Title: Sarah Matheson
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024781/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sarah Matheson
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Barrow, Mark V. ( Interviewer )
Matheson, Sarah ( Interviewee )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: September 28, 1990
Copyright Date: 1990
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00024781
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

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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September 28, 1990, 10 AM

This is Dr. Mark V,, Barr:ow. 'm talking to S:arah Matheson
abo u t the Matheson fam i .y lhi:itory.,

"Sarah, we're going to start with the Matheson side of the
family and we've C: looke:: d through:.. g the ol.d Bi l::). e that you have,,
but want ycou to go ahead and te:l I u about what you:
re::-call, anything you recall about the Mathesons beginning
with Christopher Mathes C ion who c::ame over from Sco:: tla.nd. Tell
us about that.'"

"Well, of c course, this was long bef::ore my time but I know
f :rom records we have that he came from Broyshire Co:ounty in
Scotland around the early 1.800s, He got his citizenship in
the cou..nty Kershal in 18i22, "

"The document says No::vember 3, :1822." (Dr. B.

Sarah: "Hie settled there in Camden, whi ch is a very
historic settlement in South Carolina about 100 miles fr"onom
Charleston andci very accessible. They were great neighbors
o:: the people in C hareston, so he met Benj:iamin Hoale, who
wa-s very big pl:::antati. on owner there :in Camden and had a
b1i g family. I y H Ie hai : 10 chi dren,, C h r i st o: h e:: r married
K.::atherine Hlale, and in the old early ofi: Camden we read that
whC en they werC'e building their it. i tle lo::g hor. use they marri ed
there. .)Does it say the date when he marri ed?"

Dr ., Ba'-rrow: "I don't have the date."

Sarah: "We know he married K'atherine and theiy had a few
slaves and, not too::: much, but. as., they were building they
d i scov red a litte g oc:l id mine that i.s still :i.n exi s tenc: e
though. It did produce some gold, I'd lik::e to -s.ay that
sot:me ofi that gold when over the Charl.esCCton where she hadc hCer
portrait painted, whi c:h hangs in my dining room here,, T h is
is the portrait cof Katherine Hale, qu..aint as it can be. My
mother used...nei:i to: say, "OCf all y[ou[ portrCaits thCi ere, I thinly :
this :is the quaintest. We love to 'watch her,, They were
married., When i visited Camden two years ago, the gold mine.
is s till there,, Of course, it d:i. dn't produce f:or a long
time, but now it is. being brought back a.::nd had made sc
coins that summer, s.o it's still there r:i. ght near Camden,
Soutth Caroli na,'' "

Dr. B,.: "You didn't get any coins, did you?"

Sarah:i "I didn't get a coin."

Dr. B .:; "Well, we'll have to put that on our agenda."

Now, accord i ng to the records, do:: we k::now when Christopher
Matheson was born in Scotland. I don't we have any
documents on that,, "

Sarah: "We know he died..,,"

Dr. B. "We k::now he died on April ,13, i861. Is he buried
:i.n Evergreen?

Sarah: "I think: so, we are trying to locate that. We tried
to find if in Camden,, We have found Katherine H ale's there.
It says the wife of Christopher Matheson and there's a place
there by her, So., Katherine is. buried in Camd:en. "

Dr. : "They probabl:::::y went back home. Well, they never
cam e down here. Ok, so he's probablAy buried i n Camden then,
not down here,.

Sarah:: "My archivist there is trying to find :ouit., I went
to the old one at Arre:on:do, you :know, and i thought he
might be buried there since he died in Gainesville."

Dr. B. : "That could be. "

Sarah: "You see, his son, James Douglas was in the army
then and 1 found among his papers that he got a .5 Yday
f :ur loug.h to come arn:d take care of- his fathers bi..usiness.''

Dr. B. "So we know he died April 13., 1.86.1 in Gainesvi ille,
but we're not sure where he is bi:uried, but we could look at
Evergreen and Htale Cemetery at Arredondo and at Camden. "

Sarah: "Yes."

Dr. B. "OK, now Katherine Hlale, we know, was born May 31,
:1825. That would have been there in Camden.."

Sarah : "Right there in Camden.

Dr. B. "She ied on May 14, 1 .. tp there apparently.
Ap:cparently, Christop:her Matheson wasc. down here visiting
when he died. "

Sarah: "That's right, because so many of h:is children, Alec::
(?), had come and bought the land."

Dr., B. "So he was prob::abl y down visiting. iK: atherine is
buried i.n wh:i ch cemetery there in Camden?''

Sarah: "is :it i.Hugenot'? it in one of the very oldest."

Dr. B. i "Have yvou made a picture ofi it up: there?

I ,

Sarah: "Yes, yes, 1 have a picturee, "

Dr. B.: "Aliight, and: she was the daughter :of Benj:amin Hiale
who also moved down here with his family?"

Sarah: "That s what I think. "

Dr. B,,: "That's the Hale line out on Arredon do."

Sarah: "Because they were coe kin, y:ou see,,"

Dr. B,, "OKi, well tell .us a:::bout the children. This was a
large family I understand. ''

Sarah: "The oldest one was Alexander known as Uncle Alec
Matheson and he is the ione that came down about that time,
early maybe the middle of the 1800s,."

,Dr. B, ":i.i850s or so? A bout. the time when people we re
coming in from Camden.'"

Sarah "So many f-romi Camden. The Hales and the Ches'nuts
and the Mathesons were moving in for agricult ure and: vari ou .s
things, the land, they wanted more land here and Alec bought
the land on which the Ma theson House now stands. i don't
know just how much, how many acres.'"

Dr. B : "We don't kn:now how many acres ori finally, ldo we?"

Sarah: "I have the idea of 10 or more. There mus'i:i have
been more than that because if was really kind of: a
i1l antation because it was outside .tie the city limits, you see.
The deed went to the middle of: Sweetwater Branch which at
that time was the eastern boundary of the town,'"

Dr. B.: "That' s correct. "

Sarah.: "And so, Matheson House was outside in the country
and now we are right down in the heart o: the city. That
was Alec, do you want me to go on?"

Dr. B.: "Well,, let's see. We've used the Bible to document
these oates-, so let me just include that He was 1::orn in
April, 1826 and died October 4., 1903, but he lived here anci
f armed or.... ?"

Sarah: "WellI, hhetarted the hn..se, we think and built b.ut
he didn't succeed., it was hard times and he, I think,
almost went broke. Anyway, he had to leave and he wanted to
go back Hie wasn't satisfied, so he went back to Liberty
Hill which is: the ::ld settlement ju-st a few miles ou..t of
Camden and built a gorgeous home. I have visited it. It is
still standing, great big, much bigger tIan the Mathes.,::on
Ho use. here, but it's beautiful.,"

Sarah: "I think so,, This man in Camd:n has been sending me
so much material. I:ll get it all together,, We went in it
and the old Lib.i:erty iHill C.hurch and cemetery there.i that is
so f'::amous.. "

Dr. B.s: "Alright, did we know when he went back: up there?"

Sarah "I think: that w:e (ca::.n docri ument i:::: that fr :::m the deeds.
i'11 have to look that up,,"

Dr. B.: "But anyway, Ai.lec is the one who bou::..ght this house
and bo u g h t the land? "

Sarah: "iHe's the :one who started it."

Dr .: "A r-i ght. "

Sarah :, "I d:on t think he built it,, because he did go back
and it was James Douglas who really completed it. He moved
into i t, you see. "

Dr. B,, "DiOK, he was one o:: the later childrenn"

Sarah: "The second one was a girl, wasn' t it Mary?"

Dr. B s,,: "No, Benjamin."

Sarah: "Oh, yes, Benj,:ami n Hale,, See I d:i.d 't get to meet
any of: these biec:aus..e they were in the earli er years., b:ut
Benjamin was the doctor and I don't know where he did his
study.. y yo..:u k :now, but he was- a doct o r a nd: pract:i. ced here in
Gai nesv:i.ele. H:-.e also was connected with Cedar Key, but he
practiced and I have one of his old watches that he carried.
He lived in this housiie with his brother, James Douglas, and
practiced with Dr. Mc Call, who married his sister, Mary
Curingtonn and Dr. McCall, well, we- h.ear more aboutt him than
we.: do of Be,, :njam:i.n. Benjamin is b:urie in the Evergreen
Cem .etery.,, I visited it j:ius..t last week. He"'s there, but Dr.
McCall marri ed3 Mary acn continue d to p racti i here d during
the yel .i. ow f :ever ep:::i dcemi c, he contacted: it and di edc:i .

Dr. B.s: "I have notes on that and know that history on Dr.,
Mc..Call. He came here in a:jbout 1856 and then everybody, when
theIy had-i thie yellow ef ver e.p:i demic in the :870s, eve rybo dy
left and went to Cedar Key. Hie went over to administer to
them, k::nowing that it was a big risk: and contracted: it and
dc:i. e d, t was. a terr:i.bl:: e tragedy, "

Sarah: "One of his descendant, i:m :in cont::ac't with, the
l. ittl e daughter, and she came to s:ee her gre -a t gre i at---
gr andmother" p or tra i t here, so I:'m k1-:: eep:i. ng in touch w:i.t h

Dr. B.,: "Have you got a picture o:f it?"'

the McCall"s,, It is shelled McCaalls. it is pronounced
"McCall", not McCaall."

Dr. B. : "Now Benjamin, according to the Bible that we have
was born November 14, 1827, That would have been in Camden,
I presume, and then died March 29, 1905i. He didn't practice
all of that time, I don't believe. He must have practic:edc
very early and got into farming, because I have records on
all of the practitioners,, I8 60s, 70s, 8 :0s and he is not in
the 1880s register or 1890s, so maybe we can find out about

Sarahi "Yes, I'd like to.

Dr. B.,,: "I'd like. also on the McCaall, McCall thing, if we
Should. get them to write up a genealogical history ofi the
family f or our archives. We need that ve ry badly,, Alright,
so Dr., Matheson lived here at this house and then his
younger sister married his partner, is that correct?"

Sarah':, "That :' s right. "

.Dr B.: "Alright, the next then, the third one wais Mary.,
Tell us about Mary.,"

Sarah: I I've just told you Mary is thie oe who
married Dr. McCall."

Dr. B.: "Mary Curaton."

Sarah: i d:on:'t know aibou..t the Curatons., I"d like to know
more about that. Maybe I'i get this frtom the n t -great-
great grancddiaughter, because her mother is very much
interested in this history. "

Dr. B.: W Vell, Mary was i:orn Decem ber 2, 1829 and died
November 3rd, 1908,, Do you know anything else about her?"

Sarah: "I just ::know that she was very much loved in
Gainesville, lot of friends, even when I came here in 19. 933
and along in there, there was still talk. Eva iHale Dell had
kept u::;: with all of:: Mary:'s relatives. She was kin t:o h er,
you see, being a Hale.'"

Dr. B.: "Alright, the next one then was Lizzie. Will you
t ell us about Elizabeth P. Mi at heson ?

Sarah: "I know her daughter. Elizab::eth married Mc Kuen and
moved out West. They lives in Santa Fe, New Mexi:co., Chris
and I visited. Of course, he was dead when I visited there
but Chris visited there because he was at F::ort Bliss when
his yoing...inger br::other d ied, was accidentally shot later an(d
they came home on the train together., They got together
somewhere in New Mexico and T""eexas and came home to ether r..

But, her dat..ughter, Elizabeth, married d Walkl::er and iMrs. Walker
was a String fellow., I'm sure you must have heard of Sally
Stri. ngf el lw Wal k:er and her b h::r er was a Wal k::er so she
a ways c aimedd k ::in with lu..ls a rnd Li ... zz ie co(:ntin e..d e to live n o:t
in Santa Fe, but in California in Los Angeles."

Dr. B.: "So L.izzie was born Septermber 8, 18.31, died on May
14-, 1911, siio her daughter was then one who amarri.e the
Wal k:er fami:1. y. "

Sarah: "And lived in P:asadena. But they, yoiu see, went
west, Elizabeth did, Lizzie.,"

Dr. B.: "She was known as Li...zzie?"

Sarah :: "Yes, Li zz:ie. "

Dr. B. : "And the Mc:Kuen fami ly, were they here in
Gainesvi le or were theyy iout west? I don't :know where she
met them, becausee. ,,, '"

Dr. B ,,: "They're probably not local people, then.'"

Sarah: "No,, .:frm co:ut west."'

Dr. :,, Alr:ight, then the next one which would be the 5thr
one was Sarah L,, Matheson. "

S arah :: "Yes, and she married th ,e Adam. so n,,"

Dr. B.: "And that": so somebody local here?'"

Sara h: "N o, that is Camden, very prominent people in
Camden,, She w-as very proud of :: the Cantys, and oh I wish I
had all of those names. knew her daughter, Amelia, who
never marr :i ed Ame l ia Ada mson li ve :d her r 1::.t her .:at hr er
and mother,, y. see, were Sarah Adamson, and they were,,,,,"

Dr. B.: "Did the Ad:amsons stay here?"

Sarah: "They were in Camden for a long time andi then the
-family began to come here, you see,,,,"

iDr. B.: "And that's how y.ou got to k-:now the daughter,,
Well, Sarah was born on November 2, 1833, but there's no
mention in the Bible about the death date, so, maybe that's.
come in the other records,, The next one who is very .famous
and important ifor t.-D he Matheson .f i am ily and the house was
James Douglas Matheson,, Tell us about James Do::..uglas."

Sarah: "Evi:::i denty, hte iiieemed to i::: e -on e that they leaned
upon, one that they depended on, because in getting some of
the early history I f.::ound that he volunteered and was in the
early regiment that went into the war and was with, well, he

helped several of the generals in the war :. im sorry
ca n:'t give that this mo:: rning, whi at all he d:i. but I have a
record of some :of his service. We k:no w that he was with
General Lee at Appomattox when they surrendered,,"

Dr. B,, "i:s t hat r :i. ght'?"

Sarah: "Yes, he was right there and that was in 1865, you
:now andc when h e wais .... out, he came on to
Gainesville.c I know also, i have a record that he was given
a 35 day fur lough to come t:o G.:ainesvi i. e wh en his father
died when his father Chr: istopher, you.. see, died in 1861, you
see. i don't know how long he:d been in the army then, b::ut

Dr. B, : "Not very long. Things were .just starting,,"

Sarah "But.. anyway, heii came down and took care o hi s
father's estate and settled i.t, some o::: it, what he c:oul..1d.,

Dr., B1,: "Well, the Bil e states he wa.s biorn January 7,
1836, and then wiouldi have been again still at Camdien."

Sarah: "Yes, that was in Camden,, So then I don't know how
much of the history brings us right on up ,,..,"

Dr., B.: "But he probably came down here :in early 1860s..."

Sarah: In '"65, as\ soon as the war was over he came on the
Gainesviile because there were not many of them there in
Camden, (Alec, of course, was up there), he was present at
thie organization of the town of iainesvil e, th e second one
when they voted the alderman and gave the name in 1869. "

Dr. B.: "That's when we were officially incorporated."

Sarah: "And, I've forgotten, he lacked two or three votes.,
e:d only been here 3 or 4 years, but he was already a
merchant on the square.'"

Dr. ,, s "We have a picture of his place, don't we?

Sarah: "Yes, we do and he also when he first came worked
for Savage and Hale, the company, cotton brokers, I think,
cotton sellers and he traveled, had to go to Cecar Key a
good deal andi that is::: where he met the only daughter of
Ju..dge Augustus Steel."

Dr. B,.: Alright, well go back and tell us a::bout Judge
Augustus Steel,'"

Sarah: "Oh my, Judge Augustus Steel, that's another long
story, I'm still hoping I'll live long enough to get :i.t
written down because he was born, we:' ve always said,, a

C:: nn e ct i. cut Yan i:: ee, but. in gc oi ng b aci ::k i -nto the h i storyY, :I
thin:: it must have :een 1Massach us e r ri ..I e gt n the
b::r d er i:: nec t :i. .cut and Mi ass achc: u ..csetts ar( e cl ose. t oge ter.
I have a ~numbi:er .::of letters that he:i wiro:,te .fromrr Savawnnah to
...ong 'I eadow:: I, Massachus:: etts to his "father and to his mother
and t : o his s i ster, C r:. sa, telling t hem a:: :::bu t the
conditions, the ter i: ble c o n d i t i n :i. n S~ a vannah a l the
malarial fever,, They were scare:: t:: get out in the daylight
at al:i :. They al covered u..p ito get ou..t b:ec::au.,cse they were
.just dying o:f malaria, but. he enjoyed working :i.n this firm
a :: d tells about the lit tle cda ..u ghter 'ti:eat wia It was the only child in the family and how they catered t::o t:
th r:i. s : :b:L y ra d the the child got s:i.ck, th:i.nk and: later
maybe die:. Bu..t anyway, he was there several years and then
came with th early settlers into Fl orida, in 825, an:
settled c:ver at Magnolia, which is not in ex:' istence now ::ut
h;e was the editor ::! of tha ;e p:aperi The Ad: verti: i.. '! ,.', "

D r.i B. "T hat"' neai r J acksonvill e o r s t .ith of::
,.1 ackson:: s:: nvi 1 e. ,, "

Sarah:, "W ell it was ou..t from Tallahassee, about 11. miles,"

D:)r". B. : c "C) t K, that a d:i.ff e:rent Magnol i a, th at s Mag" n o::,. i. a
Springs over there. Ok, so this was Magnolia neari
Tial ahassee. Do you.. have any of t::hose : :i,,,,

Sarah: "Ohi, we have the complex : te fil::e of his pap:::er. He had
ti set it :y ihand, type, i:btt c::ame u..i the St. Mark"s River
and:: he woul.. ::d set it :y hand and we have it from 1820 for" 2
oC:r 3 years and it :i.s bo::u:.ncid and we gave it to the P I:::',:, Y onge
:i.i:rary so it ii cou::.t there,, :i go :rand borrow i t and read :i.t
somet times, and he was als: o ju..:isticen: of the p:ea:ce,. I---He went on
a business trip to Europe in 18,29., Would you like to know
what kin:::di of a :boat and what he did :in '29?7"

Dr. B.: "Sure."

Sarah ;: "I th o.i ought that he i::b r ut:: ..ght the mar I::,l e -.. t oppe d t a: ,: e
from Italy, because 1 d"t seen marital e (lik::e :i. t, I-le a:.ls o w a s
no-:t o::,:nly editor o:,f the paper there but.i.t he set the type f:cor
th.e onre in the last c:i ty :in Fi:::or:i.da, down on the t:i.p end.''"

Dr. B. : "Tam ::p a ?"

Sarah: "No, Key West, and it was shipped down by bo:: at an:.d
thiis Adver't.iser that he pu.ibl::i. shedc was the sixth newspi::::lper i.n
Florid a. "

Dr. B, : "--e set the type and sent it down to Ke::ey West for
their rs?"

