Transcribed by Timothy R. Meador, Jr.


May 14, 1953 – Reprinted April 21, 1977




        Since our last article on the Matthews family, we have received some limited information. We received a nice letter from Tommie Matthews, of Louisiana, who is a son of the late Elder T. W. Matthews. T. W. Matthews was the son of Ben and Martha Martin Matthews. Ben Matthews was the son of Benjamin Matthews, who married Parthenia, but we do not know who she was prior to her marriage.


        In 1850 Parthenia Matthews, as the name is now spelled, but Mathews, as they spelled the name 153 years ago, was 64 years of age, having been born in North Carolina. In her family in that year were: Herself and evidently she was a widow; Edney, 40, and born in North Carolina; Elizabeth, 39 years of age, and born in North Carolina; Thomas, 35 years of age, and also born in North Carolina; Gilla, 25 years of age and born in Tennessee, which would indicate that the family came to Tennessee about 1824; and James, born in Tennessee in 1827. James Matthews married first Rhoda Harper. Later he married Tranquilla Davis. Two sons of Parthenia are not listed as with her in the old census record of 1850, Duke and Ben, who married Martha Martin. Duke removed to Missouri. Tom was killed by a runaway horse to a buggy, if our information is correct.


        James Matthews and his first wife, Rhoda Harper, were the parents of: Billie, married Ada Maxey; James, married Lucy Lovell; Jennie, married Frank Kemp; Emma, married Harve Sircy; Gilla, married Elmore Mundy. James Matthews and his second wife, Tranquila Davis, were the parents of: Benjamin Thomas Matthews, who was married first to Nep Tilman and later to Alice May Minick; Robert Matthews, who died at 15 years of age; and Tennie Matthews, who died at two years of age. It may be added here that Benjamin Thomas Matthews is still living, that he is in his eighties and resides in Hartsville, that he is a Baptist minister, having been ordained by Good Will church many years ago, and who gave the writer part of the above information.


        Ben Matthews and his wife, Martha Martin, were the parents of: Thomas Wainwright Matthews, father of the Tommie Matthews mentioned in the first part of this article; Betty Matthews, married Milt Hewitt; Lucy Matthews, married Newt Sircy; Martha Matthews, who married Levi Canter, and perhaps other children. T. W. Matthews was married to Mattie Kent in 1876. Later, in 1889, he married Ava Cage. In his old age he was married to a Mrs. Richardson, who still lives on Route six, Lafayette. We recently published an account of this worthy man, taken from Grime’s History of Middle Tennessee Baptists.


        Below are some additional names of members of the Matthews family as they appear in the census of 1850:


Allin Matthews, 35 years of age in 1850, and born in Tennessee; Sarah Matthews, his wife, 32 years of age and born in Tennessee; and the following children, all of whom were born in Tennessee: William, 13; James, 11; John, nine; Cynthia, six; Allin, Jr., three; Simeon, a year old; and twins, Matthew and Darthulia, 15 years of age. The nearest neighbors in 1850 were: Peter Hackett, Sr., Van A. Allen, James High and Peter Hackett, Jr.


        Margaret Matthews is the next listed in the 1850 census of Smith County, Tennessee. She was evidently a widow and was 53 years of age and was born in North Carolina. She had two children, Charles J. Matthews, 17, and born in Missouri, and Louisa R. B. 15 years of age, and born in Tennessee. Neighbors of this family were: Robert Hays, Instant Baugh, Turner Harris, and Jefferson Wood.


        Next listed in the same census was Nancy F. Matthews, 18 years of age and born in Tennessee. She lived with Wildy and Elvira Darnold, whose nearest neighbors in 1850 were James Austin, Henry L. Trawick, Dinson Fields, and Martin Whitten. We would judge from the names of the neighbors that this girl of 18 lived in the vicinity of the present Chestnut Mound in 1850.


        In the same general section lived another Matthews family, Duke W. Matthews, perhaps the Duke above referred to as the son of Parthenia and Benjamin Matthews. He was 29 years of age and was born in North Carolina. His wife was Martha Matthews, eight years older than her husband. They had living with them a boy of 11, Robert McKinney, born in Tennessee. Near neighbors of this family were James Trousdale, Isaac Massey, David H. Nichols, and Jesse Meachum.


