Thursday, January 15, 2015

Former Tennessee Governor Arrested at Memphis Brothel, 1913

Painting by P. Mortimer Thompson,
Tennessee Portrait Project
Former Governor Malcolm R. Patterson, who was arrested in a Memphis brothel and presented in the police court, felt so thoroughly disgraced and beyond human pardon that he sought it from a higher source and has joined the Presbyterian church.  there is nothing like exposure in such matters to bring men to their senses.
Originally posted in the Richmond Climax, September 19, 1913.

Malcolm Rice Patterson was born June 7, 1861 in Alabama and died March 8, 1935 in Sarasota Florida.  He was the son of Confederate Cavalry Officer and US Congressman Josiah Patterson and Josephine Rice Patterson. Patterson had three wives: Sarah Lucille Johnson, Mary W. Gardner and Sybil Isabelle Hodges.  Wife Lucille died at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville TN from a pistol shot wound Mar 15 1899.  She was interred at Elmwood Cemetery. Sibyl died Aug 6 1906, cause of death was ovariotomy.  Mary died September 12 1956 from pancreatic cancer.  She and Sibyl are interred at Forest Hill Midtown with Malcolm

Interesting tidbits:
His son, Malcolm Coe Patterson, was arrested in Seattle and charged with fatally shooting a liveryman. (Source: The Day Book, Dec 9 1911, Chicago Ill) Malcolm C. was born about 1888, his mother was Lucille, the wife that died from the pistol shot in Nashville!  Malcolm became an attorney and died in Memphis from complications that occurred during an appendectomy.  He's interred in Elmwood with his mother.

In 1908, Governor Patterson played a controversial role in Obion County with the Night Riders. He personally led the guard into the county in order to capture and imprison the Night Riders.

At one time Governor Patterson had been a supporter of "liquor forces" even vetoing a bill while he was Governor that would have made Tennessee a dry state.  But in 1913 and after he was arrested at the brothel in Memphis he became an anti-liquor crusader and spoke against it whenever possible.  In 1916 he was the lead speaker at the Grace M.E. Church where headlines proclaimed "Ex-Governor to Wallop Booze."  The meeting was held under the auspices of the Anti-Saloon League and was known as the "Dry America" rally.  (Source: Harrisburg Telegraph, Oct 7 1916).

And he had a very interesting nickname...Ham Patterson!

Ham Patterson--Democracy's Champion
His plumage bright, he's ready to fight with a heart that will never quail,
While his republican opponent,
The trusts' great exponent,
(Evans by name, of Force Bill Fame)
In principle wrong, though in boodie strong, in the end must surely fail.
-Thos. C. Hindman
Originally posted in the Comet, June 7 1906, Johnson City Tenn

1 comment:

  1. Surely someone had it out for him and was out to get him. You can bet he certainly wasn't the 1st 'big-wig' to have frequented a Memphis brothel.