Born in New York City, Patten attended Mount Pleasant Academy, Ossining, New York, Columbia College, New York City from 1877 to 1879, and Columbia Law School 1880-1882. He engaged in the shipping business and subsequently operated a fleet of tugboats in New York Harbor. He served as president of the New York &. Long Branch Steamboat Co..
Patten was elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-second, Sixty-third, and Sixty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1911-March 3, 1917). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1916 to the Sixty-fifth Congress. Postmaster of New York City 1917-1921. He moved to Hollywood, California, in 1922 and served on the staff of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc., until 1924 when he retired. He died in Hollywood, California, February 23, 1939. He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California.