S :a rah l. "For t i-iei r pap::) e r. cSo we have th h at editor. Tei in
1: 30, he began to see history chang:::i.nt and went cdownr' tc,

iampa to Ft. ,Brook and he was, there for a nium:ber of years,..I
have a letter that he wrote to his niece in 1840 something
saying if you think Ive een negl ect ri ng you, l[ et me :ust
tell you what I've been doing. i ,i I" m :coll :ec:tor: of the r-eve..nue
here at the port when thie sh:i.ps :come inr and i :int charge of the
fis. h h iatcher:i ese. I"' th:e co ..untrty .uicdge arind a lot of other
things.F He represented a land i::roiker, ::e, Mr, iatmana, out. of
New Yo.rk, a million acres of land all arounic town and he
laid ut the p.an, the :City :of Tam ::pa,, We have the map:, the
original ma:::, after Str eet, then one of th e lots was~
Augus..tus an-d one was -ack::ett and so forth and he enterta:i.neci
all of the general s.,, He itel ls a:,aout how much it food::1 it
took-:: fro m his table. Even te horses that came in, h"e had.
to -feed them also,,. Of course, that was ..iust ..oking, but he
had: a .i. of: wit. a::out..it h:im and he d:icidrn't marlr-y. He wl a aic
bachelor then. He had all of this lance. He had bou.ight up
two islands and was planting all kinds of fruit trees, and
citrus and so forth, thinking that his land was pr-e--
emp:tigant,, The military. y was; g ::oing t move o n :... it :: t it
didni t move qui..:it. as soon::, when the :i: nd:ian Wa i:. e:weeln t
Indi.i.ans was going on. "

Dr. B, s "iThe Semiinole War,,'

Sar ah "iThe Semi nol 'e War. So: th i e l and was noit prie--eiiimpted
anrdi hie ij..u... st salvaged wi. hat he could.1. i and was d:i.sap i:: rted that
al1 of thiis t hat he had done.i, ,,h.e was Pst master I don t
-:now what all.: and l eft i t and came up :to Ce::ar ey a nd
iho esteaded the wihol::.e i sland of tihait ci ty. 'S .o thern he.
became the father of Cedar K:::ey and started all over d::inc:t
the same thing. I hav.i e the papers that show he is
r" ic!xe ,... lii. .-., ".. c :i,. I ,i, :.
Postmas ter .:.at Cedar Key, col. i ector of thre reve..e at the
Port. He b ought u:p a whole hospital an:d bui 1 ild i ng that were
left from the war, :,ought that at. a.uction. 1 have a p,.aper
showing h:ow mu...:ch he paid for:: i.t anci bt:u:i l1d 1:it.tl:e cor:itat:tg:es t. o
r ent:: t co the plan:i. terms th at wer e ::com ing iown toi m:i- i i d-Fli:i. ia,
ym see, and t -hey :wo,,ld i rent cottages and coe over ani.
en ::2 or 3 weeks in Cedar Key. Onc: e :of his very i:est
friends was 'Senratcor Dav:id Levy and they were great friends.
In f act::, thi ey wor-e::e l tioget h er. Tal:k:i ng ai:::c:,u..rt th e Prai r oad
and why Gai nesvi: lle is call.-ed ai nesvil le and why i it s the
county seat, he was the man, the force, that was worki:i.ng at
the Cedar Ke:y end a.. nd .. enato:..r i..evy was work:-. ting in Fernandina
to bring th..e railroad from ibFernanci: in to Ced.ar i:Key andc he
wrote showing why Cedar KI::ey was thIe iest place, that the
d:i. not have so many things to wash out the land, th-at the
harbor was g..ood. They finally got it there. Bu...t anyway, he
came to Cecdar i:::ey and he married there andc had one child and
that was a little girl and he called her AV-g, ..' sta Flori a
Steel. She is the? one going back now to James Douglas, when
he came to Gainesville and was working for Savage and Hale,
he met this girl, a b:::ea..tiful..ti onl:: L y daughter who Lwas a ir.eat
musii. : an. She hai :: p :i ano., That is another long story about..t
how she tu...ied music, so they were married and moived:-:i iiinto

this h:iouse in Jui.ne, 18 867, s o that is the reason I dcate it
'67. "

Dr. B.: "it may have been ::built a little earlier. Who cdid
Au.gustus Steel marry? What was the name of his wifee"

Sarah: "I wish we knew. That's something we've got to :find
ou..it and I have tried. I h.iave a Bibl:e or a boo: that says
from her brother, Co::ttington, 1 think it is Cottington and
so that is all I know, Eliz.ab:eth Co::.tington, There must :be
some history about her that I could -find out,,"

Dr. B.: "Maybe we can find that out.,"

Sarah: "Becau..se he didi not marry till he came to Cedar Key,
but I think, see I didn:ct know her and I never met her and
Chris has been dead since "'5 2, so I don't k now but so meone
said that she was ki. dnappecd fr:r om a Catholic sc ho:iol or
something in Ireland :ease t h ere is a picture o f: this
Catholic priest and: the ::boat that came across at iecdar ::ey
and there was some connection with that, so whether she was
a local, I hope we can I find .ou.t more a bout Eliza:beth,
be.ca.use she was interesting, Chris, my husband, loved he r
"iThats n i.s; grandmother .

Dr. B. ,, I guess James Douglas met her since he was work i ng
at the store and there was a store down there, tooa He
traveled back and forth and met her, but. they moved :in here
in about 1867, after the war, a ou::c..ple of years after the

Sarah;: "Yes. "

Dr,, B .,, "iOK:, so that's Jc ames Dou..glas. Now according to the
not::es, he wasi born Ja.nuary 7th, 1.836 and he died in July.
1911., Can you tell us more about him?"

Sar.ah : "He was a won:::icderfuli man ::of i ntegr ity and wi. sdom,, He::l
soon ha.d his own .store on the s.quare. .We have a pictu:::e of
that, general, merchandise In fact we have a .famc s :..is map of
Gainesville that has 3 things that iatheson was doing at
that time, the grocery sitore:-::, general me- rch::andise. It has
that he was in charge of real est ate c.l: ll-cting, he and
McMillan c ollectecd *for people who were away .from here who
wanted their rents collected and sold and he collected a lot
of land and so forth."

Dr. B,, ":Do.::. we have picture:. es ofi: James Do..uglas?"

Sarah: "Yes., we d;o."

Dr. B.; "And also Florida Steel? Did they call her F'lorcida
or GI...ussie?"

Dr. B.:a "Do you have pictures of her? Also, on Augustus,
i.sn":'t there a p air:inting o::f him :i.n the living room?"

iarah: "Yes. Oh, a very famous one b::y Christy, the fam:.ous
arti st. "

iDr. B.: "We know who made that one? Was that made in Tarmpa
of Cedar Key or do we know where?"

Sarah: "I know it was sent to Washi ngton to be restored to
an art gallery and it was insured. The curator at the
museum sent that while Chris was in i:Oklahoima and had it
:fixed and said they had a fit over the artist as:: well as th.e
painting itself, "

Dr,, B.2: "What abou..t the one of:: Katherine Hale? Do you know
who did that one? It's here in the dining room,,"

Sarah: "It"'s just been passed down by word of mouth that it
was, what did I tell you?"

Dr,, B.,: "i don't remember. We can add it later."

Sa rah: "As I say, it was some French artist that was over
at Charleston,, I can't bring it up right now."

Dr. B. : "We:'i think about it."

Sarah:: "I also know about James Douglas that not only was
he a merchant but he was a civic leader.,, He was Chairman of
the Board (f County Commissioners. In fac t., when he was.
buried, the whole town closed: their stores and came to the
service for him. He was Chairman of the Board for a number
of: years. He was also Chairman of the East Florida Seminary
and had worked, you. see, with that part.. Chris later worked
to bring the university y here and I'll tell you abou..t that
later. The third thing on this map besides real estate was

Museum., Ili show it to you. Ok, so James D.ouglas then was
very ins tr u.mental and very i m ::ort ant in ou..r history here
from 1867 until he died in 1911,,"

S.arah "He was county treasurer f.or 30:.' years.'"

Dr,, : "Alright, well, let's go on to the rest io the
f::ami i y members here. I:ve go one here, John Edward
Matheson, who was born January 29, 1838 and died November 7,,
18 39, ju.:i ..st a few months later. It's :interesting th ey tried
Edward John and Edward a couple of more times., W~:'i" n.i-1!. ir..

Sarah: "Gussie, Miss Gussie. "

that. Then ~', t h er e was Carolyn R. Matheson, who was a
teacher. Tell us a bou t her.,

Sarah:: fe::el as i.f I knew her more because she lived here
with James Dou..glas and Benjam.:in in those latter years., She
was here and taught,, I spoke of the James Do:ug las
connection with the East Florid a Seminary which was a very
wonderful school here and Carolyn, I do:'t know what all she
taught but I know she was interested in art because she told
me that she either painted 3 pictures that we have in the
living room here or four,, Whether she painted them herself
or collected them, I don't knoww"

Dr. B. g "She was probably our first art collector in this
town, wasn't she? The Bible says she was born on November
7, 1843, and died: December 27, 1887. Then, there was a John
Edward Mathe.s.on, cal led Edward, born October 23. We don' t
have the date,, I think it was 1843. He died May 27, 1844.
We donit have the birthdate and then the third child was
named Edward Matheson, bm:orn May 13, 1844, just a couple of
weeks ibef(:ore John Edward died,. anci then died o n Janu .. ary
31st, I; ', as a 14 year old. Then the next one is
Katherine R., Mathes on. "

Sara h: "She"s k::nown as Kate., I have a beautiful picture of
her. that somec::ne gave me connected :with the Barnett Bank:.
Th"ey gave me that picture and said she was known as such: a
beautiful young woman,, ? from Arkansas, just this side of
the capitol, well anyway to visit the young families,
desc4 pendants of so : do:nr' t know much:: ablou..t that
but she also went out.. west not as far west as Lizzie, but
as I knew them at all, they were in Arkiansas at that time,
only one child..

Dr. 8,,:i i,, so this Katherine R:,, Mat hesoni t that married
the Youngs and she was :brn, according to the Bib::le, on
March 29, 1846, and died Novemb:er 3, 1.. 90i5. But yc:..m did go
visit the You..ings?"

Sarah: "But I visited some of the people cof the Youngs and
there was one son that was left. I have not kept in touch
with him lately."

Dr. B: "And you. have a picture o:f her?"'

Sarah:: "K:atherine, she is the onene who was so pretty, i
believe 1 do."

Dr. B.: Alright, the last one, this was a very large family
was Wi liam C. Matheson. "

Dr B "OK,:: tell 1 us a :::out him. ''

Sarah "i e was in the Army:. We have records of when .iJames

Dr. B .: "He was born, according to the B:i.le, on June 15th,
1848i, so he was very young. H.e would have 14 oir :.:15... "

Sarah: "Yes, very young so we didn't hear much about::::. h:i.m in
thi e war i :i.te we with James: O .g ias,, He came on to
Gainesville and was very active. iHie and James Doc::uglas had
been somewhat together, you. see, idu...ring the w:ar, and he came
with him and helped him in the store and I knew his widow
real well, Aunt Oila She wa(s Ola Mrr:is an ::i hen Chris and
I wre married in 1933, i came to Fl ori a and married :at
Mo:ntreat and came on down on ourc... honeymoon down to C:::olumbia,
Charl estoln, the Cita.del and the t t o GGa:i. nesvi lle. e c ame t
Aunt Ola's. We always speak of it as Au.nt Ola's house., It
belo:i.nged to Chris then;, but Aunt Ola li ved in it as :i.long as
she :i ved, "

Dr. B,, s "Where was it?"

Sarah: "It's right up the street here, one of the li.:ttle
houses thatt I still own., Au..nt Ola's l:i.ttle hous..e ,, So that":' -s
where we came and At..nt Oa was so excited. She was very
deaf and another thing abo::..t her, not only was she eaf, but
she was b:: rn the 29th of: Febr::u :: t .ary, i..eap Year, sot she was a
ea year. Annie Fnd was dievo::te to: Aun..it Ol:a and Mrs.
Baird, Ira Baird's wife a.: nd they were ki::in, you see. And so::
the .y wou ::i give a pa::rty ::r her, a b:ig a::P" rty ever y four
years,:: she d Phavee a :::g :::arty. Chris had :: :i.na:i, y got .- te:n
married Here he had all of this history in Gai nesv:i.:ile and
ha : gone :i. nto the m:i.nistry and now was finally : y married :i.n
1933, All of these girls :i.n Gai nesvill.: e who had b::,een crazy
about him n, and everywhere, and now who in the world was th is
he was marrying. Aunt Ola was real exc:i ted. : remembi.er she
had a lot of citrus f:ru:it for me, coming to Florida and Mrs.,
Po:u. ncd e nt:erta i ne :: ,r me and Mrs.. Ba ir en t e .t a i n We
went to p:::,rayer meeting because Chr is had l ef. t the l:taw. ie
had a woc:nderful.i: career ahead of him in law, but he left the
law and left the egislatu.r e, was :getting ex c :ited about
that, yot.. rememb.::er,, and said am 1 going to::! work to b::.ack up.:::
to Tallahassee, but ie had been practicing out at Kanapaha,,
preaching :because he was s..uch a .public speak.:er and all, so
the church had won out and he had been a preacher no:,w with a
wonderful record of life for 25 or 26: years in the ministry,
arnd no w he's c::omin,"g b:ack:: with this wife and so we had an
exci ti ng time., "

Dr. I. : "Au nt 0la t o k you in ? "

Sarah: "She took us in. So it's still Aunt Ola's house
even though I own it.,"

Dr. B.: "Well, let's see, that was the last one then of
Chr:i.sto pi:her and K atherine. "

Sarah: "That's right., it was a big family. "

Dr., B,, "Alright, we'll move on then,, I don't want to get
you too tired because we have plenty of time to do this, but
we'll move on nex-;t to James Douglas" f'ami ly, but that is the
direct descendant, so let's do that. i.::, we"'I! go back,
James Douglas Matheson was born Jan. 7, 1836 and died July
:1, 1911 and he is buried at Everi n, is that right?"

Sarah: "Yes, at Evergreen."

Dr, B.: Al righty, James D.ou glas Matheson married A u g us sta
Florida Steel, called Gussie, right? They were married
according to the second Bible that y:: have, June 2, 1867,
in Cedar Key."

Sarah: "Because he had inherited at her f- father's death,
Augiust..i.a a Steel's... he ha d n o mesteaded the entire island of
Atcedioty there, this beautiful island across from the docks
if you go down Johnson Street at Cedar Key, you look across
and see this: beautiful island across there., So he had
inherited that and bu:.. ilt up homes there, a flourishing
island, I guess it's changed now, hasn't it? Did it really
go through, did Andrewsi...? Oh, I didn't want it. I didn in't
work as hard as I should of but lent what I could, but. Chris
sold it in 1925, sold the island. That's the son, my
hu sband, Chris., b:ec abuse whe n we were married in 1933, he
took me down to Cedar Key for lunch one day and when we were
eating lunch, when we came out, Mr. H-ale was an old fried
and he came up and said., "Chr:i.s, do you still own the
island over there?" andi Chris said, "No, I got tired of
taking paying taxes on it and I'm keeping it just for
sentiment's sake because my mother was born over there and 1I
sold it to Dr. Andrews.. He said I think you had better
check on that. I think it is still in your name. So we
laughed about that,, He said, "Cedar Key is going to have a
comeback., It's either going to have Cedar mills again or
it's going to have the canal they are talk-::ing about, cutting
the canal across or we're going to have oil. I think it's
going to be oil, and when it does, it going to: come in
right over there on Acet i oty Island." So they laughed over
that and we tal ked about it and I learned to k:now a good
many of the historians there in Cedar Key who would speak at
their historical meetings and I gave them a lot of material
and so forth. They promised to take me over, said come down
and we'll go over to the island. There's nothing over there
but rattlesnakes now and a few graves. They still have the
cemetery there though. Ju s.t lately, I was talking to Dr.

Barrow about this, a descendant o :f this Andrews wiho Chris
sold it to, no:w wants to ::pu.t condomin iums over'. there and the
people of Cedar Key just rose up. They hoped it would not
go thr ough b::ecaut..se they +felt :it wout:ld ij us..t spoil the water
around it and the whole atmosphere around :it but I think
that he finally go permission to do it, so I"m not r sure but
that's present history. Bu.t it was in the Matheson f family
for years and when little Bessie was well, we haven't gone
through the births. The first birth was Bessie Steel.'"

Dr. B.: "The first birth was Bessie Steel, now."

Sarah: "She was named for her m their grandmother, y. o
see, Elizab:eth Cottington, Bessie, Elizabeth or Bessie. Oh,
how they loved this little girl and when James D iouglas still
hadt the store, the merchants there on the square, he would
have to go to New York and Washington on buying expeditions
and it would take nearly a month, because he had to go by
boat and by rail, the best way he could get up there and he
was writing. I have 2 or 3 letters that he wrote to: hisi.
wife, who had the baby down at Cedar K:ey, down at one of the
homes they still had there. So she kept: that .for a good
while. They finally sold all ofi the lots off, I guess, when
he finally sold it in 1925,, bu:t that was where she married
him where there was a lot of history made."

Dr. B.: "Well, James Douglas and Gussie moved in this h house
in 1867 and a year later, Bessie Steel Matheson, was born on
July 4, 1868.

Sarah: "And only lived to the second su.immer.'"

Dr., B.: "On July 26, 1869, she :died::."

Sarah: "Yes, that second summer. The summers were hard in
those days. They didn't have refrigerators and things, air
condciti zoning and things. They had to do the best they could..t
an cdi little Bessie succumbed''"

Dr. B.: :Alright, second ch:i.ld was Christopher Matheson."

Sarah: "Yes, that was Christ op:::her. '

Dr. B. "Tell us about him. 1-e was born when?'"

Sarah: "On September 5th, 1874. He was born in this house,
in this very same house. "

Dr. B.: "You don: t know who delivered him, do you?"

Sarah: "Oh, I wish I knew. Was Be..:njamin already dead then?
I woul..d like to know, but he grew up here, went to school at
the East Fla., Seminary and did well there and then graduated

at the Ci tadel Hiis :father h'ad graduated at the military
sc hooil in South Carolina and so Chris went to the Citadel.""

Dr. .:' "Are you talkin:::i.g a:bour t James Douglas going to the

Siarah: "Yes, James D..ougl as. L..isa said the So..ith Carolina
military school and Chris went there and he did so well. He
was valedictorian of his class. I have his valedictory. I
want ynou. to read it sometimes. t is beaut if ul, honestly,,
It starts :out, "Goodbye to the city of: Charleston, so hard
to understand at fist. One understood, taken to your
heart. f- e was really a :c:cepted, yout.. see, Charleston the
pi:eople who live :i.n Charleston know that they would live in a
chicken coop to live sou:.th of B roaii dway and all these old
L..egree andi all the old Florida names, what iis it, the
Sicilian Club? Only those who have been born there can :be
in.,, He was enterta.i ned as a freshman at some of these homes
and he laughingly told it on himself that they":d serve h:i.m
souIp, y:ou know, being a young freshman, a hungry boy, would
eat a lot of iso...p that would come with the fish, you know,
and he'd eat a big piece of fish thinking that was it. Then
they'd bring on the meat and the main dinner, and he "soon
learned the ways of Charleston,, But once understood, he
loved Charleston and then he said goodbye to the faculty and
he told about his faculty and then to the young ladies, who
had come to watch the parade, you know, and how they had
enjoyed doing that for the young ladies and then goodbye to
the faculty anld: goodbye to all the cadets and then his
classmates,, I.t is a beautiful thing, written in longhand
with a little red ribbon that his mother had ept all of:
these years., I have it. So not only was he a valed.ictori an
but he was...... of the b: battalion He loved and
excelled in the m:i.:i.tary. So wirhen h Ie came home, he helped
his father in the store. He e helped him do some surveying
around., His father had taken in a lot of r-eal estate and he
helped with surveying and b because he's been good in the
mi litary, he thought he'd like to continue, so he went to
Ft, Bliss and enlisted. He hadn't been there ibut just a few
months when the ne:x.t son, his brother, who is Augustus.
Steel, named fior the grandf4 father, J ..ludge Steel ....

