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Patterson Surname History
The Descendants of Samuel Senton Patterson - From County Down, Ireland to South Carolina & Beyond

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The following is an excerpt from Surnames of Scotland by George Black


Patterson Surname
Scottish forms of "Patrick's son" or "Patrickson,and one of the commonest of Scottish surnames. The native home of the Clan Pheadirean(Paterson's)
was on the north side of Lochfyne where they were formerly numerous (Carmicheal, CarminaGadelica, II, pg.332). See under Macpatrick. Patterdale in Westmoreland was formerly Patrickdale, "the dale or valley of Patrick." William Patrison and John Patonson, 'gentillmen,' witnesses in Aberdeen, 1446(REA., I, pg. 245). Donald Patyrson was admitted burgessof Aberdeen, 1494(NSCM., 1, p. 37). Ade Patersounis mentioned in 1499 (RAA., II, 398), and in 1524letters were issued against Patrick Patersoune for defrauding the king's custom (Irvan, I, pg. 35).Robert Patersoun was capitane of ane wereschip
of Dundee." 1544(CRA., pg. 205). And John Patersoune held land in Glasgow, 1533 (Protocols, I). Fyndlay Patersoun had a tack of the lands of Owar Elrik from the Abbey of Cupar, 1557 (Cupar-Angus, II pg. 170-171). And in the same year John Patersoun custumar of Cupar, and David Petirsoun rendered to Exchequer the accounts of that burgh (ER., XIX, pg. 80). John Patersoune was burgess of Northberwyk, 1562(CMN., 85). George Patersoun, a monk in the
monastery of Culross, 1569 (Laing, 844), and Alexander Patersone, burgess of Aberdeen, 1594 (CRA., pg. 104). William Paterson (1658-1719)
was author of the ill-fated DArien Scheme and originator of the plan of the bank of England. Patirsone, 1497. Ade Patrisoun had a precept
of remission in 1536 ( RSS., II, 2033). James Patirsone, sheriff-depute of Innernes, 1530, may be James Patirsoun, provost there, 1573 (OPS.,
II, p. 666-669). One of the Farguharson genealogies says that "the Patersons in the North" are descended from Patrick, grandson of
Ferquhard from whom the clan Farquharson take their name (Farguharsons of Invercauld, pg. 4)

Patrick Surname
Patrick, G. Patruig, Ir. Padraig, O. Ir. Patricc, from Latin Patricius, 'a patrician.' The early Latin life of the saint also gives Cothraige, the name by which
S. Patrick was known during the term of his slavery in Ireland, but this is simply a Gaelicized form of Pathruig (with c for Latino-British p). S. Patrick's
full name was probably Patricius magonus Sucatus. Tirechan, the saint's earliest biographer, assigns him a fourth name, Cothirthiacus, which, however, is simply a Latinization of the Cothraige already mentioned. Other early forms of this name, Qatrige and Quadriga, suggested to Tirechan and others a derivation from quattuor, Latin for 'four:' "Cothirthiacus quia seruiuit uii[iu] domibus magorum "(i.e. "because he was a slave in the house of the four magicians"); "many were they whom he served, Cothraige (servant) of a fourfold household" (so the O. Ir. hymn Genair Patricc). TheTripartite Life(pg. 17) states that he received the name Magonus from S. Germanus, and that of Patricius from Pope Celestine, but this is merely monkish tradition. The late Sir John Rhys believed the name Magonus to be a derivation from Goidelic magus (whence Irish mug, servant), meaning perhaps originally a 'boy,'
but is as likely to be the Roman cognomen Magonus. Muirchu, author of the first formal biography of the
saint, says he was also named Sochet (the Sucatus above mentioned): "Patricius qui et Sochet uocabator." The hymn "Genair Patraicc," attributed to S. Fiacc, says:"Sucat his name it was said," and the Tripartite Life adds this was "his name from his parents" (loc. cit.).A note on the hymn, quoted in the last named work explains this name as "Deus belli uel Fortis belli." The name is etymologically the same as obsolete Welshhygad, 'warlike.' In modern Scottish Gaelic the name Patrick is found in four forms: (1)Patruig, with t and c unaspirated, but reduced to the corresponding mediae. (2)Paruig for Pathruig, in which the t has been aspirated and consequently lost and c made into medial g. (3)Para, a pet or curtailed form of the last. (4)Padair or Patair, the common form of Patrick in Arran and Kintyre. This last form enters into combination with cill, a church,
in Cill-Phadair, the Gaelic name of Kilpatrick. The name has thus become confused in popular use with Peterand is so Englished. (Per contra,Ceann+phadruig is the Gaelic of Peterhead in Duncan Macintyre's Oran na gasaid(Songs, ed. Calder, pg. 392)> "Pedair as a personal Gaelic name is hardly, if at all known out of print" (Celt. Rev., II, pg. 35).In Scotland not only is Patrick frequently called by the endearing diminutive Peter,
but Peter is often called Patrick. In fact, it has been said, Patrick is the "Sunday name," Peter the everyday one. In the discussion in the House of Lords on the breadalbane peerage claims(1867) the counsel alluding to a person who had been mentioned in the course of evidence called him Captain Patrick Campbell. The Chancellor said the captain's name was not Patrick but Peter. His Lordship was assured they were convertible terms. Lord Robertson(1794-1855), who was christened Patrick, was invariably called Peter(nicknamed "Petero' the Painch" by Sir Walter Scott because of his rotundity: Maidment Pasquils, pg. 222-223); and Patrick Fraser Tytler, the historian, was known to his immediate relatives as "Peter" (Burgon, Life, pg.16). Patrick was one of the most popular names in the west of Scotland in pre-Reformation times, and in Ireland only became a popular forename after 1600, due probably to its introduction by the Scots settlers in Ulster. As a surname it is common in Ayrshire, and the old family of that name appear to have been connected with
Kilwinning Abbey. Patrick, subprior of Durham, became the abbot if Dunfermline, 1201(Annals, pg. 333). Patricks of Dunminning, county Antrim, are of Scottishextraction, descendants of the Ayrshire family. John Patric was a notary in 1429(Robertson, Ayr Fam., II, pg. 267). James Patrick, heir of Hew Patrick of Thornedyke his father, 1658(Retours, Ayr, 501). Robert William Cochran-Patrick(1842-1897), a distinguishednumismatist, was under-secretary for Scotland. Comes (earl) Patric was a charter witness, c. 1211(Kelso, 403). With gille- it gives the common Gaelic personalname Gillepatrick, hence Macphatrick, and Paterson.


