Patten, David W.
Author: Baugh, Alexander L.
David Wyman Patten (1799-1838), son of Benenio (Benoni) Patten and Abigale (Edith) Cole, was born in Theresa, Jefferson County, New York, on November 14, 1799. He left his home at an early age and settled near Dundee, Monroe County, Michigan. In 1828 he married Phoebe Ann Babcock. They had no children.
Patten first became acquainted with the Book of Mormon around 1830. In May 1832 he received a letter from his brother John, who was living in Green County, Indiana, noting that he had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patten journeyed to Indiana and was baptized by his brother on June 15, 1832. Two days later he was ordained an elder by Elisha H. Groves. On September 2, 1832, he was ordained a high priest by Hyrum Smith.
Until his death in 1838, Patten served almost continuously as a missionary for the Church. He established numerous branches of the Church on each of his proselytizing journeys and was renowned for his spiritual gift of healing.
On February 14, 1835, Patten was chosen as one of the Twelve Apostles and was ordained the following day by Oliver Cowdery. On May 2, 1835, the Prophet Joseph Smith directed that the seniority of the Twelve be determined according to the members' ages. Patten was uncertain of his exact birth date, and Thomas B. Marsh (born 1800) was mistakenly adjudged to be the older of the two, and thus was made the President of the Quorum.
During the latter part of 1836, Elder Patten settled in Far West, Missouri. Following Church action taken against the presidency of the stake in Missouri (David Whitmer, William W. Phelps, and John Whitmer) in early February 1838, Thomas B. Marsh and Patten were appointed as Presidents pro tem of the Church in Missouri. On April 6, 1838, Patten and Brigham Young were sustained as assistant presidents of the Church in Missouri, with Thomas B. Marsh as President pro tem.
In April 1838, Joseph Smith received a revelation instructing Patten to prepare for a mission with the Twelve the following spring (D&C 114); however, Patten did not live to fulfill the assignment. He died on October 25, 1838, from a wound suffered in a battle at Crooked River when a contingent of Caldwell County militia (all Mormons), under his leadership, attempted to rescue three Latter-day Saints who had been taken prisoners by a company of Missourians from Ray County. He was buried in Far West, Missouri, two days later. In January 1841 a revelation was given to Joseph Smith in which the Lord indicated that David W. Patten "is with me at this time" (D&C 124:19, 130).
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 76-80. Salt Lake City, 1901.
Wilson, Lycurgus A. Life of David W. Patten, the First Apostolic Martyr. Salt Lake City, 1900.
ALEXANDER L. BAUGH