Title: Chris Matheson
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024320/00001
 Material Information
Title: Chris Matheson
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Matheson, Mrs. Christopher ( Interviewee )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: February 26, 1974
Copyright Date: 1974
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Bibliographic ID: UF00024320
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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Mrs. Chris Matheson

February 26, 1917 sjm

I: This is an oral history interview being done with Mrs. Christopher

Matheson. We're out here in Gainesville, Florida. This is being

done for the Alachua County Historical Commission. The date of

today is **Mt=February tr..26#, and we are at Mrs. Matheson's house

here on ta Second AvenueJ, First Avenue?

M: First Avenue. Southeast First Avenue. '

I: Southeast First venue, and we are in her sitting room which is

just a breezeway of the house that she has adapted to a sitting room anr.-

Io begin with, Mrs. Matheson, I think that we might ought to begin

with your telling me about where you were born and some of your early


M: I was born in Jaeebson, North Carolina,_3t's a small college town.

It's in Mecklinburg County. I was born ead~, .about the turn of the

century and was the oldest child of Mr. and Mrs. Charles P' n -

4e&d. My father was a farmer. He had farms in three counties,

said My post office is in Mecklfnburg. My school is in djg. My

church is in T:er&a and my ." He said

Li'-get in trouble, bua the sheriff would have a hard time catching

me. My father was later eprese tative in the c err # of North

Carolina for -ga&zee-County. Ana we really lived six miles out from

Davidson, and we went into school int-Davidson. Morning and after-

noon Aa2' { A-y s fK r ravele twelve miles.40/-

I: Did you go by wagon?

M: No, buggy. We had a little buggy, a two seated buggy. The curtains


Page 2 sjm

would drop down *r% lanterns to put at our feet. It was very cold.

We went back and forth to the school near Davidson then, until I

was in the sixth grade aed my father bought a home HeS in Davidson and

we moved into Davidson, s4x-miles-from the-eown- of-Davidson-whenI-

was- i-the- w it-h-g-ade. a2i '1 y 'father became the mayor of Davidson

GelAege and was secretary and treasurer of the Building and Loan, h i,

Swas director of the bank there. He told us that he was taking us

to the nicest place Davidson College. By the

way, he did not get to go to college because he came along, but his

father, my grandfather, Thomas Henderson Hamilton, was in the first

class that 1ar ,i.rtuJ entered Davidson College in 1837. WEas

I: Had the Hamiltons been in America for quite a long time?

O NM: Av / 7c) -- ey had come over from Scotland. They

ame-n -vr-th t-i49i brothers and settled in Peachbottom County near

Lancaster, New York, Pennsylvania and then, they came on down to the

Carolins. I don't know just what year, but they settled in Tfwsmee-

County W "4 =Fae s 3,still own. < -

I: ) 'f'L- your father's grandfather?

M: Yes, my father's grandfather.

I: So really *yOule, I guess, your grandfather, of course, was the first

of the Hamiltons that wa born in North Carolina?

M: North Carolina. And my addr brother is Thomas Henderson Hamilton.

I: What did your grandfather study basically? Was it a liberal arts


M: A liberal arts school. Yes, it was a liberal arts school.


Page 3








And they farmed there?

They farmed and still farm. Yes /'-,nd I remember he had a friend from

India, I believe, who brought some white mulberry seed. And this class-

mate gave my grandfather some of the seed that he took home and planted

on the farm. I remember the trees grew a69e- werwere-and we used to

play under the treeland when it died, my father was very sentimental

wV old things with a lot of history and he took a piece of wood that

he kept from that white mulberry tree that lived and then water when

I was teaching in Gastonia, North Carolina, I had a friend, a teacher

who was in the manual arts department who said,"I will be glad to make

you a gavel." So he took this piece of mulberry tree and made a gavel

out of it. My father appreciated it. He used it a lot.

So your father, he never did get to go to college, did he?

He didn't get to go to college. He went to a finishing school that

they had in those days.

Where was this at?

At Huntersville)near Davidson.

Do you know the name of the school?

No, I don't remember. It was a famous school for boys and girls, es-

pecially boys in those days, this school at Huntersville and then,

my father became a teacher there. After we moved into Davidson, he

kept his farm six miles out, but he used to like to laugh and say that

7 j ct --'.aC (.i, agriculturalist lived in town and spent

his money on the farm. A farmer lived in the country and spent his money

in the town. Well, we kept the farm for a while, for a long time.


Page 4 sjm

In fact, we still own about a hundred acres.

I: But he came to Davidson when you were in the sixth grade?

M: In the sixth grade. Yeah.

I: Were you going to the public school?

M: Yes, public school. Yeear

I: Did you remain in the public school throughout your childhood?

M: Graduated from the public school in Davidson.

I: How big a class did you have? Or was Davidson a big town at that


M: Not that big. No, about 1500 people. Of course, the college had

around five or six hundred bodies, I guess, only men. bm.-.tiwed.

In fact, they have only taken a few girls in the last few years, but

it's still an outstanding college for Wa in that area-firi-=pVTod

See ge. l-graduated-from there were only eleven in my high school classy

-ag I was valedictorian of my class. A tne whole class stayed out

a year and we had private teachers Zar- the college. The YMCA secre-

tary and his wife, T. English, 4--bel~e-, history, and

icwent back to the high school for an extra year of Latin. I had six

years of Latin. FEDIiz7lke -...

I: This was after you graduated?

M: Yes. This was an extra year. Kind of an extra year of study,c alLn

the meantime, E~met my sister, Martha, was graduated so the following

year we went to Greensboro to the women's collegeAUniversity of North

Carolina NCCW, North Carolina College for Women. Ad mother, by

the way, had graduated from this college in the first class that had


Page 5 sjm

had four years of college. She graduated in 1896 from the Female College

for Women. It became the North Carolina College for Women -'iiki n

-ig-OWl.0. We graduated in 1924. There were seven hundred students

when we entered and fourteen hundred when we graduated. So then when

we graduated, my net sister, Mary said,"I'm not going to enter NCCW.

I don't want to be known as Mrs. Hamilton's daughter or Sarah and Mar-

tha's sister. I'm going to make my own." So she chose Converse Col-

lege in Spartanyburg, South Carolina, where she -db&c&ea@ewpapresident

of the student body, tau-Mm '^ L

I: -. c anl' fnlpcie for"at? .-v

M: U7-L- ytiiu

I: snr r Did you take liberal arts or anything like that?

M: Liberal arts. I majored in English.

I: What a.ruk kind of courses you take>-t.t-reaRTf ym a.-

or did you have a lot of choices?

M: No, we had to take science. I took one year of extra math. I.had

to take certain sciences, but mostly liberal arts,- W ad t

an AB degree, when I graduated, in English. eaM sister Martha

majored in history) (#d we both taught the first year. We taught in

Gastonia, North Carolina. Itaught the fourth grade and she the fifth

grade. She came back the second yeawith my mother and father at home

and I taught the second year in Gastonia. Then I went to Richmond,

Virginia to -2rz --v tvfhe Presbyterian School of Christian Edu-

c action to do graduate work ina --- -

I: In what year?


Page 6 s sjm

M: In 1926. Graduated in twenty oe, and taught two years then,

I went in the fall of '26 to Richmond which was Assemblies Training

School then but which is now known as the Presbyterian School of

Christian Education, and I graduated there with what was similar

to a gradte e s -- r d z
?V& 1Q -!
I: I take it your father was a Presbyterian.,.

M: Yes, an elder.

I: ....and was really steeped in the Presbyterian church. /WCiff

M: Ad]/y father was <1 .QC.-7 -

I: Were all these schoolsAtI take it them being Presbyterian, th 'ree

private school so you wind up having to pay the tuition to school

and all that. Was it pretty high? Was it kind of hard on your

father to be able to pay for all you girls to go to school ork,,,

M: Yes, well, we went to the North Carolina College for btmen a state

school so that helped quite a bi becaure- having two girls at e time..

We didn't have to pay for tuition nk nv-wry--.. Il* 1 but when I

went to PS eqa at Richmond for ta6s graduate work, I had a

scholarship given by Mrs. Cannon jou know the Cannon-mler people

in Concord, North Carolina. She was a good friend of my mother. My

mother was active in the women of the church and the presbytery. Mrs.

Cannon gave this scholarship, so t scholarship helped me with my

tuition in Richmond. And when I finished there, Dr. Walter

asipresident. AnlgIt said, "Sarah, I think that you would like to

work with Indians." And I said,"Why do you think so?" He said,"I

just do." So I said,"All right, get me a job." And he did. He got Z-7


Page 7 sjm


teaching religious education and Bible- ehEnglish, .

in the Presbyterian College for Girls, Oklahoma

I: You said you went to graduate school or you went to do graduate study

at this school. Was this in religious education?

M: Rj.M. Religious education, Jc 4ilf /4-cc~.

I: But then, you went to Oklahoma for a while.

M: Oklahoma in 1928.

I: What was it like when you went all the way 6* North Carolina to this

dust bowl ~4- 7

S M: I thought that I was going clear out st. When I bought my ticket,

the cma--"f --*-uid g- ticket *a& said,"Well, I hope you get there all


I: Took the train?

M: By train. Had to change several times. In Memphis we took the Rock

Island. We had theSouthern kilroad to Memphis L: IC

then the Rock Island to McAlster Durant. Durant took longest. And

there I taught. We had Choctaws, Chicksaws, Seminoles, Creek, Pawnee

and em Comanche tribes, representja fev4- -_- Sj --- "

I: Was this on a reservation?.... fg'sxS OK, now you go ahead. We were

talking about the Indians. I was asking you if they were on a reser-

vation, and you*..,

M: Oh, no. The Choctaws, the five civilized tribes never were place on re-

servatio Most of them a Cheyenne and Arapahos and others in.the

C-, W- g stern part of the state were on reservations, but the Choctaws and the


Page 8 sjm

Chickasaws, the Presbyterian Church worked mostly with these two

tribes and-tshy had little farms. They found oil wells sometimes

on their land. Seminole oil field was just nineteen miles from

an.j. s n -par he southern part just about twenty-five miles
from Red River9 --t <'x-cJ i

I: What kind of town was it? Wide open?

