Skip to main content

John Patterson was a hired carpenter and joiner from Fairfax County, Virginia, who worked at Mount Vernon between 1757 and 1760. Patterson was responsible for the enlargement and renovation of the Mount Vernon mansion prior to George Washington's marriage. Primarily, Patterson managed the work done on the exterior of the house, including laying floors, building the stairs to the garrett, as well as obtaining materials. Simultaneously, Patterson had the responsibility of keeping Washington apprised of progress. On occasion, Patterson was also tasked with supervising the slave carpenters.1

Court records from the time period indicate that in addition to Mount Vernon, Patterson also made repairs to the Alexandria courthouse. Over the years Patterson employed a number of indentured servants and apprentices. He also purchased two town lots in the relatively new city of Alexandria in 1760.

Patterson was married to Susannah Patterson with whom he had three children: William, Thomas, and Betty. Patterson wrote a will in 1765 when he was contemplating a trip to Europe. The inventory of his estate, which was valued at 236 pounds, included three shillings, and three pence. In addition, Patterson reported owning a chest, a safe, tables and chests, a corner cupboard, six books, eight common chairs, beds, bedding, joiner's tools, two cows, and a calf.2



1. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, Vol. 5, 222n.

2. Mesick, Cohen and Waite, "Building Trades," Mount Vernon: Historic Structure Report (unpublished report, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 2-38.