Frederick Patterson’s Father was born a slave in Virginia in 1833. He escaped in 1861 and settled in Greenfield, Ohio, the next year, where he found work as a blacksmith for a carriage builder, Dines and Simpson.
By 1870, the elder Patterson had risen to the position of shop foreman and the next year Frederick was born, the youngest of four children. Within two years of Frederick’s birth, his father had partnered with another local carriage builder to open a new concern— Patterson and Lowe.
Encouraged by his parents to educate himself, Frederick graduated high school in 1888 and enrolled at The Ohio State University where he was the first African-American on the school’s football team. He left school before graduation to take a job, not in his father’s factory, but as a history teacher in Louisville, Kentucky. His older brother, Samuel, had joined his father in what was now called C.R. Patterson and Son.
Unfortunately, Samuel died and in 1897 the family business was in trouble. Frederick resigned his teaching position and returned to Greenfield to assist. The company was renamed once again to C.R. Patterson and Sons. Frederick’s attentions kept the organization successful until the death of C.R. Patterson in 1910.