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Interview by Dr. mark Barrow with Sarah Matheson
R. BARROW: This is Dr. Mark Barrow. I am interviewing Sarah Matheson on October 3, 1992
in her home, finishing up on the furniture and finishings of the house. We
are now going over the book where everything is labeled. We're on 9145, the
fire screen. Do you know anything about the fire screen?
. A.: No sir, I don't. It might have been collected with those paintings, you know.
R. BARROW: It' been here a long time?
ARAH: Oh, it's been here forever. It was here just like the others.
R. BARROW: So the paintings in that room and the fire screen
ARAH: Because, you see, her sister, Aunt Caroline, had either painted them or
collected them. I don't know which. I know she was a lover of art. She
substituted at East Florida Seminary for a while when she was living here
R. BARROW: Tell me about this, Number 91113, the religious pictures that are in the
living room. Those little pictures that are either side of the
ARAH: Oh, They are the ones I bought in Europe on my first trip, in 1930.
R. BARROW: What about this little R.S. Prussia chocolate set? if fl- //i
ARAH: Oh, that was a gift and it's very precious. It has special markings on it.
Someone told me. I didn't know that.
R. BARROW: It's known as R.S. Prussia.
ARAH: Yeah, that is.
R. BARROW: It's called a chocolate set.
ARAH: Yeah, I knew it was the chocolate set.
R. BARROW: Did you buy that?
ARAH: No, that was here.
R. BARROW: That was part of the deal.
ARAH: One of my inheritances.
R. BARROW: That's number114. What about the pair of ruby lamps that are in the living
ARAH: Oh, now they were given to me by Mr. Deeden. When my mother came down she
said, "I know he is a Deeden." My mother was a Deeden, Cornelia Deeden
Hamilton. Mr Deeden was in real estate, I think, for a long time but his
wife was quite an antique collector. When she died he told me I could have
R. BARROW: O.K. So they came from here then?
R. BARROW: Then if you go into the back room where you have the couch and the bookshelves.
The bookshelves were all in Chris' office and the desk and chair?
ARAH: Yeah, yeah.
R. BARROW: There are some other material that's in this room in here. We will go look
at that in just a minute because I want to get some information about that.
The shot gun that was in there, tell me about the shot gun.
RAH: Yeah. Annie Pound gave me that, o, after she moved out of her home. She
told me that it was used in the war, in the fighting in Gainesville, when the
war came and the soldiers went up Main Street. You know.
SBARROW: Right. Well, we're going to try to get that rebuilt and redone.
RAH: It you could, that would be interesting.
.BARROW: I just need to find someone to do that.
BARROW: The shot gun was number 91-117. The photograph is 91-118, of Chris. You
say it is the East Florida Seminary?
RAH: Yeah, yeah, the East Florida Seminary. There was a group of them. He was
twelve years old. They said the photographer wanted to get a picture of them
before they let them go home for lunch. They were all so hungry. You know
how you don't like to have a picture, and they made them stand there and get
their picture made.
3ARROW: So, he was very young at the time?
Yeah. he was twelve years old. He was teaching us. He was so young and so
embarrassed. We would stare at his feet, you know, or try to make him
embarrassed. He would blush so.
Where was he teaching?
He was teaching at the East Florida Seminary.
Oh, so he was a student there and a faculty.
And a faulty. after he graduated, he was here working in his fathers office,
you know, in the big store. '
That was before he went to Sidcti C ,<
No, that was after he graduated that he cane back.
He came back and taught part-time?
No, just substituted some, not full-time.
What was the name of the of the Matheson's store that was down on North Main
Street? Because that's the name we want to put on the country store.
Yeah. What was that?
Was it J.D. Matheson Mercantile?
Mercantile. Yeah. Let's look on the map, you know, where it shows
It's got it on there?
I think it does.
O.K. We can look that up because that's what we want to put on there as the
country store, is that name.
Yeah, on the store. And it had a shoe, a great big shoe, cut out, you know,
wooden, that hung in front. Because I heard some of the shop people, I asked
them. They said they could remember. They wondered what ever happened to
that shoe that use to hang out in front.
Was it a boot?
