The Matthews Family

The Matthews family is one of the pioneer Fayette County families, with Robert Matthews' name first appearing in the Fayette County Tax Digest in 1824, at which time he held two lots in District 4, totaling 405 acres. Robert Matthews (1777-1832) was born in Wilkes County, believed to be the son of Thomas Matthews. In 1805, he married Mary Smith (1786, died after 1860), daughter of John Smith and Sarah Alexander. Robert Matthews is listed in the Wilkes County census in 1820, and the Fayette County census in 1830. By the time of his death in 1832, his Fayette County holdings had increased to 810 acres, all in District 4. His wife's name is found in Fayette County census records through 1860. They had at least ten children:

1. John Smith Matthews (1806-1871) married Clara Ann Elizabeth Harris (1815-1870), daughter of Edmund Smith Harris and Frances Hall. They had removed from Fayette County by 1837, locating in Chambers County, Alabama. Several of their children eventually made their way to Limestone County, Texas. They had nine children: Edmund Harris (1834-1884), Mary Frances (1837-1889), William Henry (born c.1840), Sarah Rebecca (born 1845), John Smith Jr. (born 1847), Clara E. (born 1848), Brittain Dixon (born 1850), Thomas Summerfield (born 1852), and Annie Samantha Matthews (born 1859).

2. Thomas C. Matthews (1808-1884) married Nancy S. Westmoreland (1814, died after 1890), daughter of John Westmoreland and Elizabeth Harvey. Thomas C. Matthews served in the Creek Indian War in 1836, Company No.1, the Fayette Blues, 53rd Regiment, Georgia Militia. From 1842 to 1850 he owned what is now known in Fayette County as Starr's Mill. He and his family are listed in the 1840, 1850 and 1860 census records for Fayette County. They had ten children:

a. Mary Ann Matthews (born 1836) married Henry F. Underwood, and had Luella and John T. Underwood. They removed to Texas.

b. Sarah Jane Matthews (1837-1882) married Joseph Jennings May (1833-1901), son of William May and Elizabeth Jennings, and had William Thomas (1857-1921), Lelia C. (1859-1868), Elenora Elizabeth (1865-1931), Lois B. (1868-c.1940), Serena Eunice (1871-1915), Lucy Alice (1874-1954), Mary Madelyn (1877-1912), and Robert Toombs May (born 1880). Colonel Joseph Jennings May is believed to be the highest ranking Confederate officer buried in Fayette County. He had commanded the 16th Alabama Regiment during the War Between the States.

c. John Thomas Matthews (born 1838) married Adelaide Elizabeth Persons, and had William Thomas Matthews.

d. Robert Lee Matthews (1839-1892) married (1) Mary E. Starr (1839-1883), daughter of John Henry Starr and Mary S. Elder, and had B. L., a daughter (1870-1949), Robert Lee Jr. (1872-1935), Mary Clyde (1875-1948), Annie (born c.1876), Nina (born c.1877), John Clarence (1878-1936), Sam Florence (1878c.1950), Henry T., and Emmitt Matthews.

He married (2) Mrs. E. "Jackie" Lamberth.

e. Theophilus Matthews (born 1841, died before 1850).

f. Wade Matthews (born 1844, died before 1850).

g. Elizabeth Matthews (born 1846, died before 1850).

h. Wesley Matthews (born 1848, died before 1860).

i. Celestia Adriana Matthews (1850-1939) married William Reeves Barnes (1846-1917), son of William Cunningham Barnes and Louisa Pope Matthews, and had Charles Boyinton (born 1869), Sallie Belle (1871-1943), Mary Lou (1873-1875), William Cunningham II (1877-1940), Ida Mae (1880-1969), Gussie Griggs (1883-1942), Lizzie Celestia (1885-1886), and Thomas Sidney Barnes (1892-1906). They removed to Dallas County, Texas, about 1885.

j. Nancy Ida Matthews (1857-1926) married John Benjamin Bennett (1855-1895), son of James Abbott Bennett and Laura Ann Davis, and had Sarah (1882-1882), Roy Matthews (1884-1888), James Herbert (1886-1966), Ralph Cleveland (1888-1945), Percy Vivian (1890-1916), and John Benjamin Bennett Jr. (1892-1950). They removed to Cobb County, Georgia.

3. Sarah Matthews (1810-1837) married Abraham (or Absolom) Gray, and had Fannie, Mary Jane, and James Gray. He was a physician.

4. Ezekiel Alexander Matthews (born 1813) married Caroline E. Parker (born c.1817), and had Mary Emily (born c.1839), William H. (born c.1840), Robert P. (born c.1843), George A. (born c.1845), Nancy A. (born c.1848), S.L.D., a daughter (born c.1851), and Thomas C. Matthews (1854-1884). Their family is listed in the 1840, 1850 and 1860 census records for Fayette County.

5. Fielding Friar Matthews (1816-1891) married (1) Irena Wills (1820-1847), and had Mary C. (born c.1842), Sarah A. (1846-1888), and J.E.F. Matthews, a son (born c.1847). He married (2) Anne Antoinette Lindsay (1823-1905), daughter of John C.W. Lindsay and Nancy Fowler Houghton, and had John Lindsay (born 1849), Robert Grier (born 1851), Julius Eugene Fielding, Lucious Quintus, Lorenzo Theophilus, Alphonso Houghton, and Benjamin Matthews. He removed to Upson County, where he had a large plantation. Fielding Friar Matthews served in the Georgia State Legislature (1873-1874).

6. Theophilus William Matthews (1818-1836).

7. James Albert Matthews (1820-1839).

8. William Wright Matthews (1824-1880) married Mary Ann Westmoreland (1827-1916), daughter of John Westmoreland and Elizabeth Harvey, and had Josephine (born c.1850), E., a daughter (born c.1851), W.W., a son (1856-1880), John Westmoreland (1858-1909), and Fannie Matthews (1864-1908). He is shown with his family in the 1850 and 1860 census records for Fayette County. He served during the War Between the States with the Fayette Dragoons, Company E, 2nd Regiment, Georgia Cavalry. William Wright Matthews was elected Fayette County Sheriff in 1856, and served as a Georgia State Senator from 1873-1876.

9. Moses Waddell Matthews (born 1827) married Ann Cameron Shaw (1827-1903), and had Mary Daniel (1853-1940), Clara Francis (1856-1942), and John Dixon Matthews (1859-1955). They removed to Chambers County, Alabama.

10. Robert Meriwether Matthews (1830-1911) married Sarah Ann Shepard (1840-1902), and had Ada Estelle (1857-1929), Sarah Etta (1859-1895), Mary Jane (1861-1937), Emma Lovick (1863-1898), James Gray (1866-1902), Leola Clifford (1868-1875), and Arthur Lee Matthews (1875-1957). He served during the War Between the States as a commissioned officer, Georgia Militia, 495th and 26th Districts.

Copyright 2001by Robert E. Johnston. This copy contributed for use by Fayette Co., GAGenWeb.

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Compilation Copyright 2008 - Present by Linda Blum-Barton