M: Durant was western. It was a college town whc ~O klahoma Pres-

byterian College, which had a good manrry.- T -cid--g"" im tribes,

represented, but there were also/Anglo-Saxon girls, Put over on the

other part of town was the Southeastern College, developed into a

university later on& It- m+nw ..1..1.. ...-

6 .haa. I taught Bible and religious education. The Biblq Cair had

been endowed by the women of the Presbyterian Ci ch through the

birthday offering in 1926. So I was the second, Mary i sgr and

I, a classmate from Richmond, Virginia went out with me. The two of

us were the Bible teachers Swe were paid with the interest on the

birthday offering. 4 l~-t.a mounted to just a little over

//f40,000,. a .... I. interest on that paid the

Bible teachers, but it was very interesting' ) '

I: Was this a girls' school?

M: A girls' school.

I: Was there a men's school anywhere close?0

M: Later there was a preparatory department4 and some boys came then,l~ar

We had boys and girls, who came to the preparatory department. When

I tught there, it was an accredited junior college. So then, when
WTb~h hee


Page 9 sjm

they finished, they could go over to the tern State School, and go

on with their education. SW I found the Indian girls very alert and

quick to learn, memorize, and they were talented. They were especially

good in music and art. _aem 0-0l4e e art teacher the different

materials and say,"All right, I want some original designs." I art-some

hanging in my room here that they designed Qiat I like# very much.

I taught there at OPC~~.Ai from 1928 until 1933. Only five years.

I: Uh huh.

M: And that is where I met Chris Matheson.

I: How did you wind up meeting him or running into him/ a girls'

school or whatever?

M: Well, Chris had gone out to Oklahoma in 1920, I think it was to usee-

at Shawnee, Oklahoma -B'we@ hundred miles, I guess, from Durant

he was on the Board of Trustees that would come down to the college.

I: Was the church of Shawnee an Indian church like with Indians or was

it in a larger town, you know, where there are farmers and things like


M: Shawnee now, was a larger town forty miles from Oklahoma City. About

thirty-five miles from Norman, the University of Oklahoma. Shawnee

had been an Indian name, after the Shawnee Indians, because it was in

..lja ae county And we had a street Kickapoo, Kickapoo Street)in

w-e county. Shawnee, the town of Shawnee. And it was five

mieecumseh d Tecumseh was another Indian chief. We were

right in the heart of the Indian territory, butj 1a-a-an-, Shawnee

had Oklahoma Baptist University which Aw developed into a;- i

-ePx^ ^ '


Page 10 sjm

I: Before we get on to Mr. Matheson, when you were teaching all these

Indians, did you ever have a chance to acquire their language? Did

you learn, did they work with trying to teach you their language, the

Indian language or4~did you work with that at all?

M: fWe didn't work with it a great deal. And I met a lot of the parents,

and we had one of our teachers that we called our Indian princess, Miss

Ann SAmple who was a sixteenth Indian, Choctaw Indian, very proud of

her Indian bloo~b ,ad he could speak some of the language. hen we

t~ to church, with them, the Indian Presbyterian or Indian churches,

they had their own little songbooks. There was no music passed

down from generation to generation and they sang in Choctaw;e-d hey

sand their hymns and I could follow aket by looking at the hymn book,

but I didn't have time toearn very much of the language.

I: Were there very many of your associates who learned the language,

or did you just rely on English?

M: They learned English because all the classes are in English. They

could only speak their Choctaw tongue when they got together here, but

we encouraged them to speak English.

I: Well, then we can -{i e )1V 71tHQ0--t---'-.

M: Christopher Matheson was a young bachelor/ minister in Shawnee, Okla-

homa)who was on the board, and he'd come from time to time to visit

the college. He would always speak in would take t

four young teachers, about the same age, 2jL ""-"i--+-ir- th-- all

out to dinner and to a movie and was quite nice to all of us. But thS^

y I came home in the summertime and to our summer home isn-aab



Page 11 sjm

.aUMLr Montreat, North Carolina. That was when my mother and father
r--.----------- ----,,,.
had bought a cottage in Montreat in 1919 d so I had grown up at

Montreat in the summer which was the Presbyterian conference center

for our area. J Mr. Matheson, Chris Matheson came to Montreat to

the hotel for his vacation Idso that was reai iywhere he learned

S toknow me better I used to say, pursued me, and won my ,,.

So we were married in 1933 at my summer homes Montreat, ) kcr Ar/'(..

I: How long had you known him? Did you know him well?

M: I met him in 1928, I guess. I've known himj.,,

I: So you met him as soon as you got out i fArj~ LrOY &

M bout four years. He was in Oklahoma.

I: So he was in Oklahoma when you got there.

M: Oh, yes. He had been in Oklahoma. He had gone to Oklahoma from

Gainesville in 1919, ; 1920.

I: And so I imagine your courting days were very exciting.

M: Oh yes. So many days there. I sm even sometimes at 1Oadi jLLT. Then

I visited in Shawnee and vistied the church there, /l-'_L tsrj;_e-eL

-ic minister since 1919.

I: Well, what? Did he talk to you much about how he came to go into the

ministry and go to Oklahoma? Did he tell you very much about e '

M: Well, yes, he....I guess that would take us back to Gainesville.

I: Right, that would take us back to Gainesville. I'd like to-~AAc-."

M: '-- .. I don't know where to begin. His ancestors

really go back, Judge Steele, wag --SOm_- _who was Augustus

Steele, his grandfather, had come from Connecticut, and had settled

Page 12 sjm

in Savannah/ in 1819. and then had come to Magnolia, Florida, in about

1828/ abo t 1830. He was editor of the MagnoliaAdvertiser, and we have

the only complete copy, bound copies of this paper that were published

at Magnolia)which was about eight miles out from Tallahassee on St. Marks

River and of course, this was hand set by5i f But he didn't

miss an issue d that paper was kept and bound)and we presented the-'

Sto the 1j'brary, Library of Florida P.. Yonge Library. After

gt ft Magnolia to go down to Fort Broo near Tampa on the

Hillsborough River in 1832, I guess he was there in 1832, g U know
that3 hsg hp
that he single handedly got Hillsborough County, g said it was ridicu-

lous to ride horseback 150 miles up to the iae 1 ch a the

county seat of Alachua County.

I: Which was a part of Alachua County?

M: Wi was a part of Alachua County at that time so had to ride horse-

back up here.

M: ...| t834 he got Hillsborough ountyGover-

nor Du l was governor at that time. Governor DuVal said,"All right,

Mr. Steele shall have a county, and we'll call it Hillsborough county.
,*it3^3~Ee-^ 7, *fi^^ ife^ jr^* ^-^^-e/ ^ L[ =? : -
"ms... .... '....... ... ,ll anyway, he got the county and we have

a letter that he wrote to his niece about that time and he said,"If you

think that I have been neglecting you, let me just tell you what I have

been doing." And then, he tell4in the letter that he was collector of

ctthe port, s = y-Of ^^ j-^^^-t_.tr.fcfi findrrIm ...


Page 13 sjm

We----.^---- .'----I.--- --- ^?C,
,he was in charge of the fish in e was county and probate judge

--- f was postmaster of Tampa and the Indian Wars were going on then,

and the influx of mail had to come through his post office)so he was

quite busy. And we have a paper edited in 1956 by Ri*a ycD.D. Mcd(ay

where he said Judge Steele was Tampa's first promoter and outstanding

citizen. -nJr. mn that hangs here in

our living room. MS)Steele later was disappointed. He had bought two

islands and quite a bit of land and....

I- Do you know which islands they were?

M: I wish I did know the name of the island. Right near the mouth of the

river, you see, on the Hillsborough River, and we have the copies of the

town that he started out there on the Hillsborough River, but he

thought Fort Brook, the militarywould *-Q-i-in when thelar was over,- O~C

you see. Ie q e represented this land company .M....m ,

out of New York of over a million acres, all aRund Tampa Od so he CL

was trying to sell lots and bought some himself, but Fort Brook/re-

mained. And imsrn t the land 6ht around his property was not pre-

--tede as he suppose^ S he was disappointed and)after doing all this

as the first citizen of Tampa.he sold what he could and salvaged as

best he could and moved up to Cedar Keys, but he homesteaded the island

of Siepeeyo and there....

I: Did he do farming? Did he try and do farming on the island?

M: He did some farming, but he bought up at auction. We have a little

slip here showing how mamy much money he paid for the barracks and some of

the hostels, y gg and barracks that the people had moved during the


Page 14 sjm

war. He bought the material at auction and built those cottages and so

the island was just covered with nice cottages I". s i.-P-k-..soi ...

s-g agMo ...a ad people moved in and bought lots all along

the island that he homesteaded. But the properties were especially for

the planters from mid-Florida who would come over and spend the summer

during the hot month-g-ssE- e G;ome-and- ta tag r- I have a couple

of letters here from @a*. Senator Yulee from Washington saying," I hope

to come, Mrs. Yulee and I are hoping to come to the keys this summer.

Please try to save us a cottage."

I: Now, is Cedar Key where your husband, Chris, was born?

M: No. No, Chris was born in this house. His mother was born- hat's

what I am getting to. Judge Steele married. He did not marry until

he came to Cedar Key from Tampa. So there he married Elizabeth Cotting-

ton, and they had one child, and she" .1a- a little girl, so her name

was Florida Augusta Steele. Her father was AugustS5Steele, Judge Au-

gustA Steele, and she grew up on that island t-snd had private tutors.