Dr. B.3s "He was born Fe:brutary it1, 1881 i,".

Sarah: "He was about 16 years old, I think, he was at East
Flori da Seminary, hadn't qu.. ite graduate ed and he wasn't doing
so well. We have a photograph of one o1f the report cards
and was abou...t a "C". He got through alright but very
beloved. He and two of the boys were on a hunting trip.
I"'m going ahead. See, Christopher had to come home,, He was
at Ft. Bliss. Steel had this wonderful dog named Bruce that
he loved. The whole f family loved Brui-ce, but Bruce bel on:ged
to Steel, and he had a beautif ul silver nameplate w:i th
Bruce. .. I think: I still have that. So Bruc..c:e was with them

and their guns and they were hunting on, what's the road?,
McK::ay Road, on the Hawtho:rne Road, just out a little ways.'"

Dr B. : "Rochell e Road?

Sarah: Yes, in that area. They were birdie hu:i t.nting and we
don't know whether the dog: knocked the gt.. n over or whether
the the buckboard that they were in fell in a rut.
Something knoc k: e d the gun and it shot Steel accidentally,
you seiee. One of the boys was a Taylor, lived up here on 7th
street,. I think. the eye doctor bought one of the homes
there,, Anyway, they hurried home as quick as they could::,
but he was dead by the time they got back to Gainesville.,
So, Chris was all she had left then. The two little girls
had died. "

Dr. B.: "There's a little girl that we haven't talked bout,,
Katherine Douglas Matheson. She was born June 11, I886 and
died August 8, 11 B.E So Bessie and Katherine had both died
you see. Then Steel had been acc::idcientally shot., Ie w:1ould
have been 16 years old,,

Sarah: "Biteen year s old, named for ihe:r b:el:oved father,
you see, Judge. Steel

Dr. B.: "So where was Chris?"

Sara h "C hris got his h o:norabl e discharge then. Now h e
already graduated. He was at Ft. Bliss, that's right on the
Texas border, the iMexican bo::rder,, It's in i"eas but itx: '
right on the border, south, very sou.th. "

Dr. B,,: "He was in the Army?"

Sarah: "Fif.th Calvary. Anyway, he came home and studied
law and that was when?'

Dr. B., "Well, if he came home abo...t the time Steel was
killed, that was 1897 or so."

Where did he study law?

Sarah: "The way they studied law with the judges, J dge
King and he was one of the men and think I can rIeaci some
others, bui::t anyway he s.studi.. iedi law with them."'

Dr. B.: "Here in Gainesville?"

Sarah: '"In Gainesville and took the bar. He was admitted
to the Supreme Court of South Carolina and Florida,, I have
both documents showing from Tallahassee and from Columbia,
South Carolina., He was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court
so he could practice law in South Carolina and in Florida,
all o ver and did,, Hie had law offices in the Ten ch

Buildings. N, the Tenches own the s. outh, what was the
famous lawyer who knew so much who died?"

Dr. B.: "Scruggs. "

Sarah: "Scru ggs, yes. These Scru ggs had this building.
That is where he was. He had practiced law and Pl:eople tell
me that he had wonderful ability .for criminal law, that he
was just marvelout.s, the way he was holding court and
p practicing, p ractic:ing and he then b:::ec::ame M ayor. Ile anc
Major Thomas were great .friends. They were on the City
Council together ifor years. iMajor had been Mayor f or seven
terms,, I have a little i:book from a man who worked at the
City Hall for years. He should print it. He gave it to m e
and it tells the years, the very first mayors, when they
were and how long they served,, So Maijor serwve::d 7 terms and
then Chris followed him, and served 8 terms."

Dr. B.: "When would that have b::een?"'

Sarah: "I must look that up, 1910, U19.1, ? 1912, 1i91i 3,
because he co uld I.n't i:be Mayor when h e was in the
Legi s ature "

Dr. B.: "Probably not,."

Sarah:: "Just up to that. So it was from 1908 through.,,,, "

Dr., B. : "We can look that up,, Major Thomas was mayor when
they were trying to get the University to come here in
1906, so it was probably the nex::t year or two and then for 8

Sarah: "Yes, u, .h, huh, 8 terms, le practiced law ancd was
that and also was in the Legislature in 1917 and 191:8.,"

Dr. B. "As Senator or Representat:i. ve?"

Sarah: "Repr esentat ive, I s uppo -s .e,, the i....eg:i.slat t u.re. Major r
Augu..stus Steel had been in the Legislature, you see, that
was the reason he got the County, Hi llsborou..gh,
si:i. ngl e handed y,, He went p...:: to Tal .ahassee, they sa:i d, why
don't you go up and lobby first and get a county and so he
had gone Aup through Cedar Kiey and through St. Mark's river
and got there and Ma-ior DuFval wa:s1" Ii Gover'nor and Govern or
Duval said Mr., Steel, you shall have a county and we'll call
if Hil lsborough Cou..nty for the same man that the river is
named for and because you...'ve worked so hard to get it we are
going to make you. thie first County Judge of Hill--sborough
County., So he had been in the Legislature and then hwis.
son -- i n.- .law, Christop iher, was in the ...eg:i.slatur-e. My father
was in the Legislature in North Carolina when I was born so
I've had a few representatives."

Dr. B..: "Hils. borough County originally was part of Alachua

Sarah: "Yes i::m going to have to make a talk next week,:: and
I'm g::ing to b::1:ring that him. I have the picture of the
county so I hope I can put my hands on it showing when each
cou..nty came of f "

Dr. B., "If you don't find it, :'ve got it., So he was in
the L.c egislat e in 1918..."

Sarah: "That was when he decided that tIhe church had o::ne
out,, What am i going to do? Am I going to go on and:
continue and we would have had a lot of different history if
he had stayed, you see. Wie have this wonderful history iup
until then, but in 1919 then, at the beginning of "'19, he
decided that he would go into the ministry, so the
sup~ieri rntendent of the P:rel:sbyter:i.a.n C: i.hrch tor::i: k him f c .t to
Ok::ahoma caatec:hiz:ing him on theology, He had bi:een here and
his father, James Do..uglas, an"d Christi. opher had both been oin
the d o e Board of the Colu. imb:i.a Sem:i.nary, the i:::resbyterian
Theolog ical Sem:i. nary that was i n Columb ia and w h:i. le they
were on the Board, it was moved from Columbia to Decatur and
is still :in Dec Eatur, tSoth Carolina: now, So ihe had never
stu..died theology as a st.ud.:cent and a school, ibuit he h ad been
:on ther Board. He had studt.e::.:ed Greek at the Uni. veri isty otf:
Fla. and helped to: bri ng the Universi.ty here,. He: was a:
lawyer, see, then,, iHe wasn't ai:: i ~n or, The other man wasI
mayor u.t he was pracicin law b cause I have a card,
Christopher Math'eson, Attorney at L.aw and he wrote to the
man over at Deland saying I hope.: y::ou can sit.ee your way clear
to vote for Gainesv ile to i: br:i. ng the Uni.versity toi
Gainesville. We think this is the logical place and if: y.ou
can siee your way clear, please vote for that and signed his
name, Chr:i.stopher Matheson, so we have that and we know that
Ga:inesville won ..out, so East Florida was united with it and
we have th-e Uni.versity of Fla. after the Bukt:::mI::ran Act of
1:i906. w,.e:i., that's that,, So Chris then came to :lahoma
and they said, you know all the theology you. nee::d to know,
but they made him pastor of the Shawnee Presbyterian C::hurch
in Shawnee, Oklahoma under a special license, since he hafd
not been to a sem:i.nary, you see,, He was pastor of this one
church for 26 years and had a wonderful career in the the
theological realm., ie was no:t only moderator of the Senate
of his P'resbytery,, e was representative on uni on and
promotion of money,, I've forgotten what you call it in
Charlotte, on m any o f t h e b i g committees, as a
representative to a world alliance of Presbyterians in
Boston one year,, They had two or three representatives and
Cnris was one of them,, He was Vi. ce-P:::'resi dent of: the
Ameri can Bible Society for 31 years ou-t o.f New York City.
Hie had a wonderful career that we don't know of in
Gainesville, so much, in the clerical as well as the early
histo ry,, so he really had a wond:er-f..ui life."

Dr. B.,: "He was there for 25 years?"

Sarah: "Almost 26 years,, He was the first charter member
of the Ki.wanis Club and these peop.:le loved him. Th iey always
wanted Chris to give them the jokes when he:d com::me and the
rough oil men loved Chris Matheson and yet he had the most
gentle, .ov iest dispo sition Youi..'d never thin. :: f it b::eing
a bachelor so many years., He always went to the barbershop
at this hotel and at this hotel, the Semin ole Oil people
wou. tl d gather r and these rioughnecks j ust ad r or d Crhrisii
Matheson. There was one man, Mr,, Werdi, that thought so mu..f.ch
of: him that had h:i m to t he f..uneral for his mother and i
fI:oundi that he deeded him mineral rights to so much oil and
just as we retired from Oklahoma and came back to our dear
old home for a while, he got an oil well and: sot we had an
interest and got little checks for somI e oil or several
years,,. but it went dry, but Chris had a little e f..tun with
that anyway through Mr., Werd, an oil man,,"

Dr. B,,: "So how didi you.. meet him?"

Sarah: "Oh, now that's it. 1 dlon"t know if youth oght to
have my history then,, Anyway, I"m about to teach at
SOklahoma Presbi yterian Coll ege in Durant, Ok: lah oma, inn 1 928.
i graduated at the U.niversity of North Carolin a in
Greensborou.gh, 1924, where my mother had graduated the first
year that they hadha ad four full years in 1896 and when
Martha and I were ready, my sister, we had wanted to go to
Agnes Scott in Decatur but my father was not able to send 2
daughters and pay railroad fair from Davidson to Atlanta, so
we went to North Carolina College for Women in Greensboro.
Chapel Hi:ill was ft:or men and Greenb:oro for the Women and both
of, as 1 said, graduated. A lot of her friends were still
teaching. I graduated there, I went to Astonia and taught
school two years and then from there,, Martha went to New
York to:. get her master's in history and I went to Richmond,
Virginia to get my master's in Christian education and Bible
and when I finished there, Dr., L ingel, Walter L.ingel, who
later was President of Davidson College, said. "Sarah, I
think yn..u'd like to work with Indians,," I said, "What maki::es
you think so?" .'- 1, I do. "I said, "Alright, get me a
job." So he got me the job of teaching Bible and Christian
ethics. Anyway, I went out to Oklahoma Presbyterian College
in Durant, Oklahoma to teach and it had :een endowed b::y a
birthday offering. CHristopher Matheson was living in
Shawnee, Oklahoma and was a member of the Board of Trustees
and would come down and sneak at Chapel and come to the
Board meeting., There were 3 young women, 3 young girls, who
were teaching there, Mar-y .... ........ ............... ..... fr::m Virginia, Sarah
H1- am:i lton from Davidson, North Carolina and Mildred Mosley,
from Duncan., Oklahoma. He took the 3 o:f us ou..t to dinner
and to movies and was nice to all 3 of us. But, my fami.:ly
had a summer home at Montreat, North Carolina and that was

.iwher C hri ::. h e ri Ma -t e -d es rn a w a came t o C: t.. e hotels, f or
summer" vacation so that was where he pursued me. I said no,
I co::.uldcin't marry you. You are such much older than I am. I
c:: oul:i niot marry y ou. He wtou.:.:ci t take no for an answerl, "

Dr. B. "Hi--ow much l:cider was he?"

Sarah: don"t know. He was abo:::ut 10 years older, 1.0 or
11, around that. Fiie wc::oul. :in' t take no and so later we were
married,, right there in Mont great on my summer home."

Dr. B, "What was the year you. were married?"

Sa rah 1932, I think,, Hie c:i.ei i.n 19 52,,. It might t have
been '33. I:l check:: th.at."

Dr. B ,,: "We'll get that niex:::t t:i.me.. "

Sarah: "I said, "Chrisop.her, suppose you. hacd tak::en me at rmy
word and had not married me,, We were s c: h app,, We jus..iat
c::om ::)emented each other,, He was thie r:erf:ect gentleman of
th e old school in a way, and yet had had h:i. s var i. e
wonderful history, aid I was uick: in mti s an act::t :i.
Bu..it anyway, we were very happ:::y.,"

we'll talk:: about yo ie ot your sid i ehe family ani get that
covered., "

This concludes the first tape. This was done on 9/28/90 at
Mrs. Mathet son' s 1-1 o i.ise an d:: c:n c:: 1l u dced at 12 noon.

I '' '

October 13, 1990

This is talking about Sarah Matheson 's personal family

Dr. Barrow: "Good morning, Sarah, you know we met two weeks
ago and talked about your husband, Chris Matheson's family
and the Matheson family in general and today we are going to
be talking about your family. I want you to go ahead and
start and tell us about your family history. I believe your
great, great, great, great gi-andfather was Hugh Hamilton.
Is that right? And you have a book on the genealogy and the
descendants of Hugh Hamilton that one of your cousins did, I
believe. Well, tell us what you can about Hugh and his wife
Margaret Dix on.

Sarah: "Well, I don't very much about that. They came over
from Scotland. I didn't know him at all. I just know that
the four brothers came to Pennsylvania and settled there and
one of them came on down from Beachbottom. They settled
near Lancaster, New York and James then came on down to
North Carolina."

Dr. B.: "James, then, was one of the sons of Hugh."

.Sarah: "He came to Caberas County. It was fi rst
Mecklinburg County. It was' just like Alachua was divided up
and later it was Caberas County and he lived there and I
think he was the one who was helping his friend build a barn
or a house and they worked kind of late and the neighbor
went with him as far as the spring and said good night to
him and he was found dead there the next morning. He was
just worn out and tired and got sick and died there, but he
had married and his child was Thomas Henderson."

Dr. B.: "I:'ve got notes here, James Hamilton, who was the
son of Hugh Hamilton and Margaret Di ;-on, was born on
September 29, 1761 and then died on October 21st, 1842. He
was married to Martha Wallace on August 23, 1779 and she was
born on December 9, 1775, and died April 24, 1866. That's
way back there. Now, how many children did James Hamilton
and Martha Wallace have?"

Sarah: "That I will have to look up. They had big families
in those days."

Dr. B.: "There were a lot of them."

Sarah: "Yes, there were a good many of them, were' t

Dr. B.: "But one of them was you great grandfather?"

Sarah: "Thomas Henderson Hamilton, and he was the only one
that I know about and I don't know too much because I never
knew him. He was dead before I 'was born, but he married

Dr. B.: "Yes, his second marriage was Sarah Melinda Wallace
and they- had 3 children, Charles Harvey Hamilton and
Elizabeth Hamilton Chester, and little Johnny. Johnny died
early in life, so it was just left my father and Aunt Betty.
We always spoke of Aunt Betty and they had homes side by
side. When Betty married, she married a Mr. Chester and
lived just 6 miles from Davidson, where my father lived next
door and built his home and brought his bride later. I
remember him saying that his little country school was in
Irdle County. His church was in Caberas County. His post
office was in Mecklinburg County. His farm was in all three
and he would laughingly say the sheriff would have a hard
time catching me. But this was six miles east of Davidson,
North Carolina, which was Mecklinburg County then."

Dr. B.: "Alright now, going back just a little bit, Thomas
Henderson Hamilton, who was Charles Harvey's father, my
notes say was born March 27, 1874 and he married (this was
his 2nd marriage) Sarah Melinda Wallace on June 5, 1862, and
I believe that you were named after Sarah."

Sarah: "I was, yes."

Dr. B.: "Who did Charles Harvey Hamilton marry? He was
born March 8, 1868, your father, right?, in Caberas County.
And y'all had a farm there or something?"

Sarah: "Oh, yes, as I'vve just said, Papa had a big farm
and he was known as a farmer, of course, in those days. He
was Justice of the Peace and he took pride in his farm. He
always kept the newest implements as they would come out, I
remember, a new manure spreader even that had works, you
::now, that you didn't have to take just a fork but you had
this. He had one of the largest barns and many, many
cattle, lots of cows and horses."

Dr. B.: "How big was the farm, do you know, about?"

Sarah: "Well, he added to it. He had the home place where
James had settled when he came. He went back to
Fennsylvania, I think, but he came to Caberas and he had
settled near there, so Papa owned that also. I would say
about 500 acres, something like that. So it was a pretty
good-sized farm."

Dr. B.: "When was the house built, do you have any idea?"

Sarah: "His father died when he was six- years old,, and so
he had was a schoolteacher. That is some of the many things
he did. In those days, the schools lasted just a few
months, you know, so he could look after his farm. He had
many tenants, lots of Negro help that lived on the place,
had there houses there. He was free to teach part of the
time. Now his wife that he met came down from Mooresville,
Cornelia Deaton. She had graduated with the first class
that had four full years at the Normal, North Carol ina
Normal School in Greensborough that later became the N.C.
College for Women and now the University of North Carolina
at Greensborough. She finished school and taught at Barium
Springs, an orphanage near Statesville and then she came to
the country, this county, where Charles Hamilton lived and
she met him. He was a promising young man. Then he was a
bachelor, but he was running for Representative and was the
Representative from Caberas County."

Dr. B.: ."For the state?"

Sarah: "The state, North Carolina, under Governor Joyner.
Governor Jo\ner was governor. He was known as the educator,
the governor who was pushing education. So they met and
were married in 1900 and Cornelia was a brilliant woman.
She was a wonderful teacher and a leader of the community,
iust as she found her husband was, so they made a happy,
happy home there. You asked about the house. I think Papa
had just finished it. He built this for his bride. He and
"his mother lived in the old home place that was there. He
wanted a new home for his bride and he was so proud of this
big two-story. It was a wooden house, but very attractive,
in a beautiful setting with woods and shrubs and peach
orchards and fig trees, just a beautiful home in the middle
of his farm, you see, surrounded by his farm."

Dr. B.: "Is it still there?"

Sarah: "We sold it when we came into Davidson later.
That's a long story."

Dr. B.: "Well, according to my notes, Charles, your father,
Charles Harvey Hamilton was born March 8, 1868. Do you
recall when he died or is that in that Bible anywhere?"

Sarah: "Yes, he died August 23, 1929. Suppose we go on
with him just a little bit since we are tal k:inr about his
life. They had several children."

Dr. B.: "OK, we'll get to that in just a moment, here."

