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Tue, 10.31.1848

Corvine Patterson, Politician born

Corvine Patterson

*Corvine Patterson was born on this date in 1848.  He was a Black businessman and politician.

He was born a slave at Roanoak in Howard Co., Missouri.  At the age of fifteen took leave of his master, going to Glasgow, where he enlisted in the 65th regiment of U. S. Colored Volunteers. He was mustered in at St. Louis, Mo., and traveled south, where he took part in the battles of Port Hudson, Milligan's Bend, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and others. He was mustered out at St. Louis and returned to his old home. 

Soon Patterson drifted with the Great Migration westward to Kansas, arriving here in June 1867.  Although little known about him, Patterson was an important figure in the early history of Kansas City, Kansas, and a prominent and influential member of the Black community in Wyandotte County.  He worked as a laborer for the railroad and opened a grocery store in the early 1870s. He also owned several tracts of land in what is now downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Late in the nineteenth century, he established a cesspool and vault cleaning service, which he operated with his son-in-law, Ernst Gayden, Sr.

Patterson was very active in community affairs. He was a member of the First Baptist Church and later became a founding member of the Metropolitan Baptist Church. During the Kansas Fever Exodus--tens of thousands of freed slaves fled the South and ended up in Wyandotte and other towns in eastern Kansas--Patterson was one of the main organizers of efforts to assist the destitute refugees. He also took a leading role in preventing the demise of Freedman’s University in the neighboring town of Quindaro. (Soon after, Freedman’s became affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was renamed Western University.  Patterson’s greatest successes were in politics.

In 1872 he was elected to the Board of Education and reelected to a second term. He reportedly gave up his grocery business sometime in the early 1880s to devote full-time to politics. He was appointed street commissioner in 1889 and served as city marshal and deputy sheriff. By the turn of the century, Patterson was the political elder statesman in the Black community of Wyandotte County.  Corvine Patterson committed suicide by shooting himself on December 31, 1913. 

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