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James Matthews


Revolutionary Soldier of NC

One of the founders of Friendsville, Tennessee

First, a personal note from Beverly Whitaker:

I began to look seriously at the life of James Matthews in 1976 as my personal celebration of the Bicentennial. A few paragraphs of James' life story appeared in a family history book written by my grandmother in 1968. She mentioned also that any of her granddaughters could join the DAR based on his service record, and with a connecting link to her own DAR membership. Grandma lived until 1981, long enough to see me with DAR membership and a rapidly-developing interest in genealogy and American history.

We have no photo of James Matthews, but in two of our visits to the Smoky Mountains, my husband and I ventured into Blount County, Tennessee. During a weekend visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 1977, we drove over to Maryville to see the monument to Revolutionary soldiers at the courthouse. In 1996, we had the privilege of going into the Quaker burying ground at Friendsville to visit James' grave. The next day, we searched records at the courthouse and the Blount County Library at nearby Maryville.


On the courthouse lawn at Maryville in Blount County, Tennessee, a large monument is inscribed with the names of 107 veterans of the American Revolution who settled in Blount County, Tennessee after the war. James Matthews is included (near top, left.) The monument was erected by Mary Blount Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1976.

DAR Bicentennial Issue, p. 1087 "One Hundred Soldiers of the American Revolution of Blount Co., Tenn." lists James Matthews.


The Mary Blount Chapter D.A.R. placed a marker at the grave of James Matthews on May 28, 1935, at Friends Cemetery, Friendsville, Tennessee.

DAR Magazine - Feb. 1977 issue, p. 150
Matthews, James "Located Graves of Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution" Friends Church Cemetery, Friendsville, Blount Co., Tenn. 1750-1802.

Family Record Pages from the Bible of Aaron Matthews:
James Matthews father of Aaron Matthews was born the 10 day of December 1750.
James Matthews father of Aaron Matthews Departed this life the 5 day of January 1802.


Notes of Interest

Research in Quaker records has shown that James was a son of George Matthews and Elizabeth Wright, and that George was a son of Oliver Matthews of the Potomac, Maryland who came to America from the North of England with his father, Thomas. It may be that they sailed from a north England port but had resided elsewhere.

James’ birthplace is uncertain. Some researchers state Loudon County, Virginia. Others say he was born in Guilford County, North Carolina. However, the Quaker records show that, his parents with 6 minor children were granted a certificate to Cane Creek MM, North Carolina on 30-8-1755 (rocf Fairfax MM, Loudon Co., VA, 1755, 10, 4). The Cane Creek MM was established in 1751 in what then was Orange County, North Carolina, now a part of present-day Alamance County, North Carolina.

In the early years the members of Cane Creek Meeting were scattered over piedmont North Carolina from New Garden in the west to Eno, near Hillsborough, in the east. This created a hardship for the faithful Quakers who had to travel long distances to meetings for worship and also to monthly business meetings. This no doubt explains why, within three months after Cane Creek's first monthly meeting, the Friends of New Garden were granted by that meeting the privilege of holding a preparative meeting.

James' marriage to Susanna Laughlin in 1777 occurred in her county--Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina. They became the parents of ten children.

In 1769, John and James Matthews (brothers) were Regulators in Anson and Orange Counties, N.C. (State Records, Vol. 8, page 80). The Regulators were protesting about very corrupt officials and an even worse tax set-up. The increasing tension eventually led to the Battle of Alamance on 16 May 1771 which resulted in the defeat of the Regulators and was the end of the movement. It isn't surprising that they were badly beaten as they had very few guns and fought with pitchforks, fence posts, and probably "Irish confetti." When James got back home, the Friends of Cane Creek Quaker Meeting "dismissed" him from their group. Apparently, he was reinstated as he was among those who established the Quaker community of Friendsville.

Our James Matthews served as a private in Blount's Company, 10th Regiment, Col. Abraham Shepard, 5 August to 10 October, 1779. From THE HISTORICAL REGISTER OF OFFICERS OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY, there is a statement that a new 10th NC was organized in 1779 as a State Regiment; it had already been under the command of Col. Abraham Shepard from 17 April 1777 to 1 June 1778.

James went to Tennessee in 1791, acquiring land in what was then Blount County, now Loudon County, Tennessee. At the Blount County Courthouse in Maryville, Tennessee, I found a deed which was copied in 1807 into Deed Book 1 from Book A, pages 74-75, Blount Co, TN. (now Loudon Co). In it, James Mathews of Blount County purchased a tract of 640 acres from Stockley Donaldsen, for which he paid $233. The land was located on Cloyd's Creek, a Branch of Holston River (now called the Tennessee River).

James Matthews was among the early settlers who founded the Quaker colony at Friendsville, Tennessee, which was recognized by the Quakers in about 1796. James was the second person buried in the Quaker burying ground there (1802.)


MATTHEWS Family Susanna Laughlin's family Descendants and spouses Beverly's GenTutor Index