Sarah: "He moved into Davidson for the education of the
children where Davidson College is and he said then I am an
agriculturist who lives in the city, spends his money on the
farm. The farmer lives on the farm and spends his money in

the city. But he had 6 acres of land right around the home
place down sloping with a little stream behind, so he could
have a little pasture. He even brought two or three cows,
but he still would go to his farm and see after it. He
became the Mayor Davidson, several terms he was mayor of the
town of Davidson."

Dr. B.: "Was he continuing to teach then?"

Sarah: "No, no, he didn't teach much after they moved, but
he became Mayor and he helped to organize the Piedmont Bank
and also the Savings and Loan, called the Building and Loan
Association then. He organized that and was quite active in
the community affairs of Davidson. He and his mother had
been charter members of Gilwood Presbyterian Church. His
mother, Sarah Melinda, had been a member of the Rama Church
in the country, but it was further away, so he and his
mother started the church at Gilwood, named for the first
two ministers, Mr. Gillan and Mr. Arewood, Gilwood. He
continued to keep his membership there. He was an elder,
clerk of the session for 35 years and leader of the music.
I remember that sometimes I would play the organ and Papa
would lead the singing and may brother played the violin or
the cornet, so even when we lived in Davidson, we would go
out to the country church on Sunday morning and brother
would take his violin or his cornet, whichever he could get
first and we would six; miles out to the church.

Dr. B.: "That is where Gilwood was?"

Sarah: "That's where Gilwood was."

Dr. B.: "Now they got married. I think her name was Martha
Cornelia Deaton."

Sarah: "She was known as Cornelia."

Dr. B.: "They were married November 22, 1900. So he built
the farm place about that time?"

Sarah: "Just a few years before."

Dr. B. "1Ok, and tell us more about your mother, Cornelia.
You said she was a teacher."

Sarah: "Cornelia was born in Mooresvi lle which was seven
miles north of Davidson."

Dr. B.: "Do you remember her birthdate?"

Sarah: "Her birthdate was September 7, 1874."

Dr. B.: "OK. Where did she study and go to school?"

Sarah: "She finished high school in Mooresville and went to
the Normal Industrial Sch::ool, as it was cal 1 ed, in
Greensborough. She graduated in 1896. She was a member of
a big family and she had a brother Romulus and she was
Cornelia and when she had children, they'd speak of Cornelia
dn her jewels. All her nephews called her Aunt Cornie, from
Cornelia, so her nickname' was Aunt Cornie. That' s

Dr. B. "How did she meet your father?"

Sarah: "When she was teaching a short term in Caberas
County, she was introduced to Charles Hamilton, this
promising young bachelor there in the community."

Dr. B.: "Right. So they got married in 1900 and lived on
the home place the, how long?, before they moved into town?"

Sarah: "About 1919."

Dr. B.: "Alright, well us about the children in your

Sarah: "I was the oldest, Sarah. I don't know why they
didn't put the Melinda into my name, but it was just Sarah.
I used to say, "Mother, why didn't I have a middle name?"
She said, "Well, I just thought Sarah Hamilton whatever you
might marry would be enough. So I was Sarah,, I was born
onr September 20, 1901 at the house in Caberas County. Then
3 years later, Martha was born and Martha was named just
Martha for grandmother Deaton. Mother was Cornelia Deaton
and so she was named for Martha Cornelia Deaton. Her mother
was Martha McNeely and so I was named for grandmother
Hami ton and Martha was named for grandmother Deaton,
mother s mother. "

Dr., B. "Martha was born October 1, 1904."

Sarah: "Yes and then Thomas was born September 9, 1906. He
was the son. I'll have to digress there a minute because
there were two more girls but mother always said Thomas was
her "pleasing interlude". She said I had Sarah and Martha,
then I had Thomas, then I had Mary, and Lois Neal, so Thomas
was "my pl easing interlude". She had only one son. Then
the nex- t one was Mary Cornelia, was named for mother, she
pur thi e Cornelia in but she is still known as Mary, Mary
Corneli a."

Dr. B.: "She was born October 31st, 1908?"

Sarah: "Then there was a baby that was stillborn and did
not live, so then Lois Neal was born December 20, 1914."

Dr.. B. "You have a picture showing at least your mother,
father, grandmother and four of you, but Lois Neal had not
been born yet, and it shows Mary when she was a tiny baby,
so this photograph was made in 1908, about, I'm not sure."

Sarah: "Yes, 1908.

Dr. B.: "Well, let's go back. Tell me about Martha. What
happened with Martha?"

Sarah: "My sister Martha graduated from high school and was
valedictorian of her class and she and I went to college
together to North Carol i na College for women, so we
graduated together and then taught two years together in
Gastonia, North Carolina. Martha then went to New Yorl:: to
Columbia University to get her graduate work: in history.
Mary... Well, Sarah and Martha both graduated from North
Carolina College for Women where mother had graduated
earlier. Mary said I'm not going to go to North Carolina
College. I don't want to :be k::nown as Sarah and Martha's
sister or mother's daughter. I want to go where I can make
my own record, so she chose Converse College and really made
a record. She was President of the student body and acting
dean and president of this and that, YMCCA and I don't know
what all, but anyway when Martha was finishing her Master's
Degree at Columbia, Dr. Pell, the President of Converse
College in Spartanberg, South Carolina, came up looking for
a teacher and he found Martha Hamilton and he said, 'Are you
any kin to Mary Hamilton?' She said, 'She's my sister.' So
Martha always says, I got my .job of teaching history at
Converse College because of my sister, Mary', who had gone
to converse. So Martha taught there and married the
Professor Elfred Morgan. He wasn't Dr. then but later got
his Ph.D., Elfred Chapman Morgan who had graduated at
Warford College in Spartanburg and who was teaching at
Converse and who became the academic dean there for 25 years
and was President, acting President of the college once.
Just to digress a minute, he later to the Associaton of
Colleges and Universities in Atlanta and set up the self -
study for the universities in the system and was doing that
when he died later, but anyway Martha and El. fred, she
marri ed Elfred Morgaan, the Professor, you see, and she
taught. He would let her teach when he needed a special
teacher. He would let her teach after they were married.
But they had two sons, Elfred Hamilton Morgan and Charles
Hamilton Morgan, so that was Martha. They had a wonderful
married life and she went to England with him, helped him
get that Ph.D. degree. He studied at the British Museum.
Well anyway, he got his degree at Chapel Hill in English
Literature. Martha, his wife, was the historian, so she
taught. She was a wonderful wife to help him. I remember
once we were at a meeting in Cincinatti and she had to leave
early because he was having his Board Meeting at Converse
and needed her back, you know, to support him and be at home

and help entertain. As I say, he was with the Southern
Association of Universities and Colleges for four years and
then he realized he wanted to take it easy and he took the
work teaching English at the College of Charleston. There
he had a heart attack and died very suddenly, so Martha was
left. She was teaching. At least, she'd been offered the
job of teaching history at the Ashley Finishing School,
Ashley School for Girls, finishing school for girls, a very
prominent well-known school, so she taught there for 25
years and has just retired."

Dr. B.: "Is she still alive and in reasonably good health?

Sarah: "She's in pretty good health. She's a wonderful
speaker and a scholar. She's a scholar. She really reads
and studies and is called on often for talks."

Dr. B.: "She lives where now?"

Sarah: "She has a home. After Elfred died, she taught in
Charleston. They had a home at 45 E. Battery for 25 years
and she stayed on after he died in this same beautiful home,
one of the old Charleston homes, then she had to move
recently to a condominium on the Ashley River, so she has a
condominium in Charleston and spends part of the time,
because she's lived there so long. Her other home is in
Spartanburg, but the apartment where her 2 sons. He son,
.Elfred Hamilton, is a prominent lawyer in Spartanburg and
has a son and a daughter and the other son, Charles, is head
of the English Dept. at Converse College, followed his
father's footsteps and he has two little girls. So the two
sons wanted their mother to come back to Spartanburg, so
they found a lovely apartment, so she spends about all of
her time in Spartanburg with the grandchildren and her sons
and part of her time she is in Charleston. She's making a
talk this week, will go back. They have a beautiful summer
home up at Clark's Mountain. The whole top of the mountain,
which is one of the old, old, old homes there, the only one
on top of the mountain and she has to be back for the Garden
Club, that is going to bring a whole crowd up there, 25
miles f:or that. Then she spends :3 months with me at
Montreat every summer. So she really has 4 homes."

Dr. B.: "That sounds wonderful, doesn't it?"

Sarah: "She's a lovely person."

Dr. B.: "Maybe she'll come down and visit us sometime when
we have the Open House or something."

Sarah: "Well, I wish you could know all of them."

Dr. B.: "Tell us about Thomas Henderson Hamilton."

Sarah: "I want you to just read that. It is the most
interesting to me."

Dr. B.: "He was a minister?"

Sarah: "Yes, he graduated at Davidson College since his
grandfather had entered the first class at Davidson. This
was when he was a student and I have a wonderful portrait of
him there in the hall that I want you to see. I'm sure
you've seen it, but he graduated at Davidson and went to
Union Seminary. Just read this."

Dr. B.: Sure. Let:'s see. Reverend Thomas H. Henderson, so
of a pioneer family in the Davidson area in 1772, died
October 8, 1887. His grandfather, Thomas Henderson
Hamilton, entered Davidson College when it opened in 1837
and his father, Charles H. Hamilton, served several terms as
Mayor for the town of Davidson, was a leader in many
constructive developments of the community, including the
organization of the Fiedmont Bank, and also a member of the
state legislature during the administration of Charles B.
Aycock, known as the education governor. Thomas graduated
from Davidson High School in 1923 and Davidson College in
'27 and taught at Chamberl ain Hunt Prep School in Fort
Gibson, Mississippi and then entered Union Theological
Seminary in Richmond where he received his B.D., T.H.M. and
Ph.D. degrees. So he was a doctor of theology. He studied
.Theology at the University in Tubegin in southern Germany to
which University he often returned for continuous education
as he did also to St. Andrews University in Scotland. His
pastorates included the Presbyterian Church in Rox.sboro,
N.C., and a remarkable ministry of 39 years at the First
Presbyterian Church in Kenston, N.C. Since his retirement,
he also has a happy pastorate in Grifton, N.C. where he
preached two Sundays before his death at age 81. He was
active in the Presbytery Synod and general assembly and
served on many boards and commissions and was a loyal
alumnus of Davidson College where he was a trustee for 17
years. He was able to attend the 60th reunion at Davidson
College and to have his son finish college in the class of
1963. He never missed an opportunity to return to Davidson
and visit the towns surrounding the country, especially the
old Eggrock area where there was property that he still
owned. He was a lifetime supporter of Montreat where he
owned a residence and where he was for many years treasurer
of the William Block home. He was a great traveler and had
recently visited China where he particularly enjoyed being
invited to visit a class in church history at the Nan King d
Theological Seminary. Dr. Hamilton is survived by his wife,
Marie Garland Hamilton, a son, Thomas H. Hamilton, the 3rd,
both of Kenston, daughters Maria Hamilton Cochram, of Los
Altos, California and Laura Hamilton Rowl of Charleston ,
S.C. and five grandchildren. He is survived by four
sisters: Sarah Hamilton Matheson of Gainesvill e, Fla.,

Martha H. Morgan of Charleston, S.C., Mary H. Stevens of
Lumberton, N.C., and Lois Neal Hami ton Tennant of
Spartanburg, S.C., buried at Kenston, N.C. where a memorial
service was held at the First Presbyterian Church. Dr. John
Bright, his classmate at Union Seminary and lifelong friend,
led the family and -friends in giving thanks for his deep
Christian faith. So that tells us about your brother.
Alright, tell us about Mary Cornelia Hamilton, I believe she
was ... Let's see, Thomas was born Sept. 9, 1906, we

Sarah: "Then Mary October 31, 1908. I told you part of
hers, that she graduated. I bet she was valedictorian. I
know I was valedictorian, Martha was, Thomas was historian
and Mary was valedictorian. She went to Converse College as
as told you previously and she graduated there with real
honors, President of Student Body and so forth, a beautiful
leader. Then Mary taught school for years in Lumberton,
N.C. and somewhere up in the mountains, where was that? I
can't think where it was, near ..., Lenore, N.C. But in
Lumberton, she met James L. Stevens and they were married
and he was a mortician, he and his brothers. He and his
brothers had this funeral home together. He was a great
lover of wildlife and worked for several years in Raleigh,
N.C. with the Wil life Assoc:i action. In fact, after his
death, a beautiful park in Lumberton is named the James L.
Stevens Park, which is ... there home is on the Lumbee River
and the park is just a few blocks from her home named for
James L. Stevens. Mary met him and they were very happy
together. They did not have nay children, so they adopted
little Richard Hamilton Stevens, when he was 6 weeks old.
They adopted Richard Hamilton Stevens, who ... I wish that
you could see her stairs. They built this beautiful home
ein Lumberton The backyard goes down to the river and
James loved to f ish and as I say, wildlife, ... tOne time
when I was visiting him there and mother and I were there
and he came in from his work and said, 'Come quickly, there
are about a dozen or 15 or 16 white geese, snowgeese, that
had come from the North, that were on the lake nearby and he
was so excited. Swans, swans, excuse me. He loved them.
Once he got them for his farm. He had a big farm, too, and
every day he'd go to a farm where he had pecans and tobacco.
That's a tobacco area down there in Lumberton, N.C., but
anyway, that's where Mary and Richard grew up. Mary was
teaching most of the time. See, she had the little boy but
she took care of him and she continued to teach French. I
didn't tell you that she and Lois Neal went to study at the
Sorbonne and then one summer, they stayed with a countess
down in southern France in a chateau where they studied
French again. They were both French teachers and students so
Mary taught for years. In fact, she just retired, I don't
remember how many years ago, but she is very much beloved in
Lumberton. In fact, the son of a former governor, Hector
Maclaine, have been elders together in the Presbyterian

Church. By the way, Hector Maclaine said one day, 'Mary, I
want to honor you. You have meant so much to this town of
Lumberton and to this church that I have asked for the
social room at the church and on the next Sunday of
something I want to have a reception honoring Mary Cornelia
Stevens for all that you've meant to all of us. And so, he
put advertisements in the paper, pictures and all of this.
Martha went. I was not able to go, but Martha was there and
she said, I don't think anybody will come, but oh, there
were 400 or 500 people who came to honor Mary. She is quite
a speaker. When they were trying to bring the College of
St. Andrews down to that area, they asked Mary Stevens to
head up the Committee to write the talk, you know, to urge
to choose Lumberton. Tom was working in Kenston to try to
get them to come to Kenston but they chose Laurenberg for
St. Andrew's. So Mary is still a teacher, the first woman
elder in her church and a great bridge player. Oh. she
belongs to so many bridge clubs and so many literary clubs.
She has led tours of Europe. In fact, she's been to Europe
and other countries, 41 trips that she has taken tours of
young people and adults. I have gone with her a number of
times. After Elfred Morgan's death, she asked Martha, her
sister to join her because Martha was teaching young girls,
you see, very prominent wealthy girls from Charles and that
are, so Martha was teaching them history and then by
invitation, she would say come and go to Europe and see
these places we've studied. Mary was the conductor and knew
.the language of all the countries and Martha would work
together so they both knew the history and the language and
those wonderful for 25 years, they have gone. They just
stopped this last year, was the first summer. The mothers
of Charleston would say, 'Martha, please don't retire. I
have one more daughter. You must stay on to take her to
Europe, you know.' We've all been world travelers, world
travelers. I've traveled around the world twice. Mary has
taken all these tours. Martha has gone with her many times.
They are writing a book now of their stories and they have
wonderful, funny and interesting stories, of the experiences
with these young people, always some adults with them, but
young people. It's been a wonderful thing. So Mary is
still living there, very active in church and community

Dr. B.: "Did her husband die?"

Sarah: "Her husband died. I can't remember just which year
it was."

Dr. B.: "Several years ago?"

Sarah: "Yes, several years ago. And Richard, her son, is
teaching in the high school. He's a professor, a teacher
and he married and they have two little sons."

Dr. B.: "That was the child that had the adopted child."

Sarah: "But interestingly enough, he is the member of the
whole family that is so very much interested in the history
and is bringing the genealogy up-to-date."

Dr. B.: "Well, isn't that fascininating!"

Sarah: "It's very fascinating and one thing in Mary's
house, this lovely home she built when Richard was six weeks
old, she has pictures of going up the stairs of nearly every
year of his life, till he was married, you see, when he had
the prom and met his bride. All of those. It's just
fascinating to see the pictures of this son's life."

Dr. B.: "Tell us about Lois Neal."

Sarah: "Lois Neal is our little one, coming 10 years later,
wasn't she, from Martha, anyway."

Dr. B.: "December 20, 1914, yes."

Sarah: "She was a beautiful little baby and we all loved
Bunny and watched her grow. We have a picture of her about
a year or two old, standing on the running board of the
first Ford car. You see, that was 1914. Well, it must have
been about 1915. She was maybe just a year old, with a
little tatting cap on, when Papa brought the first Ford car
*home that we had. He drove it in on Saturday. He had never
driven a car. He bought it in Charlotte, N.C. and drove it
home and you said, come on take us for a ride and we went.
He put it in the garage and this next Sunday morning got out
the surrey and we all went to church in the surrey and
somebody at church said, 'Mr. Charlie, I thought you bought
a car, but I never did break a horse on Sunday and I wasn't
going to break the car in on Sunday', so after that we began
to ride in it, but that was Bunny about a year old. That's
the way I called her. That's her nickname, Bunny. I don't
know how she got it, but she's always been Bunny. So being
younger, we kind of petted Bunny a lot. We moved into
Davidson in 1918 from the farm. She went to college one
year, I think, at the college. It was not coed at that time
and you had to get special permission for girls to go to it,
but living right there in the college next to it, she did
attend Davidson College and then when she grew oider, she
went to Converse College, as Mary had, and graduated with
honors there and while she was there she met Ed Tennant, who
was a bachelor in Spartanburg and a very prominent man but
later when she graduated, she became Associate Dean of Women
at Mary Baldwin College in Stanton, Virginia and she was
there when Ed persuaded her to get married, so they were
married in Davidson at the Presbyterian Church in Davidson,
North Carolina, where we were living and lived in
Spartanburg where Ed was so well-known and where she had

graduated from college and where her sister Martha was
married to Dr. Elfred Morgan, you see. So I had two sisters
then living in Spartanburg."

Dr. B.: "What did her husband do?"