They would have different teachers come to teach her. Music teachers.

Later, in this house, I found this old music book that I was looking

at one day and wondered why, why in the world .T L" i

dggg h.why this book had been kept. Here was huge book, you

see, with the cover gone, but it had A&eW~ .a.e e, Augusta A. Steele

on it. And then I opened it and began to see this old music ii e

'" -" "T --l ..... 1 "The Cedar Key

March", t dedicatU o ge Aum dedicated to Judge Augustar Steele) -

spectfully dedicated to Judge Augusta Steele, "Cedar Key March" by B.R.



Page 15 sjm

Lignoski. And then, I turned over and here was another one dedicated to Mrs.

Elizabeth A. Steele of Cedar Key, East Florida, W z", and then

a third one here dedicated to erM Augusta Steele, Hill Quick

Step." And so there you have a march to the man, a waltz to the wife,

and a quick step to the young daughter.

I: Was there a chance that he was, he wasn't very musically oriented?

M: u-r 'An------ ---d I found'this about him

that he taught music at Florida (FSU) developed into the music

department up there. He had been c l

I: So, that was Chris's mother.

M: Yes, that was Chris's mother, an only child.

M: So now we go to the Matheson estate. This was Florida Augusta Steele.

On the other hand, up in Camden, South Carolina were the Matheson family,

-ie Mathesons, James Douglas Matheson, was Chris's father. He had been

S-.in-hg-armyduring their as a lieutenant and when he was mustered out

--4~r5, when the war was over -' came down to Gainesville as a young

lieutenant to try his fortune in the south. A lot of people were coming

from South Ca ina, the planters and planted cotton and indigo in this -

central part of Florida. The ae Plantation outside of Gainesville qp,

brother, Uncle 1ik Matheson had come earlier, in the early fifties,

and I think it was tid'k Matheson who bought this property where we live

now, but Efifk decided to go back to Liberty Hill, South Carolina, near

Camdetn and James Douglas, his younger brother, decided to stay hereso

when he came down in '65, 1865, he was working for Savage and Hale, a

cotton broker It must have had an office at Cedar Key because that is


Page 16 sjm

where he met Florida Augusta Steele. They fell in love and were married,

in 1867, iJune 1867, and that's -iggt .the date that we claim

that:this house was built. They went to housekeeping *aw far as we

know in this house in 1867 when he was AY Wi'W n...

I: Now you say they went to housekeeping)so apparently you have done some

research. Now, I don't think the whole house was built at the same

time or did you have a chance to find anything out about

M: No, I would like to talk to some of the architect people to know what4,

1: I was curious if you had seen anything, any writings that suggested that.

M: I wish I could. I'd certainly love to know thatr1 o built it; ether

~ e helped to build it, or whether James Douglas)after he came,

built it.

I: So in any case, they came in here and set up housekeeping.

M: They came right here in 1865, and I know when Mr. James Douglas Mathe-

son die ,d ___ -MWan ag s Rma ter working for

Srale became a merchant because we have the picture.'--

-asemi of our early days here. This picture NiO shows his own business.

It was his store and he was a merchant and they had shoes and groceries

and all kinds of things. He also, from one of the maps that we have7

a map that was printed in 1872, I think it is. It had Real Estate Banking

and Collecting Agency, Matheson and McMillan, Gainesville.

I: This was AleMatheson, right?

M: No, this was James Douglas. James Douglas, yes, Chris's father.

I: James Douglas, yes.

M: James Douglas Matheson J.D. Matheson. Then Matheson Dry Goods, you


Page 17 sjm

see, clothing, cloths, shoes, hardware. I have seen an outline of a big

wooden shoe that used to hang out in front of the store, and when Chris

died, after his death, I think they gave it to one of the Duval Shoe

Stores. Now, I don't know whatever happened to that shoe, but I'd like

to see it '

I: So this was Chris's parents' store?

M: Chris's parents'

I: So they came and this store was what? Sometime around ,

M: 1870 --9 / / 1.A"- 8g

I: Did he engage in any farming or anything before that? Or have you been able

to find out?

M: I don't know about farming. I know they connected ~ 0 ) in te real

estatei-McMillan and Matheson. Mr. James Douglas Matheson, and then,

later, Chri as a lawyer to take in a lot of real estate in payment

SL L .... I have twenty acres of land that I have

never seen.


Page 18 sjm

I: So, Chris, was, -. -n',if't '''" > '

M: No, t: i i. .. L. -:= ChIa,.-:i fourI pihey had

two little daughters, little Catherineand little Bay who lived

on3 to the second summer. You know, they used to say, "Oh, if

they could just live through that second ce was not too /_ "'/ .

a and it was pretty hot in Gainesville and Cedar Key. But

Sthe little girls died after about two years, Catherine and

a4o Then she had Chris and Steele, named for Judge Steele of

course. So Christopher named for his grandfather Chris Matheson

Christopher Matheson was the father of James Douglas Matheson. So

Chris was named for his grandfather and Steele was named for his

_ grandfather Steele. So they were young boys. )Uher; Chris went to

the Citadel, South Carolina military academy in Charleston, known as

the Citadel which was the West Point of theSouth and he, oh he

excelled. He was valedictorian of his class, was adjutant of

the battalion, and very, very good with his classes. I have a

copy of his valedictory that I found written in longhand j1bwe,

tied with a red ribbon. And it said,"Goodbye to the city of Charles-

t on hard to understand at first, but once understood, taken to

your heart..' He loved the city of Charleston.

I: When did he graduate?

M: In 1895.

I: 1895.

M: As I ; valedictorian (d- when we were married, he


Page 19 sjm

brought me back to Charleston, and with great pride, showed me

the old Citadel. And then we went back to commencement several

times with the old guard. We'd sit wityidg%. General Sommer-

all a' president when we went back for commencement) ( hi; s

classmates were having a runio ggga d- would sit 4 -

J with the resident in his for the parade and watch the

ar Chris would say,"There comes General Allison," you know,

a lot of his classmates had gone on to become generals in the army,

but he had graduated, as I say, in '95, and came home and stayed

a part of that year at home, surveying, helping with some surveying

locally and working in the store. And then he, because he had ex-

celled in the military/ 'l -- thought that he would like

to continue. So he went out to Fort Bliss, and joined the Fifth

I: Was this in, what, about what year?

M: About '96.

I: '96.

M: Uh huh. 'ahiat was the yea I think A& Steele was a young

sixteen year old cadet at the East Florida Seminary. Well, by the

way, while Chris was still here that year that he was out survey-

ing and helping his father, he was called on to substitute some of

the classes ver at the East Florida Seminary. sasse his father

was chairman of the board of the East Florida Seminary, *AdsNcz -a e jO

C, __CC_ and then he became treasurer, county treasurer for

Alachua County. James Douglas Mathison/ was treasurer and was

chairman of the board of, I mean of the county commissioners. He


Page 20 sjm

was a county commissioner and served several years as county


I: So Chris was mafi ed in Fort Bliss.

M: Well, he was in Fort Bliss when his younger brother, Steelewas

a cadet at East Florida Seminary tfnd one day, one weekend/ I

think, he and two other cadets went out on a little hunting trin

m~-i agfe: sua Aad their horse and buggy and, and Steele's

dog Bruce was with them. And they were out on the Kincaid Road

on a hunting trip when, we are not sure whether the dog jumped

up and knocked the gun over, or whether the buggy fell into a

C r' rut) xt the gun went off and shot Steele.

I: You said on Kincaid Road, do you know where that is?

M: Yes, that's out toward the Melton Plantation, you know the Mel-

tons that used to have the Buick place?

I: Right.

M: Well, it's t out .M there. That's called the Kincaid area, Kin-

caid section. Mr. Moseby Taylor was one of the young cadets with

^lltfg Steele when it happened, and these young boys were so

excite cThey did their best. and got him back to the hospital as

quickly as possible, but he died before they, or by the time he

was brought to the hospital. So Chris was all his father and mother

had left then, so he just got his honorable discharge as promptly

as he could/and came on back to Gainesville to be with his father

and mother and began to study law. sml~e B8...8BaeB.

I: Who'd he study law under?

M: Studied law under ,J.mm as Judge was one of thee Thomas


Page 21 sjm

Kag I believe, was one of the local judges.

I: I have some information you might could tell umjrn one of his

obituaries they mention W.E. Baxter.

M: Oh, W.E. Baxter was one of his partners in law.

I: Well, they mention after studying under Baxter,* .

M: Oh I see, well I wonder if that was correct.

I: Well, it said, it said in his obituary that from 1898 he was

certified as a lawyer after studying under W.E. and E.S. Baxter,

A -^ I wanted to check his name.

M: Judge Kei was one of the ones that I know he studied under, and was

admitted, I had that confused a minute ago. Those two .

*'Lt-*---- about when he was admitted to the, to the bar cuse

he went up to Columbia also. Here's one of them, I believe. This

is the United States of America, District of South Carolina, Fourth

Circuit,"To all whom these may concern. Clerk of the circuit court
VWh< -I jhie dei'li
of South Carolina, district of the United States of America do

certify that Christopher Matheson, Esquire is this day duly admitted

and qualified before the Honorable William H. Brundy, United States

Judg) to practice as an attorney, solicitor and proctor in the cir-

cuit courts of the United States of America for the district afore-

said ~~ to a rule of said court. The State of South Caro-

lina. The 26th day of October in the year of our Lord, one thousand

nine hundred and seven, and in the 132nd year of our independence

of -f Sc/t s That was when he was admitted to the South Caro-

lina and then also, into the Tallahassee, December 4, 1900, Tues-

day, ten o'clock. __ pursuant to adjornment, Pe- 5t


Page 22 sjm

Honorable R.A. Tay4Lor, chief justice, M.H. Mabry and F.D.

