Thomas M. Patterson

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Thomas MacDonald Patterson
United States Senator
from Colorado
In office
March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1907
Preceded byEdward O. Wolcott
Succeeded bySimon Guggenheim
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's at-large district
In office
December 13, 1877 – March 3, 1879
Preceded byJames B. Belford
Succeeded byJames B. Belford
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado Territory's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1875 – August 1, 1876
Preceded byJerome B. Chaffee
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Personal details
Born(1839-11-04)November 4, 1839
County Carlow, Ireland
DiedJuly 23, 1916(1916-07-23) (aged 76)
Denver, Colorado
Resting placeFairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
Political partyDemocratic

Thomas MacDonald Patterson (November 4, 1839 – July 23, 1916) was an American politician and newspaper publisher who served as a member of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives from Colorado.

Early life[edit]

Patterson was born in County Carlow, Ireland, but his family emigrated to the United States when he was a boy, and they settled in New York City in 1849. A few years later, they moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana, where the young Patterson found work in a printing office and with a watchmaker and jeweler.


When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Patterson enlisted in the Eleventh Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He returned home in 1862, and went to college first at Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University), then at Wabash College.

Patterson was admitted to the bar in 1867 and began his practice in Crawfordsville. In 1872, he moved to Denver, where he started a law practice and was city attorney in 1873 and 1874.

Patterson's political career began when he became a member of the Democratic National Committee in 1874 (a post he held until 1880). He was then elected as a Democrat to be a Delegate from the Colorado Territory to the 44th Congress (1875–76), stepping down when the Territory became a State. James B. Belford, a Republican, was initially elected as Colorado's first Congressman, but Patterson successfully contested his election and served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 45th Congress (1877–79). Patterson chose not to stand for re-election in 1878.

After leaving Congress, Patterson resumed the practice of law in Denver and purchased first the Rocky Mountain News in 1890 and later the Denver Times. During these years, Patterson was twice an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor of Colorado including in 1888, when he was defeated by Republican Job Adams Cooper.

Patterson returned to national politics in 1900 when he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate, serving a single term (1901–1907) and refusing to stand for re-election.[1] While a senator, Patterson served on the United States Senate Committee on the Philippines, which investigated alleged war crimes committed during the Philippine–American War.

After leaving the Senate, Patterson published his newspaper until his death.


Patterson died at his home in Denver on July 23, 1916.[2] His remains are interred in Fairmount Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "S. Doc. 58-1 - Fifty-eighth Congress. (Extraordinary session -- beginning November 9, 1903.) Official Congressional Directory for the use of the United States Congress. Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing by A.J. Halford. Special edition. Corrections made to November 5, 1903". U.S. Government Printing Office. November 9, 1903. pp. 9–10. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  2. ^ "Ex-Senator Thomas M. Patterson Dies at Home in Denver". Oregon Daily Journal. July 24, 1916. p. 3. Retrieved January 7, 2021 – via

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
Caldwell Yeaman
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado Territory

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 2) from Colorado
Served alongside: Henry M. Teller
Succeeded by