James and Jennie Patterson of Washington County, Pennsylvania

1912 postcard, South Euclid, Ohio, to Washington County, Pa

1912 postcard, South Euclid, Ohio, to Washington County, Pa

On August 9, 1912, Miss J L Patterson, of Washington County, Pennsylvania, received a post card from her brother Jim postmarked South Euclid, Ohio. The message read:

Dear Sister: Received yours of 29th and also Lillian's of 4th the same day but will not attempt to answer her tonight. Tell Burt to hold on to that piano and be able to play for me when I come home next time. All of me is getting along find don't you worry. Tell mamma to be careful of that eating. Say hello to Aunt Lizzie for me. How does the home take with the boys? Love to all, your loving bro. Jim.

Can we find out anything about Jim and his sister?

Lately with the postal cover articles, I’ve been tracing back people of Irish descent to the county their family came from in Ireland. But this time I thought I would try something different, and the South Euclid postmark caught my eye, since I grew up in a neighboring suburb.

James M Patterson

James was born June 1, 1890, in Washington County, Pennsylvania, the son of J Leman Patterson and Mary McElroy. He is living with them in Hopewell Township at the time of the 1910 Census, along with his older sister Jennie, six younger brothers and sisters, including Robert, and his aunt Lizzie McElroy. He must have left home soon after that, since the postcard was mailed in 1912. I didn’t find him in the Cleveland City Directories for that time period, but he is listed as follows in the American agriculturist farm directory Washington County, Pennsylvania, published in 1915:

Patterson, James M. machinist bds J. L. Patterson rd9 Washington H31 BT.

So, I wonder if he had been in Cleveland earlier for school or to work?

1912 postcard, South Euclid to Washington County PA

back of postcard

I first found James in the Cleveland records in June 1917 when he registered for the draft, living at 2740 Euclid Avenue. He was working as a salesman for M & M Company at 500 Prospect. They sold automobile radiators, doors, and probably etc.

On November 24, 1920, James Patterson married Ethel M Dawson, the daughter of Arthur and Mary (Millar) Dawson. She was living at home in Mayfield Township and teaching school in January of that year, but gave her occupation and residence as “clerk, South Euclid”, on the marriage license application. Ethel was a teacher most of her life. I found references to her in the Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle Telegram in 1927, 1932, and 1938, one of them saying that she was a home economics teacher at Ridgeville Township School.

James Patterson died on September 3, 1972, while living in Fairview Park and is buried in Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights. His wife Ethel died on December 11, 1990 and is also buried there. They had no children.

Jennie L (Patterson) Knox

James’ sister Jennie was born February 16, 1887. In a biography of her father published in 1910 she is described as a “popular teacher.” She was still teaching in 1930 and was living at home with her family.

On December 27, 1932, Jennie and Harry Knox, 52, also of Washington County, applied for a marriage license. They must have gone through with it as they are found as husband and wife on the 1940 Census of Buffalo Township, Washington County. Harry was farming and Jennie had stopped teaching.

Jennie L (Patterson) Knox died in 1968 and is buried in North Buffalo Presbyterian Cemetery along with her husband. They did not have children either.


I enjoyed doing something different this time with the postcard and look forward to a few more: one from Rockland, Rhode Island, and one from Wilmore, Pennsylvania, my grandfather’s birthplace.

From other people’s research at myheritage.com, it seems that the Pattersons and McElroys had been in Pennsylvania for a long while.

1856 map Hopewell Township1

There is a map of Hopewell Township in 1856 that has two Patterson farms marked on it. One might be James M Patterson’s grandfather. The immigrant ancestor, James Patterson, is said to have been born in County Down, Ireland, in 1777, and James McElroy in Armagh, in 1738. So I guess I was working with Irish descendants after all.


  • 1900 Census Hopewell Township, West Middletown Borough, Pennsylvania
  • 1910 Census Hopewell Township, Washington, Pennsylvania
  • 1920 Census Mayfield Township, Cuyahoga County
  • 1930 Census Buffalo Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania
  • United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
  • Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013
  • newspaperarchive.com, free OCR rendering.
  • Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007
  • Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950
  • Cleveland Necrology File and News Index
  • findagrave.com
  • Automotive Industries, Volume 31, Chilton Company, 1914
  • American agriculturist farm directory Washington County, Pennsylvania : a rural directory and reference book, including a road map of Washington County, 1915, New York, Orange Judd Co.
  • 20th Century History Of The City of Washington and Washington County Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens, by Joseph F. McFarland, Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1910


My Old Ohio Home
Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own research.
-- Ed Hamilton