Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PATTERSON, Robert, director of the mint, born near Hillsborough. County Down, Ireland, 30 May, 1743; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 July, 1824. He emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1768, found employment as a teacher, and in 1774 became principal of the academy in Wilmington, Delaware When the Revolution began, he volunteered in the patriot army, was at first a military instructor, and subsequently adjutant, assistant surgeon, and brigade-major. He was elected professor of mathematics in the University of Pennsylvania in 1779, occupied that chair for thirty-five years, and in 1810-'13 was vice-provost of "that institution. Chief-Justice William Tilghman says of him : "Arduous as were his duties in the university, he found time for other useful employments, he was elected a member of the select council of Philadelphia, and was chosen its president in 1799. In 1805 he received from President Jefferson, with whom he had been in habits of friendship, the appointment of director of the mint. This office he filled with great success until his last illness." Mr. Patterson took an active part in the proceedings of the American philosophical society, and was its president from 1819 until his death, being a constant contributor to its "Transactions." The University of Pennsylvania gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1819. He published "The Newtonian System" (Philadelphia, 1808) and a treatise on "Arithmetic " (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1819); and edited James Ferguson's "Lectures on Mechanics " (2 vols., 1806) ; his "Astronomy" (1809) ; John Webster's "Natural Philosophy " (1808); and Reverend John Ewing's "Natural Philosophy," with a memoir of the author (1809). See " Records of the Family of Robert Patterson (the Elder)" (printed privately, Philadelphia, 1847).--His son, Robert Maskell, physician, born in Philadelphia., Pennsylvania, 23 March, 1787 ; died there, 5 September, 1854, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1804, and at the medical department there in 1808. He studied the physical sciences in Paris for the next two years, and in 1811 completed his education as a chemist under Sir Humphrey Davy in London. On his return to Philadelphia in 1812 he was chosen professor of natural philosophy, chemistry, and mathematics in the University of Pennsylvania (of which institution he was vice-provost from 1814 to 1828, and trustee from 1836 till his death), and he occupied a similar chair in the University of Virginia in 1828-'35. At the latter date he was appointed director of the mint, which post he held until 1851. He was elected a member of the American philosophical society in 1809, being the youngest man that was ever admitted, and was active in the labors of the society, contributing largely by oral and written communications to its proceedings, and he delivered the discourse at its centennial celebration in 1843. He was elected its president in 1849. He was one of the founders of the Franklin institute of Philadelphia, and also of the Musical fund society of Philadelphia, of which he was president from i838 to 1858. He published "Early History of the American Philosophical Society: a Discourse at its Hundredth Anniversary," etc. (Philadelphia, 1848) ; address before the Franklin institute (1848) ; and other occasional discourses. --Robert Maskell's son, Robert, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 4 February, 1819, was educated at the University of Virginia, where he graduated in law and other branches ; read law in the office of Judge Kane, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1840. In June, 1845, he became clerk to the director of the United States mint in Philadelphia. In 1868 he drafted the plan of the Fidelity trust, safe deposit, and insurance company (the first institution of that nature in Philadelphia), and became its secretary and treasurer. He published a memoir of Franklin Peale in 1875, and a memoir of William E. Dubois in 1881.
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