Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Story of Thomas R. Patton

The following blog post was written by Brother Hunter Winters, Youth Region D Representative, and PMC of Carlisle Chapter. 

History is a very important part of DeMolay because of the many ancient ideals it is based on. The origins of DeMolay stem from the 9 boys who decided to come together and form this group, but there are other influential figures. Frank S. Land is known as the Founder of this Order and is highly recognized in the world of DeMolay. Thomas Patton is one of these influential figures, who many DeMolays know very little about even though he is the namesake for the Masonic Conference Center - Patton Campus in Elizabethtown.

Thomas Ranken Patton was born in Ireland in 1824. He came to the United States in 1844 and started to work with his uncle in the tea importing business. He would quickly find his own success in the United States by starting a grocery importation business and would soon become a full citizen in 1852. He then became a Freemason in 1861 by joining Union Lodge No. 121 in Philadelphia. He served as Worshipful Master in 1867.

Throughout his life he gained a number of important positions in both the business world and in the realm of Freemasonry. In business, he became the director of the Union Trust Company and the Electrical Cable Construction Company among many other titles. In Freemasonry, he served as the Grand Treasurer for the Grand Lodge and was the Representative of the Grand Lodge of England to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

After the death of his wife, Ellen, he created the Thomas Ranken Patton Memorial Charity Fund to help widows. He donated 150,000 dollars to this fund and helped many people throughout the masonic world. He then donated the building which would eventually become the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys, known by many today as Masonic Conference Center - Patton Campus, a place where DeMolays, Rainbows and Job's Daughters can gather from all over the Commonwealth, and on occasion, from all over the world.

When you walk into the side entrance of Patton Campus, you will walk past a number of display cases containing items such as the ones below. These items served as physical reminders of the life of Thomas Patton, the immigrant who would serve his community and his Freemason brethren throughout his life. If you'd like to read a little more about the life of Thomas R. Patton, check out the biography on the PMYF website at pmyf.org

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