Patterson Family Name
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.
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.
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”.