Carter, justices. Christopher Matheson, a practicing attorney

in the circuit courts of this state appearing at the bar. and

on motion is admitted to practice as an attorney and counsel

in the Supreme Court, _

I: So then he became a 9upreme-

M: Supreme Court, in the Supreme Court of Florida. He was prac-

ticing in 1905, I have this! "Christopher Matheson, attorney-at-

law, Honorable J.W. Perkins, Deland, Florida. Dear Sir: The peo-

ple of Gainesville, believing that our city is a proper place for

the location of the state universt 1 created by the Buckman Bill

recently passed by the legislature, have determined to use all

honorable means to secure the location of the university here. They

believe that they will be supported in their effort by all who sin-

cerely believe that, who sincerely wish for the success of higher

education in this state, and its complete separation from the

blighting alliance of politics. I enclose you a small pamphlet pre-

pared by the people of Gainesville showing twelve reasons why the

school should be located here. If after thinking the matter over

carefully, you decide to give Gainesville your support, we'll be

glad if you would write a letter to Governor Broward or some mem-

ber of the board, urging Gainesville as the place of the university.

I ask this of you, not only in the interest of Gainesville, but in

the interest of fairness and the cause of education in the state of

Florida. With kind regards for yourself, I remain very truly yours,

1rc /V


Page 23 sjm

I: Now I believe that gets into some of his participation in /r0 i/

the University of Florida to GainesvillyOTust before, and I'd like

to go on to that, but to get this down1 5iu-said, you mentioned 2

that you thought he practiced with the Baxtersj and I was going to

ask you ,)I~ fdSi s there anybody else hc /ru/ /g T;

M: W.E. Baker, he practiced with W.E. Baker, who is the father of

Elizabeth Baker who was in the museum? / and___Pj


Side Two

M: Chris was practicing with these men/and was made mayor, was elected

mayor, you remember about 191,9)I think it was 1910.

I: Right.

M: 11,A2, '13, 14, I15,'16,17, for nine terms, he was mayor. All

this time that he was practicing law and serving as mayor, he was

an elder in the Presbyterian church with his father ri w .it

James Douglas Matheson, had been an elder for life, practically;

- i"- d Chris was one of the youngest men made an elder with his father.

So he would agggl g iq on1MO 0 I preach on Sundays out

at Kanapaha, the old mother church. He would go out to Kanapaha

and I found a little booklet that showed the

amount of money.he'd get. He would have to rent a ca ars were

just ---
I: So he was actually preaching all along then,

M: Preaching, yeah, he was preaching, that's right.


Page 24 sjm

M: Preaching on Sundayg4 tois father died then in 1911^, ,age -

-go, &- was gliao aiW- at that time ). was Lunty measure.

And so Chris and his mother continued to stay on here, and he

served as mayor. Then he was in the legislature in 1917 and 1918,

and the war , m- came on, and he stumped the state selling

as iag liberty bonds and helping out as a speaker. He was

called onA was quite an orator, and made many talks to the

Elks Club and to the different organizations in Gainesville. -Ae-

gag B-l -is mother died Ut in 1917, I think or 1918.

And he thought, "Well, I didn't have a law office o the legisla-

ture and up at Fort Moultrie the war. If I'm ever going to

make the break, now's the time." So that was when he decided

to go the ministry and was taken out to Oklahoma.

I: Did he, did he have to go back and study in school to go into the1 )

M: When he was here, and while he was practicing sometime, he took

P--- "reek at the & diversity.

I: Oh. yr"

M: But he never did get to,, ,Pwas on the ard of stees of the

Columbia Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, which was training

t -- siLers) ht he never did get to go to the seminary. So he was

taken out to Oklahoma, and friends told me that 4md- Dr. Morris

quizzed him on theology and Bible, and things of that nature, all

the way out there. He said,"This man knows as much theology as

many ministers." But he was ordained under special license/be-

cause he had not been to a seminary, you see. So, after we were


Page 25 sjm

married, I remember, he tried to resign, a tell

his church. He said, "I'd like to go to the seminary and study."

But they said,"You preach just fine for us. You don't need any

more training."

I: So he became ordained in what?

M: He became ordained in 1919. This was out in4,,

I: Out in Oklahoma. So there he'd gone the circuit.

I: There's a couple things before we go on that I'd like to get to)

and you might tell me a little bit about. And that's, the first

thing is regarding his involvement in bringing the University of

Florida to Gainesville. And his involvement, I have been told

he had some direct involvement bringing the University of Florida,

you know, like that letter you just read.

M: Yes, yes, yes he did.

I: And4-, ,

M: He was very interested ,,

I: Were there any other things he did, besides writing letters like

the one you read me before?

M: He wrote this letter and made talks and also got the ministers A

found this in the a plea for Gainesville., that was about that same

timesigned by the one, two three, four, five ministers of Gaines-

ville. "Finally, the long faithful, noble work of the East Florida

Seminary has so thoroughly imbued this city and the whole citizen-

ship with high ideals of social, moral and educational lifei-that

we believe this place socially, morally IF. i-fi..


Page 26 sjm

place of all in this state for a great school location.* Reverend

Thomas P.Hayes, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Reverend

T.J. Nixon, pastor of Kanapaha Methodist Church, Reverend Francis

H. Craigfield, pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church, Reverend Stuart

R. Rogers, pastor of the First Baptist Church, and Reverend Father

J. Lynch, Roman Catholic Church, Gainesville, Florida. June the

3rd,19~-7 That must have been 1905, too, about that time. Chris,

you see, knowing all of these ministers, I'm sure, influenced them

Sto write this article telling why Gainesville was such an ideal

place for the diversity.

I: Did, then there's also something we talked about, that you had men-

tioned to me before about his working on getting gas lamps put up

around Gainesville.

M: Oh yes, yes, these lamps. They're the old, you've seen the ones

in my backyard that was erected, well, I think it was about 1910

when he was mayor that through Major Thomas, W.R. Thomas 54

Major Thomas of the Thomas Hotel fame/j Major Thomas and Chris

worked together very closely on the town council together.

I: I'm not sure but I think, was he mayor at that time, W.R.?

M: Oh no. -- -

I: I guess W.R. was on theP,

M: He was on the council, yeah. Chris was mayor, and they were put

up o-, I remember Chris telling, he said, Major, at that time, the

train you remember, came right down through Main Street, nd it

would stop iSeLae ppa- at the station, which is just about where

the First National Bank is. And the White House was another hotel


Page 27 sjm

that later became, or was, first of all was the girls' dormitory

1t5^o the East Florida Seminary. And then it was made into the White

House, the hotel. And the, the train would stop and fuel, and

the passengers would get off and go to the White House foro(fF

their meal, noon meal and then they'd get back on the train.

But, Major Thomas said,"Oh, Chris, these lights are so beautiful.

The people will wake each other up and say,l~ook at nubeauti-

ful lights of Gainesville as they pass through. 1 So they did.

They were all around the square. And I don't remember what year

it was that they were going to tear them down. And I went to some

of the officials and said,"What are you going to do with them?"

And they said,"Oh, we're just going to get rid of them." I said,

"Well, I want one for sentiment's sake." Because they were placed

in the square when my husband was mayor. So they said,"You're
welcome to "and they brought one out and dumped it on my yard.

I got Shorty Bean, paid him fifty dollars to light it, but now I

can turn the light on in my kitchen and it floods the backyard.

I: Glad you managed to save one.

M: So many people come by and say," / 9/,v/ /f. AWhere

did you get that light?" he city has been so good to

help me keep the bulbs in itjbecause sometimes it's been Ae L

target for rocks.

I: Sure.

M: But that's/f .

I: I wanted to find out about that because like you say, people

now wanted to know about them 7 -T IWv4 f// Okay, so now

Page 28 sjm

upug you went out to Oklahoma, and you, in Ma Wlow I guess we can

come back. I just wanted to do some background.r.

M: 'Yes, sure.'

Mr. Mathesoi 5.J ae,/ 7f /t i check on some of

the, the only thing we have, as a matter of fact on Mr. Matheson

is his obituary ,- Atl/ .fwV C _ff r /l'_C5r


I: It's good to have some things checked from you in relation to his

obituary. So you all, you -all went and got married. Did you get

married inA?

M: We got married in Montreat, in my summer place there. He said,

"Sarah Hamilton, you promised that we would have a very quiet

wedding, and you've selected the most public place in the world."

jMI Because it is a summer resort. But we were married on the

porch. My brother played the violin, and I have a friend who played

the golden harp. She brought the harp up to the v because

we did not have a piano. And a very close friend sang "Because" and

"I Love You Truly" and two of Chris's cousins who were ministers,

united ; aceremonyI John Matheson from Union, South Carolina

who was a cousin, and Gordon Matheson from Jackson Springs, North

Carolina. Chris did not have very many relatives left, you see. He

was the only child after Steele's death yemm-n, and his little

sisters$ and there weren't any other close Mathesons. But these

were two cousins as I spoke of earlier Kenneth Matheson, who was

president of Georgia Tech was a cousin and he had met him in At-

lant-i i


Page 29 sjm

I: Did you r- AI/ < come to the wedding?

M: Well, we had a good many. The Hamiltons were there, and I said,

"Now Chris, it isn't fair to 4o friends not to have a little

reception." So he agreed, and we did have the reception over in

the nn, which is the big hotel. Very beautiful, all rocky, /-LU,.

It looks likefortress built there on the side of the mountain

t --- d we had a ou ,- in the private room upstairs. It's,

irie now known as the Memory Room, so I've enjoyed going back to

the Memory Room most every summer ftsfe .

I: Is the hotel still operating?