It was a boot. A black boot.
Well we might have to... You don't know where there's a picture of that
anywhere do you? Or seen a picture of it?
I can't remember it but I heard several of them talking about it. Because
they had shoes, they had mercantile, they had groceries, they had every-
thing you could think of.
It hung down in front of the door, off the porch?
In front of the door there, the big door.
Tell me about the coat rack, number 91109Q that's stained.
Oh, that use to hang in the old building which was the Post Office at first
and then used for the school building and then the Hippodrome.
And it hung/there for years. I don't know whether that's still... I could
get...Ban2rl told me the history of it but I can't remember what years.
Who gave it to you?
He gave it to me. He had collected it, you see, because he had been Post
Master. / .
Page Bamiett, P)0l )
Page Banrrel.' ne Page moved into the village, we could get that year,
he gave me a picture that's out there, you know.
Of the Post Office?
Of the Post Office.
And the rack?
And the rack. He also gave me a tile, something, you know, from the rail road
that was taken up from main Street and also a brick from the Videll Drug
and from across the hardware store.
The Baird hardware Store.
Have you got that?
ARAH: I have those.
R. BARROW: Oh, Good, good.
ARAH: They're in the sink out here.
ARROW: O.K. Great. We'll have to look at that. The Post Office picture is number
91-11 Tell me about this little two-section bookshelf. You know any more
RAH: It was in the house.
BARROW: Was it in Chris' office before? Do you know?
RAH: I don't know whether it was in the office. It could have been with the
others. But it was a little different, you know. It was just two and it
was used somewhere in the hall, I think, or somewhere.
SBARROW: It may have been in the house or it may have come from his office.
RAH: From his office. It could be either one so it might be alright.
BARROW: Alright. Tell me about this little desk here. This is a little writing desk.
AH: That s the one in there?
BARROW: That's right.
RAH: That was in his office because his partner (What was his name? He lived
across from you, where you live now in that house. Elizabeth, his daughter,
was in the museum for years. Bonnie McDowell...Why can't I think of his
name? I'll get it.) But it was Chris' partner, one of his law partners.
So when he left and went to Oklahoma, you see, why, he left his filing desk
and he left everything there. And sometime after I moved into this house
and, I think Chris was dead, one of his daughters told me that they had some
of his furniture that they wanted to bring so she brought that desk and this
little chair that we saw because she said, "They belong to Mr. Matheson and
I want to bring them back." But they saved them. See they were together
there and her father had just taken them home, I guess.
SBARROW: For sure. Well we can look up his anme.
P"": I'll get that done.
-ARROW: But this little writing desk is part of Chris' office?
RAH: Yeah, oh yeah. That was his office desk. And the beautiful rug in the little
study, I bought in Cat Mandue. It's perfectly beautiful, I think. The one
SBARROW: Right. There's some tall lamps. There's one in the back living room, Chris'
RAH: They were bought in Shawnee.
SBARROW: They were bought in Oklahoma? The quilt, that too needs to be restored. I
have the names of some people who specialize in restoring quilts. We will
get it put behind glass.
RAH: Oh yeah. That would be wonderful.
SBARROW: They just sew the little loose parts and then we'll put it behind glass. I
have the names of some who do that.
RAH: That was, we have the date on it, 1880.
. BARROW: Yes, it has a date on it. Now, the bowl and pitcher set that's in that
4RAH: That was in the house.
R. BARROW: That belonged to the Matheson family?
kRAH: Right, to the Matheson family.
. BARROW: O.K. So it was here the whole time?
i. BARROW: O.K. Tell me about the little book case.which is called the, it's in the
back bedroom. I think it is called LarkeW/desk. Do you know about that?
\RAH: I don't know about that. I just know that it was here in the house.
1. BARROW: O.K. Did it belong to Chris or just part of the house?
\ : It belonged to Chris.
Z. BARROW: O.K. It wasn't in his office then, you don't think?
No. I don't think that one was. I'm sure the other one was but I don't
believe both of them were.
Tell me about the quilt that's in there. That's the oriental one. t /'-(Ol
This one in here?
