Patton Family at VMI

VMI Alumni records are a rich resource for historians and genealogists. This page highlights the Patton family's connection with VMI--Gen. George S. Patton of World War II fame (shown at right as VMI Cadet, 1903) and his ancestors who attended VMI, including his father, grandfather, and great uncles. Four of seven Patton brothers attended VMI during the mid-19th century, including George S. Patton (VMI Class of 1852), General Patton's grandfather. They were the sons of John Mercer Patton and Margaret French Williams.

The First Generation

  • John Mercer Patton
    Born May 9, 1826 at Culpeper, Virginia; graduate, VMI Class of 1846, standing 8th out of 14; lawyer and judge; Colonel, 21st Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA; married (first) Sally Lindsay Taylor in 1858, (second), Lucy A. Crump; he died at Ashland, Virginia, October 9, 1898.
  • George Smith Patton Portrait
    Born June 26, 1833, Fredericksburg, VA; graduate, VMI Class of 1852, standing 2nd in a class of 24; after graduation studied law and practiced in Charleston (WVA); married Susan Thornton Glassell; during the Civil War, was commander of the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment; killed at the Battle of Winchester in September 1864. Grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. (VMI Class of 1907).
  • Waller Tazewell Patton Portrait
    Born July 15, 1835, Fredericksburg, VA.; graduate, VMI Class of 1855, standing 2nd in a Class of 16; after graduation practiced law in Culpeper, VA; Colonel, 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA; mortally wounded at Gettysburg and died in the College Hospital at Gettysburg on July 21, 1863.
  • William McFarland Patton
    Born August 22, 1845, Richmond, Virginia; graduate VMI Class of 1865; while a cadet took part in the Battle of New Market as a cadet sergeant in Company B of the Corps of Cadets; after war was a Civil Engineer and Professor of Engineering at VMI and Virginia Tech (VPI); married (Jan. 7, 1875) Annie Gertrude Jordan (1852-1921), daughter of Samuel F. Jordan and Elizabeth Leibert of Rockbridge, Co., Virginia; he died on May 26, 1905.

The Second Generation

  • George S. Patton
    Born Charleston (now West Virginia), September 30, 1856, the son of George S. Patton and Susan Thornton Glassell; graduate, VMI Class of 1877; after graduation taught at VMI for one year; studied law and became a prominent attorney in Los Angeles, where he was also active in politics; married Ruth Wilson, 1884; children: George S.(b. 1885) and Anne (b. 1887); died June 1927, Los Angeles, CA.

The Third Generation

  • General George S. Patton, Jr.  (1885-1945)
    The third Patton to bear the name George Smith; attended VMI for one year (1903-1904) as a member of the Class of 1907; appointed to the United States Military Academy in the spring of 1904 and entered West Point in June. While at VMI he studied Algebra, English, History, Drawing and Latin; he was left tackle on the "scrub" football team, a group which scrimmaged several times a week against the varsity team; a classmate described him as "quiet, straight as a string, courteous, well-mannered, more serious minded than lightsome in conversation."

See our photographs database for Patton family images and the online catalog for information about papers.

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