Dynasty

Those of us of a certain age may recall the 1980s drama Dynasty. Apparently, it was so good as to warrant a reboot, so that our progeny won’t miss out on the fun.

Well, those Carringtons (now or in the 80s) don’t have anything on the Pattersons.

The Taylors had a saying in Jennings: if they’re a Patterson, then they’re kin.

Renny
Lorenzo Delbert (Renny) Patterson

And one man was ultimately responsible for founding this Patterson Dynasty: Lorenzo Delbert (Renney) Patterson.

The Patterson clan hailed from Riceville, Iowa in Howard County. (Do you suppose they grew rice in Riceville?) Renney’s father, Benjamin, owned 480 acres of farmland and, farmed, along with Renney’s brothers, more than 1000 acres. That’s a lot of land for one family in the late 1800s.

What’s also true of the late 1800s in Iowa is that most of the available farmland was already spoken for. So Renney, the third son, had little hope for a farm of his own unless he was willing to wait for an inheritence.

So when Renney heard about farmland available in Louisiana, in the newly founded town of Jennings,1 he didn’t waste any time.

  • In 1888 Renney married Mary Esther Taylor (Robert Taylor’s older sister)2, although I can’t determine for certain whether they were married in Iowa or Louisiana.
    • From census records, I believe their families (Pattersons & Taylors) met in the mid-1800s in Wisconsin where the elder Benjamin Patterson and Benjamin Taylor lived less than 50 miles from each other for more than 10 years.  In 1861, the Pattersons moved on to Iowa and in 1866 the Taylors explored the Dakota Territory
  • Renney and Mary Esther had 14 children, all but three lived to adulthood,
    • all of the children were born in or near Jennings, Louisianna beginning in 1889, and at least the next 2 generations stayed (and procreated) in or near the area.
  • Call it coincidence, but the Taylors seemed to magically appear in Jennings around or near 1889 as well. (Hmmmm)
  • In January of 1900, Renney invited his brother Benny to join the growing dynasty in Jennings
    • Benny and his wife had 8 children, all of whom stayed in the area, as did the children they subsequently had
  • In December of 1901, Robert Taylor married Renny’s sister Nettie in Iowa where Nettie’s parents still lived
    • Robert clearly knew Renney from Jennings as they were both in the area beginning around 1889, but did Robert meet Nettie in Louisiana, perhaps while she visited her brother and his wife, or had Robert met her earlier while passing through Iowa? (Enquiring minds want to know…)
    • The Robert Taylors have 6 children.

To make a long story short, between Renney & Benny Patterson, and Robert Taylor, twenty-five new cousins, all living in or around Jennings, were born, all but six of them with the Patterson surname.

Of course, those Pattersons got married and had Patterson offspring of their own. So by the 1940 census, nearly 10% of the people listed in the Jennings 27-4 reporting area were either Pattersons or related to the Pattersons: PATTERSON; REGAN; ROUTON; LEONARD; TAYLOR; GEAREN; MACK; SEGRAVES; HUDSON; SMITH.

Renney’s dynasty penchant3 was so strong that he invited his old friend from Riceville, Wilbur Spencer, to come down to Jennings and marry Robert Taylor’s eldest sister Lodema when she found herself with four children to feed and no husband. Not technically part of the Patterson Clan, but… part of the dynasty, none-the-less.

Notes

  1. There’s another Patterson credited as one of the Founding Fathers of Jennings: David Patterson, Renney’s uncle (his father Benjamin’s brother). I haven’t researched that branch of the tree yet, but I think it’s safe to assume it adds many, many more Pattersons to Jennings.
  2. See this post about the Patterson-Taylor Double Cousins
  3. When Renney wasn’t managing the Dynasty, he was a humble farmer. In 1910, he was a rice farmer. By 1930, he listed his occupation as “Truck Farmer”, which is basically a farmer who sells vegetables and such out of his truck. In the 1940 census, Renny is widowed, living with one of his children, and working as a custodian at the local library. He died in 1955 in Jennings.
  4. Learn more about the history of Jennings, LA here
  5. The header photo is an 1898 photo of the northeast corner of Main & Market Streets in Jennings, LA. Colorized by Hugh Guilbeau in 2018. Source referenced in Note 4 above.
  6. Just to clarify, Robert Taylor is Harold Seba Taylor’s father.

3 thoughts on “Dynasty

  1. 14 children! This is the sort of thing I need to remember when I start wondering how it is that so many people can be descended from the same British royal family :p
    Lorenzo as a name is interesting, I thought it was Italian?

    Like

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