Sarah: "Her husband was a purchasing agent at a textile
mill. There are so many mills around there and his father
had been and accountant and a purchasing agent, so Ed was a
purchasing agent and he had graduated at Warford College,
the same college that Elfred had graduated from first. They
had four children and I read in book that 4 was the perfect
number if it came out a boy and a girl and a boy and a girl
and that it what they had. They had Edward, Jr. and then
they had Martha. Edward now had a wonderful life out of
Washington with IBM. He goes everywhere, miles and miles,
for IBM. That is Edward. And then Martha went to Mary
Baldwin and for her junior year, she went to Spain as an
exchange student and fell in love with a boy from Madrid,
but she came back and graduated from Converse College but
his young man from Madrid followed her over and they were
married in the First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg. So
she lives in Spain. She is now living in Barcelona, Spain
and she has a little girl, so that's Martha Tennant. Then
the next was a boy, Charles Tennant. Charles Tennant is in
Lyons, S.C.. He is now working for a big company like
Merrill Lynch. Then the youngest one is Anne Cecile and
*Anne Cecile lives there in Spartanburg and is a great help
to my sister Bunny, has been a traveler too. She would die
with Mary. Mary was the first director of tours, but Bunny
loved to do it, too, so she has carried a lot of people to
China, Australia, Scotland, Europe many times and she is
just back this last year from Australia and New Zealand and
was planning to go follow Marco Polo over the Himalayans and
she got sick. She has diabetes and so this summer. We
said, we'll have to see that doctor. He just cannot let her
go. She is not able. 'Oh, yes, she said, "it does t
matter. If I die there, it'll be alright. I'm going.' But
she finally had to give up. She was with us at Montreat for
a week and on Saturday AM, she went into a coma, scared us
nearly to death. We were trying to get something into her.
But anyway, we called 911 and the medics came immediately
and we got her to Ashville. In an hour, she was back home
with us but they are having such a time getting her blood
sugar regulated. So she has given up her travels now and I
admire her. She has decided to sell her beautiful home and
go into a retirement home. I talked to her. She said I
found the apartment that I need. It's the last one so I
won't have to go outside to the dining room and she said
there is plenty of parking, plenty of storage space around.
It has everything she wants. Martha said to her, 'Keep your
home thru Christmas. Let's have one more big Christmas.
She said, 'Oh, I'm real excited about this apartment.' So
that's Bunny. I'm sorry to say that she is the youngest and

yet she goes to the doctor constantly checking on it,
monitoring it, of course. She's been able to give herself
the Insulin all of these years and go on these trips and we
were scared to death because she was often by herself.
She'd have a friend with her, but she's an independent soul
and a very wonderful strong person, very attractive and had
this beautiful, beautiful home and has acted in many, many
activities of the community. So that's Bunny."

Dr. B.: "Let's go ahead and talk about you now. Tell me,
you were born in ...?"

Sarah: "1901, September 10. Notice how many Septembers.
My husband was the 5th, my mother's the 7th, my brother's
the 9th and I was the 10th. My sister Martha, October 1,
and sister Mary, October 31st, so we were all fall babies.
I was born, as we said, at the farm, in Davidson, North
Carolina, out of Davidson. That was still home. I always
said Davidson, N.C. It was a very happy home. Often,
mother would gather the group at noon and when the people
would come in to rest, we would sit on the front porch or
late in the evening and she would read Dickens. I remember
listening to mother read David Copperfield to us and
wonderful stories like that, St. Nicholas. We got St.
Nicholas and the Youth's Companion, wonderful stories that
we had, always the Bible. Sarah Melinda, the one I was
named for, when she couldn't read, would say, 'Sarah, read
.to me, read to me and I'd read the Psalms, I remember to my
grandmother. So it was a very happy life. We moved into
Davidson in 1918. Papa said, it was to the nicest college
town that I know because of education. We had a school in
Irdle that was just a few months in the year and for about 4
years, he had sent us in a little buggy driving 6 miles
into Davidson. My brother, Tom and Martha and I, all in
this little buggy. We'd drive in 6 miles, carry some milk,
put the milk: can off at the station, then we'd go to the
livery stable and park the car and we had permission to be a
little late. If we were a little late, we were not counted
tardy and so we were in the school up there. There were
only 10 grades when I graduated from the 10th grade. So the
whole class stayed out a year and went back to school and
had another year of Latin. I think I had 6 years of Latin.
We had a private teacher up on the College who taught our
class, 10 of us in the class, very small class. I was
valedictorian of the class. Jessman Brown, we were very
close, we didn't know which won was going to win out, but i
finally did, then I graduated from North Carolina College
for Women in Greensborough which was North Carolina College.
When I went, here were 700 students, 1400 when I graduated.
Now there are about 10,000. This is one of the outstanding
universities of North Carolina. When I finished, I taught
fourth grade in Gastonia, N.C. Martha, my sister, had gone
with me. We had roomed together four years. We taught
together a year in Gastonia. Then she went to New York to

get her graduate work in history and I went to Richmond,
Virginia to do my graduate work in Christian education,
Bible and Christian education. I finished there in 1928.
When I finished, the President, Dr. Walter Lingel, said,
'Sarah, I think you'd like to work with Indians.~ 'I said,
'What makes you think so?' 'I just do.' I said, 'Alright,
help me to get a job, so he did and I went out to Oklahoma
Presbyterian College, OPC, in Durant Oklahoma to teach,
Bible and Christian ethics. What would that be? Christian
ethics. Any way, we did have Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole,
Creek, Pawnee and Comanche tribes of Indians represented in
the school and of them were younger. It was an acknowledged
junior college, two years of college, because the
Southeastern University was in Durant, so they could go on
to the University from there. I taught 5 years there. In
'33, met Chris Matheson, though. Chris, my husband, had a
wonderful career in Gainesville, Fla. and had gone into the
ministry in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I was in Durant, Oklahoma,
southeastern, just 95 miles from Dallas. Red River, you
see, divides, so I could get in the car and run down to
Dallas for shopping and enjoyed Durant very much but Chris
Matheson was on the Board of the College and would come down
to the Board meetings and speak at Chapel to the girls.
There were 3 young teachers there. I say young, compared to
they had already finished college and teaching, but Chris
was a bachelor and there was Sarah'Hamilton from Davidson,
North Carolina, Mary Bittinger from Virginia, Mildred Mosley
*from Duncan, Oklahoma and then we had an Indian princess who
was partly Indian, not half, but quite a bit Choctaw and the
4 of us went around together a lot, but Chris would take the
3 of us out to dinner and to a movie, always included all 3
of us, most of the time. But I have a summer home at
Montreat, N.C. where I went in the summer. His custom had
always been to go to Montreat to the hotel for his
vacations, so that was where he pursued me. I say he
pursued me, because I said, "No, I can't marry you, you're
older than I am.', but I liked him. He was so wonderful and
he wouldn't take no. He kept on coming and we were married
there in 1933, the 21st of August. Papa died the 23rd, up
at Montreat, I spoke of that earlier in 1919, but I was
married August 21, 1933, at Montreat, and.Chris said, "Here
you selected the most public place for our wedding. We said
we'd have a very quiet wedding since he had been a bachelor
and was rather quiet, dignified, wonderful gentleman. We
were married on our porch at Montreat, where brother played
the violin. My friend played the golden harp and my friend
from Davidson sang and Chris had 2 cousins that performed
the ceremony, so then we went on our honeymoon coming south
from North Carolina down to Columbia the capitol and then to
Charleston. He wanted to shows me the Citadel, so we
stopped at the Citadel and then to Gainesville and here his
old home town where he had lived so long. Who is this woman
that he has finally married because there were lots of the
girls in Gainesville that I had heard about, as well as

Shawnee, but anyway we were married and we had a happy
honeymoon, continuing it here in Gainesville. We went over
to the beach for several days and stayed at Aunt Ola:'s
house. She was living in one of Chris' homes up the street
here, where William her husband had lived. So we went back
to Shawnee, Oklahoma where he was the minister and I was the
minister's wife there and they greeted me and fixed up the
manse. He had helped them buy a manse but they had never
used it, so now he had a wife, so we moved into the manse
and I was there in Oklahoma altogether 17 years and Chris
was there 26 years."

Dr. B.: "How many years after you married did yall stay

Sarah: "From 1933 to 1945."

Dr. B.: "Then, who lived in this house from the time Chris
left until you got back?"

Sarah: "His cousin, Adamson. J.D., James Douglas Adamson,
moved in first, and he lived here a while and then it was
rented for a few years. We gave back every year, we came
back to check it and so forth, but it was owned
continuously, you see. His cousin died. I don't remember
what year he died, but James D. died, but his kin people,
Aunt Ola, lived right up the street and she would come over,
*because Chris, being a bachelor, had just left barrels of
china. People would say, 'What happened to Ms. Gussie"s,
his mother's, beautiful china?' Well, we never knew. A
bachelor couldn't take care of everything. There were
paintings and things. He kept one room upstairs locked, but
people later on didn't care for it too much, but Aunt Ola
was the watchdog. She was over here watching and with them
and she moved things over to her house, as she could. She
took care of what she could. Well, Chris was beloved in
Shawnee, Oklahoma as he had been in Gainesville. He had a
beautiful disposition. The church had a little trouble. The
minister before him had left and the church was split a
little bit, because this was the southern branch. We hadn't
united then, so there was a northern Presbyterian Church and
the southern and his church was central Presbyterian Church,
but Chris, when I knew him, was, well, even the oil men, the
roughnecks, loved him around the hotel. He always went to
get meals, you know. And the women where he boarded, they
were all loving Chris Matheson and continued to. Mr. Word,
a very wonderful oil man, had Chris have the funeral for his
mother and then before he died, he willed to Chris the
mineral rights of certain areas there that Chris finally got
a little bit of oil money for just about the time we
retired. I was glad that he got those checks. They weren't
big ones, but he could say 'I got my oil check today, so he
was real proud of that and he a charter member of the
Kiwanis Club. And the Kiwanians were pretty rough fellows,

so they'd call on Chris for jokes. Hle always had a good
joke. There is one story I just tell you about this that I
have not told you before. Before he left Gainesville, Clark
was a Representative in Washington and through Mr. Clark
(Chris was a great friend of his) was invited to come up to
Washington. That is when Theodore Roosevelt was President
and so Chris went and Mr. Clark said, you've got to meet the
President, so he arranged for him to come one morning. he
went over to the White House, the Capitol, I guess, to his
office and they had to wait a little while, but finally
Roosevelt came out and Chris is, "He just shook my hand so
tight and said, 'Mr. Matheson, I'm so glad you came to see
me. I would have been greatly disappointed had you come to
Washington and not come to see me.'" So Chris had told that
little story once to one of his friends who was head of the
Savings and Loan. He never forgot it. 'Chris, tell me that
story again about you and Mr. Clark and Theodore Roosevelt."
But that was something that he remembered and that was when
he was practi cing law, but now he was known, all the
ministers in town. He had been president of the
Presbyterian Encampment in Indian country, you see. The
families would gather. They'd all go to this camp meeting
together and there'd be the fathers and mothers and the
young people and the children, whole families. Then some of
the Christian education thought that was different, they'd
better separate. So then they took the young people off,
you know and the families would be the fathers and mothers
.and the pioneers or the children for a while. Finally, they
separated. But Chris was president of that for 15 years.
He was a member, that summer, of the general assembly
committees on union and cooperation and I don't know what
all. H-e represented our church at the World Council of
Churches in Boston and he was Vice-President of the American
Bible Society for 31 years, represented from Florida. That
is when he was made the representative from Florida, then
continued when he was in Oklahoma. Well, the people, when
we were married, gave us a Buick car. They kept us in cars
and we were invited out to Colorado that first summer. I
drove the car. Chris didn't drive much, but I was the
driver and we went out to Colorado to Queen??, which is the
Paradise for fishing, you know, where the Rio Grande River
starts This man and his wife who invited us had there
cottage and guest house and then a place for the fishing and
Chris caught one or two fish. He was just greatly beloved
and honored by the whole community several times. Finally,
he developed Parkinson's disease. We went to Mayo's twice.
They gave bella donna, I believe. We went to Scott White
Clinic in Texas. That was the Mayo of the southwest and they
used tincture of stramonium, was what they used. We went to
Oklahoma City to some specialist there. They didn't know
any known cure in those days, but that was what they used,
so they'd have to adjust it to his character and his system,
but he his Parkinsonism got too much for him and he had to
resign a few years before retirement. So we kept his dear

home, you know, and we came back to Gainesville at the end
of 1945, yes, in 1945."

Dr. B.: "He retired at that time?"

Sarah: "Yes, at that time he. retired. He still had a few
more years before he had to, but anyway, they honored him so
much in the church. They still do. I get the little
bulletin, the newsletter that they send out every month.
They had their 75th anniversary the other day and I sent
them a remembrance. There is a big window called the "Sarah
and Chris Matheson window' in the church there. They are
very loyal to him."

Sarah: "He was retired from 1945 to 1952. He died in '52."

Dr. B.: "And so you decided to stay on in the house?"

Sarah: "Yes, that was my home. Yes, you see, we didn't
have any children. I had a miscarriage once, but that was
our only disappointment that we didn't have any children.
So, when I was in Korea, I adopted two sons, helped them
through school. I had a letter the other day from one of
them who is a minister in Sun Chun. I didn't tell you about

Dr. B.: "Is that right?"

Sarah: "I was telling you about Chris mostly there in
Shawnee. Since we didn't have children, I helped very much
in the church then. I helped with the Junior Dept. and then
I was President of the Women, got interested in the women's
work, so I president of the local women, president of the
Presbyterial and President of Women of the State of
Oklahoma. They gave me an honorary life membership and then
I was in, oh, AAUW, Delta Kappa Gamma and Red Cross and I
substituted some in the school. I didn't take a job, but
they'd call on me to teach anywhere from art to history to
English. I never knew what I had to teach. Then, we we
retired in '45, we came to Gainesville, to this dear old
home and Chris had kept a lot of property that he'd taken
in. He was a lawyer and his father before him, so he had
many acres out on the Hawthorne Road. We sold some to get
the money to do the house over, because it had used been
pretty roughly for the last few years, even though Aunt Ola
had done her best and we had in the summer and we'd kept up
with the rent. So, we fixed the house up and, how'd I get
off on that? So then, I continued here. I did the same
thing here. I was President of the Local Women, President
of the Suwannee Presbyterian of the Presbyterian Church and
then of the President of Women of the Senate of Florida for
4 years and then I went to Korea. I got a letter one day
out of the blue one day, saying, 'Mrs. Matheson, you've been
nominated for mission service. Would you consider going

into Korea?'' and that was in 1960, so I prayed that the door
would open or shut tight and it opened and I went to Korea
and taught in '60 and '61 and came back in the fall of '62."

Dr. B.: "You were over there over.two years?"

Sarah: "Yes, over two years. And that was my first Social
Security. I had never had any. That was a fringe benefit,
that I had a part of a year and a whole year and a part of a
year, so when I came back I wrote to Preacher Gordon, who
was minister at First Presbyterian, where Chris and his
father had been elders in the church here, so I wrote to the
preacher and I said, 'Preacher, I need a little part time
job to finish out the quarters to get the minimum in Social
Security. So, he came and said, 'Sarah, would you be our
church visitor on a part-time basis. We'll give you June,
July and August off if you work from September thru May.' I
said, 'Oh, I'd love it. I've never seen a stranger. I
would just love to be a visitor.' So I started in and I am
still Church Visitor at First PIresbyterian Church. They
honored me 3 years ago for 25 years and gave me a silver
bracelet that said you must have something to see and then
they gave me a check for travel or for recreation. That was
about $1,400. I found I had about that much more left over
that is going to be, I had the First Medallion, that is
going to be in the Church for the Apostles Walk and Ross
Mackenzie, my beloved minister, then said, "I want Sarah to
have the first one and I think she w would like to be the
'Apostle John', so I'm to have that. And now, they are just
finishing up the 12 Apostles, with Sarah's as the first one
and they are to be dedicated soon. I was Synodical
President for the state. After I came back from Korea,


November 3, 1990
Saturday Maorning, 9:30 AM
Third Interview

This is Dr. Mark Barrow. I'm talking to Sarah Matheson.
This is the third interview about the Matheson and the
Hamilton families. We are down to 1933.

Dr. Barrow: "Sarah, last time we talked we talked about
that you got married in 1933. Then we want to go from
there. Where did you go at the time, when you got married
to Chris Matheson?"

Sarah: "I was married, I don't remember whether we talked
about where, at Montreat. We were married by two of Chris'
cousins, John Matheson and Gordon Matheson and we went on
our honeymoon from Ashville, N.C. to Columbia, S.C. and to
Charleston visi ting the Ci tadel where Chris had graduated
and then to Gainesville, his old home, and there we were
greeted by his many, many friends and then on the way back,
we stopped at Davidson. Mother had closed the house and was
settled in Davidson. Then we went on back to Shawnee,
Oklahoma where Chris was the minister of the Central
Presbyter i an Church in Shawnee, Ok1 ahoma. So we li ved
there. We moved into the manse. Chris had helped them to
*build a manse that belonged to the church, but they had no
family to live in it. Now he had a wife and we moved into
the manse and were very happy there in Shawnee, Oklahoma
which was 45 miles from Oklahoma City, about 30 from Norman
where the University of Oklahoma is. It is a beautiful,
beautiful central part of Oklahoma. I had taught, you see,
down at Durant, Oklahoma, for 5 years, but that was in the
southeastern part of the state. There I took an active part
in the life of the community and the church work and lived
within the c ommunit y, iHawthornre Cl ui:3 and Red Cross and
American Assoc:i action of Un ivers:ity Women. I organic z ed the
chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma which was a soror i ty for
teacher' education. And then, we left Oklahoma,..."

Dr. B. "What was the date that you left Oklahoma?"

Sarah: "We left there in 1945. We were there 12 years.
Chris was the minister, was very beloved, very much like
Preacher CGordon here in Gainesville in our church. I was
just noticing a little clipping the other day of 25 years
where the Ministerial Association said we are going to have
a big celebration to honor Chris Matheson, and it told about
the minister from the Firs- t Presbyteri an Church would give
the talk and the one from the Baptist Church would preside
and the one from the Christian Church would give the
invocat i on and mentioned about the Salvation Army, the

Captain, and all the ministers of the town took part and
that the town was invited. Chris was a charter member of
the Kiwanis Club and all the oil people that were there, he
had learned to know. Well, he was just beloved by the whole
community. I went to so many funerals. He had funerals for
people of all denominations so many, many different ones.
We were very happy. The church gave us our first Buick car.
They kept us in cars. We went out to Creed, Oklahoma that
f-irst year in our car, out to Fisherman' s Paradise and
visited the West, drove through the duststorms, had a
wonderful life in Oklahoma. but Chris developed Farkinson's
disease and we went to Olk::lahoma City. We went to Mayo's
twice. They knew nothing that would cure it but gave
certain things that delayed it. We went to the Scott White
Clinic which is the Mayo's of the Southwest, but as it
developed Chris had to resign a few years before retirement
and we came back to Gainesville to the dear old home. We
came to North Carolina for Christmas and came to Gainesville
then the first of 1946, so were back home and got the house
done over then. We got the lady who was renting it out and
sold some property to spend to get the house renovated and
ready for living. Oh, we were so happy to get back into the
house and got it painted and some of his friends said,
'Chris, we've never seen the house look as pretty as it is
now.' So we were so happy to be back in Gainesville and
Chris could wall.:: up to the square and see his friends,
Adolph Vidal, all the Vidals, Mal.xie Dell and oh, I can't
think. I had a party for them and had lots of the oldtimers
*together and we just enjoyed Gainesville. The paper gave a
big clipping about welcoming him back. The former mayor has
come back to Gainesville again, so we would go to Montreat
in the summer and take an active part in the churches. He
visited anc was asked to help some in the church as long as
he was able. He died in '52. We had been to Montreat for
the summer and came back in the fall and his death was in
October. "

Dr. B.: "Was it from pneumonia or cid he have a stroke?"

