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Patton Family Papers
mssPF 1-350  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Patton Family Papers
    Dates: 1856-1934
    Collection Number: mssPF 1-350
    Creator: Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1856-1927
    Extent: 356 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collection consists of personal and business papers related to the Patton family, and is particularly focused on the activities of George Smith Patton (1856-1927), an attorney, businessman, and the first mayor of San Marino, California. Topics covered include railroads, Patton’s senate campaign, irrigation, land sales, and the development of the San Marino area.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Patton Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of David and Peter W. Patton on August 5, 1971.
    Typescript letters gift of Hancock Banning, Jr., on February 20, 1973.


    George Smith Patton (1856-1927) was born in Virginia. His father, George Smith Patton (1833-1864), served with the Confederate Army during the Civil War and was killed in the Third Battle of Winchester in 1864. In 1866, his mother Susan Thornton Glassell Patton (1835-1883) joined her brother Andrew Glassell in California, along with ten-year-old George, his sisters Ellen (who later married Thomas Brown) and Susan, and brother Andrew (known to the family as Glassell). In 1870, Susan married George Hugh Smith (1834-1915), a cousin of her first husband. The couple had two children, Anne Ophelia Smith (1870-1951), who later married Hancock Banning, and Ettinge Hugh (1876-1887). In 1880 George Patton joined the law firm run by his uncle Andrew Glassell and stepfather George Smith, and the firm was subsequently known as Glassell, Smith, and Patton. Susan died of breast cancer in 1883. In 1884 George Patton married Ruth Wilson (1861-1928), the daughter of Benjamin Davis Wilson and Margaret Hereford Wilson. The Pattons and Ruth’s sister Annie lived in San Marino, where their children George Smith Patton (1885-1945) and Anne Wilson Patton (1887-1971), called “Nita,” were born. In 1903 the Shorb estate in San Marino was purchased by Henry E. Huntington, who appointed Patton as general manager of the ranch. George Smith Patton (1885-1945) married Beatrice Banning Ayer (1886-1953), known as Bea, in 1910. Their daughter Beatrice Smith Patton was born in 1911, followed by Ruth Ellen Patton (Totten) in 1915 and George Patton III in 1923. Patton was killed in a car accident in Heidelberg in 1945.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of personal and business correspondence, political papers, account books, legal documents, and land papers related to the Patton family, and is particularly focused on the activities of George Smith Patton (1856-1927).
    Note: this collection originally formed an addendum to the Benjamin Davis Wilson Collection known as Wilson Addenda II.
    Topics covered include railroads, Patton’s senate campaign, irrigation, land sales, and the development of the San Marino area. Some notable items include a letter from George Smith Patton (1833-1864) to his father John Mercer Patton (1797-1858) announcing the birth of George Smith Patton (1856-1927); typescripts of letters from Susan Glassell Patton and her children to Sally Taylor Patton and Margaret Williams Patton describing their early life in the California; letters from Ruth Wilson to Patton (1856-1927) written shortly before their wedding in 1884; letters from a family friend named Rose Gray regarding the birth of George Smith Patton (1885-1945); letters from Patton (1856-1927) to Annie Wilson regarding their potential financial difficulties and the childhoods of Patton (1885-1945) and Anne Wilson Patton; multiple verbose letters from Patton (1856-1927) regarding topics such as World War I (letter to Kerchoff, June 1, 1915) and the political campaign in California (1916); correspondence and legal records related to, among other things, the Pacific Electric Railroad and Collis Huntington’s plans to construct a harbor at Santa Monica (1894); and a telegram from Patton (1885-1945) to his father advising him to prevent General John Pershing’s brother James from giving a speech in London “compromising the general politically” (Dec.10, 1917).
    Notable businesses represented in the collection include the Wilmington Transportation Company, Porter Brothers Co., San Gabriel Wine Company, Alhambra Addition Water Company, the Lindsay Water Development Company, Garvey Water Company, Huntington Land and Improvement Company, Banning Company, Pasadena Electric Light and Water Company, and the Santa Catalina Island Company.
    Notable individuals represented in the collection include Ruth Wilson, Annie Wilson, Anne Wilson Patton, James DeBarth Shorb, George Hugh Smith, Collis P. Huntington, Henry E. Huntington, Arthur J. Hutchinson, William Banning, William Reeves Banning, James P. Donahue, Maria de Jesus Wilson Shorb, William Howard Taft, Frank Putnam Flint, Ellen Banning Ayer, Robert W. Patton, Arvin Harrington Brown, and Benjamin Davis Wilson.


    The collection is arranged into the following series:
    • Correspondence (Boxes 1-2)
    • Speeches and articles (Boxes 3-4)
    • Legal papers and contracts. (Boxes 5 and 11)
    • Land and real estate papers (Boxes 6-7)
    • Political, business, and miscellaneous papers (Box 8)
    • Financial documents and volumes; letterbooks (Boxes 9-10, 12-13, and 15-16)
    • Miscellaneous volumes and ephemera (Boxes 14 and 17)
    Each series is arranged chronologically.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Flint, Frank P. (Frank Putnam), 1862-1929.
    Huntington, Collis Potter, 1821-1900.
    Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927.
    Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1856-1927.
    Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945.
    Smith, George H. (George Hugh)
    Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930.
    Wilson, Benjamin Davis, 1811-1878.

    Corporate Names

    Huntington Land and Improvement Company.
    Southern Pacific Railroad.


    Domestic relations--California.
    Land use--California.
    Political campaigns--California--History--20th century.
    Politicians--California--Los Angeles.

    Geographic Areas

    Pasadena (Calif.)--History.
    San Marino (Calif.)--History.


    Account books -- California -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- California -- 19th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 19th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century.
    Receipts -- California -- 19th century.
    Receipts -- California -- 20th century.
    Speeches--California--19th century.