"Hezzie" Goes to War: World War I through the Eyes of a Mid-Missourian

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John "Hezzie" Pattrick
John Hezekiah ("Hezzie") Pattrick
John Hezekiah ("Hezzie") Pattrick was born on December 24, 1888, to Melissa Whitmore and William Robert Pattrick. Hezzie was raised on the family farm near Higbee, Missouri (Randolph County). He graduated from Columbia Normal School Academy and Columbia Business College in 1907. During the summer of that same year, Hezzie became a traveling stereoscope and Fuller Brush salesman. In 1912, he graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Education and an A.B. in Arts and Sciences.

During the summers of 1908 and 1909, he "hobo'd" throughout the United States exploring various scenic wonders and expositions. Later, he became the secretary to the Dean of the Academic School at the University of Missouri.

From July 1912 to April 1913 Hezzie was an agent for the claims department of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. In May 1913 he came the agent for a large and substantial Hawaiian business concern, living in Honolulu until July 1914. During this time, Hezzie taught English/Bible studies to Chinese boys at YMCA evening classes.

He attended law school at the University of Chicago from September 1914 to September 1915. He then attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he also taught high school English and cared for an invalid.

When the United States entered World War I, Hezzie volunteered and sailed with the first detachment of American troops to France on the Baltic with General John Pershing on May 28, 1917. Initially he went as a civilian clerk and "confidential secretary" to the Medical Corps of the Quartermaster Department.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Engineer Corps and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on March 30, 1918. Hezzie was assigned to the military aerial photography school, which was the first of its kind, and subsequently taught there. He was a pioneer in this school that evolved into the Army Intelligence School. He was serving at the front - Headquarters Second American Army - when the war ended.

Hezzie taught commercial law in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) School in France, which was established to occupy the American soldiers awaiting space on ships to return to the United States. Lieutenant Pattrick was discharged in Washington, DC, on July 29, 1919. During this same year, Hezzie was admitted to the Washington, DC, Bar. He became an officer in the Reserve Corps of the Army and attained the rank of Major by the time he was discharged in 1942.

During the early 1920s, Hezzie served as an attorney for the Income Tax Department of the US Government. He also graduated from George Washington University Law School (LLB 1920; LLM 1921) and the Washington School of Accountancy (1922).

In 1922 Hezzie became secretary to Theodore Gary, chairman of the State Highway Commission at Kansas City, Missouri. In addition, he taught evening classes at the Kansas City School of Law from 1922 to 1927. Harry S. Truman was one of his students.

On June 3, 1924, John H. Pattrick married Edna Elizabeth Riley, who was born July 7, 1901, in Macon, Missouri. (Elizabeth Riley graduate Macon High School in 1919. She toured with the Winter Lyceum during 1919-20, taught rural school 1920-21, and cashiered 1921-22. From 1922 to 1924, she was an assistant librarian in the Macon County Public Library.)

The couple honeymooned in Europe and the Middle East. They had two children, Robert Riley Pattrick, born November 21, 1926, and Elizabeth Pattrick Mackenzie, born July 26, 1928.

From the late 1920s into the 1930s, Hezzie worked in the banking business; was Superintendent of Concordia, Missouri, Public Schools; and business manager for Culver Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. He was an agent for the Estate Tax Department, Internal Revenue Service of the US Government in Michigan from 1937-1941 and in California from 1941-1958.

Hezzie became an Independent Tax Consultant from 1958 until his death in 1970. He was active in church work his entire life.


This online exhibit tells a part of John H. Pattrick's story through documenting his World War I experiences: the experiences of a civilian then junior officer serving at various behind-the-lines posts. His service provides us with a view different from those who served in the trenches.

A Joint Exhibit
of the
University of Missouri
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia
and the University of Missouri-Columbia
Museum of Anthropology

Acknowledgments and World War I Links


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