M: Oh yes, gWstill operating, yes. This was in 1933, now. So then

*g' after the receptionewe started our honeymoon in Asheville, then

Hendersonville, Columbia, South Carolina, coming by train --

7 i day by day. It came down to Charleston, and spent a

couple of days in Charleston, and then on to Gainesville to his

Aunt Ola-. Aunt Ola Matheson, had, had really kept the house to-

S gether here. You see, when Chris left to go to Oklahoma, 1919, he

just walked off like a bachelor, and left all of the property here.

And there was one room upstairs that was kept with a lock and key,

not very secure, but a few things were left in there, and the house

was rented to a cousin at first, and then just to ordinary people

later on, who did not take care of things at all ..----. eLrs/*

f-d ^'; 4/Ao So we were thankful for anything that we could

salvage. And so Aunt Ola, who was the widow of William C. Matheson

You see James Douglas had this, this dear old home was dbS kind of


Page 30 sjm

a center. James Douglas was the brother that they all flocked to.

He had a sister, Miss Carolyn Matheson; Miss Callie, they called her,

Miss Carole, who taught at the East Florida Seminary. And, Mr.

Willie Matheson who worked in the store with haekg.b So

Aunt Ola lived right up the street rom Chris's house, and bhe had

kept some of the paintings gag9S and had tried to preserve some

S --the things that we still have today. So we came back here, and

then went over to Daytona Beach for a couple of days, enjoyed the

water there, the beach. And then we went back to Davidson College,

back to my home town. My mother had closed the house in Montreat,

and had come down to her winter home in Davidson where IAborn and

so we were there for two or three days before going back to Ok-

lahoma. And then you can imagine howAeverybody q b* ,"Who is

this person that Chris Matheson has married after all these years?"

He'd been a bachelor all this time.

I: Yeah.

M: I was received though:, with open arms and lived in the se in

Oklahoma ish- for twelve years.

I: Where is this now?

M: Shawnee, Oklahoma.

I: Oh, this is still Shawne-gI thought you said, .

M: Went back to, you see, I began teaching at Durant, and then when

I married, we went up to Shawnee, Oklahoma. And there I became

active in church and civic life. I was the president of the Haw-

thorne Club, andC,,


Page 31 sjm

I: What was the Hawthorne Club?

M: Hawthorne was a study club. That was a study club.

I: Was this just something that was there in that town or was it a-

national type of club.

M: No, it was just loca )I
book, kind of a book club, XJ. mu- ee. id we had pro-

grams. I became president there, worked with the Red Cross/and

did church work. I became president of the ir Presbytery,

Presbyterial. And i-_ Ip I was also president of the

'Ti of Oklahoma (ati, he

the whole state of Oklahoma _p-. .d was active in the

AAUW, American Association of University Women. d I was presi-

dent of a local group there.

I: nn h do any teaching?

M: I did some substitute teaching, yes. Substitute teaching.

I: For just the public schools.

M: Just for the public schools there. And after we came back to

Gainesville, Chris, as r very active in the Me was president

of the Oklahoma encampment for about fifteen years. od that was

something unique. They had, you see, being an Indian country, In-

dian encampments where the whole family would come together, and so

Chris being president of this association, encouraged families to

come together for summer camps. And they went for years down to

the Oklahoma Baptist Assembly grounds there in Oklahoma where they'd

spend a week or ten days together, all family, whole families. And


Page 32 sjm

it was something unique. But at that time, Richmond, Virginia

education department began saying,"That's not the way it ought to

be. The young people ought to be together, you know, for their

meetings, and the women ought to be together." And they began to

separate. As you look back now, and you realize that that was some-

thing that was really great and unique, to have a family encampment.

So then the young people broke away, and would meet separately, and

.- the)1 the men and womenjg~ oneers continued to meet together for a

few years. I got to go to one encampment after we were married (o

I got to see Chris in action there. He was president of the, chair-

man of the board of /home missions for Oklahoma for, oh, fifteen

years or more, seeing that the home missionaries, the home mission

ministers were paidq~pMaM. They got their salary and he would

oversee their work. And he was on the committee on union2and was

really an outstanding^ e was commissioner to the General Assembly,

at least twice.

I: Was he all this time still running his church as a ,,

M: He was a pastor.

I: He had a pastorate.

M: Yes. He had a pastorate there.

I: What was it like, divorced from your social life? wiat was it like

being a pastor's wife.

M: Pastor's wife.

I: And having to run a church.

M: Well, I tried from the very first, I said,"I'm going to live a


Page 33 sjm

natural life. I'm just5)minaB- I'm a human person. I don't

want to be jq-rput on a pedestal or thought of just as the mini-

ster's wifevthat has to be different from anybody." And for that

reason, I took part in civic life, gw-x-m, and social life, and

just tried to be myself, 4 natural. And I, because we didn't have

any children, that was our only disappointment, we never did have

any children) I had one miscarriage t we didn't have children. .

So I had more time, then, to do these outside things,)and to take

part in the church life. So I taught Sunday schoolOI was superin-

tendent of the junior department in the church,9and president of the

women, you see, 4nd I went on to the local and the state work.

I: I'm sure you had the great social*

M: But I had to be, oh, yes, we had parties for the young-people, es-

pecially. We'd have waffle breakfast for the adults.

I: It all seemed to get thrown on you as his wife.

M: Yes, the e-ilbiq-college boys and girls when they'd come home for

Christmas, we always, that was just a tradition, that we'd always

have a waffle breakfast for our young people and college people.

And then of course, I always entertained for my circles, and we

had family night suppers, and the preacher's wife always did her

part of the work.

I: I've been interested/ in the preacher's wife. It's a, it's a hard

life, I'm sure.

M: /I ges.

I: I guess a pastor gets up, has to get up in the middle of the night



Page 34 sjm

some nights.

M: Yeah, oh and weddings. Oh at weddings)you see. _d-

I: You know, at things like that, I'm sure that they probably didn't

have a wedding council, or a person who helped them.',

M: A-didn't counsel.

I: Not, not counselling, but I'm talking about, like we have a wed-

ding planner today, you know, ladies.

M: Oh, to do them.

I: Did you get the, as the pastor's wife, did they turn to you, some-

times ask you to help them?

M: Yeah, sometimes they did. Yes, they asked me to help them plan the

the social life.

I: I know, and we don't have those. You know, they didn't have those

bridal sections of the store like we have today.

M: No, that's right, they didn't.

I: You know, it'd seem to me to be logical that somebody would turn to

the pastor's wife sinceA,

M: Yeah, that's right. I've played the piano sometimes, you know, the

wedding march, when they'd come to the manse, for just a private

wedding' why I'd go to the piano sometimes, and play the march for

them, you know. And it was real interesting. It's been a custom,

I don't know whether you know it, but the preacher supposed to give

his wife any of the wedding fees that he gets. That's just a custom,

that the wife gets the fees. So, it was real interesting to see,1Y

how they varySometimes they're, *'tWb* a dollar or two dollars.


Page 35 sjm

Once I remember, the man gave my husband a cigar, ahe didn't

smoke. But he said,"Thank you very much," took the cigar, and after

the party had gone, he looked at it, and there was a ten dollar bill

wrapped real tightly around the cigar.

I: Did you get the cigar?

M: So I got the cigar and the money. Well, we had some very interesting

experiences, O t we nearly always went back to Montreat 40=2 in

the summertime. That was back in North Carolina to our cottage, for

our vacation. During the war, we couldn't get gas to go, so we

went down to Ai Texas,'exas encampment grounds. One

year we went up to the Ozarks, up to the Methodist, I've forgotten

the name of that Methodist camp. We had some interesting....oh yes,

very shortly after we were married, one of the men in the church,

Mr. Ike Bfrry, and Dr. Byre Dr. .yjrn was our doctor. They gave

us a Buick car, and Chris had never driven t id e ving.i7'

One member of the church, Mr. Ike B/rry, had a summer place up in

Qe- Colorado, and he had invited Chris to come up several summers)

and he never had gon)SSSa kw we had a car. And so we were invited

to join them that summer. So that was good experiencP I drove the

car. We went west out through Texas, out through Amarillo, and over

Raton Pass up to La Va Pass, and Wagon *eel sap,
pan -pa 1- m way over the mountains of Colorado, that were

covered with snow, you know, clear up to Creede, which was the

fisherman's paradise. And that was where the Rio Grande starts

S--- nd we did some fishing. ChrisY hiducaught a fish. Poor fellow,


Page 36 sjm

I IwB he caught, he BBrrys caught many fish, but they didn't

eat fish S they'd fry them for us, and broil them, and we'd

enjoy their fish. And then, I had a cousin over at Pueblo, Colorado,$~tlia

-woColorado Springs, and we left our friends and drove over to Colorado

Springs and to Pueblo for a little visit, then came back and

joined the B]rrys at a rodeo. The first rodeo I ever saw, Chris

too. And Chris was always very fond of animalsand cows rhe

did not like to see these little calves ropedg id~j That was

too much for him. So v- we watched it a while, and then we left

and drove down t-o-aiao ,ais-- W to Taos, Taos, New Mexico, the art

center for the night, and then on to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where

we had a very nice visit. The whole trip was-~'i 6t-

I: When did you, when did you all come to Gainesville? We came back

to Chris began 4W his health began to give way, and

we went to the Mayo's, Mayo's clinic, the Mayo clinic. And they said,

"It's Parkinson's disease." That is a dread creeping paralysis in a

way. And they said,"We don't have any known cure, but we give this

to retard it." And then one summer we went down to Temple, Texas.

