Title: Police officer
Birthdate: June 10, 1842
Death Date: March 14, 1917
Plot Location: Section 49, Lot 251
In 1848 the Patterson family escaped the famine in Ireland to find a new life in Philadelphia. George was 40, his wife Sarah was 30, and their boys were William and Tom. A daughter and three more boys were born before Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860.
On the census for that year, William was listed as a laborer like his father but Tom was an apprentice carpenter. Both young men could have served during the Civil War but apparently didn’t, based on the available documentation. Tom was living at home with his parents and three younger siblings when he turned 30 in 1872.
The following year he put down his saw and picked up a pistol when he joined the police department and found his life’s work. In 1876 he married 19-year-old Mary Chambers. Their first child was born nine months later.
They had three more children but the last boy, Willie, lived only 19 days after his birth in 1886. Then, five years later, Mary died of tuberculosis. The children were now 13, 11, and 8 but Tom didn’t re-marry. They remained closely-knit, still living together when the 1900 census was taken.
By 1906 Tom was ready for retirement after a long and honorable career. His children were now grown and building lives of their own. His daughter was the first to marry, relocate, and give him grandchildren. After adjusting to life after employment, he moved to East Orange, New Jersey and lived with her family until his death. His headstone is topped with the word “Peace” while his wife’s stone reads, “At Rest.” The children also remembered their infant brother, and added a touching three-word eulogy to each stone: “A True Man” for Tom and “A Faithful Wife” for Mary.
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