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John Patterson


Courtesy of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Growing Up In Phenix City
Patterson's father moved the family to Phenix City in 1933, when Patterson was in the 8th grade. The family lived in a house on Broad Street, in sight of the courthouse. At the age of 16 he got a job delivering groceries for King Grocery. It was through this job that Patterson got to know the "operators" in Phenix City as he delivered loads of groceries to the honky-tonks.


As a child, he and his friends would play their lunch money in slot machines and buy lottery tickets.

Ambition
Paterson said that it was understood in his family that he was to succeed and that he was to go to college, paying his own way. After graduating from Central High School in 1938, Patterson joined the Army, eventually rising to the rank of Major by 1953. During this time, Patterson earned his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1949, but was recalled into the Army during the Korean conflict.

The Law Practice
In 1953 Patterson returned home and joined his father's law practice. John's father, Albert Patterson, was already involved with the RBA by this time and John sat in on many of the meetings. John continued to run the law practice while his father ran for attorney general.

The Murder
When John's father, Albert Patterson, was assassinated in 1954, John flew to Washington D.C. in an attempt to meet with J. Edgar Hoover. Though he did not get his meeting, the Columbus press was waiting at the airport upon his return and printed his opinion that the people running the murder investigation were the most logical suspects. Alabama Governor Gordon Persons sent General "Crack" Hanna and the National Guard to Phenix City. On July 22 Persons declared a state of qualified martial rule in Phenix City replacing all city and county law enforcement.


Attorney General
That November, Patterson ran unopposed in his father's place for attorney general and won. He used the position to clean up Phenix City.

And Then Governor...
In 1958 Patterson defeated George Wallace to become Governor of Alabama.



MaBeachie
Albert Fuller
Albert Patterson
Hugh Bentley

John Patterson
Arch Ferrell
Si Garrett
Hoyt Shepherd


 

 

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Copyright December 3, 2002.
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