Granddaughter of Gen. Longstreet dies at age 84
By Alana Swain
August 13, 2014
Jamie Louise Longstreet Paterson, a Gainesville native and granddaughter of Confederate Gen. James Longstreet, died on Aug. 5.
Born on July 22, 1930, in Gainesville, Paterson was the daughter of Fitz Randolph Longstreet and Zelia Stover Longstreet. She graduated from Gainesville High School in 1948, attending Gainesville Business School shortly after.
Joe Whitaker, treasurer of The Longstreet Society, said he remembers being in school with Paterson as they were growing up in the area.
“When I started Main Street School, I think she was in third grade, and I knew who she was from Day One,” he said.
Whitaker even said he recalls a specific instance showcasing Paterson’s involvement in her well-known and historic family, even as a high school student.
“When I was a sophomore in high school, I believe, she got Helen Dortch Longstreet (wife of Gen. Longstreet) to come and speak to the whole assembly at Gainesville High School,” he said.
“Her father was still living while she was in high school,” Whitaker continued, “but they had Jamie to do all activities that had to do anything with the Gen. Longstreet.”
Paterson went on to work at the Gainesville Midland Railroad. She lived in what was once the old Piedmont Hotel at 827 Maple St., which was owned by Gen. Longstreet, and is now a museum and headquarters of The Longstreet Society.
After meeting her late husband, William D. Paterson, in 1953, at a square dance while he was stationed at an Army Ranger camp in North Georgia, the two were married in 1957 and relocated to Washington, D.C.
The couple relocated again to Bowie, Md., in 1962, and raised two sons. Paterson eventually moved to Northern Virginia in May after battling Myelodysplastic syndrome and pulmonary fibrosis.
“She definitely should be recognized,” said Whitaker. “If they gave her something to do officially to represent the Longstreet family, she did it well. She didn’t seek notoriety at all,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things in Gainesville because of the Longstreet family,” Whitaker added. “There’s a lot that we don’t realize, how much the general brought to Gainesville after he moved here.”
According to her obituary, Paterson was skilled with crafts and sewing, was fond of gardening, and “took great pride in her flowers, enjoying them while sitting on her front porch swing when the weather was nice.”
Paterson was also happy for The Longstreet Society and recognition of her grandfather, said Garland Reynolds, a Gainesville architect who worked on the Piedmont Hotel.
“(She was) a very sweet lady and friend,” Reynolds said.
She is survived by her two sons, William Daniel “Dan” Paterson Jr. and James R. Paterson, her daughter-in-law, Sherry Paterson, her grandson, Shane Comegys and his wife, Melissa Comegys, and two great-grandsons, Elijah and Jude Comegys.
Paterson also had a great-granddaughter on the way, whom she knew about before she passed.
She will be interred at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville in the Longstreet family plot in October.
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