Richard C. Patterson Socorro County, New Mexico

Richard C. Patterson, a mining prospector and rancher of Carlsbad, New Mexico, is one of the prominent and well known pioneer settlers of the Territory. He located in this section of the country when it was a wild and unsettled district, when marauding bands of Indians committed many depredations and atrocities, and when only here and there could be found a settlement to show that the white man had started upon the attempt to reclaim this district for the uses of civilization. He is familiar with the history of those wild but picturesque days, and can relate from experience many interesting incidents concerning pioneer existence in New Mexico.

Mr. Patterson was born in Veazie, Maine, about four miles above Bangor, on the 7th of March, 1837. He was educated in the public schools and for eight years was on a whale ship, during which time he visited all parts of the world. In 1858 he made his way to California and was engaged in placer mining in that state. There he enlisted for service as a soldier in the Civil war, and in 1862 he came to New Mexico in the volunteer service, landing on the Rio Grande River. He was attached to Company G, First Regiment of California Infantry, and later he re-enlisted, becoming first sergeant of Company B of the First Regiment of Veteran Infantry. The command was engaged in constant service in suppressing the Indians and preventing outbreaks against the white men, and in this way Mr. Patterson saw arduous frontier service until mustered out after the close of the war, on the 15th of September, 1866. In that year he settled at Monticello, New Mexico, where he began farming. He was thus engaged for three years, when he turned his attention to mining in the Magdalena Mountains. He built a small smelter in the Patterson canyon, which he operated until 1875, in which year he removed to the Patterson ranch and began farming and stock raising. He was the first to take up land in the western part of Socorro County, and during those early days had many brushes with the Indians. At that time the nearest post office was at Socorro, one hundred miles away, and the nearest neighbor was forty miles distant. Mr. Patterson was a leader in movements against the Indians and horse thieves. The red men were very numerous in those early days, and while engaged in defending the frontier settlers against their depredations he has killed seventeen Indians and has been himself wounded twice. He continued ranching on the Patterson ranch until the spring of 1903, when he sold that property and removed to a ranch at Polvadera, New Mexico, comprising two hundred acres of land. A post office was established at Patterson about 1885. His attention is now given to the management and conduct of his ranch property and to prospecting in mining districts.

Mr. Patterson was married, in June, 1867, to Miss Francisquita Chaves, and to them have been born three children, James, Mary and Julia, the last named being the wife of George Sickles. The family home is near Carlsbad. Mr. Patterson is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Socorro Lodge No. 9, A. F. & A. M. His mind bears the impress of the early historic annals of the Territory, and he has broad information concerning its history from the period of the Civil war to the present time, watching with interest the changes that have occurred and the wonderful transformation that has been wrought as hardy, resolute frontier settlers have reclaimed the district for the uses of the white race. 

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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