Friday, September 22, 2017


Source: North Carolina, 1826.
After writing about my 5th-great-grandparents Wiley and Sarah Freeze Mathews, I turn to Wiley's father, my 6th-great-grandfather Claborn Mathews. His name is spelled in various ways in documents, from Clyborn to Claiborne to Claburn or Cliborn. Claborn lived in Chatham County, North Carolina, and his will is available from Ancestry's North Carolina Wills and Probate Records. The will was written on 6 October 1797.
Source: Ancestry. Chatham County, NC.
Signature line from Claborn's will.
In 1801, Claborn executed a codicil on the will granting a distribution of the share of his estate to two of his children, Claborn Mathews Junior and Mary Mathews Skidmore.
Codicil from 1801.
Claborn left his personal estate to his wife Mary, with an equal division of his land to sons Wiley and Lewis Mathews. The rest of the estate was to be divided among all of his children then single. Separately he left five shillings to son Kinchen Mathews, and five shillings to daughter Lucretia Mathews Horn (spelled as Lucreasy). His wife Mary and son Britain Mathews were appointed as executors of the estate. The will was proven in November 1806, meaning Claborn must have died in late 1806.

Claborn appears in the 1790 US Census in Chatham County, North Carolina. He is listed close to brother Lawrence Mathews.
Source: 1790 US Census. Chatham County, NC.
In the 1800 US Census, Claborn appears in Hillsborough, Chatham County, NC.
Source: 1800 US Census. Chatham County, NC.
His birth date is not known, but is suspected to be around 1845, although it could have been earlier or slightly later. Claborn witnessed a deed in Northampton County, North Carolina on 7 November 1767. Northampton County is on the Virginia-North Carolina state line. Claborn likely moved to the area that became Chatham County around the time of county formation in 1770. His father Thomas Mathews died in Northampton County in 1770.

Claborn acquired 140 acres on the east side of New Hope Creek on 27 June 1783. The land was adjoining Matthew Davis, who also witnessed the purchase.

Claborn's wife Mary must have died about 1819, as that is when the remainder of the Mathews estate was sold.

There is more work to do on this branch of the family. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Path to Mississippi

Source: Google Maps.

From yesterday's post, my 5th-great-grandparents Wiley Mathews and Sarah Freeze Mathews moved from Warren County to Coffee County, Tennessee to Tishomingo County, Mississippi, sometime before 1850. Wiley's brother, Kinchen Mathews, likely arrived first around 1839. Kinchen was named a constable in the county in 1840 (see History of Old Tishomingo County, Mississippi Territory on FamilySearch) and he appears in the 1840 US Census in the county. He also appears in early county land records with Joseph Warren Matthews (Mississippi's first governor) and Joseph's brother James E. Matthews. My Mathews line does not appear to be immediately related to this Matthews family.

In 1856, northern Mississippi looked like the map below. Tishomingo County was originally larger, in the northeast corner of the state, bordering Alabama and Tennessee. By 1874, the county had been split into three, Alcorn, Prentiss and Tishomingo.
Source: Northern Mississippi, 1856.
Source: Northern Mississippi, 1874.
I need to look further at available records to see if there is more information on Wiley Mathews. For now, I am going to pause on Wiley and go back another generation to Wiley's father, my 6th-great-grandfather, Claborne Mathews.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Going back another generation

Another generation back from Allen Matthews, his parents (my 5th-great-grandparents) were Wiley Mathews and Sarah Freeze. AncestryDNA's DNA Circles has me and the tests I administer on my Mom's side of the family in a group for both Wiley and Sarah. I know there are a large number of connections out there who descend from these two. I am going to work carefully, using what is in available records, to try to build out a timeline for their departure from North Carolina to their arrival in Tennessee and later later settlement in Mississippi.
NC & TN Early Land Records, 22 Jul 1826
Based on exchanges with another Mathews/Matthews researcher, Wiley is believed to have arrived in Warren County, Tennessee between 1810 and 1812. He probably followed his brother Kinchen Mathews to Warren County, as Kinchen was in Roane County as early as 1801 and then in Warren County.
Source: Google Maps. Chatham, NC to Warren, TN.
Wiley appears in the 1820 and 1830 US Census in Warren County, Tennessee.

Wiley acquired a large tract of land covering 640 acres in Coffee County, Tennessee in 1836. The survey was witnessed by his son Matthew Mathews and my 5th-great-grandfather Matthew M. Davis (father of Sarah Davis Matthews). He added another 200 acres to this on the headwaters of Hickory Creek in Coffee County in February 1837. Wiley and Matthew Mathews' land can be seen on the 1839 Coffee County tax list below.
Source: Ancestry. Tennessee Tax List, 1839.
Wiley assigned his lands in Warren County to his son William in October 1837. It looks like he then moved on to neighboring Coffee County. Wiley's son Elijah Mathews was also in Coffee County, Tennessee in 1839.

