Hendrick (Henry) N. Van Patten was born on November 12, 1784 in
Schenectady Co., New York and died on August 19, 1837 in Rotterdam,
Schenectady Co., New York. Henry and his sons were said to be the largest
growers of broom corn in the state. He also operated an inn at his property at
3-Mile Stone above Schenectady. He was buried behind the inn and later
removed to Viewland Cemetery in Rotterdam at Cobblestone Church.
John Vrooman Van Patten was born on December 2, 1813 in Rotterdam,
Schenectady, New York. John retired from growing broom corn, determined to
enjoy himself inventing things. His lantern, designed to fasten to a horse's halter
for night driving, so frightened the horse it bolted. They say it didn't stop
running until the lantern went out. In 1885, he designed a ten-foot airplane in
which he coasted off a barn roof, only to become entangled in an apple tree.
He wrote to Thomas Edison, hoping to gain his collaboration on his invention,
mentioning his concern about the lack of noise and the danger of its use by
thieves who could sweep down over farms.
Jacob Winne Van Patten, twin brother to John, died on May 1, 1869 in
Rotterdam, Schenectady, New York. Jacob was the owner of a broom shop in
Rotterdam and also enjoyed applying his hand at inventing and building things.
He spent one winter in his basement building one of those new fangled steam
boats, only to find out, come spring, it was too large and heavy to be gotten out
of his cellar and his dreams of leisurely cruises along the Erie Canal were
crushed. This fiasco earned him the nickname "Steamboat Jake".
|Hendrick (Henry) Van Patten
and his whackey "Inventor" sons
John & Jacob