John Patton Erwin
Mayor of the City of Nashville
John Patton Erwin was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, on January 8, 1795. He was the son of Andrew Erwin, a land speculator, and Jane Patton, who later settled in Bedford County, Tennessee. In 1815 John Patton Erwin married Frances (Fannie) Lanier Williams of Panther Creek, North Carolina. The Erwins were the parents of 10 children.
Mrs. Erwin was from a prominent political family. Her brothers held important public service positions ... John was a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Lewis was a U.S. Representative from North Carolina, and Thomas was Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
In 1817, Erwin was elected to the Nashville Board of Alderman and was admitted to the bar in 1820. In 1821, he became Mayor in the first of his two nonconsecutive terms. Additional civic service included being the Principal Clerk of the Tennessee House of Representatives as well as editor of the Nashville Whig.
In 1826, he was appointed United States Postmaster at Nashville by President John Quincy Adams. This necessitated his resignation as an employee of the General Assembly as well as from the newspaper. After serving as Postmaster, Erwin became Cashier at the Yeateman, Woods Bank. Beginning in 1830, he served as a Justice of the Peace for two terms, and in 1834 he was elected to a second term as Mayor.
In 1831, Mayor Erwin purchased the “Buena Vista” mansion as a family home, and he lived in this house for the remainder of his life. In 1860, his widow sold the home to the Trustees of the Dominican Order of the Congregation of Saint Cecelia, and it is now the site of their Motherhouse.
In his last years, Mayor Erwin suffered from paralysis. He died on August 27, 1857 and is buried in the historic Nashville City Cemetery.
Research compiled by Carter G. Baker, a member of the Nashville City Cemetery Association Board, whose wife is a collateral descendant of Mayor Erwin's wife.
CLICK HERE for a much more detailed biographical background compiled by Carter Baker
and documenting the history of Erwin's emnity towards Andrew Jackson.
CLICK HERE for an article connecting Emily Baker's "very distant relationship" to
Craighead, John Erwin, and Andrew Jackson.