Sarah: "Just a little stroke, I think, he died quietly."

Dr. B.: "Was it here?"

Sarah: "Here in the house. He died in the same house in
which he was born. That was very interesting that ne had
been born in this dear oid Matheson house and then hai come
back home and had several years of a happy life and then
died in the home. Dr. McCIamroch was our doctor. I2
remember he came to see him. It was just a stroke, I'm sure
because he didn't live but about a week, I think."

Dr. B.: "And that was in 19557"

Sarah: "1952. "

Dr B. : "Wh en you were i n Shawnee, did y' all come bac Ik: to
Gainesville every now and then?"

Sarah: "Oh, every year. Every summer we came back to check
on everything. Aunt Ola, you see, Aunt Ola, the widow of
Will am Matheson,, lived in one of the little houses that
Chris owned. We still speak of it as Aunt Ola's cottage."

Dr. B.: "Is it the first one from here or the second one?"

Sarah: "It's the second one."

Dr. B.: "And she lived how long?"

Sarah: "She had died a few years before we came back. She
was not living then."

Dr. B.: "Alright, and so after Chris passed away in 1952,
you stayed here. You didn't go back to Montreat?"

Sarah: "No, I stayed right here in the home."

Dr. B.: "By that time, you knew a lot of people and had a
lot of friends."

Sarah: "'That's right, I did. Dr. Gordon, U.S. Gordon
called me at Christmas time,, Chris died in October. ihe
family came here for the funeral, then I went to Dav:idson,
North Carolina for Chr:i. stmas and Dr. Gordon called me while
I there and said, "Sarah, we need a worker at the Student
House, the Presbyterian Student House. Al Taylor has just
resigned and was gone and we would love for you to come and
take over. Will you do it?" "I said, 'Well I'11 have to
think about it and talk to my family. He said, 'll call
you tomorrow night?'" So he (:did. They said, 'Sarah. this
is what you need, to get busy." So I came back. MI y mother
came with me, in January, the first of January and I became
the Director of the Student Center in January. Preacher had
said, Sarah, we don t know how long. It might be two
months, it might be six months, we don't know. Of course,
we'll have to have a man to take over 1ater-. This is
typical of Preacher Gordon, so I did it and enjoyed it and
had the name, Oh, what did they call me' I can:' t think of
what the students called me, something cof Westminister,. Not
the princess, but the...

Dr. B. "The Duchess?"

Sarah: "That's right. The Duchess of Westminister! And
oh, I enjoyed those few love affairs that went on. I could
tell you 2 or 3 companies, I could see it materializing and
they did marry and have raised happy families since then.
So when June came, we had a man come, NIeely McCarter who is-

president of one of the seminaries in the West. He came as
a wonderful Director and it freed me just at the right time
to go to Montreat as usual, because I spent my summers there
and so I did enjoy that. But that was an interesting
experience. Later, out of the blue I received a letter
saying, n Mrs. Matheson, you've been nominated for mission
service. Would you consider going to Korea?" I threw up my
hands and said, Do you think I can take the climate? i
prayed that the door would open or shut tight and it opened
and I did go to Korea then to teach."

Dr. B.: "When was that?"

Sarah: "That was in 1960. I went in 1960 for two full.
years. 1 said, "Let me go for a year and see if I can take
the climate at my age, the severe climate, and so I said, "I
have a conscience and I'll stay longer if necessary.' So I
did. I enjoyed it very much."

Dr. B.: "Did the go by yourself?"

Sarah: "Well, there was a family of father and mother and 3
child dren who were going. We met in Cal ifornia at the Home
of Peace, packed our trunks and so forth that were shipped
from there and we went on the Pacific shipline going out.,
There were 26 of us, 6 of us going to Korea, and the other
20 to Japan. So we landed in Japan, touched there and I was
.greeted with a family that took me for lunch and drove me on
over to Tokyo and we got into Korea then in '60.."

Dr. B.: "How long did that trip take? A couple of weeks."

Sarah: "Oh, I think it took 10 day, about 10 days I think.
But we flew then from Tokyo over to Seoul and were met and I
taught missionaries' children. I had 7 children the first
year and 9 children the second year, all the way, grade one
through six. "

Dr. B.: "Where did you. live?"

Sarah: "in Soon Chun. There were 3 families and a doctor,
Dr. Stan Topple. So Stan and I had a house with a cook and:
an outside man who took care of all the stoves you know and
the work around the house. My little schoolhouse was a
beautiful little two-room schoolhouse right above the house
and I would come home, the cook would have lunch. Stan was
a surgeon for leprosy. He worked in a leprous area and he
would come in the evening and we'd have dinner and I'd say,
'Tell me what you did today. He'd say, 'I built up a heel
of this man or this woman..." and he would let us go down to
hospital where they had a thousand patients."

Dr. B.:s "A thousand?"

Sarah: "es., a thousand. They weren' t all . .some of them
were old and they had stopped their disease, I guess, they
were cured. Some of them were working there and then we got
Stan married later.

Dr. B.: "Who did he marry?"

Sarah: "He married a girl from Norway who was up at Seoul
and she was a doctor, We went up to Seoul for the wedding
and they went to Japan for their honeymoon and his father
and mother were .there and they had begged me to.. I was
trying to take care of Sam, you see. I was like his mother.
So his father and mother had come. We had the most
wonderful time. Another doctor from Atlanta, Cunningham,
came out and the two doctors and a minister and I, Stan's
father and mother, would go to an island and there we would
meet people. They would line up to see the doctors, you
see. They had never had a doctor. The minister had his
equipment, his movie, you know, and his things, slides and
stories and he'd go across to another place where they'd
never heard of the gospel and we'd set up an evening meeting
and people would crowd in to hear him, you see. That was a
marvelous experience. We'd go over in a little boat and
meet them. While the doctors were meeting the patients, I'd
run out with a Kodak and take pictures of the mothers
holding the babies, you know, little naked babies. They
were just darling. I loved the Korean people and had many
.experiences with them besides enjoying teaching these boys
and girls through the si;xthr grade. So I stayed there two
full years."

Dr. B.: "Did you adopt two or something?"

Sarah: "Yes, two sons."

Dr. B.: "How ciii that happen?"

Sarah: "Well, I just met them. They were always needing
help, of course. They had their hand out for help and to
i morove their Eng i sh. On the train, people would just
crowd up around you k-nowing that you could speak English,
you know, saying, 'Help us to speak English". So I met one
boy who wanted to t o to school and needed a little money and
1 helped him some. I didn't have too much but I'd help him
to finish his school. I helped another one to go on through
the seminary. He is a minister now. When I went back in
'78, I think, another time I went back to Korea to visit, he
invited me to come to his church and he had a big, beautiful
church, showed me his directory with pictures of his members
just like we have here in our church, and his wife, and he
had a son who played the piano for us, so I've kept up. In
fact, about two weeks ago, I had a letter from him and he'd
say, "Your son in Christ', you know. "You are my mother'.

So I kept the other bocy who is a teacher at the Maison
School. I have those two, Kim and Lee."

Dr. B.: "Ki.m and Lee?"

Sarah: "Kim is the name. If you throw a hat down a
mountain in Seoul, it will fall on a Kiim or Lee. They are
the two names."

Dr. B. : "Are they brothers'?"

Sarah: "iNo. They were no kin. One was Kim and one was
Lee. So I came home then from Korea with a friend that I
met from Decatur, Georgia and we went around the world,
visiting mission stations and friends in Burma and the
Phillipines, Singapore, then we came even to the Holy Land."

Dr. B.: "Were you -Flyi ng"

Sarah: "We were f lying. For instance, when we got to
Man i a, I heard somebody say, M s. Math eson, Ms. Matheson,
and I looked and it was a family that I had met on the boat
going out two years earlier. I had played games with her
little boys and I had written her asking if she would give
us the name of a safe place to stay in Manila and she wrote
back that she was living up at _? then, but that her
son would be down there or she would arrange for us. Well,
.they had decided to come clown and meet us together, so here
they were at the airport to take us and had already accepted
and i nvi tati on, to have d:i. nner, oodr i ch, what is the
rubber? Goodrich rubber plantation people. They were
Episcopalians. Anyway, they had arranged for us to stay the
guest house fo r English speaking people. Oh, just
experiences like that all around Burma."

Dr. B.: "How long did that trip take?"

Sarah: "That took two months, I think. East Pak:istan then
which is now Banglad esh. V:irginia Lepps, my good friend
from Gainesville, she and her husband had gone out to Dakar,
E. Pakistan, to the University. She had invited us to stop
there so when we got to this place in India, we got another
ticket and went over to E. Pakistan which is now Bangladesh,
Daka is the capitol and we had a marvelous four days with
Virginia and her husband there seeing all of the interesting
things around Dak:a. Down the big river to an island that
her people wanted us to see. That was a marvelous trip,."

Dr. B.: "You got back here then in '62?"

Sarah: "1962 and I asked Preacher Gordon, that was my first
experience to get any Social Security. The Board of Mission
had put me on, that was a fringe benef it, and I received a
whole and then a half and then a half, you see. So I said

preacher, I need a little part-time job to finish out the
quarter so I can get the minimum and he ask::ed me to be
Church Visitor. So I worked 9 months as Church Visitor and
3 months to go to Montreat in the summer and I'm still doing
it at 89."

Dr. B. "I know, that's great. So you've been doing that
since 1962."

Sarah: "Where all do you visit?"

Dr. B.: "One minister goes on Monday to the hospitals and
another one goes too. I go Wednesday. Every Wednesday, I
go to North Fla. Regional and I go to Alachua General and I
go to Shands when we have people there. I don't go to
Shands every week, but people will phone in from say, South
Carolina, and say we have a woman out at Shands, will you go
to see her? or we have a child from Miami, will you go, so I
go there quite often. I go to the VA Hospital, too. I have
regulars over there at the Nursing Home. So I go there and
then I'm chairman of the home circle so I have 25 people who
are shut in who can't come to regular circle meetings so I
have to go to see them, and I'm a Co-Chairman of an area
neighborhood group and have to take care of all of the
families that live in that area, visit them. If anybody
gets sick,, you know, you've got to see that they get food
and visit them and so on."

*Dr. B.: "So you are out somewhere everyday?"

Sarah: "Everyday I visit, yes". I go to Special Care every
week, Palm Gardens, down there and all these differnet ones
where we have people I go. I don't limit it just to First
Presbyterian Church. All the P:resbyterians may be from
Micanopy or Williston or wherever. Then another thing I do
for the Church is that I call everyone on their birthday. I
have 3 people today. Yesterday I had Ray Weiver, Paul Moore
and I've forgotten the third one right now. But I've got
two or three today that I haven't called yet, so sometimes
it'll be 10 o'clock at night and I'll say I'll call them
first thing in the morning or say, "'Is it too late to wish
you a happy birthday?'"

Dr. B. : "So you..:'veu got all the birthdays of all of your
par i shioners?"

Sarah: "They' ll say, "How'd you k-::now that this was my
birthday?" and I'll say, "Oh, a little bird told me.' Then
I'll have to say also we have a computer. Sometimes the
computer gets the wrong date. I called once on the 21st and
she said, 'Oh, my birthday was the 12th. "

Dr. B.: "So you've had a very full and active life."

Sarah: "I was the .first woman elder in our Church, you
know. It used to be just men, nobody but men and Preacher
Gordon was the minister for forty years and he did not
believe in having women elders, certainly no women
preachers. So when he retired from our Church, he -was
preaching at Archer and around a little bit, so they asked
me to be an elder and after much prayer I said that I would.
So I was the first one in 1969. Because I went to the
general assembly as a commissioner in 1970 where there were
only eight women out of 400 commi ssi owners. The next year
there were 18 and the next year more, but that was
something. I was the only woman elder from Florida at the
General Assembly meeting in Memphis, Tennessee in 1970."

Dr. B.: "What did Preacher say?"

Sarah: "I ran up on him in the Post Office and he said,
"Here comes by Elde:rina.' and I said, 'Preacher, I didn't
know whether you would speak to me or not since I've been
made an elder.. And he said, 'Oh, now Sarah, you know I
love you .just the same. Then he came up a little closer
and said, 'But you didn't make it while I was in, did you?'
So we had a laugh and that's in the book,:: you know, that
Perry Foote, Jr. and Lester Hale wrote. What is it?"

Dr. B.: "Yes, I read that book. "

Sarah: "The M:i. schievous Saint" and that little story is in
.there. It didn't name my name but it told about Elderina.
Oh, that's that, but Preacher was a wonderful, wonderful
person and loved by the whole town, just as Dr. Thomas was
the doctor at the time and Preacher Gordon. Well, I've been
a member, I'm still an active member of FPE[, which is a
sorority and I've been a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, past
president of Gai nesvil i1 e Coun c i for Internat i onal
Friend ship. In f act, I appoi noted a committee to get a
sister city in South American. We went to Columbia, two
tr i ps, and sel ected Mana az es as our si ster c i ty i n
Co Lumb ia. That is the Gainesville Council for International
Fri encdshi p. I'm a member of the Alachua County Historical
Society and I've been interested in preservation all of my
life and I'm a member of that, what else? Friends of Music.
Friends of the Library."

Dr. B.: "Tell me about the fire that occurred here."

Sarah: "That was in 1985 wasn't it?"

Dr. B.: "What happened there?"

Sarah: "Well, there was a floor furnace and it went into
the chimney there in the center of the building, in the
hallway. I seems that the brick in the chimney, it was a
chimney fire, and some of the mortar had slipped out between

the bricks and a spark got into it and it just was going up,
but I was sitting there and all of a sudden saw just a
little spark, just a little bit and I thought, Oh, my, and I
want to the phone and called 911 and gave the alarm and
called the man upstairs who was rooming here and I gave him
a blanket. The boy from across the street had seen some
smoke going up, so he came 'over and the two of them, I I
said, I believe you can put it out, here's the blanket', you
know, but it was inside the chimney and it went on up into
the attic. The Fire Dept. came and it didn't take them
long. It was the coldest day. It was below freezing. The
water was freezing as it came down, and yet the man, the
Chief said we lost one over by the duck pond. We're going
to save this one and they led me outside the building and
finally, the boy who lived there was so lovely. He seated
me there. I picked up one picture as I went out and then
I' d see the flames going up and I'd say, "Oh, can't they get
it out. I was just frantic. I told then though to come
over and bring these portraits. So he and Mark Coffey, our
Director, was here also temporarily and they brought the two
portraits over there and then I said, I've got a box; of
history papers, you krno:w, and they got that over to the
house, because it was up in this part of the house. The
front part was not being very destroyed except through the
water and the smoke, you see. They had to get the hose and
the water came all over it and .t*he smoke, so the whole house
was just sm k ::ed. "

'Dr. B.: "How long dic d it take them?"

Sarah: "That was what, in the early afternoon, wasn't :i. t
They began boarding it up then and watching it all afternoon
and into the evening. They began to get things out."

Dr. B.: "Several hours?"

Sarah: "Yes.. So then we got the insurance. The insurance
paid for most of itj. I did not have to pay more than $.6,000
besides what the i insurance paid for. So it came out very
wel We got all k.::i nd of advice, you know, about how to
preserve it, and it:'s preserved but it' s not as good as it
was, I don't think. But you are just thankful that it was
preserved and we got as much of the furniture and things
that we dic d, very little lost. The room upstairs in the
hall had to be rebuilt and, of course, the new roof, I
guess, an anall, but we were fortunate to get it done as well
as we did. "

/ Dr. B.: "When did you start think:irng in terms of donating
your house and property as a museum?"

Sarah: "Well, even from Chris' death on I wanted the house
S preserved in some way because of the history of the family,
fro-m the very beginni ng, the Mathesons and the Steels, his.


Sarah: "Yes, we have a good Board, we certainly do."

Dr. B.: "Everybody really is interested and works hard."

Sarahl "But we can't thank you enough, Mark, for what you
have done because you have been the spearhead."

Dr. B.: "Well, you've been the real spearhead."

Sarah: "Well, I was glad to do it and I feel it was because
I could do it and it has made it possible for the plans that
we have."

Dr. B. "Well, I think it will work:: out, especially with
the two grants, now. "

Sarah: "Yes, yes, those grants were wonderful."

Dr. B.: "We'll be able to re-do the house the way it should
be and paint it."

Sarah: "So., as my n:i.nieth year approaches I feel that I
can feel sati sfied thi at. it will it's in good hands. "

Dr. B. "We ll, we tal ked at the Board meet ng and we want
to have, on your next birthday, we want to have a
celebration and dinner."

Sar ah "Good."

Dr. B.: "We have a committee appointed and you will be on
the committee to make sure it is done right."

Sarah: "Thank you. "

Dr. B. "Well, let's move on then to talk something about
the pictures and then we'll finish up because I know that

grandfather, and their part in the history and the house,
because it must have been just about Chris' death that the
realtors had a luncheon and Mrs. Olinger was one of the ones
who called me and she was saying that this was the second
oldest house in Gainesville and people were coming before
that to look at the house, you know. So I realized that it
was something unique as well as architecturally it was worth
saving and then the history part. So I wanted it preserved
and I thought about the Historical Society. I knew that it
was not strong enough to do it and I just kept seeking and
looking for some way to get it preserved and Mark Barrow
came along and so now I feel very happy with the
organization of the Matheson Historical Center."

-Dr. B. : "I think that we have a very good Board, don' t

you get tired. Regarding the photos, I guess the first one
that we ought to talk about is the one that is hanging over
the mantle in your living room, Augustus Steel. Tell us
about that.'"

Sarah: "Augustus Steel was an early pioneer into Florida.
He came from some have said a Connecticut Yankee, but he was
certainly from Connecticut but I have more information from
Massachusetts, which was maybe on the border. It may have
been a part of Connecticut in the beginning. I have many
letters that he wrote to his parents at Longmeadow,
Massachusetts. I have letters from 1816-1819 from Savannah,
Georgia and then after being there several years and working
as a merchant he came on with settlers coming into Florida
in 1825 and came to Magnolia, Florida which was about 11
miles outside of Tallahassee and there he settled and became
a Justice of the Peace and editor of the paper, the Magnolia
Advertiser and we have a complete bound set of the issues of
that paper that Chris and I presented to the Florida P.K.
Yonge Library and I can go and get :i.t anytime. I thi n k we
could, if we wanted to, I've thought about getting all of
his things together."

Dr. B.: "Yes, we need to do that and get it on microfilm at
least, so we've got it in the museum."

Sarah: "Yes, because it's so interesting."

"Dr. B.: "Now, the picture of him, where did it come from?"

Sarah: "It was done by Christie., When Chris in Oklahoma,
part of the time, he gave it to the museum to k eep and, who
was the curator? I can't bring up his name right now, but
he got permission from Chris to send it to the art gallery
in Washington to be restored or to be checked over and that
was when they had a fit over the artist, almost as much as
the portrait. Th ey loved t he portrait and pu -t it un der
glass. It's the only one I 've ever seen of a real portrait
of oil, you know, under glass. Why they did it, I don't
know. To protect it, I guess, but now, once two or three
years ago I had to take it to Chesnut:'s and our lawyer,
what's his name, looked at it not long ago and said he
though there was some moisture getting in now and that we'd
better check it again. Anyway, it was by Christie."

