Family:Whitney, John Patten (1856-1933)

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John Patten9 Whitney (Timothy Watts8, Jacob7, Richard6, Richard5, Israel4, Ebenezer3, Richard2, John1), son of Timothy Watts8 and Hannah Frances (Knight) Whitney, was born Jul 1856, Venango, PA, and died 18 Mar 1933, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

He married 5 Jan 1881, Sedgwick County, KS, Hattie Catherine Lewis, daughter of William Forrester Lewis and Margaret J (Evans) Lewis. She was born 5 Aug 1858, Fleming, KY and died after 1901. No children are recorded.

John Patten Whitney was born July, 1856 in Venango County, PA, third child of Timothy and Hannah Whitney. The first few years of his life were spent near Lake Pleasant, PA where Timothy had purchased a saw mill. Later, Tim Whitney sold the business and bought buildings in the center of Waterford, PA and opened a grocery and a telegraph office. J P learned the grocery business, working in the family store. He was definitely influenced by his uncle, Hugh (HH) Whitney, who by all accounts was a restless entrepreneur, trying many different business opportunities in his lifetime.

J.P. started a grocery business with a partner in Wichita (1878-1879), but then the 1880 census lists him with his uncle, H.H. raising cattle near Medicine Lodge, KS. The Wichita City directory has him in the stockraising business in 1882. The 1885 Kansas State census records that he running a billiards hall near Medicine Lodge in Kiowa, Kansas.

Next, we find him back in the grocery business in Seattle, WA according to the 1889 State census . By 1896, he and Hattie are in Juneau, Alaska operating a mercantile. When the gold rush brings in prospectors, J P seizes the opportunity and set up a store at Dyea, Alaska, where miners would disembark from the ships, outfit and provision before setting off over the Chilcoot Pass to the Yukon. Soon, J P has his Whitney and Pedlar stores in Bennett, then Dawson and Whitehorse, moving to the Yukon in 1899. He is listed on the 1901 Canadian census with Hattie in Whitehorse.

Whitney and Pedlar becomes one of the two largest general stores in Whitehorse, which is booming. In 1905, Robert Service mentions J P Whitney as a future multi-millionaire in his poem "Bob Smart's Dream". J P invests in copper mines and mining rights. In 1912, after many years of success, he sells his interest in Whitney and Pedlar. Still the entrepreneur, he invests in a fox farm and more copper mining rights, but the price of fur falls as well as the price of copper. John P. Whitney died in Whitehorse, March 18, 1933, still remembered as one of the early business leaders in Whitehorse.

After 1901, we have no record of Hattie Whitney. She is not on the 1911 Canada census, but there is no death record on file in Whitehorse.

On various documents, J P Whitney is listed as John Pattent Whitney. His death certificate indicates John Patten Whitney. His mother's step-mother was Ann Miller Patten.


1. Death record, 18 Mar 1933, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

2. Marriage record, 5 Jan 1881, Sedgwick Co., KS

Copyright © 2010, Jerry McMillan and the Whitney Research Group