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Patterson, Rufus Lenoir

Rufus Lenoir Patterson (1830-1879) was the oldest son of Phoebe Caroline Jones (1806-69) and Samuel Finley Patterson (1799-1874), a politician, banker, and railroad president. Rufus entered the University in 1847, joined the Dialectic Society, and received his BA in 1851. In 1852 he married Marie Louise Morehead (d. 1862), Gov. John M. Morehead's daughter. He studied law under John A. Gilmer, then banking under Jesse H. Lindsey, his wife's uncle. With financial backing from his father-in-law, Patterson established a cotton, flour, and paper mill in Salem, NC. For several years he also served as Salem's mayor. A Union man, Patterson nevertheless signed North Carolina's ordinance of secession. At his wife's death in 1862, he sold his Salem mills and managed his father's cotton factory in Caldwell County, NC, until Union troops burned it in 1865. He returned to Salem and went into business with H. W. Fries, whose daughter Mary he had married in 1864. From 1868 until 1879 Patterson was a University trustee. At his death he was part-owner of several cotton and paper mills and a general merchandising firm. He and his first wife had five children; the second marriage produced six sons (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 5:35-36).