JOHN MATHERS, deceased. This gentleman, who during his lifetime was one of the much valued and highly esteemed citizens of this county was born in Ireland on the 18th of January, 1814, to Wesley and Eliza (Drennen) Mathers, and was the oldest of a family of four children. Their names were as follows: John, Eliza, Mary Ann and Wesley. He came to this country when about nine years of age with his parents, who had determined to try the new world, imagining, and rightly so, that their children would there receive a large opportunity in life. They settled near Lexington, Ky., and there the family lived for three years. At the end of that period they emigrated to Illinois and decided to locate in this county, and finally made their home at Jacksonville. This settlement occurred in 1832.
Mr. Mathers obtained a fairly good education, although circumstances were not entirely propitious to that end. After attending the classes in a common school he was privileged to become a student in Illinois College and there continued to pursue his studies. Upon leaving the school he began to clerk in a store, and there remained until he embarked in business upon his own account. This he continued with prosperity until he was about twenty-five years of age; about that time he conceived it to be his duty to preach the gospel, and was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal church. He joined the Illinois Conference, and received an appointment to the Athens Circuit, and subsequently to the Petersburg Circuit. Later he was put on the Decatur Circuit and sent to Upper Alton Station. After that he was on the Waverly Circuit, and finally that at Jerseyville, and continued for six months, when he was sent to St. Louis, Mo., as minister to the Methodist Episcopal Church to minister to those who did not join the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church at the time of the division on the slavery question.
In the year 1848, owing to his health failing him, Mr. Mathers was compelled to relinquish his ministerial work, and then he engaged in the real estate business in Jacksonville. By thrift and industry he was able to accumulate a most desirable competency and also to give liberally to the different educational and religious institutions of the county. One of the chief of these in his mind, and one that perhaps was more generously dealt with by him, was the Illinois Female College at Jacksonville. He was a man unfeignedly respected and honored - benevolent, charitable and at all times a Christian gentleman.
On the 26th of January, 1844, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. John Mathers and Miss Juliet M. Tucker. Of this union there were born five children, viz.: Joseph Tabor, who was ushered into life on the 10th of July, 1849, was married in the fall of 1874, was left a widower about two years later, and now resides at home with his mother; William Drennen was born on the 21st of December, 1852, was married to Miss Luella A. Todd on the 28th of July, 1881, the service being performed by the Rev. J. F. Chaffee of Minneapolis. They are the parents of one daughter, Bessie T., who was born on the 1st of August, 1882. This son is the First Deputy Sheriff of Morgan County, and owns an interest in the Star Planing Mills. Edward N. was born on the 2d of August, 1855, and died at the age of seven years; Eloine B. was born on the 22d of November, 1860, and is now the wife of Dr. F. H. Luce of Springfield, Ill.; Anna, who was born on the 1st of July, 1866, and died on the 1st of September, 1868. All the children received the best education that was obtainable, and Eloine graduated at the Illinois Female College in the Class of 1880.
Mrs. John Mathers, the widow of our subject, was born in Bourbon County, Ky., on the 28th of April, 1826. She was the second child of four born to William and Cassandra (Moore) Tucker. Their names are as follows: Mary, who was the wife of William H. Beggs of this county. She and her husband are both deceased; Juliet Moore is the widow of Mr. Mathers; Elias M. Tucker, one of the prosperous farmers of Sangamon County is the husband of Rebecca Ann Kinney of Sangamon County; and Ruth who married Alfred Henderson, both of whom are now deceased.
The father of Mrs. Mathers was a native of Kentucky, and was born on the 20th of April, 1787. He was one of fourteen children born to his parents, whose names are recorded as follows: Ruth, Thomas, Samuel, Elias, Joseph, Edward, Elizabeth, Thomas, Samuel, Elias, Joseph, Edward, Elizabeth, William and John (twins), Absalom, Aletha, Rebecca, Cynthia and a babe who died in infancy.
Mrs. Mathers has ever since the death of her husband, even more than retained the high place and regard of her friends and neighbors previously occupied by her, and in every circle, social, religious or otherwise is much esteemed. She has borne the trials and bereavements of her life in a spirit that has won for her an admiration because of the Christian resignation and patient spirit exhibited.