Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PATTERSON, James Willis, senator, born in Henniker, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, 2 July, 1823. He was graduated at Dartmouth in 1848, and studied divinity at Yale, but was not licensed to preach. He was tutor at Dartmouth in 1852-'4, professor of mathematics there in 1854-'9, and occupied the chair of astronomy and meteorology from the latter date till 1865. He was school commissioner for Grafton county in 1858-'61, and at the same time secretary of the state board of education, and prepared the state reports for five years. He was in the legislature in 1862, was elected to congress as a Republican in the same year, served till 1867, and in 1866 was chosen United States senator, serving one term. during which he was the author of the measure constituting consular clerkships, and the bill for establishing colored schools in the District of Columbia, and was chairman of the committee on the District of Columbia and of that on retrenchment and reform. At the close of the congressional investigation of the Credit Mobilier (see AMES, CAKES) the senate committee reported a resolution expelling Mr. Patterson, 27 February, 1873; but no action was taken upon it, and five days later his term expired. He was a regent of the Smithsonian institution in 1864-'5, and was a delegate to the Philadelphia loyalists' convention in 1866. In 1877-'8 he was again a member of the New Hampshire legislature, and in 1885 he was appointed state superintendent of public instruction in New Hampshire. Iowa college gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1868. In 1880 he was the orator at the unveiling of the soldiers' monument in Marietta, Ohio.
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