-- Wr WCE Ithat summer, we stopped at Temple, Texas, which is

the southwest, Temple Texas, Scott White clinic at Temple, Texas,

which is the Mayo d the southwest. And they said the same thing,

"It's Parkinson's. We don't know what, there's no known cure, but

we feel this which was the tincture kiQov/, and we'd like-", he

could take that better than what they gave us at Mayo's. We were

at Mayo's twice --m '4-" t began with a little


Page 37 sjm

shaking of the hand. And so that developed till Chris retired), nd

^ ~ signed there, We had two more years before retirement, but he

had to resign in '46 ~e came back to Gainesville, h eept

this dear old home all these yearsQo Mp-r

I: Had you all come back to Gainesville on and off?

M: Every summer we'd come back.

I: Every summer, when you came to Montreat, you'd come back.

M: Yes, we'd come to Montreat, then we'd swing around through Florida.

I: Who kept the house up all this time?

M: Here? This one?

I: YeS -- Did you always close it up and leave it?

M: No, it was, it w rented through that time) cause when we came,

well, when we, when Chris resigned o' -, / /CNea3 been there

twenty-five years, and they, oh, they --~-- He was a charter

member of the Kiwanis Club and was quite aAhonored member, and

quite a speaker there nd the, the oilmen loved him. See, before

he married, being a bachelor, he ate at the hotel a good deal. Al-

ways went to the barber shop. He never did like to shave himself,

so that was one of the, the extras that he had, was to go to his

barber shop every day. And this was in the big hotel. And some of

these roughnecks that worked around oilfields, they all loved ChriqSA/L

had some appeal hey just loved him. He was gentle, and very

handsome,and very charming. But they ad draw to him 6d there

was # one, Mr. Word, that gave him, deeded him some land, three-

fourths of an acre of mineral rights or something, oil, you know.



Page 38 sjm

And he had hi mother's funeral a._ __; e ., So anyway

hhey all came to this big dedication, a big celebration

on Chris's twenty-fifth anniversary, gave him a purse, you know,

and all the different ministers came and honored Mm,and so forth.
t. S,_
He was so beloved, very much like our preacherGordon here who'd

been twenty-six, he was twenty-six years in this one church. And

so when he resigned, they said,"Oh, Mr. Matheson, don't leave Shaw-

nee. Here's a house, you wouldn't ever have to think about -s" -

You owe it to the town. You belong to the whole town, not to

just the Presbyterian church, because he had had funerals frm

Methodists, Baptists, Jews and Mormons, and most, you name it.

And, but I said,"Chris, we've been so happy here, and you won't

be the minister,and I won't be the minister's wife, I think it's

much better to keep these happy memories/and move on." And he

felt the same way, so we, we left there, and came on to Davidson

to visit my mother. And she said,"Oh, Davidson's such a wonderful

Splac many college presidents, h1'7y mainjt ave retired here,

and I have a big two-story house all alone. Why don't you settle

in Davidson?" And I said,"Well, mother, we know it's fine, and

S we love it, but wherever Chris is going to be happy, I will ad-

just-." JSo we came on down in January, Mg*pto Gainesville. Our

house was rented, but January and February the azaleas and camel-

lias were blooming, and it was so beautiful; and people spoke to

Chris, and I saw that his roots were here, and he still had so

many friends, that I said,"We will have to live in Gainesville.



Page 39 sjm

After all, he's retired now, he's resigned, and r- s'-.... we

have the property that has been kept heratThat will have to make

a living for us. We'll live in Florida, and you come and spend

the winter months with us, and we'll go to Montreat in the sum-

mer." So that was a nice settlement. And so that was '46, and

Chris died in '52. "f Oeet-ept active, though, I didn't let him

I: What was, what was, this was right after the war, I guess.

M: Yes.

I: What was it._alh^_r what was Gainesville like then?

M: Well, it had grown a lot. You have a clipping where they'd 6-nv*en

masmd Chris when he came back hero. d I thought that was right

interesting how heaoa felt that it had changed a lot, but the

streets wAt.Jhad been renamed, you know, and so forth since he
Ijn^k )JA8 Wrci
was here. But it was, the air, the air was so soft. \mig f-um--

Oklahoma, where it'd been very cold in the winter, and very hot

in the summer. It just seemed that the air of breathing was so

easy, and soft, and welcome. People on the streets spoke to youo

You still tipped your hat when you met people ag You seemed to

know everybody. It's so different now, eleven years later, it's

getting too big.

I: Gainesville's getting big, for sure.

M: Too big, too big.

I: You'd mentioned that you had, that you still have a lot of friends

left. Could you tell me a little bit about some of the close


Page 40 sjm

friends that, that Mr. Matheson had?

M: Well, the XFad He had known John i ll, and AJ U very,

very well, in the church and in the drugstore there. He, Mr. Baker,

his former partner was still here,and we went to see hinI remember

giving a dinner party one time,, for Chrig invited Mr; Baker

and Dr. W Dr. J.M. 9#i* who was, who had been active in civic
affairs, J.M P
affairs, as well as a doctor) (fd Mr. 44-il, and Mr. E.Al Turner.

E.0. Turner was a Republican, but he was a very close friend, that

had worked for Mr. Dutton in the Dutton Bank in the early days. Mr.

Turner's still living. Mr. Turner and James Chesnut, James Chesnut

who was uncle, I guess, of Gibbs Chesnut, who started the Chesnut

store. Those were some of the ones that came. Oh, and the Tysons

Mason and Gordon Tyson. They were here. I don't remember who else,

but those were some of the ones that came and oh, they sat around

the dining room table and had such a good time, discussing things.

---t M stayed, we couldn't get into our house when we first came,

it was rented. And, and this woman knew what a good thing she had,.

It was hard to find housing. In fact as you say, right at wartime,

'46. *if ht we gave her notice, and finally just had to, had a

hard time getting her out of the house, so that we could begin to

restore this dear old house. So we stayed with j Walkerahnd

Aunt Sally, cousin Sally, Sally Walker. She said,"Chris, you're,

you're family, you're part of the family. We want you to say here."

It was right close, right across from Mr. Keeter t's now

torn down, the house. He bought it and part of his parking lot


Page 41 sjm

-4 there. The Florida National Bank is where the First Presbyterian

Church was and they were right ~ae Pleasant Street. So we

stayed there about ten days, enjoying life with cousin Sally.

Because Chris's first cousin, one of the Matheson girls who had

married a McEwan,;- ( nyways she had married *2*m-

Walker's brother, and so really by marriage, they were kin som--

M-4r so we 1.1rpr t,'j -L/ftM .' And we stayed over at Mrs. a-

pgggs right here, waiting to get the woman out of the house,

and to start getting it restored, and we did. We finally got it

restored, got it painted. We'd go to Montreat, and come back and

do some more. O gQ~i/ 'gthe house got Wrestored and

painted, and they said, it was prettier than it ever had been.

In the early days, I don't think they painted houses as much~ s a _

I: No.

M: And so it never had looked as pretty as when it was painted then.

But people from the university had come through the years, to

sketch it, the architecture department would send their students

out to sketch the house because it had been, well when James Doug-

las and M4atheson, before Chris was born, when they lived

- here in the house, it was just a part of a plantation. The-eou-th

Aide& // you know cause the Sweetwater Branch

was the east, east boundary> And the Ct iLr~ i the street came

up from University Avenue to the barn behind te4rtf. 270-, /^N)/

ra 1ely hi gave a little passageway, a little alleyway, and then the

street was Union Stree and now, it's S.E. First Avenue. And as
street[ wa nonSre

Page 42

you know, last summer, the house was listed .ggo!Oto

..,aslg he State of Florida, in recognition of its Sig-

nifigance-/and to encourage its preservation, Matheson House is

hereby officially listed on the National Register of Historical

Places. Office of Archaelogy and Historic Preservation. National

Park Service, Department of Interior, Washington, D.C." And it's

signed by Reuben Askew, pvernor, August 13, 1973. Richard Stone,

Secretary of State, and Robert Williams /igqiS;t (7/C',.

I: You know, it's k/c C /' /CI the backgrounQ -

^^*n ,--------- .

M: I think it's interesting. Is there anything else you want to say

about your husband? I'd like to get on, you know, in a few minutes

to sum your life up after Mr. Matheson died.

M: -'h. Well, Chris *, his life, he really almost had

three careers, didn't he?

I: Yeah, I was going to focus in on that when I was doing the research.

M: His military, you see, in a way, his citizen life, and his military t

Fort Bliss, and his love for that type. And then his law. And he

excelled in all three. He excelled in his military, being adjutant

of his battalion, and so forth. Then in his, in his law life, he was

a very good lawyer, attorney-at-law. And while practicing law with

these other two partners that we spoke of, Mr. Baker and Mr. Baxter,

he, he just left his law office when he went to Oklahoma to become

a minister. He left his, oh, what do you call it, where you keep

your files in your safe, had no safe then. When we came back, his


Page 43 sjm

law books were gone, and we don't know what happened to them. The

old safe, we would like to have had that safe, as just a C(c, /

It had his name on it, but someone had taken it from the office.

But he/ become a mayor of the town, and oh I wish we had time to

go into some of the articles.

I: Did he, did he ever do anything in law when he was a minister?

M: In his law?

I: Did people ever come up with problems.or did he ever use his law

experience to help people out out there?

M: I'm sure that his law helped him in the logic of his sermonizing.

You know,you could just see that way it was organized, his sermons

and so forth. And in his counselling with people, he could give them

help, and he still kept up with some of the, the Negroes, the black

people of Gainesvill He was such a good friend to them when he was

a lawyer. And some of them were still on his books, his accounts.

They would write to him in Oklahoma, and say,"Would you help us

with this?" So that he did continue to help a good deal with that.

