From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 332-333, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
James D. Matthew was born near the present site of Columbus,
Franklin county, Ohio, in 1813, November 24. His father, Simon Matthew,
was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, and his father, Nathan Matthew
was, as far as is known, born in the same State. The great-grandfather
of subject, Edward Matthew, was born in Wales and came to America,
settling in Virginia in colonial times. He was a miller by trade, and
his son was also a miller, and he erected a mill in Virginia during the
Revolutionary war. He resided in Virginia until about 1817, when he
went to Washington county, Indiana, and was a resident there until his
death. His son was reared in Virginia and went to Ohio when he was
twenty-six years of age. He settled in Franklin county and was one of
the first settlers there. He assisted in cutting the logs to build the
penitentiary at Columbus. In 1818 he emigrated to Indiana, settling in
Washington county, which was a heavily timbered country at that time.
He rented a tract of timber land ten miles west of Salem, and erected a
log house in the wilderness. There were no railroads in the State at
that time, and the nearest market was fifty miles away. He lived in
Indiana until 1832, and during that time cleared quite a tract of his
land. In 1832 he sold that and came to Illinois, settling ten miles
southeast of Springfield, where he resided until his death. The maiden
name of his first wife, the mother of our subject, was Ann Dearderff,
born near New Castle, of German ancestry. She died in Sangamon county,
after the arrival of the family.
James came with his parents to Sangamon county, Illinois, and
was nineteen the day he reached there. At that time the capitol of the
State was Vandalia, Springfield being but a hamlet, and the nearest
market for farmers in Sangamon county was St. Louis or Beardstown. He
resided there until 1838, and then came to Cass county. He had visited
this section and entered forty acres of land in 1837, in section 32,
township 18, and forty more acres in section 19 of the same township.
In 1838 he built a hewed-log cabin and commenced at once to clear the
land. At that time deer and other kinds of wild game supplied the table
with meat. Wheat sold from thirty to forty cents a bushel, and corn for
ten cents a bushel. The wife dressed the children in homespun of her
own raising, carding and weaving. He added to his farm until it is now
about 365 acres, the greater part improved.
He was married March 27, 1834, to Dorcas Hamilton, born in
Virginia, daughter of Pressley and Susana Hamilton. Mr. and Mrs.
Matthew have had the following children: Simon P., Ann, Charles, Jane
Ruth, Rodney, Nettie, Henry L. and Lincoln.
Mr. Matthew was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as
is his wife. He was a Whig and Republican, and was a good and honorable
man. He died April 7, 1892, at his home. Thus one of the oldest
settlers and a man respected for his sterling integrity has passed
away, and the family and large circle of friends and acquaintances are
left mourning. He died a firm believer in the Christian religion. His
aged wife of fifty-six years, standing, still occupies the old home
where they settled in 1838. They celebrated their golden wedding March
27, 1884. They were married in Indiana.