Dr. B.: "The next portrait is Katherine Hale. "

Sarah: "Katherine Hale from Camden, South Carolina. She
was the daughter of Benjamin Hale, who had many plantations
and land around in Camden and then he had 10 children, and
Katherine married Chris topher, the first Christopher who had
come over from Scotland. Remember he got his naturalization
papers there in the county in the early 1800s, so that was
Katherine Hale. "

Dr. B.: "Who did that? The same person?"

Sarah: "No, that was one from Charleston. I'll have to add
that because that is very important."

Dr. B.: "But we don't have one of Christopher Matheson?"

Sarah: "No, that's a mystery. We can't even f::i. nd where he
is buried. He died in Gainesville in '61."

Dr. B.: "The next one is James Douglas Matheson. We have
several of him, don't we?

Sarah: "Yes."

Dr. B. "OK, you've got those in the album, James Douglas
and who else was with him?''

Sarah: "His wi fe Augusta."

Dr. B.: "And Augusta was Augustus Steel's daughter."
OK, so Augusta Steel Matheson married James D. Matheson. So
we those there in that album together. Well, I'll get those
and get them co pied. "

Sarah: "We have one of the wife there, an older picture,
'that is Mrs. Augustus Steel. "

Dr. B. : "Oh, that Augustus Steel' s wi fe. OK, that s
important. I didn't know we had that. You don't know her

Sarah: "Elizabeth."

Dr. B.: "So Elizabeth and Augustus had Augusta, who married
James Douglas. A right, let's see, the next one then would
have been, do we have any of any of the other, either of
Alexander or Benjamin or any of those?"

Sarah: "Two little girls who di ed th e second year after
their births. This is little Katherine and Bessie."

Dr. B: "Ok, so we've got Katherrine and Bessie. Let's see,
Katherine and Bessie Matheson, they were James Douglas' and
we have one of Steel Matheson, who was shot."

Sarah: "We have this one of James Douglas."

Dr. B: "OK."

Sarah: "Bessie is the older one, I think. "

Dr. B: "That's that one, see the ears, the ears stick out a
little. So we've got one of James Dougl. as in the album
holding the child who is probably who, Bessie?"

Sarah: "Yes. Where is that other one? This one that I
think is James Douglas and William, his brother."

Dr. B,. "OK, so James Douglas and William. Are they the
one who had the store?"

Sarah: "James Douglas owned the store."

Dr. B.: "Was William his brother?"

Sarah: "His youngest brother."

Dr. B.: "So that was his brother, James Douglas and
William, OK. So James Douglas and William."

Sarah: "We have a picture of Augustus Steel's brother. His
name was Austin."

Dr. B.: "OK, alright, Austin Steel, OK, Austin brother to
Augustus. Do you have any more of the old, old ones? We
don't know who this is, it's not on here, right. OK, let's
see, we've already mentioned the one of Mary Matheson and
also one of Kate Matheson, 1K, we've got that."

*Sarah: "Does that say Chris?"

Dr. B.: "That says Chris Matheson."

Sarah: "That's when he was 3 or 5."

Dr. B.: "Your Chris?"

Sarah: "My Chris, yes. See the old picture of Grandmother
Steel. "

Dr. B. : "Then we do have one then of her. Is this
Katherine? This is Katherine."

Sarah: "No, this is Elizabeth, Augustus Steel's wife."

Dr. B.: "OK, Augustus Steel was married to El:izabeth."

Sarah: "See, this is Elizabeth."

Dr. B.: "1K, we have a couple there of Elizabeth Cottington
Steel, who was Augustus' wife, times two, in album."

Sarah: "Her e' s Li ly IMcK ::uen Walker that the d daughter of
Elizabeth, you know."

Dr. B.: "Ok, well there are some, we'll have to look on the
back of some of these and see,."

Sarah: "Aunt Serena Hale. Now I've got the whole Hale
genealogy so I can look and see which was Serena."

Dr. B: "OK, Millie Taylor..."

Sarah: "Yes, they loved the Taylors. What does that say?"

Dr. B.: "Julian."

Sarah: "Who's Julian?"

Dr. B.: "That one's not identified."

Sarah: "We have that little one of Kate, so this is not
pretty like that."

Dr. B.: "It may be the same person. OK, we'll look at that
later. We'ii set that one aside, any other there?"

Sarah; "There's one of Judge Steel. I want to take that
glass out and get a good one."

Dr. B.: "I'll get that done for you. We need to get that

'Sarah: "I think that this is a better one of James Douglas.,
These two, I believe, are the ones that we like."

Dr. B. "That's why Chris grew that mustache up there,
wasn't it'? They look very similar, don't they?''

Sarah: "Yes, that's his father."

Dr. B. "OK, very good. That's the same as this one see
these go together. They sure do. OK. We've got Chris from
a baby..."

Sarah: "This is one of the little boats that went over the
to their home there in Cedar Key, an island. I'll have to
look on the backs of these. Now there's Callie Matheson.
Oh that's Caroline. She:'s the one who did the pictures,
the paintings. She either painted them or collected them."

Dr. B.: "Is this Chris' sister?"

Sarah: "Caroline is James Douglas sister."

Dr. B: "OK and she was an artist, OK."

Sarah: "She's buried out at the cemetery."

Dr. B: "Alright, there's the MEathesons again, alright."

Sarah: "Which two do you like? That's Gussie at another
age. "

Dr. B.: "OK, we've got all ages for Gussie, don't you?"

Sarah: "Yes, look at that little child,"


It is April 4, 1992. We are at Sarah Matheson's house, doing an interview
about the furnishings and furniture. We are standing the foyer.

# 91-1 is an empire table. Sarah tell me about this table.

S: I don't know whether it was Matheson or Steele, but it was in the James
W. Douglas home, and she was a Steele, so whether she brought it with her,
or if they bought it when they were married, it was 1 of the 3 that she left
in the will saying please don't ever let 3 tables out of the family. That is
one of the drop leaf card tables. I think it is crouch Mahogany.

Next is the large oriental rug ---- where from?

S: Mrs. Lynch, you know her husband was a postmaster, had one in her
house and I said I love those and so I ordered these 3, but I cannot
remember just where it was, wish I could.

Like 1 of the department store type things?

S: Well it was 1 that sells oriental rugs, yes.

Tell me about the small table over here, #91-5.

S: Annie Pound, when she moved out of her home to go to Gaineswood,
brought it to me, they loaned it to us when we went to housekeeping and
I wanted it back in the Matheson House, so I thought that was interesting.
She brought that and little spool table in there. She was good to me, and
Mrs. William Matheson, gave us those, my husband's father, and Aunt Ola
was here alone. Annie took such an interest in her, so I gave her a little
writing desk, lap desk that you see in there and she brought that back.
And she brought me a gun that had belonged to someone, that was used in
the Civil War. It is in the study there.

Tell me about the 2 chairs, these are 91-7.

S: There were 4 of them, and I gave 2 of them to my brother and his wife.
They needed some furniture when they were housekeeping, but I think they
were in the Hamilton family.

Tell me about the oriental chest here, 91-6. Where did you get that?

S: In 1962 I was in Korea, in Seoul often. We'd get on the train and go
up, and Mr. Li had an antique shop and I bought that from him and then
filled it with clothing and things to ship home.

So it was an antique?

S: It was an antique then.

You have no idea of the age of it?

S: No I don't. Those are interesting though, that came from the Taj Mahal
and I bought it

In the gift shop there?

S: The gift shop, in India.

Matheson Interview
Page 2

This is while in your Korea and took some side trips?

S: Yes.

What about these on the -turtle back table here? Those come from the orient

S: Yes. One's from Korea. My adopted son, I have 2 sons that I helped
through school in Korea, and he gave me this.

The red one?

S: Yes. It says dear mother, from you son, 1962.
5th month and 20th day.

And he's a minister now?

S: No, he's a teacher in Taiwan. This is interesting. They use bamboo
so much, and this is angel.

What about the lady there?

S: She's from Korea, a dancer.

Tell me about the wall hangings now.

S: They're all from Korea. This 1 up here, the red one, was a gift to me,
made by the girls of the Speer School in (Chung Chu?) Korea.
That means long life, prosperity, the Chinese characters on the plaque.

What about the white one here?

S: One of the students gave me that. I have kept alot of the things.

Japanese or oriental?

S: Chinese.

What about the dark one here?

S: Those are from Korea.

Then the light tan one here?

S: Yes, that's 1 of the famous it's Chinese, I bought that in Hong Kong.
Both of those in Hong Kong, so they're Chinese. That's right.

Well, that pretty much finishes up this room. Let's go to the back room.

(Those just discussed are 91-8).

Matheson Interview
Page 3

Now we're in the back hall at 91-9. Tell me about the small wood carved
table that the phone is on.

S: Kawasawa, Japan. When I was in Korea, I spent a month in Japan. We
went to K where they were carved. The same place the Crown Prince
met his bride, you know, playing tennis there. I have a cluster of them.
There are 2 in the living room, and that's just a 3d one, but they're a
cluster and they're beautifully carved, bought in Japan.

You were there from 60?

S: Through 1960, 61 and 62. About 2 years.

Tell me about the drop leaf table, #91-10.

S: That was from Miss Adamson, you know. Remember the portrait in the
dining room with Mrs. Christopher Matheson who was Catherine Hale. She
had 10 children and 1 of them was Sarah that married an Adamson, and that
was in the Adamson family, and when she was getting quite old, her niece,
or somebody, wanted some money and sold me that for $25.

When was that?

S: about 1950 I think. It's old, the Hale family really.

What about the large rocker? #91-11

S: That's an interesting rocker. That was from Shawnee, OK. My husband
went there after he had his career here as a lawyer, mayor, so forth, and
1 of the main members of the family of the church, was Mr. Ayers. He was
an old, ruling elder in the church, and he sat in that chair all the years
we were there almost. We'd call on him, and when he died, his daughter,
Ms. Kib Warren, gave it to Chris, and we brought it back here. And Chris
used it then until he died, and now I use it. It has the swan neck.

What about the small wooden rocker here, #91-12?

S: Chris and I bought that one and the little rocker in my bedroom when
we went to housekeeping in Oklahoma and 1933. This was his rocker and
mine was the little one in there. We bought that in Shawnee, OK.

What about the little bookcase here, 91-13?

S: I'd forgotten who made that for us. Some friend gave it to us.

But when he was here, right?

S: Oh yes. It goes way back.

What about this chair? 91-14? Empire chair.

S: It's one of a set of the early American, what did you tell me was the
name, that it was wrong in the book?

Matheson Interview
Page 4

That's called East Lake Victorian.

S: Yes, in the parlor.

How many pieces of the set?

S: Loveseat, and the mounted rocker, and this is the occasional chair, and
then 4 straight chairs.

And one stool.

S: That's different. I made the needlepoint for that.

They're very nice. What's the history on that?

S: That again, was probably when the Mathesons went to housekeeping, you
know, about '67 when they married, they moved into this house on June 4,
so I think it was with the house.

There's a little cane chair, small one.

S: Yes, that's interesting. That came from the Old Presbyterian Church,
and my husband, Chris, sat in it when he was little, and they were getting
rid of the old, when they moving you know. It was painted green, so I had
it done over. And another friend, they were just giving them out, and
my husband's father was a charter member, and both of them were elders
in the church before Chris became a preacher, so I thought it belonged here.

Good. That's #91-16. Then there's another cane chair.

S: Yes, that was my mother's when she went to housekeeping. That was the
dining room set and we daughters have divided them up, so I have 1.

There's a little foot stool there.

S: I want you to see this. It was in the house, I don't know when. It
opens up and you put things in it, sewing spools and things. It's been in
the house for years.

Ok, and what about the small round table, 91-17?

S: I bought that in Savannah when I was there for a weekend tour.

The little foot stool is 91-18 and then this large oriental rug was part of the
set you bought, 1 in the foyer, the small 1 and then this large 1. Those go
together. What about the small oriental rug? 91-20 here.

S: I bought those from an antique dealer of rugs, so I've them about 15
years or more.

That's # 91-19 and 91-20.

S: They are pretty.

Matheson Interview
Page 5

And then there's another metal footstool here.

S: That came from India, Calcutta. I bought that and the big table in the
front room, and another professor and his wife were exchange teachers in
Bangladesh now, and I visited there on my way home, and she said we'll ship
them home for you, bring those home.

So you bought alot of things while you were there.

S: Yes.

Ok, let's go the living room next. We're now in the living room.

S: ---- chairs you see.

Right, and that goes with that East Lake set.

S: Yes, but I made the needle point for the 4.

When did you make that?

S: While we were in Oklahoma.

Before you came here then?

S: Yes, but we brought them out. They were stored upstairs and we had
to bring some things to Oklahoma.

You put these up there for a while then, and brought them back?

S: Yes we did.

But they were original to the house?

S: Yes.

Tell me about this large oriental rug, 91-23.

S: Now that my sister found out where we could get these gorgeous rugs.

Kermin it's called I think?

S: I wish I could think of it.

I think it's a Kermin.

S: Well anyway, she ordered well my sister Mary first found out about
it, then Martha ordered 1. It's up in the mountain area of N. Carolina and
I can't think of it.

A rug shop?

Matheson Interview
Page 6

S: Yes, a special, and we got a special rate for these. It's different from
the others, but still it kind of goes with this room.

Right. The East Lake sofa and 4 chairs are 91-94 and 91-95 we've talked
about. What about 91-26? The marble top table?

S: That's 1 of the 3 she mentioned you see in her will. And I would not
be surprised, I've kind of imagined in my mind that Judge Steele, who was
Mrs. Matheson's father you see, was 1 of the early pioneers that came to
Florida about 1825, and he went to Europe on a business trip in 1929 and
I just imagine he bought that there and brought it back because the marble
on it, I have seen in Italy.

That piece and then the card table in the foyer, and what other piece?

S: The little sewing table, I think that must have been the 3d one.

Ok. So this marble top table has been here, 91-26?

S: Yea, it's so big, it's a museum piece.

OK. What about the small drop leaf table, 91-27? A sewing table?

S: That was Mrs. Matheson's I'm sure, little sewing table, maybe her
There is a wing chair, #91-28. What about that?

S: That just went with the sofa. Chris & I bought that when we went to
housekeeping in Shawnee, OK. So we bought those from Kib Warren. He
would go down after work and open up the big department store they had
and show us things you know. Postmaster shopping.

That's #91-28 and 91-29. What about the coffee table, #91-30 in front of the

S: Let's see. I got that in Oklahoma. That was ours. The next generation
you see. Alot of them were James Douglas, then next was Christopher, so
this would be in our it has like the big chair, the swan

That's why you bought that right?

S: Right.

Interesting, I hadn't noticed that. Then there's the East Lake rocker there,
part of that set, 91-31.

S: Yes, that just goes with the whole set you see.

So there's a couch, 4 chairs, rocker, and occasional chair. Those are nice.
East Lake.

S: East Lake, I want to remember that.

Matheson Interview
Page 7

Let's see, there is a cane chair here, tell me about that.

S: The material is light weight, delicate.

Where did it come from?

S.: It was in the early James Douglas.

What about the little 1/2 round table beside it, 91-32?
S: I bought that. In Shawnee.

Then here's another rocker. Lincoln rocker. 91-35.

S: Lincoln rocker, yes. It was 1 of the early ones.

So it was in the family also.

S: Yes.

Then there's a little armchair behind it, what about that? 91-26.

S: I bought that in Shawnee.

And the piano? 91-37.

S: It was bought for Augusta Steele, at Cedar Key. That's the 1 she used,
and I have music we know about, because their music teacher, they would
bring in the teachers there in Cedar Key when he owned the island at
at only had 1 child and she was a girl, and they named her Augusta. So
they had a teacher who later started the music dept. at FSU and he came
down to Cedar Key and would teach her. He composed. He composed 3
pieces that were sent to enter them to Washington, where would you enter

For copyright?

S: Yes. The Cedar Key March, dedicated to Judge Steele. A waltz,
dedicated to Elizabeth Steele, his wife, and a quick step to little Augusta.
Those 3 pieces are in a big music book. The covers are gone. I thought,
what in the world is this thing for, and I kept turning through and found
those pieces, and later that developed into a wonderful music dept. at FSU.
That teacher was her teacher and used this piano. I found out he was from
Cufford, Georgia.

What was his name?

S: I have it in the book, I'd have to look it up.

Tell me about this little marble top table.

Matheson Interview
Page 8

S: I don't know when they bought that but it was in the home.

Ok, and the oriental hanging, 91-38?

S: That's interesting. I was spending a weekend in (Kwanju?) Korea
while there, being a teacher you had weekends and we'd go all over. I was
in a little antique shop and saw this almost in tatters. I got for a few
dollars and I have a very special friend in Seoul that I told about it, and
he said let us have that fixed for you, and it's an antique.

Allright, let's talk about the oil paintings. We're starting on the north wall
here. The 1st one herein, which shows the building and people out front,
what about it?

S: I don't know. We think they were either painted, but we know they
were collected or painted by Chris' father's sister, Caroline Matheson. I
don't know those 2 are western scenes. But what is this?

That looks sort of Dutch. The other 2 are western. What about the round
one, ol done?

S: That's one we wish we could really know. I don't know a thing about

We ought to get Peter Bennett from the Harn to come look at these.

S: Yes.

I'll talk to him.

S: Allright. It looks Spanish, but someone was here the other day and
thought it was English.

Allright, tell me about the portrait of Augusta Steele, 91-42.

S: The artist was Kristy, but I don't the 1st name. I have to look that up,
we have something that tells about it, but it was painted, I don't know just
when, but I think it's just marvelous. It was sent to an art gallery in
Washington while we were in Oklahoma. We let the museum keep it when
Chris went to Oklahoma in 1919. It was lent out at the University, and
during, later, when someone at the Museum asked permission to send it to
Washington to be restored, or cared for, and this art gallery put it under
glass up there, but down here where there's so much moisture you see.

Well it still may be protected though.

S: It's been protected, and see the dog.

Yes. What about the things on the little marble top table, these are just
personal effects.

S: Those are mine and some of my mother's. That was my mother's. One
I got down in Chilie I believe.

Matheson Interview
Page 9

Which was your mother's?

S: The little jewel case. And this, china


S: Jade, yes, I got that in China, and those others I think I got in France.

What about the little chocolate picture? That's Prussia you know.

S: Yes, that's special. That was I think Augusta Steele's. I don't have
too much of it. People say what happened to Mrs. Matheson's beautiful
china? I don't know. There's just a few pieces.

What about the firescreen?

S: I don't know where it came from. I love it.

It's been in the family though.

S: Oh yes.

These 2 little tables on either side of the couch.

S: Now they would go with the 1 from .They were carved
together. A beautiful set, the 3 of them. I had bought 2 nest tables. They
were divided, gave to my sisters, but I kept that one.

What about the lamps.

