Presbyterian minister Joseph Patterson (1752-1832) was born to Robert and Jane Patterson in Northern Ireland. He married Jane Moak in February 1772, and in early 1773 emigrated to America, stopping briefly in Pennsylvania and settling in Saratoga County, New York. In 1774 he and his family moved to Germantown, Pennsylvania, where Patterson worked as a teacher. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Patterson enlisted as a private. Upon leaving the army in 1777, Paterson moved first to the County of York, Pennsylvania, and in 1779 to remote Washington, Pennsylvania. Beginning in 1785, he studied for the ministry under revivalist preacher Reverend Joseph "Hell Fire" Smith (1736-1792), founder of the Redstone Presbytery. After three years of study, Patterson was ordained in 1789 and preached in Raccoon and Montour's Run churches until 1802. He spent some of that year as a missionary to the Shawnee Indians in Chillicothe, Ohio. For the next 14 years (1802-1816), he focused his energies on the Montour's Run church. He retired to Pittsburgh in 1816. Throughout his ministry, Patterson was an active supporter of missionary societies, Bible distribution, and Sunday schools, and was a trustee of Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson College). On February 4, 1832, Patterson died at his home in Pittsburgh.
Patterson and his wife Jane Moak had eight children, the eldest of which was Robert Patterson (b.1773) who also became a Presbyterian minister.