James S. Patton
By Fred Hof December 22, 2007 at 05:58:10
Date published: 11/7/2007
James S. Patton, 88, of Gay Mont near Port Royal died Monday, Nov. 5, 2007.
A native of Bridgeville,Pa., he moved to Washington, D.C., in 1941 to take a clerical position with the Naval Ordnance Laboratory .
At the close of World War II, he served for a short period in the Army of Occupation in Japan.
Mr. Patton retired in 1981 after 36 years as financial secretary/business manager of theNew York A venue Presbyterian Church, and lived for many years In Alexandria.
He was married to Frances Bernard Upton, whose family owned Gay Mont since the I 790s.Prior to her death in 1981, they had given the property and contents of the house to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, retaining a life estate for themselves.
Mr. Patton is survived by one sister, Patricia Lawrence of Thiensville,Wis.; and five nieces and nephews.
Friends are invited to a memorial service to be held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Port Royal, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, with interment to follow in the family cemetery at Gay Mont. Officiating clergyman will be the Rev. John Wall.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Frances PattonMemorial Fund, c/o St. Peter's Church; or to New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.
Jim Patton and his late friend Chet Bolling were possibly the two finest Bolling family historians since Governor Wyndham Robertson.They were also gentlemen of the first order who always, without fail, had the time to help others - even complete strangers - struggling with the complexities and controversies of Bolling genealogy.
Jim's connection to the family was through marriage.His late wife Frances Bernard Robb Upton (d. 1981) was a Pocahontas descendent by way of the oldest son of Col John and Elizabeth Blair Bolling, Thomas.Frances and Jim resided at "Gay Mont" in Caroline Co., VA, a house in which her Bolling ancestors had lived since 1816 when Jane Gay Robertson married John Hipkins Bernard, whose family built the place in the 1790s.
Jim Patton's contributions to Bolling family history spanned decades.Perhaps the most significant research project associated with his name had to do with his discovery, in 1965, of the notes of Annie Pratt in the Bolling files at the Volta Bureau for the Deaf in Washington, DC.According to Jim's account, "Much of the information was collected by a Mrs. Pratt (of Mass.) for Dr. Alexander Graham Bell in connection with his interest in the history of early schooling for the deaf of which Thomas Bolling and his son, William, were pioneers.Mrs. Pratt talked and corresponded with members of the Bolling family in and around Richmond and Goochland Counties in the Spring of 1900.A search was made for family Bibles and from the following records it appears one or more were available at the time, but not now extant."
The result of Jim's research was the "Volta List," naming all 18 children of John and Elizabeth Blair Bolling - even those who died young and (consequently) had not been listed in Wyndham Robertson's 1887 book.The names corresponded to those copied by Blair Bolling from the original Bolling family "Cobbs Bible" in the 1830s.We now know - thanks to DNA studies and other research - that Jim Patton actually resolved the "blue Bolling" controversy over 40 years ago.
Those who had the good fortune to know James Samuel Patton know that his picture should appear beside the dictionary definition of "gentleman."Those who never knew him will nevertheless benefit from his careful, meticulous research for as long as there is interest in the remarkable annals of Pocahontas and her Bolling descendents.There is much to be thankful for in the life of this good man.