"P" is for Patterson, John James [1830-1912]

May 7, 2020

"P" is for Patterson, John James [1830-1912]. U.S. Senator. Patterson moved to South Carolina in 1869. Involved in banking and railroad development, he was accused of bribing legislators to pass laws favoring his interests. In 1872 he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate--and it was alleged that his only qualification was that he had the money with which to bribe legislators. He won the election and was arrested and charged with bribery and election fraud—but was never tried. From that time forward Patterson carried the nickname “Honest John”--honest because if he promised a bribe, he always paid it. In the Senate, he advocated stronger federal enforcement of Reconstruction measures and increased federal appropriations for the South. John James Patterson remained in Washington when his Senate term was up in 1879.