The Craik-Patton House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2015, The Gombach Group.
The Craik-Patton House (Elm Grove) is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture applied and interpreted in an interesting frame structure dating from the first half of the nineteenth century (1834). Built for a Charleston lawyer and clergyman who was the grandson of George Washington's family physician and son of Washington's secretary during his second administration. The house was later occupied by George S. Patton I, a noted military leader in western Virginia during the Civil War and grandfather of World War II's General George S. Patton.
Construction took place soon after the Charleston lot on which it was built was purchased by Reverend James Craik in 1834. "Elm Grove," as it later become known, followed classic Greek Revival lines, for the most part, with free interpretation by the local builder. Although small and unpretentious, especially by today's standards, the Craik-Patton House is interesting in its pattern. It is bilaterally symmetrical and consists of three rectangular blocks. The central unit is somewhat less deep than the side sections, but there are no distinguishing transitional features between them. Classical temple form is followed in a projecting portico, supported by four massive columns, which crosses the middle part. Roofs are of generally low pitch with the center a bit steeper than the sides; the ridge runs from front to back in the main unit, whereas the wings have a hipped front and gabled rear. Wall surfaces are rather flat, and all windows and doors are trabeated. The frame structure was originally white.
The first owner of the house was Reverend James Craik. At the time he purchased the lot, Craik was a licensed and practicing lawyer who was married to Juliet Shrewsbury, a member of a prominent family in the Charleston area. By 1830 he changed professions and became a clergyman, serving Charleston's St. John's Episcopal Church from 1839 to 1844 when he moved to Louisville, KY.
In 1858 the house was purchased by George Smith Patton in his wife's name (Susan Glasell Patton) and would remain in his family until near the end of the Civil War. George S. Patton II, father of the noted WWII general, George S. Patton, was born here. Patton had originally come to Charleston in 1856 to practice law. He had graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1852, and when he moved west he took with him a strong discipline and liking for the military-social organization he had known in Richmond as the "Light Infantry Blues." He helped organize the "Kanawha Riflemen" in 1856 along the lines of the Blues and became the first captain of the unit.
The Riflemen, a first-rate drilling company, dressed in fine green uniforms, were generally of monied families of the area. Their reputation was widespread in western Virginia where they appeared on occasion at fairs and other social gatherings. With the outbreak of the Civil War, however, they shed the fineness of green and joined the Confederacy as Company H of the 22nd Virginia Infantry.
Under Patton's command the first saw action in July of 1861, at Scary Creek along the Kanawha River. The company was also present at Carnifex Ferry, Lewisburg, Fayetteville, White Sulphur Springs and Droop Mountain; it participated in the Jones-Imboden Raid of 1863. Patton eventually rose to the rank of colonel and commanded the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment at Winchester in September of 1864. It was there that he fell, mortally wounded, to be posthumously promoted to brigadier-general.
† James E. Harding, Research Analyst, West Virginia Antiquities Commission, Craik-Patton House, Charleston, Kanawha County, WV, nomination document, 1975, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.