        Next is Parthenia, whose name is spelled in the old records Parthinia. We have already given her record as far as we know it now. Her nearest neighbors were: William Hewitt, Thomas Martin, Claiborne West and Allen Martin.


        Next listed in the census of 1850 was the family of Benjamin Matthews, above referred to as the father of Elder Thomas Wainwright Matthews. His name is listed as Benjamin S. H. Matthews, born in North Carolina in 1820. His wife, Martha A. Matthews, was 10 years younger than her husband and was born in Tennessee. Only two children, Parthinia F. aged five; and Mary E., supposedly the Betty Matthews above listed as having married Milt Hewitt. Martha A. Matthews was only 15 years of age when she bore her husband his first child. Near Neighbors of Benjamin S. H. Matthews were: Isaac Webb, Tabitha Woodward, Leonard J. Cardwell and Edwin Matthews, supposedly the brother of Benjamin S. H. Matthews.


        Edwin Matthews was 37 years of in 1850 and was born in North Carolina. His wife was Sina Matthews, 27 years of age, and born in Tennessee. Their children were: James D. 12, and born in Tennessee, as were the other children of this couple; Lucy E., 10; Nancy C., eight; Eli B., six; Eliza J. four, and William A. two. Living very near Edwin were: Hubbard W. Reece and John Reece.


        Next to the last member of the family listed in 1850 was Cliburn Matthews, 40 years of age, and born in North Carolina. His wife Matilda, 36, born in Tennessee, as were all her children listed: Martha J., 18;  Milly E., 15; Eliza A., 13; Gilia E., 10; Mary T., six; Jesse M W., four; and John D. P., one year old. Near neighbors were: Clarky Phillips, Mary Phillips. James P. Garrett and Elizabeth Matthews, who resided very near Cliburn. We would judge that Cliburn was a brother of Elizabeth’s husband, evidently dead in 1850. Elizabeth was 41, and was born in Tennessee, as were all her children listed. They were: Matthew, 21; John, 19: Lucy A., 15; Enoch, 13; and Joannah, ten.


        We stated in a recent issue of the Times that we recall having taken known the family record as given us by Elder T. W. Matthews, who was born August 4, 1852. We have not yet found this record, made perhaps more than 35 years ago. But we are sure that we have it and hope later to add some information to the above. If any member of the family can add anything, please write us as fully as you can and we shall be glad to publish same. We know that our information is very limited and that we are subject to errors. Please feel free to make any correction that you are sure needs to be straightened out.


        We stated above that because certain children were born in North Carolina and the others in the same family were born in Tennessee, that the family came to Smith county about the year 1824. However, in 1820 we find that Martha Matthews spelled as the family now spells the name, and evidently a widow, had three males in her family under ten, and two from 18 to 26. She had two females between 10 and 16, two between 16 and 26, and herself, over 45. She owned one slave. This was the only family of that name in the entire county 133 years ago.


        In the census of 1830 the Matthews families were as follows: Benjamin Matthews, with the following members of his family: Three males under five, one from five to 10, four from 10 to 15, two 15 to 20, one from 30 to 40, and one male from 50 to 60 years of age, no doubt Benjamin himself; and one female under five, four from 5 to 10, one from 15 to 20, two from 20 to 30, and one female from 40 to 50, Mrs. Benjamin Matthews, we presume. Here we have a very large family, four children five years old or younger, five girls from five to 10, four boys from 10 to 15, three children from 15 to 20, two males from 20 to 30, one male from 30 to 40, one female from 40 to 50, and the head of the family himself, between 50 to 60. Readers will understand that prior to 1850, the census enumerators gave the name of the head of the family only, so we have no way of knowing the names of this large group of children. We would suppose that this Benjamin Matthews was the husband of the first Parthenia mentioned, but this is only a conjecture.


        Mary Morgan, Micajah Morgan, Elijah Williams, Jonathan Scrivener, Zururiah Orange and Samuel Vaden were neighbors of the family.


        There was only one other Matthews listed in the year 1830, he being William Matthews. He had the following by age group; One male, under five, two from 10 to 15, and one from 15 to 20. Females: two from five to 10, one from 15 to 20, one from 30 to 40, and one from 50 to 60. We would judge that the mother of William Matthews was a widow, and that he was counted as the head of the family, although only about 20 years of age. Near neighbors of the family were: William F. McDaniel, Hannah Thornton and Julia Ann Haley.