Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

John R. Pattison (1860-1940)
MSA SC 3520-14464
Judge, Court of Appeals, 1909-1934


Born January 6, 1860, in Dorchester County, Maryland. Educated in Dorchester County public schools. Studied law with Sewell T. Milburn. Admitted to bar in 1882. Married Lillian Stapleforte in 1888; one son, John, Jr., who died at the age of eleven. Died August 25, 1940, in Dorchester County, Maryland.
Teacher, lawyer and judge. In the early days of his career, John R. Pattison taught at the Cambridge Academy in Cambridge, Maryland. He was elected Dorchester County State's Attorney in 1887. He was defeated four years later by Philips Lee Goldsborough. Pattison was an unsuccesful candidate for U.S. Senator in 1896, however, he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates four years later, serving during the 1900 and 1901 sessions. Pattison established a large legal practice in Dorchester County. He counted the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Dorchester National Bank, the Cambridge Manufacturing Company and many other large businesses, among his clients. In 1909, Pattison defeated Winder Laird Henry to become the Chief Judge of the First Judicial Circuit, and thereby attained a seat on the bench of the Court of Appeals. In 1929, the Maryland General Assembly passed a resolution extending Judge Pattison's term until the November 1934 election. This action allowed him to serve on the bench past the mandatory age of retirement. Judge Pattison retired in December 1934.

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