Was born in Roan county, North Carolina, December 15th, 1806. His father, John B. Matthews, was born in Virginia, in the year 1780, and received his early education in the schools of his native state. His vocation was that of a farmer. At the age of twenty-five he was married to Miss Margaret, daughter of Josiah Leach, who was also from North Carolina. They had born to them a family of ten children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the oldest. At this time only seven of the family are living. On the 18th of May, 1825, Mr. Matthews removed with his family to Pike county, Illinois. Crossing the river at Phillip's ferry, he settled on land which is now in the boundaries of Flint township, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits. When he came here, many remnants of the once powerful Indian tribes yet remained on their favorite hunting grounds. He says that five hundred Indians seen in a gang, was then not an uncommon occurrence. During that early period, they had to undergo all manner of hardships, not known to this age. His wife, mother of the Captain, died at their residence, in this county, about 1845. Mr. Matthews soon after removed to Schuyler county, Missouri, where he died in 1857. Capt. Matthews, the subject of this sketch, received his education principally in Christian county, Kentucky, and White county, Illinois, to which latter county his parents had moved as early as 1816, where numerous traces could be seen as the result of the previous bloody contest with the Indians. The schools of those early days were very imperfect, but Mr. Matthews has always been attentive to passing events until we now find him the possessor of much solid information. At the age of twenty-two, he was married to Miss Minerva Carmington, she being also a native of Kentucky. They had a family of four children, of whom only two are now living — Colonel A. C. Matthews, of Pittsfield, and the other, Mrs. McCartney, of Schuyler county.
Mrs. Matthews died October, 1841. The July following he married his second wife, Mrs. Sarah A. Wattles. They had born to them two children, both yet living. His second wife died in March, 1861. Shortly after, Mr. Matthews married his third wife, Miss Mary Layton. They have had one child. On the breaking out of the rebellion, when men as volunteers were holding back, the subject of this sketch laid aside the endearments of a happy family, and bravely stepped forward and enlisted. He raised a company of ninety-eight men. He was unanimously elected captain of company B., 99th regiment Illinois volunteers, and was soon after marched to the seat of war. They were mustered into the service in August, 1862. The hardships and exposures incident to camp life caused him to be severely attacked with the rheumatism, which so impaired his health and unfitted him for active duties, that he resigned and received an honorable discharge, in January following, and returned to his home. His son remained in the army and became afterwards colonel of the 99th. Few families, if any, in Pike county, showed more heroism during the late war against the life of the Union. The Colonel did not sheath his sword until the war was ended. Both father and son present an honorable military record. The Captain's vocation has always been that of a farmer and stock-grower, meeting with reasonable success. Politically, he used to be a whig, but on the organization of the republican party, he naturally fell into its ranks. At present, he is residing on his farm, near Perry, surrounded by a happy and interesting family. He has all that can conduce to make life pleasant. He is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, having been a member of the same for thirty-eight years.
Farm Residence of B. L. Mathews Sec. 28 Perry Tr Pike Co., ILL
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