Heavy Metal Genealogy: Mike Patton Is Related to Columbus

Heather Quinlan
Jul 23, 2020 · 4 min read
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Mike Patton has a reputation for being a little out there. Like — you have no clue what’s going on in his head out there, but the results are amazing. I had a huge crush on him when he was in Faith No More, but he was an old man of 21 at the time — I don’t want to know how old he is now.

Anyway, with ancestors named Queen Ming and Christopher Columbus, one doesn’t have to look far to see where Mike Patton gets his eccentricities. And, unlike Dave Mustaine, who claimed he’s Finnish (but isn’t), Mike Patton actually is — his maternal great-grandparents were Antti Wiljami Järvilä and Senja Tyyne Saari from Kaustinen, Finland (where they hold the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival every July.)

The Järviläs settled in Gilbert, Minnesota, and on the WWI registration form for Antti Wiljami Järvilä (aka Andrew William Jarvela), he lists his occupation as “scavenger” and his employer as the “village of Gilbert.” That was a new one for me. And if that weren’t odd enough, he died in a town called Virginia in a county called St Louis in the state of Minnesota.

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The Jarvelas had at least seven children, one of whom, Paul Jarvela, was Mike Patton’s grandfather. I couldn’t find much information on him, other than he and Patton’s grandmother, Barbara Henderson, divorced in 1973 after 22 years of marriage. It’s not unheard of for people of that generation to divorce, though in 1973 it was still uncommon. But they did have a daughter, Carole Anne Jarvela, who is Mike Patton’s mom.

Carole Anne Jarvela married Patrick Patton (I wonder if he went by Pat Patton?) in August 1967, and their son, our hero, Mike Patton was born on January 27, 1968. (No judgment here.) Pat Patton’s parents were Queen Ming and Lester Patton. While Queen Ming sounds Asian, or the wife of Ming the Merciless (“FLASH! Ahhhhhh!), the name “Ming” here is actually Welsh. I have no answer for “Queen” except that she was the daughter of a man named Christopher Columbus Ming. Queen’s husband, Lester, worked for Bell Telephones and the family lived in California.

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Queen Ming and Lester Patton

Today’s Pattons are Californians, but the family on both sides were all over the map. Queen Ming was from Marshall, Texas (Christopher Columbus Ming was also from Texas, though his parents were Alabamians. And Chris Columbus was not a sailor but a farmer.)

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Sarah Harper Youch

Patton’s great-grandfather, Robert Reasoner Patton was a truck driver from Oberlin, Kansas. Robert’s mother, Mary Shiloh Youch, was born in Pittsfield, Illinois to Sarah Harper (also from Illinois) and Jacob Youch from Schwenningen, Germany. Youch (Mike Patton’s great-great-great grandfather) died on May 5, 1862 while serving in the U.S. Civil War. On the register of soldiers’ deaths, it says the cause of death was “Vul. Sclop.” which I thought was an abbreviation for some kind of disease. But it’s the abbreviation for vulnus sclopeticum, Latin for “gunshot wound.” As there were no guns in Ancient Rome this must be a broad translation. Sadly, he and Sarah had only been married for two years. She died in 1924.

I thought perhaps Mary Shiloh’s middle name was the key to where Jacob died, but she was born six months before the Battle of Shiloh, which occurred one month before Jacob died. Perhaps Mary took on that name and her father was wounded in Shiloh but lingered for a month, though it’s unlikely. Then again, what are the odds? Also, I remember from Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” that shiloh is Hebrew for “place of peace.”

So that’s a quick look into what makes Mike Patton Mike Patton. Other than the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival I didn’t find anything particularly musical in his family, but that’s only because he might have been the first to make music his career.

Tune in next time where I delve into one rocker’s family … and his Home Sweet (?) Home.

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