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Born on August 1, 1885, near Greenwood, Arkansas, engineer and Tulsa civic leader Daniel Webster Patton at age fifteen joined his older brother, J. Gus Patton, in Indian Territory, working for the U.S. Interior Department on townsite surveys. In 1901 the brothers platted and surveyed the town of Tulsa. The younger Patton later worked as a railroad engineer and a general engineer, surveying for roads and bridges in present eastern Oklahoma. In 1906 he married Ella Wall, a Choctaw, who died in 1912. His second wife was Ethel Galloway. Patton held the position of county engineer in LeFlore and Pushmataha counties. He had made his home in Poteau as the general manager of the LeFlore County Gas and Electric Company, and in 1915 the town's residents elected him mayor.

In 1917 Patton returned to Tulsa and served as the county engineer until 1926. He orchestrated the county's first highway system, supervised the development of interurban lines, and advanced other transportation projects. A Republican, Patton capitalized on the party's 1928 national success, as Herbert Hoover defeated Al Smith for the presidential election and Patton won Tulsa's mayoral election. Serving one term, he boasted that his tenure authorized more public works than any prior administration. After emerging as a possible Republican candidate for governor, Patton was defeated in his 1930 bid for reelection to the mayor's office. In 1932 he unsuccessfully ran again, returning to his private engineering business. Beginning in1939 until 1941 he again held the Tulsa County engineer position. From 1944 to 1948 he served as Tulsa city engineer, advancing the idea of elevated expressway to encircle the town, but in 1948 Roy Lundy of Tulsa Rig and Reel Manufacturing Company ran for mayor, campaigning that he would "kill that silly expressway plan." As soon as he was elected, Lundy dismissed the engineer. Later, Patton was the state supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop loan division. Dan W. Patton died on December 30, 1963, in Tulsa. He had been a member of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church, the Tulsa Masonic Lodge, and the Elk's Lodge. He had served as president of the Engineers Club of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Society of Engineers.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Danney Goble, Tulsa! Biography of the American City (Tulsa, Okla.: Council Oak Books, 1997). Joseph B. Thoburn, A Standard History of Oklahoma, Vol. 3 (Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1916). Tulsa (Oklahoma) Tribune, 10 December 1963 and 30 December 1963. Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 31 December 1963.

Larry O'Dell

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