People: Scots of Windsor's Past
Andrew Patillo (1801-1875) & Family:
One of Maidstone Township's earliest pioneers, Andrew Patillo was born in 1801 in Perthshire, Scotland. He married Elizabeth Scrimgeaur, a woman eleven years his senior, some time in the early 1820s and the two left Scotland to seek better opportunities in the 1830s. Their transatlantic voyage took three months, their ship three times being driven off-course by violent storms. They disembarked at New York City and traveled by way of the Erie Canal to Detroit, where Andrew worked in the sawmill.
In 1836, the Patillos had saved up enough money to buy the east half of Lot 2 in Maidstone's fledgling Scottish Settlement for £150. They built a frame farm house on the property and established themselves as one of the hardest-working families in the area. In the 1850s, Andrew and his sons built and launched the Elizabeth, the first two-mast scow to trade on Lake Saint Clair. Captained by Andrew's oldest son, James, the Elizabeth could carry over one hundred cords of hickory, and was used to transport cord wood and building timber cleared from Maidstone's farm lots to Detroit to be sold. Later the Patillos launched a second vessel, the Ontario, on the lake.
The other residents of Maidstone were so impressed with Andrew's diligent work ethic, honesty, and reliability that they elected him Reeve of Maidstone Township in 1852. He continued to hold that office for three consecutive terms, and his fourth term (1859-1860) was bookended by two terms as Town Councillor (1857-1858 and 1861-1862). During this time, the Patillos purchased the rest of Lot 2, parts of Lots 1 and 3, and all of Lot 4, expanding their holdings from Puce River to Belle River.
Andrew died in 1875, and Elizabeth followed in 1878. Their oldest son, James, was born in Scotland in 1825. James matured in the Scotch Settlement, where he met and married Mary Struthers, the daughter of an immigrant from Glasgow. They had two daughters: Mary, the eldest, wed Peter Corbet, and Anne married William Angus. That union produced two children, a boy and a girl named Walter and May.
Catherine, the Patillo's only daughter, was born in New York while the family was en route to Detroit. Although she never married, she was very active in the Presbyterian church and devoted herself to charitable work. She died in Windsor in 1903.
George, the third son, was born in Detroit in 1836. In 1867 he married Victoria Grant, the daughter of Captain Duncan and Janet Grant. They had three children: George Duncan, who was born that same year; Emma, born 1869; and Charles Andrew, born 1873. Emma grew up and married Henry Arnold while Charles wed Lotta Martin. They had a daughter named Pearl. George lived as a homestead farmer and cheese-maker who earned a great deal of respect from the community. The Gazetteer of Essex County 1866-7 praised him as being "a man of substance and reliability, whose word is as good as another's bond." 1
Maidstone honoured the Patillo family by naming the township's first post office for them. The Patillo Post Office opened in June 1874, and it closed in 1913, twenty years after having its name changed to the Puce Post Office. While this building no longer stands, the Lakeshore road bearing the Patillo name remains as a reminder of the family's impact on the community.