I remember when he told me once about, he was talking to George

rBey who was president of the Building and Loan/ in Oklahoma,

a very big business. He was a Baptist in the Baptist church there ,

but they were quite good friends, and they used to tell tales of

early life, you know, when he was a lawyer. When he went to Wash-

ington, I think it was in 1907, that he said, Mr. Frank S6@i was

their representative from this, from Alachua toasingon. And,

anyway, when he came through Washington, Mr. atr met him one day,


Page 44 sjm

and took him through the Supreme Court, you know, and into the

Senate. And he said, "Oh, you must meet Theodore Roosevelt, our

/-- ~-eint. Chris,you must meet our resident." So he took him

over to the White House to meet him, and they had to sit outside

quite a little while waiting for him to come out. And Chris said,

"Oh, do you think we should wait longer?" "Oh, yes," he said. So

L just then, the resident, IQW President Roosevelt came out and

Mr. iB.-said,"This is Chris Matheson from Gainesville." And he

said, he just pumped his hand. He said,"Mr. Matheson, I am so

glad to see you. I would have been greatly disappointed had you

come to Washington/and not stopped by to speak to me." Sgm!se-

SSo he excelled as a lawy And then as a minister, he
"T_^ hada1i te honors of being a representative to the -< Oi-s-

representing his Synod, on so many committees for the General

Assembly. He was a member of the Presbyterian Foundation in Char-

lotte, and went every year to represent Oklahoma. And we had this

committee on union; Chris was the minister from all of the Presby-

terian church of Oklahoma to represent on the General Assembly. He

was a commissioner to the General Assembly at least twice. I went

with him once when he was commissioner at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I remember there were seventy-five wives at that meeting, and we

were entertained while the ministers were attending that meeting.

He was a vice-president of the American Bible Society for thirty-
,one years. o/ 'Ia (l' O^ "
one years. &/I4i gj C0 He had many, many honors )

I: You said that Mr. Matheson died in 1952. I guess that/ 41
t/ d

Page 45 sjm

started your third life then didn't you?

I: Yeah, that's right. I remember that my family came down for

the funeral. They loved Chris, just like everybody else loved

him. My whole family, my mother, my one brother, all my sisters

loved Chris. So several of them came to the funeral here. Then

I went home therrLto Davidson for Christmas. He died in October)

and I went home in December. While I was there, Preacher Gordon

called, and said, "Mrs. Matheson, we have a job for you. We want

you to come back and take over the Presbyterian Center out here,

the Presbyterian Center off University Avenue, you know, where the

Methodists have one and the Presbyterians and Baptists have one."

And I said,"Oh, dear." Well, he said, "I'll call you tomorrow

night." So he called the next night, and my family said,"That's

exactly what you should do, Sarah." So when he called, I told

him I would come and do the best I could. He said,"It may be a

month, it might be six months, we don't know how long, but m-9

alwayshad a man. But we want you to take over, until we can get

a man." So I came back then, and was in charge of the Presbyterian

Center on University Avenue for six,-practically six months exactly,

from January to June. Neilly McCarter came over in June, and that

was just right for him to take over and I was free to go to Montreat

for the summeWd)Wm So I worked there six months. And then, oh,

what have I done? Let's see, I was, became, I was

president of the Suwanee Presbytery here.

I: I've had some information that you had done some teaching in Alabama


Page 46 sjm

and North Carolina.

M: Yes, that was the, in the _/ gaining schools, I wou

be asked to teach: I've forgotten, maybe Bible courses, or some

kind of Christian education coursev'1st last summer, I was asked

to teach at the South Carolina r..- ining school at Clinton,

South Carolina, Presbyterian College at Clinton. And that course

was "The Changing Role of Women in Today's World." Those were the

courses I taught last year. a / Swe e / L /- 7-; s /oo/

I: So you kept, you kept your teaching up for a long time.

M: I was president of the hurchwomen Iited of the state of Florida.

I was president j oia t.oen when I got a letter one day out of the

blue saying,"Mrs. Matheson, you have been recommended for mission

service. Would you consider going to Korea?" Well, that was such

ya surise, I said,"Well, how about it, Sarah theson,are you willing

to go to Korea, that cold country and all your age, to teach?"

And I prayed that the door would open wide or shut tight, and it

just kept opening. I did then accept and that was in 1960 1960.

-. I went out in the summer, of 60 d my nephew, who was a student

0 at Princeton University drove me out to California, and we had a

41p_memorable going out _rough the Grand Canyon, the southern route.

I: Did you go to Oklahoma?

M: We went right through Oklahoma, spent the night in Shawnee. I was

glad to get to meet some of the friends there. We called them, and

said,"We're coming through." They said,"Come right on, spend the

night." So we stayed in Shawnee. And I went to Sun Chung, Korea,
S^^-L^ ^1L-ue-A-/



Page 47 sjm

and taught missionaries' children for two years, 1960- / L- 2-*

I: You taught missionaries' children?

M: Missionaries' children. So I didn't have to get the language,

you see. Again I was busy teaching. I had seven students the

first year, but I had first grade, third grade, fourth grade,

fifth grade, sixth grade.

I: Well, what was, what was Korea like? What wasf,,.

M: Oh, Korea was, i--- .

I: A stark change?

M: It was, it was a change, yes. It was cold. You felt like apla-es-

the wind was just coming from Siberia, straight down over the

Afganistan right down to us. Of course, there's mountains every-

where. You don't get out of sight of the mountains. But it's so

beautiful. You have the sea and the mountains and the, the southern

part of the, of the, south of the 38th parallel is the breadbasket

1 of Korea. ce paddies everywhere. The northern part was the moun-

tains, the mountainous district. Hydroelectric power in the northern 7er

They really, it should be one, because you need both in the country)

S--- ut I'm sure that since I have left, I have kept up with a lot of

friends, and they say that the economy has risen considerably. See,

this was not too long after the war, 6j, .. ,~* /l o p

I: How did the Koreans receive you?

M: Oh, they were just great. They're such friendly people, such lovely

people, and I wore the Korea dress when I would go out to church.

I learned a good little bit of the language. Today we a Korean


Page 48 sjm

student at our women's church luncheon this noon. She wore her

dress, and when she came in, I said, 5,5)fI / 'sr,'.J v-

and she said,"Oh, you know Korean." You know, just a few words,

it really takes it a long way. So when she had sung, I said,

Iw $SJiA Aa"t, thank you very much. Oh, being a teacher, I

used my holidays to see the country, and we went down to the

south district that's an island about a hundred and fifty miles

south of Korea. We went on a little boat down to visit that is-

land where they had some citrus, the only place they have citrus

trees. And then one summer, I took a boat from u S-4A and went

over to Japan, visited the three islands of Japan.


M: ,.,Ihe summer in Japan. The first Christmas was spent in Hong Kong,

and in Taiwan. I have a cousin who planned my itinerary all over

the islan~g eautifulJ then when I came home in the summer of '62,

Mrs. Kirkpatrick, a friend that I had met, another teacher, came

.tA- Georgia, and I travelled home together. lae &%.came home

around the world, visiting mission stations. I had friends in

various countries where I stopped and visited.

I: What was the, what kind of missionary work did the mdmai m church

do in Korea? Were they, did they leavethe kids, I mean, did the

parents go out and do their missionary work and leave the kids

with you at the schools, orn?


Page 49 sjm

M: In the daytime, yes. I taught, I taught, we have a lovely little

school building. It's beautifuluilt, just like the architecture

of the country. But the men the women were so glad to have a

teacher, so they didn't have to teach their own children, you

know. They had charge of the planning of the family of this/ the

meals and taking care of the home, while the husbands, two of them

were ministers, rural, they'd go out to their rural churches. And

Hugh Linton developed libt a design at building churches out of

concrete, so that the lumber wouldn't just rot out, you see, when

they'd build wooden ones. Hek would pour the concreteand

then carry on the trailerAbggBs f -the beams and so forth,

and the local Korean men would help hifrect churches. And, oh,

I went with them on is an rips own o w ere, one time where

there had never been a Christian service before. And he would

carry radio equipment and films, and show slides. Put up a big

sheet, you know, and start, start some music and show some pic-

tures, and before you knew it, you'd have hundreds of people coming

around to see it. And a doctor came at, one of the doctors, Stan

aA er, had graduated from Davidson College, my old hometown and

he was working with the leprosy mission there in SoohChuno. And

his father and mother came out to see him with another friend who

was a doctor. So we had two doctors. And we went on this island

trip and set up a clinic. these two doctor~Sygga Oh, the

people lined up. Some of them hadn't seen a doctor in years.



Page 50

Some of them would just pretend to have a4 an ache or a pain to

see one of the doctorshwould say to them. And it was very in-

teresting. We had medical work going on then with this Wilson

Leprosarium. And we had rural ministers preaching the gospel,

and we had the business manager happened to live down in Soo,-7.

Chung. -He--g9g would meet the boat when new missionaries would

come, and when they'd ordered things shipped, you see) (,~e have

to go and meet the boat and see that the supplies were delivered

to the right people and so forth. Sa; have to get on a /77/

train and go up to Beoul quite often, to the big city. He pre-

ferred to live down in the quiet beautiful CrA_ 'O_ n, /_rcO

yaum rE PJi garden spot of Korea, SooChun. And it was beautiful.

The early missionaries had planted beautiful gardens.

I: jky /AIm) AO /CF4I#i missionaries?

M: From 1892.

I: 1892, that long.

M: And they, the people are so responsive, the Koreans. They have a

strong vibrant church,"ecause, -thp, they didn't start a church

until there were a certain number of believers, you know. They'd

give them so much money to start a church) and so tf-Abat least

ten percent 6f the people of Korea are Christians. That's counting

I: I believe I remember the / that where Billy Graham had such a

great meeting over there.

M: Yes, that was there. Over a million people at one time. This one


Page 51 sjm

church, the largest Presbyterian church in the world, there in

Seoul, Korea, called the /6/ ~/ok Yurch, with about

fifteen thousand members. And they have three services every

Sunday morning, with over two thousand at each service. Just
think of six thousand people coming to church every Sunday. Ye-,

very lovely people. I had some wonderful friends there.

