Bill Text: DE SJR9 | 2011-2012 | 146th General Assembly | Draft

Bill Title: Urging All Delawareans To Honor The Memory And Momentous Achievements Of The Honorable John Patten, Delaware Revolutionary War Hero And U. S. Congressman.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Passed) 2012-08-02 - Signed by Governor [SJR9 Detail]

Download: Delaware-2011-SJR9-Draft.html


Sen. Bushweller & Rep. Scott


Sens. Sokola, Bunting, Ennis, Lawson, Simpson, Reps. Q. Johnson, Walker, Mitchell, Kenton, Hocker, B. Short, Peterman, Osienski, Willis, Brady, Ramone, Outten, Briggs King, Jaques





WHEREAS, John Patten was born at Tynhead Court, a plantation east of Dover, on the 26th Day of April, 1746, the son of William and Ann Patten; and

WHEREAS, he was educated in the common schools of the area where he was born and raised and, like members of his family before him, grew up to become a farmer; and

WHEREAS, like many young men of his time and place, with the coming of the American Revolution in 1776, he entered the Delaware Regiment, where he was named a first lieutenant in Captain Jonathan Caldwell's 2nd Company; and

WHEREAS, later in 1776, he was promoted to captain of the first company of the regiment, and was subsequently promoted to the rank of major in February, 1779; and

WHEREAS, in 1780, the Delaware Regiment was reassigned to the Southern Department where, in the summer of that year, they fought in the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, which proved to be a disaster for the Continental Army and in which both the Maryland and Delaware regiments were decimated and Patten and many other Delawareans were captured by the British; and

WHEREAS, following that battle, Patten and some 30 other Delaware officers held by the British were sent to Charleston as prisoners of war; and

WHEREAS, for Patten, the fighting was over, since he was not exchanged in time for the climactic battle of the war at Yorktown, Virginia, and was finally paroled by the British following the cessation of hostilities; and

WHEREAS, Patten was said to have walked all the way home to Dover from Charleston, arriving there in a condition described by Mrs. Bradford, wife of a local judge, as being "without shoes or old pair of soles were tied about his feet, his clothes were threadbare..."; and

WHEREAS, following his return to civilian life, Major Pattenmarried Ann Haslet, daughter of the late Colonel John Haslet, who had commanded the Delaware Regiment until his death in the Battle of Princeton in 1777; and

WHEREAS, Mrs. Patten was the sister of Joseph Haslet, who served as Governor of Delaware from 1811 to 1814 and again from January, 1823, until his death in office in June of that year; and

WHEREAS, Mrs. Patten bore her husband a son, but both mother and son died soon thereafter; and

WHEREAS, Major Patten later married a second time to Mary Miller Loockerman, daughter of Reverend John Miller and widow of Vincent Loockerman of Dover, who bore him two children; and

WHEREAS, Major Patten was a public-spirited citizen and became a well-known figure in Delaware and beyond, serving one term in the Delaware House of Representatives in 1785 and serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1785 and 1786; and

WHEREAS, Major Patten was active in veterans' affairs, serving as a vice-president of the Continental Army veterans organization, the first of its kind in the U.S., known as the Society of the Cincinnati; and

WHEREAS, he was a member of the Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture and served as an overseer of the Kent County Almshouse, the public welfare agency of its day; and

WHEREAS, in 1792, Patten, a member of the Democrat–Republican Party, was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 30 votes, only to have his opponent, Dr. Henry Latimer, appeal the outcome first to Delaware Governor Joshua Clayton, and, after he refused to overturn the election, directly to the U.S. Congress itself, which, after two months, found in his favor on a technicality, forcing Patten to step down; and

WHEREAS, in the 1794 election, the two men had a rematch and this time, Patten won by a decisive margin and went on to serve as a member of the 4th Congress from 1795 to 1797; and

WHEREAS, Patten declined to run for reelection in 1796 and, by 1798, was living with his family in a three-story brick home formerly owned by John Milner on the north side of Front Street between Orange and Tatnall Streets in Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, in 1800, Patten's party prevailed on him to run again for Congress against Federalist James A. Bayard, Sr., but Patten lost the election; and

WHEREAS, following his defeat in the November elections, Patten and his family returned to his family home place, Tynhead Court near Dover, where Patten died of yellow fever on 26 December 1800 at the age of fifty-four years; and

WHEREAS, Patten's wife, Mary, survived her husband by only a few months, dying at age 37 on 13 March 1801; and

WHEREAS, Major Patten and his wife were laid to rest in the Dover's Old Presbyterian Churchyard, next to the building that later became the Delaware State Museum in Dover; and

WHEREAS, a poignant tale of the aftermath of their deaths is recounted in Elizabeth Montgomery's Reminisences of Wilmington in Familiar Village Tales, Ancient and New, in which she wrote that, some years after the passing of Major and Mrs. Patten, a family named Logan from Charleston, South Carolina, where Major Patten had been held prisoner by the British during the war, was boarding in Wilmington:

"The major and lady had deceased; his two orphans were left in charge of his worthy sister, Mrs. Brookes. One day, in passing with a relative, and attired in mourning, the elder lady inquired whose pretty little children they were? The answer was, Major Patten's.The name was familiar to Mrs. Logan, and turned her thoughts back to stirring times. She exclaimed, ‘Can they be the offspring of the handsome officer for whom the ladies of Charleston so diligently plied the needle to make shirts, and I was one of their number?' Verily, this was the person."

[Reminiscenses of Wilmington, 2nd Ed., 1872, pp. 257-258]

WHEREAS, Major John Patten, like a number of his fellow officers in the Delaware Regiment, survived the rigors of the Revolutionary War and returned home to become important figures in the early, formative years of Delaware statehood;


BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 146th General Assembly of the State of Delaware, with the approval of the governor, that we do hereby urge all Delawareans to honor the memory of Delaware patriot, Revolutionary War hero and public official John Patten of Kent County.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that upon its enactment, a suitable copy of this Senate Joint Resolution be presented to the Delaware Public Archives for public display therein.


This Senate Joint Resolution urges all Delawareans to honor the memory of Delaware patriot, Revolutionary War hero and early Delaware U.S. Congressman John Patten of Kent County.

Author: Sen. Bushweller