WV-FOOTSTEPS-L ArchivesArchiver > WV-FOOTSTEPS > 1999-09 > 0937846706
Subject: BIO: The MATHEWS Family, Greenbrier County
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 12:58:26 EDT
History of Greenbrier County
THE MATHEWS FAMILY
The name of Mathews, in any of its Anglo-Saxon variants, was adopted by the
sons of Sir Mathew ap Jevan ap Griffyth Gethyn, tenth in lineal descent from
Gwaettfoed, Prince of Cardigan, Wales, whose descendants were long deemed
feudal barons of Llandaff, County Glamorgan, Wales. Sir Mathew was knighted
in 1386 by Richard II, and his descendants took the name of Mathew or Mathews
instead of the Welsh "ap" or ''son of,'' the addition of the ''5'' signifying
to the English the same thing as the Welsh "ap," the Irish "0" and the Scotch
The armorial bearings of the Mathews are numerous, Burke, in his General
Armoury, devoting over two and one-half pages to the arms, crests and
mottoes. In nearly all.the lion is an important figure, and it is said the
lion was used as a distinctive device by the descendants of Gwaettfoed,
Prince of Cardigan, long before the dawn of heraldry. The bearings used by
the Mathews of Virginia and West Virginia are described as follows:
Arms: Gyronny of eight, sable and gules, a lion rampant, or.
Crest: A demi lion rampant, or.
Motto: Heb-d-Dhuw Heb-d-dim a-d-Dhuw a-digon.
(Without God nothing, with God enough.)
Sir Mathew ap levan married Jenet, daughter of Richard Fleming, and had three
sons: David, Robert and Lewis. The oldest, Sir David, was one of the most
distinguished men of his time, having been made grand standard bearer of
England by Edward IV, as a reward for saving his life at the battle of
Towton, Palm Sunday 1461. Sir Davis died about 1480 and his tomb, ornamented
with his full length figure in full armor. is still in existence in the
cathedral in Llandaff, Wales.
The second son, Robert, of Castell-y-Mynach, Wales, was the progenitor of the
Mathews family in Virginia. His great-great-grandson was Tobias Mathew,
archbishop of York, who married Frances Barlow, and whose son, Samuel
Mathews, was horn in 1592 and was sent to Virginia by James I in 1622 as one
of five commissioners "to make particular and diligent inquiry concern-mg the
present state of the colony." In 1623 he was commissioned captain of a
company to go against the Tanx Powhatan Indians. in 1625 he was appointed one
of the king's council in Virginia, Sir Francis Wyatt being governor. He
remained a member of that body until 1644. In December, 1656, he was elected
to the council again, this time to that place nearest the governor, and on
March 13, 1657, was elected governor of the colony by the House of Burgesses,
and remained in office till his death in i660. He owned several plantations,
one of which was first called "Mathews Manour," but afterwards known as
"Denbeigh," and it is from the latter that the county seat of Warwick county
takes its name, it being located upon that plantation. He also owned "Fleur
de Hundred," near Point Comfort. He married the daughter of Sir Thomas
Hinton and had by her two sons, Samuel and Francis.
Samuel, the eldest son of the foregoing, was a member of the House of
Burgesses in 1652 and lieutenant colonel and member of the council in 1655.
His great-grandson, John Mathews, moved between 1730 and 1734 to the
"district of West Augusta," afterwards Augusta county, Virginia, and settled
near the Natural Bridge, in the forks of the James river. There is in
existence a grant of 1,600 acres of land from George II to "John Mathews,
Gent., on Mill creek in the forks of James river." In 1742 John Mathews was a
member of the Augusta county militia in Capt. John Buchanan's company. in
1756 occurred the first election ever held in Augusta, being the election of
the vestry for Augusta parish, and it resulted in the choice of, among
others. John Mathews and his brother-in-law, John Archer. It was a sign of
prominence in those days to be a member of the vestry, as only the most
eminent and representative men were chosen. Vestrymen were not only
ecclesiastical officers but they had the care of the poor and attended to the
important duty of "processioning" lands. All vestrymen were required by law
to take the various oaths 'Cmposed upon public officers. In 1756 John Mathews
was a captain of a company of infantry in the Augusta militia and was an
ensign in the French and Indian war. He married Anne Archer, daughter of
Sampson Archer. Her sister, Betsey. married Robert Renix (now Renick), hence
the relation between the Mathews and Renicks. In 1758 Sampson Archer was a
church-warden of Augusta parish, and he also served as lieutenant in the
French and Indian war. John Mathews and Anne Archer had seven sons: John,
Joshua, Richard, George, Sampson, William and Archer, and four daughters,
Jane, Anne, Rachael and Elizabeth.
