James Burson Patton

The following profile was researched and compiled by Candice L. Buchanan and Glenn J. R. T. Toothman III, for www.RainDayBoys.com.

Birth: 28 September 1889 or 28 December 1889 Greene County, Pennsylvania

Parents: Joseph Patton and Ella Rebecca Webb

Residence at time of enlistment: Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Physical description: 5 feet 5 inches tall, florid complexion, blue eyes, brown hair

Death: Killed in action October 1918 near Varennes-en-Argonne, Lorraine, France. The specific day is in dispute due to contradictions among the records, varying from October 2 through October 6.

Age at death: 29 years old

Last resting place: Oakmont Cemetery, Franklin Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Military rank: Serial No. 1241392. Lieutenant. Company K, 110th Infantry, 28th Division.

Witness account of death: Statement given by Sgt. James L. Meighen: "I was near Sgt. Patton when he was killed October 2nd, 1918. We were just acrossed the river from the town of Apremont in the Argonne Sector. He was first hit in the leg and later hit in the head and killed. He was hit with either rifle or machine gun fire. We were advanced ahead of the company in a wave and were caught in flank fire. He volunteer[ed] to carry a message back to the company, just as he started he was hit and killed. He called to me that he was shot and that he could not make it, and for me to send someone else."

Additional information:

"Sergt. James B. Patton Killed in Action" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 7 November 1918, page 1, columns 6-7. Transcribed by Candice Buchanan.
"Sergt. James Patton Killed in Action.
Meets Death Oct. 6, Facing the Enemy - Much Loved by His Comrades.
Had Been Recommended for a Commission by Lieut. Col. Martin.
Death Causes Severe Sorrow Here.
Word has been authentically received of the death in action of another of Waynesburg's brave and excellent young men, while fighting for the cause of freedom on the battlefields of France.  Another gold star is to be added to the banner of Co. K, 110th, Regiment, but deep sorrow has thereby fallen upon a home which expected within a short time to welcome back their brave young soldier.
Sergeant James B. Patton is the twenty-second member of Co. K from Greene County who has made the supreme sacrifice. Bravely he did his duty and nobly he has given his life in defense of that which is held most dear, next to human life.
The first information concerning his death was contained in a letter written by a comrade, Ross Minor, of Co. K, to a friend here, received last Friday, in which he stated: "An ambulance driver has just told me that he brought in Jim Patton, dead." His death was on Oct. 6th. One or two other letters have arrived containing the same sad news and on Monday, Mrs. Martin received a letter from her husband, Lieut. Col. Edward Martin verifying the previous ones. We are privileged to publish an extract from Col. Martin's letter, elsewhere.
Sergeant James B. Patton was the second son of Attorney and Mrs. Joseph Patton, of Waynesburg. He was born here Dec. 28, 1889, being in his 28th year. He was educated in our schools and for several years had charge of his father's farm near Clarksville. The next day after the United States entered the war against Germany in April 1917, he enlisted in Co. K stating to his parents that morning that he "intended to enlist." He drilled with the company here and received promotion to corporal. He was with the company throughout its period of training at Camp Hancock, Ga., and went with the organization to France. His record for bravery and military efficiency in the first battles won for him promotion to sergeant and, as stated by Col. Martin, he had just before his death been recommended for a commission.
Many fine things are told of his nobleness of character by Sergeant Floyd Patterson, now here. Sergeants Patton and Patterson together carried several of their wounded comrades off the field. Among these were Frank Orndoff, John Paden and others who were most seriously injured. A big fellow from Philadelphia, formerly of the Third regiment, which was combined with the 110th, formed a strong attachment for Sergeant Patton. The Quaker City boy was constantly getting into trouble, and was frequently in the guard house. Sergt. Patton would always come to his rescue, give him a severe lecture and then secure his release, by vouching for his good behavior in the future. As Sergeants Patton and Patterson were  searching the field for wounded one day, after a severe battle, they found the Philadelphian. They stooped down and picked him up and were carrying him back and when about half way to the lines the wounded man said: "Place me upon the ground." This done, he again remarked: "Patton pray for me!" Sergt. Patton asked Patterson to offer prayer, but the wounded comrade protested, saying: "No, Patton, I want you to pray for me." They knelt down and Sergt. Patton, in the open battlefield, offered a fervent prayer for his comrade. Taking up their burden they again started, but before they reached the lines their comrade was dead - his soul having passed into the future life to receive the reward which awaits those who have nobly done their duty. This is but one scene in the lives of our soldier boys overseas.
Sergeant Patton was most popular among his friends at home as well as with his comrades in the army. He was known for his reliability and trustworthiness and never in the slightest way had deceived anyone.
Beside his parents, he is survived by one brother, Wm. A. Patton, and a sister, Miss Helen Patton, of Waynesburg.
His death causes deep sorrow among his large number of friends throughout our county and sympathy by all is tendered to the bereaved family.
Major Edward Martin of the 110th Regiment in a letter received this week by Mrs. Martin pays a fine tribute to Sergeant James Patton and some of his comrades. He says:
"Jim Patton, Bill Meighen and young Swart were killed in the last drive. They were all wonderful soldiers and have done much to keep Co. K together. They were all brave and cool fighters. During a counter attack in the last drive, Co. K was on one side of a wall and the Germans on the other side. They fought with hand grenades and Co. K was certainly a grand victor. Sergeant Jim Patton and Sergeant Austin Dille were the leaders. Jim was killed two days later.
I was recommending them both for commissions. Jim was killed by a machine gun while leading his wave (60 men). He was the most popular boy in the company.
I feel so sorry for the mothers and fathers who have lost sons. The county cannot do enough for them. I would like to write a letter to every one of them, but censorship will not permit, nor do I have the time. When Southwestern Pennsylvania knows just what their boys have done they certainly will be proud.
Mothers who have lost sons may console themselves that every life lost by us brought peace that much closer and that the boys were clean and prepared. You never saw a cleaner or a manlier lot. You do not need preachers, Y.M.C.A. men, etc. to tell these men to be good.
They are moral. They go into the most dangerous attacks with a smile. Our last fight was a hard one. We started Sept. 26 and quit Oct. 11. In the drive our regiment took 9 villages and 500 prisoners; captured 5 pieces of artillery, about 75 machine guns and several tanks and truck motors."


  • Memorial Services and Dedication of Tablet, Company K, 110th (10th Pa.) Infantry: Waynesburg, Pa., Sunday, May 30, 1920 (Waynesburg, Pennsylvania: Sutton's Printing Office, 1920), page 3, James B. Patton entry.
  • "PA National Guard Veterans' Card File, 1867-1921," digital images, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Pennsylvania State Archives Records Information Access System (www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/archive.asp: viewed 7 February 2018), James B. Patton, Private, Co K, 10th Inf., P. N. G.; citing series #19.135.
  • "Sergt. James B. Patton Killed in Action" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 7 November 1918, page 1, columns 6-7.
  • "United States, Army Transport Service Passenger Lists 1910-1939," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61174 : accessed 7 February 2018), James B. Patton entry, line 142, page 34 (stamped), Ausonia, box 373; citing Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938. Textual records. 255 Boxes. NAI: 6234477. Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985. Record Group Number 92. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
  • "WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60884 : accessed 7 February 2018), Joseph Patton, father of James Burson Patton - application no. 65455; citing World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948 (RG 19, Series 19.91), Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.