Wiley and Sarah's son Matthew died in Coffee County sometime before March 1839. Wiley appears in the 1840 US Census in Coffee County, Tennessee.

In June 1840, Elijah Mathews appears in a court case in Coffee County (State of Tennessee v Elijah Matthews). Wiley was a witness in the case.

By 1850, Wiley had relocated to Tishomingo County, Mississippi, along with several of his children.
1850 US Census, Tishomingo County, MS

Wiley and Sarah had at least the following children:
- Matthew Mathews, born 1805 in North Carolina, died before March 1839 in Coffee County, Tennesse
- Claiborne Mathews (various spellings including Claborn, Clibourn), born in North Carolina in 1810, died 16 December 1879 in Smith County, Tennessee
- William Lewis Mathews, born in 1812 in Warren County, Tennessee, died 9 February 1897 in Montgomery County, Texas
- Allen Mathews, born in 1813 in Warren County, Tennessee, died sometime before 1870 in Metcalfe County, Kentucky (my 4th-great-grandfather)
- Elijah Mathews, born about 1819 in Warren County, Tennessee
- Sarah Mathews, born in 1823 in Warren County, Tennessee
- Tapley B. Mathews, born in 1828 in Warren County, Tennessee
- W. Stanford Mathews, born in 1829 in Warren County, Tennessee

By 1860, Wiley was listed as a farm laborer in the household of his son, William Mathews. William had become a baptist minister. Sarah Freeze Mathews must have died before the 1860 Census.
1860 US Census, Tishomingo County, MS
Wiley was still living in William's household in the 1870 Census.
1870 US Census, Tishomingo County, MS
Wiley disappears after the 1870 Census, and he is presumed to have died in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. I am planning to make another visit to the DAR Research Library and look for gaps in the records.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Allen and Sarah

Life Magazine Collection, Bulls in Tennessee. Photo by Edward Clark.
Moving backward one generation to my 4th-great-grandparents, I now turn to Allen Matthews and Sarah Davis. Allen and Sarah were likely married around 1835 or in the early 1830s in Smith County, Tennessee. The earliest available marriage records for Smith County begin in 1838. Sarah Davis was a daughter of Matthew Madison Davis and Elizabeth.

According to the 1900 US Census entry for Sarah, she had 14 children, but I am currently only aware of 10. Of the known children of Allen and Sarah, their names are below. If you are descended from this line and stumble onto my entry, please feel free to reach out with additional information.

Children of Allen and Sarah (the Matthews name is also often spelled in records as Mathews, Mathis)

- William Matthews, born 2 August 1836, died on 7 October 1922 (my 3rd-great-grandfather)
- Matthew Matthews, born in 1837, died in April 1877
- James Matthews, born in either 1837/1838
- John Matthews, born in 1841
- Cynthia E. Matthews, born in May 1844
- Allen Matthews, born in December 1846, died 19 December 1923 in Bryan, Oklahoma
- Wiley Simeon Matthews, born in 1849
- Thomas Anthony Matthews, born 28 December 1854, died in January 1922 in Grayson County, Texas
- Elijah Matthews, born in 1855 in Smith County, Tennessee
- Mary Francis Matthews, born on 7 August 1861 in Metcalfe County, Kentucky, died on 27 March 1955 in Metcalfe County

From the Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington DC, I was able to see some books on Smith County. Matthew Davis sold a tract of land on Defeated Creek to Allen Matthews on 2 July 1838. On the same day he also sold a tract of land to Elijah W. Davis. Elijah sold a tract of land to Allen Matthews on 4 November 1839.

Allen Matthews swapped ten acres with Daniel Smith on 25 November 1841. On 4 March 1845, Allen bought 25 acres from Allen Crowell, and sold 30 acres to Crowell. Crowell had bought 200 acres from Matthew Davis on 30 April 1842, so perhaps some of the land Allen purchased had originally belonged to Matthew.

Allen bought another tract of land from John Page on 30 November 1846. He transferred a tract to Elizabeth Matthews on 17 February 1847.

1850 US Census, Smith County, Tennessee
In the 1850 US Census, Allen, Sarah and family were living in Smith County, north of Cumberland and east of Caney Fork Rivers. Their son Matthew is seen living in the household with his young wife Darthula C. Hunt. They were married in the county on 17 May 1849.

