David W. Matthews, supervisor of Black Hawk Township, president of the Black Hawk Good Roads Association, and farmer and stock raiser, is a native of Illinois, having been born in Mercer County, March 22, 1854. His parents were Dr. James S. and Mary J. (Willson) Matthews, both natives of Pennsylvania, and of Scotch-Irish descent. Mr. Matthews was born January 1, 1825, and his wife August 18, 1829. They were united in marriage in their native state and in the fall of 1853 removed to Mercer County, Illinois, and settled at Preemption. There Dr. Matthews took up the practice of medicine, which he had followed before coming west. In 1863 the family removed to the City of Rock Island and two years later settled on a farm two miles southwest of Milan. There the doctor continued to practice medicine till his death, December 3, 1893. The widow still survives. To Dr. and Mrs. Matthews were born four children: Willson, Clarence (deceased), David W., and Wilhelmina (deceased).
The subject of this sketch was reared on the farm and agriculture has been his chief occupation. He received his education in the public schools of Rock Island and Milan. At the age of nineteen he began teaching school and followed that vocation continuously for thirteen years. Then he settled on the farm on which he has continuously made his home since.
Mr. Matthews, until 1888, was a Republican in politics, but at that time became a Democrat and has since affiliated with the latter party. In 1897 he was elected clerk of Black Hawk Township, and in 1898 he was chosen collector. In 1904 he was elected supervisor of Black Hawk Township, and was re-elected two years later. In 1904 and 1906 he was the choice of his party for congress in the Fourteenth district. In each case he reduced a normal Republican majority, the second time by sixty-five per cent.
Mr. Matthews is an energetic and public spirited man with a character above reproach. He has always taken an active interest in all movements for the betterment of the community. His activity in the good roads movement led to his being sent as delegate from the county to the State Good Roads convention at Springfield in 1904, from which place he was also sent as state delegate to the International Good Roads convention at St. Louis in the same year.
Mr. Matthews was married at Milan September 13, 1877, to Miss Mary M. Bradley. The latter was born in Milan September 5, 1855, the daughter of Nathaniel D. and Elizabeth (Dickson) Bradley. Mr. and Mrs. Matthews became the parents of three children: Elizabeth (deceased), C. Stanley and Jessie D., both at home. Mr. Matthews is a gentleman in every sense and deservedly popular with all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. He is a member of the Mystic Workers of the World and Court of Honor. He and his wife are leading members of the Milan Presbyterian Church.