The following commentery was taken from the site of Carl D. Patterson. The original is at:

Patterson Family Name

Patterson Family Crest

Patterson Family Crest

The world would be a much lesser place without the tremendous fighting spirit of the Scottish Highland clans.

From the desolate, sea-swept Hebridean Islands and the croft-scattered western coast, this surname has emerged as belonging to one of the great families whose tradition is romanticised by the skirl of the bagpipes, the brandished sword, the colourful kilt and the highland games.

Historical researchers, using some of the oldest manuscripts, including Clan genealogies, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls, the Inquisitio, the Black Book of the Exchequer, parish chartularies, baptismal records, tax records and many other manuscripts, found the name Patterson in Rossshire where they were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Spelling variations of the name Patterson caused much confusion in research. These changes occurred for a variety of reasons. From time to time the surname was spelt Patterson, Paterson, Pattersen, Patteson, Pattison, Patison, and these changes in spelling occurred, sometimes even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a clansman to be born with one spelling, marry with another, and yet another to appear on his headstone. Sometimes a different spelling indicated a religious or clan loyalty to a branch or chieftain.

The Dalriadan race of the Hebrides was anciently descended from the early Irish Kings, specifically King Colla Da Crioch, who was banished from Ireland in 327 A.D., along with 350 clan chiefs. Even now, there are Scottish highland clans who still call themselves the “Children of Colla”. Dalriadan King Fergus Mor MacEarca defeated the Picts, their neighbours to the east, in 498 A.D. Kenneth MacAlpine, first King of Scotland, or Alba, or Caledonia, as it was known, was half Dalriadan, half Pict.

Patterson John Family Tartan

Patterson John Family Tartan

The Highland Clans were a different breed. In early history many battles were fought with the Scottish King in Edinburgh. Bonnie Prince Charlie finally rallied their support for his claim to the throne which culminated at Culloden in 1745.

The surname Patterson emerged as a Scottish Clan or family in their territory of Rossshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. Originally the Clan Phaedirean located in their home territories on the north side of Loch Fyne. This name was anglicised about the 13th century to Paterson. By the 16th century they had acquired lands to the south in Glasgow and they became prominent businessmen of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. William Patterson originated the Darien scheme as Chairman of the Bank of England in 1700. There is a claim by the Farquharson Clan that the Clan Phaedirean (Patterson) was directly descended from Patrick Farquharson which seems to be a likely source. Their present family seat is at Castle Huntley in Perthshire. Notable amongst the Clan from early times was William Patterson, Chairman of the Bank of England.

For the next two or three centuries the surname Patterson played an important role in the highlands and in the affairs of Scotland. However, typical of the ancient conflict between highlander and Edinburgh, many ancient highland clans have still not officially been recognised as clans by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.

Many clansmen of Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries. They were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. In Ireland 153 families settled in counties Down, Antrim, Armagh, Derry and Tyrone.

However, to many, life in Ireland became a disillusionment. Conditions were little better than in their homeland. Poverty prevailed, and the religious conflicts remained, except that now they were in a strange land and without the support and kinship of the clan. The New World beckoned to the adventurous.

Patterson Blue Family Tartan

Patterson Blue Family Tartan

Clansmen sailed aboard the small sailing ships known as the “White Sails” which plied the stormy Atlantic, ships such as the Hector, the Rambler and the Dove, indenturing themselves for as long as ten years to pay their passage. These ships were originally designed for 100 passengers, but frequently sailed with 400 to 500 people on board. Many ships arrived with only 60 to 70% of their overcrowded passenger list, the rest dying at sea.

In North America, the Highlander settled Virginia, the Carolinas, Pictou, Nova Scotia and the Ottawa Valley. One of the first migrants which could be considered as kinsman of the name Patterson, of that same Clan or family, as Andrew and David Paterson were banished to Georgia in 1685; James Paterson settled in New Hampshire in 1718; David Patterson settled in Boston in 1651; Andrew Patterson settled in New Jersey in 1685; Alexander, Andrew, Arthur, Charles, Daniel, David, Henry, George, Hugh, James, John, Joseph, Mary, Robert, Sam, Thomas and William Patterson all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.

The American War of Independence found many who were loyal to their new cause, others remaining loyal to the Crown trekked north to Canada and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Many prominent people enjoy the distinction of this name Neil Paterson, Scottish Writer; Cecil Patterson, British Bishop; Eugene Patterson, American Editor; Gardner Patterson, American Economist; Jere Patterson American Business Council; Constance Patterson, British Union Leader; Paul Patterson, Botanist; Rex Patterson, Australian Politician; William Paterson, American Publisher; Dr. Sir Les Patterson, late Cultural Attaché to the Court of St. James.

The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was: Silver with three gold pelicans in green nests.
The Crest was: A pelican feeding her young.
The ancient family motto for this distinguished name was: “Pro Rege Et Grege” which literally means “For King and People”.