Born in Owensville, Ohio, JOHN M. PATTISON attended public schools and worked as a clerk in his father’s store until he joined the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. When the war ended, he entered Ohio Wesleyan University, from which he graduated in 1869. He served as an agent for the Union Central Life Insurance Company in Bloomington, Illinois and then returned to Ohio to study law, winning admission to the Bar in 1872. He was an attorney for the Cincinnati and Marietta Railroad until his election to the Ohio Legislature in 1873, representing Hamilton County. He declined renomination after one term and entered the law firm of Yaple, Moos and Pattison. He also served as attorney for the Committee of Safety, a nonpartisan organization in Cincinnati for the promotion of civic welfare. In 1881 he was elected Vice President of Union Central Life, becoming its president ten years later. He was a member of the state Senate representing the Clermont-Brown Counties district. He also served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1891 to 1893, but lost his race for reelection. He was elected governor in 1905 but was noticeably ill during his inaugural address and served for only ten days. During his brief administration, the saloon tax was raised, legislation was passed authorizing local option on the sale of liquor in residential districts, salaries were provided for county officials, a two-cent railroad far was established, and the office of Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs was superseded by a three-member railroad commission.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 45. New York: James T. White & Company.