana, and there practiced his profession until 1852, when he concluded to come to Oregon, and began the long and tedious journey known only to the pioneer. After his arrival he went to Lane county and there settled upon a Donation claim near the present site of the flourishing town of Eugene.
The settlers in those days being few and far between, there was but little call for those skilled in his profession; and, being conversant with civil engineering, he engaged in the surveying business for a time. Among the contracts taken were several for the government, they being both in Oregon and Washington. The reports of surveys to be found in the surveyor-general’s office, submitted by him, will attest the guidance of a master hand. He also laid off the townsite of Eugene City. On the outbreak of the Indian war of 1855-56 in Southern Oregon, he at once offered his services for the subjugation of the savages. He was commissioned and served, for a time, as first lieutenant, and afterwards as surgeon of the medical department.
The Doctor has also served the commonwealth in the legislative field, serving as representative from Lane county in 1854. In 1861 he was appointed chief clerk in the office of the general surveyor, which was then located at Eugene, and in 1870 was elected state senator from Lane county for a term of four years. In 1872, owing to his very active interest in locating the State University, his home, Eugene City, was selected as the location. About that time he entered into a contract with A.L. Bancroft & Co., of San Francisco, to prepare the manuscript for a set of school readers; but afterwards, being pressed for time to complete the work by a given date, the contract was limited to a speller; and the first three readers, and the fourth and fifth were assigned, at his suggestion, to another. The new school law requiring the selection of a uniform series to be used throughout the state going into effect was much opposed; still these Pacific coast spellers and readers were adopted, and were used until recently displaced.
In 1882 and again in 1884, he was elected to the position of county superintendent of the school, an office for which he was eminently qualified. Eugene City in 1883 began to make strides towards being a city; and the country round about became more thickly settled as time flew by. The Doctor concluded to go back to his first love, – the practice of medicine; and, since he opened his office, he has continued in the practice of his profession up to the present time, and has met with the most flattering success in every way. The pioneers on this coast are characterized often by versatility of occupation, and the Doctor has not been an exception. In all of the different spheres of life occupied by the Doctor, be it said to his credit, that he adorned each and every one of them. In conjunction with his other affairs he has interested himself in agriculture, and was the first to cultivate hops in Lane county. He imported new varieties, and experimented extensively in their adaptability to the climate and soil, now being the most extensive grower of that vine in Oregon.
He was married in 1859 to Miss A.C. Ollingee, whose father, Abram Ollingee, with his family in 1843 had crossed the plains with the first wagon train that reached the Columbia river. Several children were born to this union, all of whom are not only a credit to their parents but to the community and state at large.