I: And I understand also, that you've been, at least in the early

years, you know, the sixties, that you did a lot of work for

the people at the university here. Is that right? Students

and things?

M: Students, yes, student work.

I: What kind of work did you do? I think you said you were at the

center for a while. Now what else?

M: Yeah, I was at the center,4meeting there. And a lot of my boys,

they're still my boys and girls. One of the boys who graduated

has gone on to the seminary and now he's one of the high officials

in Atlanta. And when I see him, he just runs right into my arms.

He's one of my boys. I worked there Then I also have)through

the years, been a member of the Gainesville Council International

Friendship, working with international students, especiallyA With

my experience in Korea and so forth, I have especially adopted the

Korean students here. But English in Action is something that is At1

ecumenical experiment here, open to all denominations to come and

give an hour a week tog,9t's kind of like a bridge across language)

agP culture/ religion. We're assigned a person, a student)who has


Page 52 sjm

come who wants to improve his English. And I've had people from

Taiwan, from Indonesia, from Colombia, Venezuela and various places.

India, lots of them from India.

M: Yeah, '? a /o7 o from various places around the world.

So I've enjoyed working with these students. But I have two sisters

who conduct tours every summer, k(// VE -' ith them. We went back

around the world in 1970, this time going from New York, you see, and

landing in California. The time we went out to Korea we went

to California, and came back to New York. So, two summers ago, we

went all i Rs'to Russia ( Moscow for two or three days.

I: Was it hard to get to go into Russia at that time?

M: That year, it was a little bit hard. My sister, Mary, who's the

business manager of the tour had to wor1 ehe had to get a personal

friend in Washington to help he et the visa straight. But the next

summer they went~and had a much better time, the second summer.

This summer, she's planning to take a youth cruise. Sister Martha

teaches at Ashley Hall in Charleston; she takes the girls. But when

they get back from their youth tour, Mary is planning a farmer's tour

to Russia They're planning to go to Leningrad and then to Moscow,

and then to Kiev, and she's taking these farmers' bankers who have

these farms that are going to visit the farms around Kiev, and then

they're going to get onl S Siberiai Seven days, it'll

take them seven days to cross to Tokyo for

three days, and then to Fairbanks for a few days before flying home.


Page 53 sjm

I: That's interesting. Well, I take it, you know, you've really,

from what I understand and have gathered from you've

really, I guess, taken youth asdgg your stand, andd,,,

M: Well, they used to syay, that's the way to keep young. A constant
application of youth is the way to stay young. I enjoy the youth

here, but I like them all ages. a hien I came back from Korea,

I had never had any social security, all these years. That was one

of the fringe benefits that the world mission put me on social security)

so I had sixty, sixty-one and sixty-two and I wrote to reacherr

Gordon, and said,"I need a little paying job to finish out my

quarters, you know, for Social Security." So, I was made church

visitor, and I continue to be the church visitor for First Presby-

terian, visiting the new people that come and the new member qsraD

~_6a.ea..ga.... eg. . the sick at the hospitals, and the shut-ins

and so forth. Then I was made the first woman elder at First Presby-

terian.A Preacher Gordon was here, he didn't want any women elders.

So after teacher left, when Mr. Tucker came, 4JWI was elected the

first, the first woman elder in 1969.

I: How did the churchf,,

M: How did the church,,

I: I guess te church really kind of Gci-ri it- 1t
t (r^<^ c' 'a9 -rO I "
M: The preacher called me, -- "How's my

elder A ?" And I said,"Preacher, I didn't know whether you'd

speak to me." "Oh, yes," he said,"I love you just the same." And

then he came up with,"But you didn't make while I was here, did


Page 54 sjm

you?" But now, the latest thing is that Mr. r came back
PeFsbyr y
from AN -a, and called and said, "Congratulations, nominee."

-t loderator nominee. So I would be the second woman moderator of

theApresbytery this coming May k' ,*"..

I: You really have been active in the Presbyterian church, I must say.

When are you going to get to be the head?

M: Oh no. .~t-e--I /

I: Make it a first for women's lib.

M: I don't have any aspirations that way. None of this, they've

all, my honors have just come to me, much more than ever deserved.

I: Well, is there anything else that you would like to say that

I may not have been able to cover? Because, you know, this kind

of oral history taping is, is really for you to say what you want,

and there may be some things that I haven't been able to find be-

cause, as I said, we were, had so little information on you and

of course, there's so much on Mr. Matheson in the newspapers and

thing3A1nd it takes a lot to cover it, and I just wondered if

there was anything that you thought of interesting to relate or

stories or something that we might have gone over that has come

to you since we started.
: I had some people here the other day for lunch
M: I had some people here the other day for lunchswag --u old

friends from near Charlotte, North Carolina, and we were talking

about some of these things. They said,"I think it's amazing that

you have as many of these papers from the early, you know, when

Chris left, just went off and left everything, it's a marvel


Page 55 sjm

that we have any of the things that his mother had kept, you see."

She realized that her father was an interesting one of the early

pioneers of Floridai and had kept so many of these, Vll, he was

quite a, a writer, you know. We spoke of his editing the Magnolia

Gazette. And he, after, at Cedar Key, there's this wonderful

scrapbook that his mother kept and Judge Steele was quite a writer.

He wrote a poem every year for Augusta for her birthday. He would

write a poem honoring her birthday. Sometimes it was set to music)

sometimes it was just a poem. But I find that his pen name; he

contributed to a lot of newspapers; and his pen name was Steele

spelled backwards, Eleets. S-T-E-E-L-E, you see)would be E-L-E-E-T-S.

Eleets, I find, A.S., Augustus Steele, or Eleets. And I don't know

whether he made this book or whether his daughter did it but it
i a lot of his own poetry and a lot of his early writings. And

clippings from Randal ~)g James R. Randall. Must have

been one of the teachers that they had come to the island, you

see, to instruct Gussie when she was a little girl. Randall wrote

the poem "Maryland, My Maryland". Acrostics, they used acrostics

a lot in those early days) Ja and we have his, his glasses, you

know, in the little silver case with Augustus Steele. And an old

an old sundial that was used it's also a compass) that he used in,

both at Cedar Key and at, because he was collector of the~ ven

you know at, at Cedar Key as wel d also, wrote a lot of articles.

Yes, look at some ofAt,,

I: He, what was I going to say?


Page 56

M: He wrote some of the articles. te and Mr. Riny, you see, brought

the railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Key. And he was influential,

in writing articles to prove that it would be much better for the

railroad to come from Fernandina to Cedar Key than to go to Tampa.

And you see, Jg-he had left Tampa, you see, and come to Cedar Ke )

So really they did get the railroad, the first railroad that came

down from Fernandina down through Gainesville to Cedar Key. You
can still, 4* you go to Cedar Key now, you can still see where

the, where the railroad used to be. He "

I: Oh, I know what I was going to ask you now.

M: Yes.

I: Did, was most of this stuff here? Did you have, you know, you

didn't have much trouble having to try to locate F .

M: No, no.

I: Did it, was it, safe for that long period?

M: In that room upstairs, yes. And then Aunt Ola had taken what she,

what she felt that wasn't safe here, she had taken over to her

house, that we still own)up the street here a little ways. She

had kept, and oh, they were wrapped up. I have a little gold

thimble that belonged to Gussie Steele, Gussie Matheson (
little pieces of gold, coins, and things that were done up in

little, little silk bags, you know, and tied so carefully with

ribbon, and all of it very interesting to me. The way things were


Page 57 sjm

Preserved kept Mr. O'Neill, you know, Clarence O'Neill, who was

assistant clerk commission here, assistant clerk for year 9 W

told me one day, "Mrs. Matheson, you should go by and get Nd -/L Z ~I=vE

compiled." Up to 1970, he was clerk. And this year was the begin-

ningeou know, that Alachua county is 150 years old this year.

It was in 1824, 1824, that the county, Alachua county was formed

And then in 1854, approximately, they purchased approximately 100

acres of land which was the city of Gainesville. And ninety-three

people voted that first year. And I noticed that J.D. Matheson re-

ceived thirty-five votes, hat was just two years after he'd come,

you see, in 1867. This was in 1869. Wg Mr. O'Neill had listed

all of the mayors from 1884. The mayors and the aldermen from

1884 on up to 1970. And I suppose Chris was mayor /oYIir- be-

cause his was 1910 through 1917, that he was mayor. But that's

quite interesting to see now, showing how long they were mayor.

I: Well, Il~6"-am n would like to thank ,you for talking. You've

been one of my best subject Cswatr~

0t0rou've been a very good interviewee.

M: Well, thank you so much.

I: I've enjoyed it, and I think that, you know, you'll enjoy reading the

transcripts when they get back. I'm not sure exactly, we're supposed

to be getting the typist started, and then when they get through

typing transcripts, we'll send you a copy, or get a copy to you.

But if I have gone or graduated before, see)I'm leaving in June,

It'll be in r. Proctor's office and we will get somebody to get


Page 58 sjm

it to you. And then they'll read it, and let you read it, and

see if there's anytgng you want to add, sdothing you've thought

about. You can write in at the back. What we try to do is main-

tain that copy just as you..g ~corrected it, o you don't

go through and correct the grammar, but if there's something that

say the transcriber picked up wrong off the tape, you can make the

annotation, and we'll keep it just like that. Whatever copies are

made, will be off of that. And then the oral history people will

ask you to give over them the right to use it as a reference source

so that it can be placed in the library as a memoir and primary

source material, you know, just like anything else is. So you know,

we hope you'll look forward to to reading it.

M: Yes, I certainly do.

I: I hope it will be helpful to people.

M: I certainly enjoyed talking with you.

I: Thanks a lot.

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