Sampson Mathews, fourth son of John and Anne Archer Mathews, was deputy
sheriff of Augusta county in 1756. and in 1758 a vestryman of Augusta parish.
In 1764 he was appointed justice of the peace. He was also commissary of
Col. Charles Lewis's regiment at the battle of Point Pleasant. In 1775 he was
one of the delegates to the colony convention, which met in Rich-mond. He
was a member of the first court held under the authority of the Commonwealth
of Virginia, July i6, 1776. In 1781 he was colonel of an Augusta county
regiment sent to lower Virginia to resist the invasion of Benedict Arnold. He
married in September, 1759, Mary Lockheart, and died in Staunton, Va., in
1807. His descendants are many in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties, West
Virginia, among whom are the Mcclungs, Sees, Heveners, Renicks,
McClintics, Montgomerys and Withrows.
George Mathews, the fifth son of John Mathews, of Augusta county, was the
most prominent of the family, but as he has very few, if any, descendants
in Greenbrier, a detailed account of his life would be out of place in this
history. It is sufficient to say that he was in command of a company at the
battle of Point Pleasant in 1775, colonel of the Ninth Virginia regiment in
1776 and 1777, and in 1781 brigadier general under General Green, governor of
Georgia, in 1786 and 1793, and member of the Continental Congress in 1790 and
Archer Mathews, the seventh and youngest son of John and Anne Archer Mathews,
moved to Greenbrier county, where he owned a large body of land, and married
Letitia McLanahan. He was one of the trustees who formed the town of
Lewisburg in 1782. He had seven children and numerous descendants, among whom
are some of the Edgars, Nelsons, Withrows and Feamsters.
William Mathews, the sixth son of John and Anne Archer Mathews, is the
progenitor of the Mathews of Greenbrier county. He was born on the old
home place in Augusta county in 1741-2. In his father's will the home place
was left to him and his brother, Archer, and he purchased his brother's
interest in the estate and lived and died there, a farmer, not entering into
public life. He was, however, made a justice of the peace on February j8,
1770. While still very young he served as a private in the French and
Indian war. He married about 1763-4 Frances Crowe, daughter
of James and Eleanor Crowe, of Donaghmore, Ireland, they having come to
Virginia about 1762. There is extant an old church certificate reading as
"James Crowe, Ellinor, his Wife, with their Two Daughters, Eliz. and
Frances, has Lived in this Congregation since their Infancy-are descended of
an Antient Reputable Protestant Family. Their Examplary Conduct has always
Justly Merited the unfeigned Esteem of their Christian Neighbours and are
recommended as worthy the Regard and Notice of Any Society where Divine
Providence may appoint. Is Certifyed at Donaghmore this 20th Day of June 1762
by Benj. Holmes."
William [Mathews died in 1772 and his wife in 1796, having had five children,
viz.: Anne, Elizabeth, John, Joseph and James William.
Anne Mathews married Audley Maxwell, of Tazewell county, Virginia, and had a
Elizabeth married Maj. Jsaac Otey, and had numerous descendants.
James William Mathews died unmarried.
John Mathews, eldest son of William and Frances Crowe Mathews was born in
Rockbridge county, Virginia, October 30, 1768, and while still a young man
moved to Greenbrier county as a surveyor for Col. John Stuart. He then
studied law and from 1798 to 1802 was a member of the Virginia general
as-sembly. In 1831 he was elected clerk of the county court and remained in
that capacity till he died in November, 1849. He was twice married, first to
Catherine Cary and second to Mrs. Sarah Hamilton Hunter. He had five
daughters and numerous descendants, among whom are the Snyders, Feamsters,
Kinsolvings and Browns.
Joseph Mathews, the second son of William and Frances Crowe Mathews, was born
in that part of Rockbridge county now known as Botetourt county, Virginia,
October 10, 1770. He purchased land in Lewisburg in 1783 and moved there in
the early nineties. He married April 17, 1794, Mary Edgar, born January i8,
1773, died January 7, 1847, daughter of James Edgar and Mary Mason. He died
February 22, 1834, having had six children, viz.: Anne, Elizabeth, Mary,
Mason and Thomas and James William.
