Biography of Judge W. G. Mathes

JUDGE W. G. MATHES. Reynolds County, Missouri, has the distinction of being the place where, on September 4, 1839, Judge W. G. Mathes came into this world to make a record for integrity and uprightness which will be remembered as long as Stone County lasts. For over fifty years he has resided in this county, is a representative citizen of the same, and perhaps has done as much for its advancement as any other man.

His parents, David and Elizabeth (Allen) Mathes, were natives of Warren County, Tennessee The father was reared in that State, and in 1843 came to Missouri, where he passed the closing scenes of his life. The mother moved to Stone County the same year that he died and settled on what is known as the McCord farm, where she resided about sixteen years. Her family consisted of these children: James, Polly, Rebecca, Nancy, Elizabeth, John, William, Wilson, Margaret, W. G. Mathes. (the subject of this sketch) and Minerva. The mother died about 1867. She was a member of the Baptist Church, in which the father also held membership. He was a lifelong farmer, and, in the early settlement of this county, underwent many hardships and privations. This family is of Scotch-Irish origin, and, on the paternal side, descendants of a soldier of the Revolution and of the Black Hawk War. For the father’s service in the former war the mother secured a land warrant. The Allens were early settlers of Tennessee.

Our subject was but an infant when the family moved to Stone County, and here he grew to sturdy manhood. On account of the nearest school being four or five miles distant, he received but a limited education and devoted most of his attention to tilling the soil, for he decided to make that his life’s calling. In 1859 he was married to Miss Dorcas Anderson, a daughter of Samuel and Mary (McKinsie) Anderson, and a native of White County, Tennessee, born September 14, 1836. Her parents came to Missouri in 1837, located in Greene County, about four miles east of Springfield, and resided there four years. Thence they moved to James River, in Stone County, about four miles above Galena, and resided there for many years. In 1860 they moved to Douglas County, where the mother died three years later, and the father returned to Stone County, and died in 1865, close to where he first settled. He was the father of seven children as follows: Martha, Elizabeth, Sarah, Anna, Helen, Dorcas and Eliza. The parents attended the Christian Church, and the father was a Republican in politics. The latter came from old Revolutionary stock, his father having fought bravely for independence. Mrs. Mathes was but a year old when brought to this State by her parents, and she early became familiar with the duties of pioneer life.

After his marriage our subject moved to Douglas County, Missouri, and, after living on a farm there for three years, moved to Webster County, where he remained until 1868. He then returned to Stone County, settled on the James River, three miles north of Galena, where he resided for nineteen years. Thence he moved to the northern part of Stone County, and, three years later, came to his present property. He is the owner of 279 acres with 160 under cultivation, and is an extensive stock-raiser and practical farmer, having made a decided success in both. In political matters he is with the Republican party.

During the Civil War he enlisted in Company B, Sixth Missouri Regiment, and served about six months. After this he enlisted in the Ranger service under Capt. Green, served eighteen months, and then enlisted under Capt. Gardner and served until the close of the war. He was in active service for three years or more and was made a prisoner of war in Douglas County, but soon after discharged. Mr. Mathes was elected to the office of probate judge in 1890 by a large majority, and has ever been active in political matters. He is a member of the Baptist and his wife is a member of the Christian Church, and both are active workers in their respective churches. Six children have been born to our subject and wife: Mattie, who died when small; Mary F., the wife of Bent May, resides north of Galena and has four children (William, Benjamin, Vernice, and an infant, Atta Ed Kes); Nancy E. married James Hunt, and resides on Wilson Run, four miles from Galena (they have six children Vedie, Edwina, Walter, Oscar, Edna and Roma, an infant); William, a single man, runs a livery stable at Galena; James died when nineteen years of age; and John is married and living on James River. The Judge and family are classed among the best citizens of the county.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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