Beatrice Banning Patton

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Beatrice Banning Patton (Ayer)

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Beverly, Essex Co., MA
Death: September 30, 1953 (67)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Frederick Fanning Ayer and Ellen Barrows Ayer
Wife of George Smith Patton, Jr.
Mother of Beatrice "Bee" Patton; Ruth Ellen "Nell" Patton and Maj. Gen. George Smith Patton, IV
Sister of Frederick Ayer and Mary Katherine Merrill
Half sister of Ellen Wheaton Wood (Ayer); James Cook Ayer; Charles Fanning Ayer and Louise Raynor Ayer

Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Beatrice Banning Patton

On Thursday, May 26, 1910, a lovely Spring day, Beatrice Ayer and George Patton were married at Beverly Farms Episcopal Church near Boston, Massachusetts. Beatrice, the daughter of Frederick Ayer of Boston, who was owner of the American Woolen Company, could have done much better than George Patton, a shavetail career soldier just two years out of West Point. At least that was the consensus among many family friends. Luckily, "doing better" never occurred to Beatrice. She loved Lieutenant Patton, and he loved her.

Throughout his miliatry career, George wrote the most beautiful love letters to Beatrice - "I love you so, Bea ... I am not so hellish young and it is not spring, yet still I love you just as much as if we were 22 again on the baseball grandstand at West Point the night I graduated."

Once when a gasoline lantern had exploded in his face and he was badly burned, he wrote to her on October 7, 1916, "I love you with all my heart and would have hated worst to have been blinded because I could not have seen you."

In spite of their love for each other, there were many explosive episodes during the Pattons' 30 years together. One of them occurred in 1912 after George had placed fifth in the Military Pentathlon in the Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He had attended the games at his own expense and afterward, with permission from the War Department, he stayed in Europe to attend special fencing classes offered by the French Army School at Saumur, France. After the course had ended, Beatrice had spent many hours packing their belongings and finally had everything crated, sealed, and ready to board the ship. George came running into their flat with a couple of new French swords that he had just purchased. He handed them to Beatrice demanding that she open one of the crates she had worked on so long and hard, and re-pack it with the new acquisitions.

This was the last straw for Beatrice, and her temper flared. She unsheathed one of the swords and chased "Saber George" around the room, cursing with expletives that should have made her warrior husband proud. After she had "treed" him on top of the crates, stabbing at his legs, and making him dance quite a jig, he pleaded, "G-- D--- it, Bea, I'm sorry! I'll pack them myself!" And he did.

Patton met Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Boston industrialist Frederick Ayer.[7] The two wed on 26 May 1910 in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. They had three children, Beatrice Smith (born March 1911),[8] Ruth Ellen (born February 1915),[9] and George Patton IV (born December 1923)

She was born Beatrice Banning Ayer in Haverhill, Massachusetts the daughter of Frederick Ayer an industrialist who owned a woolen mill. She enjoyed the life of privilege & attended prestigious finishing schools. She met George Patton for the first time as children. The friendship resulted in marriage in 1910 which lasted over thirty years and produced three children. Their son, George S. Patton III continued the West Point tradition and became a general. Beatrice had many talents. She was bilingual in French and translated many French army manuals into english. She was an expert equestrian, a fine lecturer and an able sailor with a sloop of her own.

She was a fine writer complyling three books. She covered the country during WWII raising money during bond drives. After the tragic death of her husband in 1945, Mrs. Patton became a forceful and persuasive speaker advocating universal military training. On September 30,1953 at Hamilton, Massachusetts, while horse riding she suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm which took her life instantly causing her to fall from the animal. After a brief Episcopal service, she was cremated. Her wish to be buried with her husband was well known to her children. An Army nurse is the only woman buried at the American Cemetery and memorial. There is another woman's presence: The ashes of the general's widow, Beatrice Ayer Patton were strewn over his grave by their children several years after her death. Bio by John R. Bacak

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Beatrice Banning Patton's Timeline

January 12, 1886
Beverly, Essex Co., MA
March 19, 1911
Age 25
Massachusetts, United States
February 28, 1915
Age 29
Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States
December 24, 1924
Age 38
Los Angeles County California
September 30, 1953
Age 67