It was made by one of my dear Korean friends while I was in Korea in 1960
as a parting gift. Or maybe it was a
Was the pillow with it?
Yeah, the pillow was with it. And she, her brother, I had helped her
brother in college or in school some the two years I was there. He always
called me his sun. That little thing in front was givem to me by him for
my mother. I got a letter just this week from one of the other...I had two
boys that I helped. One of them became a preacher and the other, this one,
became a teacher. His sister gave this to me.
What was his name?
His name was Un Ta Kim and the other was Hung Jun Jure.
O.K. Tell me about the little rug that's in there. The little oriental
rug that's in your back bed room. has that been there or is that something
you had? Not the hook rug, the one in the back there. This one. ql-('o"'
That came from Davidson.
That came from Davidson?
I brought that from Davidson.
Oh. So that's real old then?
Yeah. It's old.
Alright. Tell me about this picture that's hanging there by the bed.
Well, I know that it was one of my mother and fathers wedding gifts. 9/ -.
One of your mothers?
My mother and fathers.
That's very nice. That's number 91-104. Then there are two little half-
round tables in this back bed room. Tell me about those. l-(o06 dC --
We bought them in Oklahoma as we went to housekeeping.
Those are from Oklahoma? Alright. Number 91107. There are some he-irons
that are in there. Tell me about those.
They were bought in Oklahoma when we went to housekeeping.
O.K. Then on the porch, the front porch, there's a bench that's painted
That was here. That was here when we came.
So that's very old.
It's been here 100 years.
So we need to get that restored and fixed.
It's over 100 years old. Yeah.
And then there's also this little square table.
It just belonged. It's not very historical.
That was here too? But that one was original. That one we want to be sure
That was original, yeah.
Let's see if there is anything else here. Tell me a little more about this
couch that's in that front bed room, that modern couch. When was it purchased?
That was bought here, here in Gainesville not too many years ago. Because
when you have only a double bed in there and so often you want another one.
So that was bought here?
So I bought that and it opens up and makes a bed.
Oh. So it makes a bed. O.K. That was purchased here in Gainesville?
Yeah. It was purchased here in Gainesville.
That's number 9183. Then you've already talked to me about this two-shelf
oak book shelf. The item 180.
Yeah. That was just here.
That was here in the house. O.K. Back to number 9166 of Catherine E.
This was done by a Frence painter from Charleston, South Carolina, Right?
Not North Carolina.
South Carolina, right. Charleston would really die if they heard you say
North Carolina. You know what they say, "North Carolina is the valley of
humiliation between the mountains of conceit, Virginia and South Carolina."
But I say with my next breathe "North Carolina is holding her own very well.
She pioneered in good roads and education. She has the mountains and the
sea coast." I could go on. So she is not a valley of humiliation. But
Charleston, South Carolina is most historic and they say that the Cooper
River and the Ashley River, where they come together, that that forms the
Atlantic Ocean. So that's just one of Charleston's famous sayings.
The dressing table, that was from Shawnee too? That little set there. That
is number 9195. And also the Mahogany double bed, number 9196. That was from
Oklahoma too, wasn't it?
Yeah. The whole set.
And the chest of drawers was at Warren's Store up there and the mirrow that
goes above it too?
Yeah. Mr. & Mrs. warren had a hardware store, furniture and everything
and they would say that we will come down after closing and select your
furniture. So we would go down and have the quiet and go through. They
thought we were wise and very economical in the way we selected this set
and the little spool bed in the kitchen and the rocking chairs. This was
Chris' rocking chair and this little one was mine. so we still have those
Alright. So let me show you this, what we have in mind, now let me go ahead,
I'll take this back and I'll get these pictures developed and put them up in
there then we'll have everything up to date.
I'll give that to you. What I've got here is a list of the things that are
in the pictures so you can study these things by number. We'll eventually
have to put the numbers on the furniture to mark them but we've got them
marked now by the picture with the number here. There are the things that
you need to decide over the next year or so. What's going to stay in as
part of the house museum and the part that's going to stay in. So I made
it stays with the house or goes to whoever you want it to in their name.
That's the problem.
It's a big problem. You may not want to decide right now.
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