Francis A. Matthews

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co. FRANCIS A. MATTHEWS, deceased, was a native of Rhode Island, born in Providence on the 22d of November, 1816. His father, Arthur Matthews, was a native of England, born in 1764. He married Lucretia Bartlett, who was born on the Island of Nantucket in 1779, and they became the parents of eight children, six sons and two daughters. When our subject was a child of only two years, they removed with their family to South Carolina, making the journey by water to Charleston, thence going to Spartanburg. There Francis Matthews remained until fourteen years of age. He acquired a limited education in the public schools, and when a youth of fourteen years went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he remained until 1838. In that year he located near Lawrenceburg, Ind., where he with his brothers established a saw and grist mill. For eight years he carried on business along that line, after which he came to Illinois. Hoping to benefit his financial condition thereby, Mr. Matthews removed to Henderson County in the year 1843. He located in Rozetta Township, purchasing eighty acres of unimproved land on section 10. A log cabin was the only building upon the place, and the greater part of the land was still in its primitive condition, but he at once began its cultivation, and as the result of his plowing and planting the wild tract was soon transformed into rich and fertile fields. He added one hundred and sixty acres, and there carried on agricultural pursuits until 1876, when he removed to Ft. Madison, Iowa, where he lived a retired life during the succeeding five years. On the 10th of November, 1859, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte M. Dean, daughter of George L. and Irene (Wheeler) Dean, the former a native of Massachusetts, and the latter of Connecticut. Mrs. Matthews was born in Athens, Ohio, and by her marriage became the mother of three children: Charles Dean, who married Maud M. Wilson, and is now operating the old home farm; Grace T. ; and Harry L., who completes the family. All are well known in this community, and Mrs. Matthews and her children occupy an enviable position in social circles. Mr. Matthews continued to make his home in Ft. Madison until the autumn of 1881, when he returned to Henderson County, and purchased the farm on which his widow yet resides. At his death he owned a valuable tract of four hundred acres, well improved. He carried on general farming and stock-raising, and in his dealings met with prosperity, becoming one of the substantial citizens of the community. Although his life was a busy one, he always found time to take a commendable interest in those enterprises which are calculated to prove of public benefit. He voted the Republican ticket, but never sought or desired political preferment for himself. All who knew him respected him for his sterling worth and integrity, and during his long residence in Henderson County he made many warm friends. He passed away on December 27, 1886, and was laid to rest in Rozetta Cemetery. To his family he left an untarnished name, and his memory will ever be cherished by his children.