Not all the records show an exchange of land. David P. Hodges sold a slave to Allen Matthews on 3 February 1857. In the record she is listed as a "negro girl." The 1850 Census slave schedules shows David P. Hodges owned several slaves, including one girl who was 4 years old in 1850. This girl was probably the same one, meaning she was born about 1846 and was likely a child of the slave man and women who were 25 and 24 in the 1850 record. This girl would have been about 11 in 1857. I cannot tell what happened next to the girl.

On 20 January 1859, Allen Matthews sold 128 acres to Armstead Moore in Smith County, Tennessee. This was probably the sale of the family farm and all their property in the state, as they next appear in the 1860 US Census in Metcalfe County, Tennessee.
1860 US Census, Metcalfe County, Kentucky
Allen Matthews died sometime before the 1870 US Census, as he does not appear in the document. In 1870, Sarah was managing the farm on her own with younger sons Thomas and Elijah and older son Allen living next door with new wife Margaret Caroline Flowers.
1870 US Census, Metcalfe County, Kentucky
Sarah's daughter Cynthia is shown with a two-year-old son, John L. Herring. The father is not listed, but I think it is 21-year-old John L. Herring, living four homes away on the same page in the census.

The 1880 US Census shows that Sarah's parents were both from North Carolina, which matches other known information about Matthew and Elizabeth Davis.
1880 US Census, Metcalfe County, Kentucky
Sarah's daughter Mary Francis appears in the household with husband James Williams and son Robert A. Williams.

The 1900 US Census shows Sarah Matthews (here spelled Mathews) still as the head of household. This entry shows she was born in May 1815, and had 14 children, with 7 still living. Her son John Matthews was still living with her.

Sarah does not appear in the 1910 US Census, therefore she likely died sometime between 1900 and 1910. She must have been a hardy woman to maintain the farm over 30 years after Allen's early death.

One more bit of useful information, on Mary Francis Mathews' marriage record to James Williams, it says that Mary's father was from Warren County, Tennessee, while her mother was from Smith County, Tennessee. Warren County is south of Smith County, but still close. I will need to check early Warren County records for references to the Matthews/Mathews family.

Based on my AncestryDNA results, I know there are many descendants for this Matthews family who may be out there. Again, if you stumble onto this page and have additional information about Allen or Sarah Davis Matthews and their family, please let me know.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Matthews side of the tree

After looking at the siblings of my great-grandmother Elisabeth Lois Whitley, I am going to follow up the Matthews line of her mother, Elisabeth Hayden Matthews. As posted back in 2012, her parents were William Matthews and Martha Jane Free.

William Matthews was born on 2 August 1836 in Smith County, Tennessee. He was the son of Allen Matthews and Sarah Davis. William appears in the home of Allen and Sarah in the 1860 US Census in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. William married Martha Jane Free in Metcalfe County on 27 June 1861. By 1870, William and Martha were living in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky.

William and Martha had at least the following children:
- Felix Mitchell Matthews, born in 1862, died on 1 May 1948 in Indianapolis
- Martha Belle Matthews, born 24 October 1863, died on 23 September 1958 in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky
- William Allen Matthews, born 13 July 1867, died 22 December 1942
- Elizabeth Hayden Matthews, born 28 September 1869, died on 14 August 1915 in Barren County
- Lucy Elizabeth Matthews, born 21 October 1871, died on 9 May 1954 in Warren County
- Eliza Ellen Matthews, born 21 October 1871, died on 3 November 1955
- Ora Leona Matthews, born 26 March 1874, died on 27 October 1945 in Louisville
- Alice Story Matthews, born 1 April 1878, died on 18 October 1967 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

In the 1880 US Census, the family appears in Slick Rock, Barren County, Kentucky. I have been unable to find William in the 1900 or 1910 US Census, but he does appear again in the 1920 US Census in Elk Springs, Warren County, living in the household of his grandson Hilary D. Lawrence, next to daughter Martha Belle and her husband Robert Lawrence. Martha and William were separated, likely before 1900, as Martha was living as head of household in Rocky Hill, Edmonson County, Kentucky in 1900.

While I don't have much further on William, I do have a signed document from William, attested by Allen Mathews, giving his consent for the marriage of daughter Ora Leona to William Thomas Pace on 22 December 1891 in Warren County, Kentucky. She was 17. This is from Ancestry's Kentucky marriages database. I think the Allen Mathews on this document is Ora's brother William Allen, who would have been 24 at the time.

William died on 7 October 1922 in Sonora, Hardin County, Kentucky.

Martha Jane appears in the 1930 US Census, living in the household of her daughter Elizia Ellen and her husband William L. Whitley (son of Morris Whitley, himself a son of my 4th-great-grandparents Richard Wheatley and Nancy Philips). The census was taken on 16 April 1930. Martha Jane Free Matthews died on 26 May 1930 in Warren County, Kentucky.