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490 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

that institution at the head of his class. He then studied law and commenced his legal practice at Bloomington, Indiana, in 1822, soon standing in the front rank in his profession. In 1830 he was elected to the State Senate, and in 1836 he was appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office at Washington, D. C., resuming the practice of law at Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1841. In 1843 he was the nominee of the Democratic party for Governor of Indiana, to which office he was elected, his celebrated document, "Facts for the People" contributing largely to his election, and by an increased majority he was re-elected in 1846. During his first term he recommended the establishment of the now celebrated benevolent institutions of the State. No public man in the State had more to do with the establishment of our common school system and the creation of the school fund then did Governor Whitcomb. In 1849 Governor Whitcomb was elected United States Senator, and died during his term of office at New York City October 4, 1852. Self-taught he became eminent in learning, and a leader among men, but his power was always used for the elevation and good of all, for he was devoted to his country and his God. March 24, 1846, he married Mrs. Martha Ann (Remmick) Hurst, at her father's home in Pickaway County, Ohio. She died July 17, 1847, sixteen days after the birth of her child, Mrs. Matthews. After the mother's death she was placed with her mother's sister, Mrs. Margaret Seymour, of Ross County, Ohio, with whom she lived until her marriage. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Matthews has been blessed with three chldren -- Mary Fletcher, born November 5, 1869; Renick Seymour, January 4, 1872, and Helen, February 28, 1878. Mr. Matthews is the owner of 2,000 acres of selected lands, including bottom, table and ridge lands, with timber and coal in abundance. He has upward of 1,300 acres of bottom and table lands under cultivation in Vermillion County, these lands being unexcelled in quality of soil. He also has large real estate interests in Texas. The homestead property in Clinton Township, known as the Hazel Bluff Farm, consists of about 600 acres. His residence is pleasantly located in a natural grove, on high ground overlooking the valley of Brouillett's Creek, about three miles southwest of Clinton. Mr. Matthews is a lover of good stock, and devotes considerable attention to general stock-raising, and as a breeder has gained quite a reputation. Among the stock bred on his farm are found trotting bred horses, Jersey and short-horn cattle, South Down sheep, Berkshire hogs and Shetland ponies. Strictly honorable in all his dealings, he has gained the confidence and respect of all who know him, and made many friends, and being liberal toward public enterprises he is a valuable citizen. He is a member of the Presbyterian church. Politically he is identified with the Democratic party, and without being a strong partisan is a warm believer in the principles of that party. Mr. Matthews has never been ambitious of political preferment, but in 1876, against his desire, was selected by his party to make the race for Representative. This he did and was elected by over 200 majority, -- the Republican State ticket carrying the county by over 350 majority. Mr. Matthews was the first Democrat to represent Vermillion County, and while there did good and effective work. To him more than any one else is due the passage of the Free Gravel Road Bill, -- which has been the means of placing Vermillion County in the front rank of counties having such improved highways. In 1880 Mr. Matthews was a prominent candidate for the nomination of Lieutenant Governor, but in the close fight between Landers


Biographical Sketches - 491

and Gray to harmonize party discords Governor Gray was given the place, without opposition in the convention, Mr. Matthews strongly and heartly supporting the proposition -- preferring advancement of party rather than self-interest. In 1882 Mr. Matthews was induced to make the race for State Senator for the counties of Parke and Vermillion, together rolling up a Republican majority of 900. With such heavy odds, although making a highly creditable race, he was defeated by about 300 -- reducing the Republican majority in the two counties by nearly 600 votes. He is quietly and contentedly pursuing his business of farming, firm in the belief that it is the grandest and the noblest occupation in life.



JOHN L. FOX, one of the respected citizens of Highland Township, is a native of Warren County, Ohio, and is a son of George and Elizabeth (Link) Fox. The father of our subject was a native of Maryland, and a son of Frederick Fox, who was born on the ocean while his parents were immigrating to America. The Fox family first settled in Maryland, where the grandfather kept tavern at the foot of the Fox Mountain for many years. The father of our subject crossed the mountains with his father and settled in Ohio in 1807, making his home in that State until his death. John L. Fox, whose name heads this sketch, was reared to manhood in his native county, and was there married to Miss Susan Ann Hilligass, who was born and reared in Montgomery County, Ohio. Mr. Fox lived in Warren County until 1857 when he came with his family, then consisting of wife and five children, to Vermillion County, Indiana. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Fox are -- Anne E., Mary S., Catherine, Margaret P., John Adams and Daniel, all born in Ohio, with the exception of Daniel, who was born in Highland Township, Vermillion County, in 1860. Mr. Fox has met with good success in his agricultural pursuits, and at one time was the owner of 331 acres of choice land. His farm now contains 186 acres, under good cultivation, the entire surroundings showing the owner to be a thorough practical farmer.



HENRY SHEW, residing on section 36, Clinton Township, is one of the active and prominent citizens of Vermillion County, and a worthy representative of one of the early pioneer families of the county. He was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, November 14, 1815, his parents, Daniel and Eve D. (York) Shew, being natives of the same State, the former of German and the latter of English ancestry. They with their family, then consisting of six children, left their native State and with teams made the journey to Vermillion County, Indiana, in 1826, and settled in the forest on section 31, Clinton Township. Here the father bought a tract of sixty-two acres, which he improved, and resided upon until his death, which occurred not long after the close of the war, in his eighty-first year. He erected a saw-mill on Jennings Creek which he operated about thirty years. His wife's death occurred about six years before he died, in her sixty-sixth year. Both were members of the United Brethren church. The children born to them are as follows -- Philip was a member of an Indiana regiment, and died in the late war at Knoxville, Tennessee; Henry, the subject of this sketch; Joel, living in Clinton; Eli, of Clinton Township; Mrs. Mary M. Moulton, residing in Tennessee; Sarah died