Lee County Biography


CORNELIUS FREDERICK VAN PATTEN is well-known as one of the principal farmers and stock-raisers of Viola Township, where he has a large and well-conducted farm, provided with first-class improvements. He was born in Glenville, Schenectady County, N. Y., January 6, 1826, and is a son of Frederick Yan Patten, who was a native of the same township as himself. He, in turn, was a son of Simon Yan Patten, who is supposed to have been born in Holland, and to have come to this country when he was young. He was a thrifty farmer, and was engaged at his occupation in Glenville Township, where he died in the course of time. He was for many years noted as a teacher of vocal music, and carried on that profession while superintending the management of his farm.

The father of our subject passed his boyhood on the old farm in Glenville, and devoted his entire life to agricultural pursuits in his native township. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Bartlett. She came of distinguished Colonial ancestry, and was a native of New England, Brattleboro, Vt., her birthplace. Her father, Charles Bartlett, was born in England, but came to America in Colonial times, and settled in Brattleboro, Vt. He was greatly interested in the events that led up to the Revolution, took sides with the Colonists, and was an ardent patriot. He displayed his devotion to his adopted country on various occasions, and bore an active part in the famous tea party that resulted in throwing the tea from the English vessels overboard into the waters of Boston Harbor. After the war closed, he spent his remaining days peacefully in the pretty Vermont town where he had first located. The mother of our subject was a woman of superior intelligence and education, and taught school in her early womanhood until she was married. She died on the farm in Glen­ville where she had passed her wedded life. She bore her husband ten children, of whom these nine grew to manhood and womanhood: Simon B., Jemima, Nathan B., John, Ira, Nicholas, Swart, Hester and Cornelius F.

The latter, who forms the subject of this biographical review, grew to man's estate in his native town, and was there educated. He was early instructed in all kinds of farm work, and although he was young when his father died, he was perfectly competent to take charge of the farm, and did so until he was twenty-six years of age. Then, as his services were no longer needed in that direction, he was engaged at various employments for three or four years. In 1856, he made a new departure, having determined to im­prove his fortunes, if possible, by farming on the marvellously fertile soil of Northern Illinois, and after coining here he engaged in tilling land on shares at Shabonna Grove, DeKalb County. Some seven years later he bought eighty acres of land in the town of Milan, the same county, and farmed it the ensuing four years. At the expiration of that time, he came to Viola Township, and pur­chased a quarter of a section of land that is now included in his present farm, that contains three hundred and sixty acres of as fine land for agri­cultural purposes as can be found in this locality. Its fields are under the best of tillage, its pastures afford sustenance for many sleek and well-kept cattle, horses and hogs of good breeds, which are raised on the place and bring in a good yearly income. The buildings are neat, roomy and sub­stantial, and everything about the farm is in good order.

Mr. Yan Patten was married in 1855 to Miss Mary J. Young, a native of the same New York town in which he was born, and a daughter of Frank and Margaret (Dickerson) Young. She is a most estimable woman, and in her the Methodist Episcopal Church has an active Christian member. These are the names of the fifteen children that complete the family of our subject and his wife: Margaret, Childes, Frank, Sarah, Ella, Sherman, Cora, Addie, Hannah, Ida, Seth, Stella, Olive, Edith and Cornelius F.

Mr. Van Patten is a typical self made man, as he has arisen to his present position solely through his own efforts. He has strength of character, a firm will, good, round-about common sense, and a good capacity for planning and executing what­ever work he wishes to carry out. For many years he was a good Democrat in his politics, but he is now a member of the Farmers' Alliance. He attends the church to which his wife belongs, and is a liberal supporter of whatever will benefit the township.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co

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