James William died unmarried. Ann married John Robert Weir and had two
children, Mary Sydnor and John Robert, both of whom died unmarried. Elizabeth
and Mary both died unmarried. Thomas Mathews, the youngest son, died without
Mason Mathews, second son of Joseph and Mary Edgar
Mathews, was born in Greenbrier county December 15, 1803.
About 1825 he was appointed deputy sheriff of the county. In
1828 he was appointed commissioner of the revenue by the
county court and held that office till he declined re-appointment.
He also was a justice of the peace for many years and was a member of the
Virginia general assembly from 1859 to 1865. He married September 27, 1827,
Eliza Shore Reynolds, daughter of Thomas Bird Reynolds and Sally Ann
McDowell. She was a sister of Alexander W. Reynolds, who served in the Civil
war as a brigadier general, Confederate States Army, and who upon the close
of the war went to Egypt and served as adjutant general of the khedive's army
until his death in 1876. Mason Mathews died in Lewisburg, September 16, 1878,
having had eight children, viz.: Mary Edgar, Sally Ann, Henry Mason, Virginia
Amanda, Alexander Ferdinand, Joseph William, Eliza Thomas and Sallie Patton.
Mary Edgar Mathews married Richard Mauzy, of Staunton, and had two children,
Eliza Mathews and Mary Christina Mauzy.
Sally Ann Mathews died unmarried.
Hcnry Mason Mathews, eldest son of Mason and Eliza Shore Mathews, was born
March 29, 1834, died at Lewisburg April 28, 1864. On May 1, 1861, he was
appointed second lieutenant of the Provisional Army of Virginia by Governor
Letcher, and was soon promoted to captain of engineers. He was commissioned
major of artillery and chief of staff of Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson, to
rank from May 2, 1863, which rank he held till the close of the war. Upon the
close of the war he returned to Lewisburg, where he practiced law. In 1865 he
was elected to the West Virginia state senate and in 1872 attorney general of
the State. In 1876 he was elected Governor and held office from 1877 to 1881.
He married November 24, 1857, Lucy Clayton Fry, and had five children, viz.:
Lucile Josephine, Mason, Henry Edgar, William Gordon and Laura Hearne, of
whom only two survive, William Gordon and Lucile Josephine, both of
Charleston, W. Va.
Virginia Amanda Mathews married Dr. Alfred Spicer Patrick, and had four
children, Mason Mathews, Mary Maud, Virginia Spicer and Alfred Bream.
Alexander Ferdinand Mathews, second son of Mason and Eliza Shore Mathews, was
born November 13, 1838. He became a lawyer but upon the outbreak of the Civil
war he was commissioned captain Augiist II, 1861, and served during the
entire war. After the war he returned to Lewisburg, where he practiced his
profession in partnership with his brother, Henry. He married December 28,
1865, Laura M. Gardner, and died December 17, 1906. He had eight children,
Mason, Charles Gardner, Mary Miller, Ann Weir, Eliza Patton, Maude Montague,
Florence Vane and Henry Alexander, of whom only four survive, Mason, Charles
Gardner, Eliza Patton and Henry Alexander, all of Lewisburg.
Joseph William Mathews, youngest son of Mason and Eliza Shore Mathews, was
born September 18, 1841, and died September 27, 1897. Upon the outbreak of
the Civil war he entered the Confederate army, with the rank of captain, and
served in that capacity during the four years of war. After the war was over
he was in Baltimore until the organization of the Bank of Lewis-burg, when he
was appointed cashier of that organization, which position he held until his
death. He married October 8, 1872, Rosannab Cecelia MacVeigh, of Loudoun
county, Virginia. In addition to a child that died in infancy he had six
children, Mary Eliza, John White, Henry Mason, William Alexander Patton, Hugh
Macveigh and Alfred Virginius, of whom four survive, John White, of
Wilmington, Del.; Mary Eliza, of Philadelphia; Hugh MacVeigh, of City Point,
Virginia, and Alfred Virginitis. of Chicago.
Eliza Thomas Mathews married February 27, 1873, Andrew Warwick Mathews, and
had issue: Mary Mason, Eliza Shore and Andrea Warwick Mathews.
Sallie Patton Mathews married July '5, 1874, Henry Clay Dunn, and had issue:
John, Mary Virginia and Marie Lewis Dunn.