Patterson, William Franklin, Jr. [Frank] (1904–1966)

By: Cody K. Carlson

Type: Biography

Published: July 10, 2018

Updated: October 2, 2020

William Franklin “Frank” Patterson, Jr., attorney and member of the Texas House of Representatives, son of William Franklin Patterson, Sr., and Lillie Maude (Petty) Patterson, was born at Fort Worth, Texas, on February 27, 1904. He attended Central High School and Texas Christian University and received his LL.B. from Cumberland University in Tennessee. Patterson, like his father before him, was an attorney and practiced law in Fort Worth. He was first elected as a Democrat to the Texas House of Representatives in the Forty-first legislature as a flotorial representative for Tarrant and Denton counties and began his term on January 8, 1929. While serving his first term, he married Sallie Rebecca Malinda Harlan on September 19, 1931, at the House of Representatives in Austin. The couple had two daughters, Dorothy and Patricia, and a son who died at childbirth (1933).

Patterson served a total of three terms in the Forty-first through Forty-third legislatures in the Texas House of Representatives between 1929 and 1935 and served as chair of the Common Carriers Committee (Forty-third legislature) and on committees such as Military Affairs, Public Health, Judiciary, and others. He also chaired the committee to select a photographer for the official photograph for the Forty-second Texas Legislature. In 1930 Patterson refused to fill out a controversial questionnaire among House members that would disclose his income. During his 1932 election campaign, his opponent, Democrat and former State Senator R. L. Carlock, made an issue of the fact that Patterson did not own a home and accused him of paying little in taxes. Patterson ran in the Democratic primary for the Texas Senate in 1934 but lost to incumbent Frank Rawlings. In the 1930s he served as an officer in the Texas National Guard with the Thirty-sixth Division. During World War II he was a judge advocate general with the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations.

He retired at the rank of major and returned to his Fort Worth law practice. Patterson was active in a number of area organizations including the Optimist Club, Elks Club, and Dallas Consistory of Scottish Rite Moslah Temple Shrine. He died from lung cancer on March 17, 1966, in Fort Worth and is interred in Greenwood Memorial Park.

Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Frank Patterson, Jr. (, accessed July 3, 2018. Texas Bar Journal, April 1966. “William Franklin ‘Frank’ Patterson, Jr” Find A Grave Memorial (, accessed July 3, 2018.

  • Military
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Forty-first Legislature (1929-1930)
  • House
  • Forty-second Legislature (1931-1932)
  • Forty-third Legislature (1933-1934)
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Cody K. Carlson, “Patterson, William Franklin, Jr. [Frank],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

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July 10, 2018
October 2, 2020

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