S: They were antiques that Mr. Deaton he was in real estate I think or
something. He's dead. But his wife collected things, and when she died,
he gave me those lamps, but I knew they were antique and I loved them
because my mother was a Deaton and when she came down and saw them, she
said I know that man's a Deaton. My sister gave me the one on the little
table there,

The red bowl?

S: What do you call it, blown glass. Venetian. That came from Venice yes.
And the little French These are from China. Another 1 of the Haile
children that married what was her name. Mr. Ball, the rich man in
Jacksonville, his sister, gave me this. And this was from Mrs. Miller J.
Hillis Miller. And this was ----------- the eyes of the windows opening
to the heart. I love that.

Allright. There's a card there marked Mary Staubs, appraised.

Matheson Interview
Page 10

Now we're in the back living room. What about the couch here, called a day
bed I think. 91-48. You all bought that in Oklahoma?

S: Yes, it opens out.

What about the bookcase here on the south east wall, 91-49?

S: 3 bookcases.

Were they Chrises in his office?

S: Yes.

Did he get them here in Gainesville?

S: Well he may have. He had them in Oklahoma and brought them back.

What about the desk here with the Brittanica.

S: I guess we got that sometime while we were in Oklahoma. Just part of
our family.

Right, but you bought that in Oklahoma. Didn't they then, if you bought
a set of encyclopedias, you got the desk with it?

S: Exactly.

So you bought that in Oklahoma?

S: Yes.

Ok, tell me about this little folding rocker.

S: It was my mother's. I love that little rocker. It just folds up so easy.

Yea, that's # 91-52. And then there's a small chair here, tell me about that.

S: That's 1 of the dining room chairs.

And then the lamps, were they here, or are they something you brought?

S: We bought those.

What about the desk, # 91-54. That was his desk in the office?

S: Yes in his office.

And there's a little bookcase behind it.

S: Yes, kind of like that 1 in the hall. Someone made for us.

Matheson Interview
Page 11

So this chair and desk were in his office, and when did he have his office?
I see a picture of it here.

S: Yes, he had an office in the church you see. His office here was where,
you know where the Chittys used to be? Upstairs. Who was that old lawyer
that died

Sigsbee Scruggs.

S: Yes and that was his office on the right.

In the Chitty building.

S: Yes. That was 1 of them. That's where he left his seal thing.

The lawyer's seal, yes. Ok.

S: I brought this from China, did I ever show it to you, the the
Oh yea, you know someone gave me 1 of those.

S: Have you got 1? I love mine.

Yea, they're nice. That's where all those people are buried. A friend of
ours was there and brought me 1. Now, what these 2 oriental rugs, the
light colored one is what?

S: Just inexpensive. But that's a gorgeous one.

Bakhara I think.

S: Yea, we bought that up over India.


S: No the 1 just before it.


S: Yes, Nepal. Katmandu. And the 3 sisters, we each bought one, $75
for that little thing, and we said why in the world didn't we get 2 or 3 of
them? They're so pretty.

I think that's everything in here. I see the gun there, maybe we can get
that restored some day.

S: We might.

That was in the Civil War, right?

S: Yes.

Matheson Interview
Page 12

this, was is an Indian rug?

S: Navaho rug. And that basket was made by a full blood Choctaw woman
who president of the Indian women, and she gave me that.

Any other things from the indians while you were in Oklahoma?

S: Let's see, the ones on the wall behind you there. Those were painted
by the girls where I taught. See I taught at Oklahoma Presbyterian School,
College, where we had Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Comanche, and Pawnee
tribes, so some of the girls did those paintings.

So you were both teaching then? He was preaching and you were teaching?

S: I was teaching.

What about these 2 things on top of this bookcase here? Where is that
brownish one from?

S: That came from Brazil I think. But this is interesting.

This little tea set.

S: This is old, old, and I have asked people it's ancient china, and you
see it looks like bamboo, they used bamboo for so much, but this was a
Chinese boy who is a descendant from one of the ancient Chinese honorables.
Anyway he came to Davidson College and entered the junior class.
He new perfect English from Peking, and my brother met him on the campus,
and he was in our home quite a bit, and when he graduated to New York
and became Head of the Chinese Institute, and took care of the students
coming from China and Americans going to China. He gave this to my other
and the family. There were 3 little cups I think. We still have 2 of them.
They say that means something, it's so old they could hardly read it because
it's a fancy China. This was from South American somewhere and this is
from Mexico.

Ok, let's go in the next one.

S: See is the telegraph

Yea, from 1860.

S: I wanted to get everything that's up north and then Cedar Key and
Absolutely, get it all organized. Well, you'll be able to do that.
We're now in the dining room here, and let's start with the picture here.

S: This was Christopher Matheson who was Catherine Haile of Camden, S.
Carolina, and we think it was painted by Sully. Anyway, I've been told that
and if it was it's very valuable.

Ok, that's # 91-

Matheson Interview
Page 13

S: She married the first Christopher that came over, and that was Chris'
grandfather. But she was Catherine Haile, and mother of the 10 wonderful
children to you see.

That's # 91-66. Let's start-with this large spool leg table, #91-59.

S: Chris & I bought it from Mrs. Warren when we went to housekeeping in
Oklahoma. We bought both of them.

Small 1 and big 1.

S: Yes. From Shawnee, OK.

Ok, what about the buffet here. 91-60.

S: We bought that too. The buffet. The table we bought is out on the
back porch, gone to ruin. But this, the table was here, we didn't take it

Dining table, 91-62 was already here? The chairs?

S: No, we bought these chairs.

6 chairs.

S: Yes. The big chairs.


S: The table was old and belonged to the family. So was that beautiful

Allright and then there's a little 3-legged chair.

S: That's a birthing chair from Spain. I bought that in Madrid.

That's #91-65. What about this beautiful chest here? This is also East Lake,
Mary tells me. With the mirror. 91-61.

S: Well now it was in Aunt Ola's house. She kept it. Yes, Barbara
Matheson. She was just protecting it for us.

She lived down the street.

S: Yes, second house, little house.

So you brought it back in here then?

S: Yes.

That's 91-61.

Matheson Interview
Page 14

And you say the dining room table, #91-62 was here.

S: Yes.

So you just bought the chairs to go with it. What about the hanging thing,

S: Where did I get that I bought that. Knick knacks there.

What about this oriental rug. Was it here?

S: I bought it when we bought our furniture in '33.

In Oklahoma?

S: Yes. So we've had it all these years.

You all were in Oklahoma when, '33 -

S: 33 45. I was. Chris was there from 19 or 20.

Ok. So you bought this rug there. The flowers.

S: That was in our cottage at Montreat when we bought it in 1919. It was
there. Look at the Davidson place. Chamber's building. 1837.

You brought that back with you?

S: My grandfather was in the 1st class at Andrew Davidson College in 1837
and this is 1 of the old, old literary halls. They had 2. The and
the Philanthropic you see. I think that has the date 35. That one you know
of course.

Yes, that's Ellie Blair's.

S: Is she still around?

Yes, yes. I should bring her over. She's wonderful and she's very active.
She has a shop on Main Street now. In the Tench Building.

S: Oh, I'm so glad.

The brass square of the fireplace, was that here or something you bought?

S: We bought that. ---- I missed the other one. This is the waffle.

Was that here?

S: Yea, that goes way back. And the other, the pancake, round one.

Oh really.

Matheson Interview
Page 15

S: And I said where is it, and Robert said I took it up for protection. So
I'II just get him bring it back.

Those are nice, very nice.

S: This rug is just gone.

Well yea, it's worn.

S: I don't know if I told Mary, but I told the friend, you know, that lives
in the Doig house

Jean Marshall.

S: Jean. I told her to be looking, if she heard of any

We'll find something. Allright, let's go in to the kitchen.
Well I was going to ask about this little kitchen set. 91-71

S: We bought that when we were in Oklahoma, I think. I bought that lamp
in Korea.

The little Korean lamps.

S: Somebody gave us this.


S: That was ------------ he gave Chris, when he got married, he came
to the house and got married, and handed my husband a cigar and we looked
at it and it had a $10 dollar bill wrapped around it. He was the 1 who gave
us that.

Le't go back to the back porch. We're now on the back porch. Tell me about
the dry sink.

S: Somebody gave us that, belongs to the Historical, and they wanted me
to keep it so

We probably ought to get it redone. I've got a man who does beautiful work.
You ought to see what he did with an armoire that they left down at the
Legion Building, that was all busted up. It was in worse shape than that
and it's beautiful. He reinished it and put the walls back in it. That would
be a nice piece.

S: Yes it would be.

What about this little table?

S: That was the one that went with the chairs.

Matheson Interview
Page 16

We can get that redone too. I may want to do that this year. Get that done
for you. Somebody stripped that piece and it never got painted, right?
Your little table, didn't it get stripped also. See both of them have had the
paint stripped off, they just didn't get repainted.

S: Oh, I don't know.

What about the little school desk?

S: I got that Rochelle out there, the old school you know.


S: The savings & loan, he brought some of them out and gave them for a
deposit, and I think I made some deposit, and he gave it to me. So I was
so proud of it. I usually have it displayed. I keep my blue book speller
because my mother wrote Sarah Hamilton, 1913 in it. I took it to the
historical meeting the other day to show it. And a McGuffy reader and a little
slate, and a piece of chalk. And Mrs. Lynch gave me this beautiful chair.

That looks like it came from N. Carolina somewhere.

S: I think so.

Who was Mrs. Lynch?

S: You know the Lynch Gardens. When she died she gave that to the city,
and she gave me this chair and she was the one who had a rug like that.

Allright. Tell me about the coat rack.

S: That hung in the old post office, now the Hippodrome, and they hung
their coats on it for years, and I think he wrote me a little note about it,
I have one brick from Vidal Drugs, 1 brick from the Baird Hardware, and
tile from the railroad when they took it up from the main street, so I've got
all that in there. In the dry sink.

O good.

S: And a picture of the Hippodrome. See. This hung in the Hippodrome
Building, when he brought this and that to me.

That's a nice piece.

S: It is.

Ok. So how long have you had this green rocking chair?

S: I don't know, 15 or 20 years I guess.

Matheson Interview
Page 17

We're now in the front bedroom, and first is the spool bed, #91-76.

S: Well, Chris and I bought that from Mrs. Warren. She was out benefactor
in Shawnee, OK. He was the ruling elder, postmaster, and had this big
hardware store, and furniture. And so we this was my guest bed, and ours
was the 1 you'll see in my bedroom.

What about this little round side table?

S: This and this you see are 2 pieces, chest of drawers, and I've forgotten,
there's some history we ought to know about these.

Yea, I know what you're talking about.

S: I've heard it, but I don't know

Painted on there to give that design.

S: It was in the original family.

So these 2 pieces are, original family. And the chest of drawers is 91-82
and then let's see there's a chair, arm chair, green.

S: Chris and I bought that. In Oklahoma.

What about the chest of drawers with the mirror?

S: That was in the family.

One of the old pieces too. I think that's Empire.
What about the brass lamp there? Was that something you all had?

S: We had that, I've forgotten where we got that.

Ok. There's also a little bookcase in here. 2 bookcases. What about that.

S: I don't know, it was part of the other things. I know this desk was in
Chris' office.

The little desk bookcase, 91-84.

S: One of his partners, the children brought it to me.

One of the ladies that worked there?

S: We've got 1 of the desks that we wanted to have and Annie bought this
little spool table and somebody put it way over there, I used to have it here.
She brought that one and it came from the Matheson House she said.

So Annie Pound brought that in. What about the little doll and cradle.

Matheson Interview
Page 18

S: Handmade cradle by Margaret Debolt's sister. Margaret and her sister
was Jackson, the first name. These 2 sisters, Margaret Debolt lived at the
corner of 8th Avenue and 43rd where the Faith Catholic Church is, on the
corner there. They moved the house, to preserve it somewhere, but anyway
I used to visit them so .much and before they went to Dowling Park, they
were getting rid of their things, and she said my grandfather made this, and
I want you to have it with a piece off of it, and another 1 of my friends who
stopped by here 1 time, fixed it, and then Mrs. Close made the little doll
for me and her daughter brought it to me 1 day in church.
And, this was the table that came from Calcutta.

The brass table?

S: Brass table and the little stool in the hall.

Tell me about this clock. 91-81

S: Oh, that my father and mother's when they went to housekeeping in
Davidson, N. Carolina. The little thing on this side is a cooking I used
to know the name, it's from Korea. I got it there, and the little picture
frames, have been here a long time, from the family.

Are they Matheson or yours?

S: Matheson.

Tell me about the quilt, 91-91.

S: It is a log cabin, made of velvet and silk. Of course, it's a part of the
log cabin combination. It was made we think either by Chris' mother or her
mother. Anyway, it had a date on it and I came across that this morning
when I was going through some papers, 18, was it 78 or 80, 1878 1 think.
Made, but it had the date on it.

We'll find out.

S: It was here when the fire came you know.

It needs to be put behind glass and sealed. We'll get that done. And the
rugs in here.

S: This rug, the big one, was mine, I brought it from Davidson. It was
in our little sun room, and its' very old. And this one, Mrs. Doig, my dear
friend, made this one and one in my bedroom. This one has some of the
pants that Chris wore when we got married. We were married in the
afternoon, and he had this beautiful, I think it was white cloth, anyway some
of his clothes were used in it.

The little tan and blue one over here.

S: That one and this beautiful one I bought from this antique dealer.

So those two. One with a floral pattern and one with a geometric.

Matheson Interview
Page 19

What about these 2 small chairs?

S: They were just bought later. I bought them somewhere.

And the bowl & pitcher?

S: I think that was in our family. Hamilton family. I believe. I'm not
And the picture of Chris up there?

S: That was painted by my friend that was with me in Oklahoma and went
around the world with me and we went to Australia and N. Zealand together.
Ruth Kirkpatrick. Said she wanted to do that for me.

She lives where?

S: She lives in Tifton, Georgia now. She was my travel friend.

And this brass lamp here?

S: I don't know where we got that?

In Oklahoma probably.

S: Yes, Oklahoma.

The screen, does that have any significance.

S: No we just thought we needed a screen, and bought that, but I use it
to cover up. When people come in, I don't have any shade there, so I put
that for privacy.


S: And when we came back, we added the bathroom and closet and places
to store things.


S: There was only 1 bathroom at first, and this was the new one and the
1 upstairs were added later.

Now we're in the back bedroom. This is Sarah's bedroom. Tell me about the
bookcase first.

S: I had it made here after we came back. That's a pretty little piece.

That little desk, I forget what that's called. It has a name. I'll have to
look it up. Mary knows. Special bookcase desk. That is something you
had or something that was here?

Matheson Interview
Page 20

S: No that was here I think.

Probably belonged to Chris.

S: Oh yes.

It's similar to that other little desk.

S: Yes. This was the bed and the little dressing table.

Right, and chest of drawers. Was this from Oklahoma?

S: Yes, Kib Warren's. We got them all there. At the furniture store. His
wife, Minnie, was a business woman from way back. She continued to be
after they were married for years.

Ok. What about the little bureau over the chest.

S: I bought that at the same time.

Ok, and then there's a little round 1/2 tables, similar to the 1 in the living
room. Are they part of that set?

S: Yes. Yes.

They were bought in Oklahoma?

S: Yes.

That cane collection. Yea.

S: This belongs to Caroline Ferguson. That's the 1 I'm using now you see,
it's adjustable. I went to see Tom Moore the other day and he was showing
me how to do it. Ant this Martha gave me 2 Christmases ago. They bought
it 25 years ago in Mexico City.

Looks like that.

S: And I was using it, and some of the boys, heavy boys, did it, it's old
you see, and they broke it, so they knew how to fix it up.

It looks good. What about this tiny chair and table by the window?

S: Oh, I want to tell you about that. This 1 was made by my husband.
He was head of a camp for boys


S: Yea. He carved that. I have 3 or 4 in the study we didn't see. This
I want you to see.

Matheson Interview
Page 21

S: It was cow hide. And the cow hide was working out, and they bought
it from the They had it somewhere.

Who did the caning?

S: Mr. Ottie. He's dead -now. But he was doing the cane.

Special type of cane, I've never seen it before.

S: He thought it was nearer the hide.

IT's very nice. That was Chris' chair, so goes way back in the family.

S: Yes.

What about this little, another one

S: That was Chris', bought from Kib. Chris' in the hall.

Ok. What about the andirons. They significant?

S: We used those in N. Carolina and we had them in the living room I
guess. Yea, before we got the brass ones.

Is there any furniture upstairs that's part of the original furniture or
anything? Just stuff from students basically.

S: I don't believe there's anything up there.


S: There is another hanging in the hall.

Right, but no old furniture.

S: No.

What about this flower picture?

S: Mrs. Warren knew that Chris loved magnolias.

interview Dy ur. marK barrow wirn aaran ViaLnesouii

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 91r5, the
fire screen. Do you know anything about the fire screen?
AH: No sir, I don't. It might have been collected with those paintings, you know.
BARROW: It' been here a long-time?
AH: Oh, it's been here forever. It was here just like the others.
BARROW: So the paintings in that room and the fire screen
AH: 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,
with them.
BARROW: Tell me about this, Number 91-113, the religious pictures that are.in the
living room. Those little pictures that are either side of the
AH: Oh, They are the ones I bought in Europe on my first trip, in 1930.
BARROW: What about this little R.S. Prussia chocolate set? L Q(.{ //I/
AH: Oh, that was a gift and it's very precious. It has special markings on it.
Someone told me. I didn't know that.
BARROW: It's known as R.S. Prussia.
AH: Yeah, that'is..
BARROW: It's called a chocolate set.
AH: Yeah, I knew it was the chocolate set.
BARROW: Did you buy that?
AH:: No, that was here.
BARROW: That was part of the deal.
AH: One of my inheritances.
BARROW: That's number 114. What about the pair of ruby lamps that are in the living
AH: 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
those lamps.
BARROW: O.K. So they came from here then?
AH: Yeah.
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?
AH: Yeah, yeah.
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.
AAH: 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.
BARROW: Right. Well, we're going to try to get that rebuilt and redone.
'AH: It you could, that would be interesting.
BARROW: I just need to find someone to do that.
'AH: Yeah.
BARROW: The shot gun was number 91-117. The photograph is 91-118, of Chris. You
say it is the East Florida Seminary?
ZAH: 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.
SBARROW: 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.
BARROW:" Where was he teaching?
AH: He was teaching at the East Florida Seminary.
BARROW: Oh, so he was a student there and a faculty.
AH: And a faulty. after he graduated, he was here working in his fathers office,
you know, in the big store. 1_, / /
BARROW: That was before he went to Sid&4?- 1_4
AH: No, that was after he graduated that he cane back.
BARROW: He came back and taught part-time?
AH: kNo, just substituted some, not full-time.
BARROW: 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.
AH: Yeah. What was that?
BARROW: Was it J.D. Matheson Mercantile?
AH: J.D. Matheson
BARROW: Mercantile Company
AH: Mercantile. Yeah. Let's look on the map, you know, where it shows
BARROW: It's got it on there?
AH: I think it does.
BARROW: O.K. We can look that up because that's what we want to put on there as the
country store, is that name.
AH: 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.
BARROW: Was it a boot?
AH: It was a boot. A black boot.
BARROW: 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?
AH: 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.
BARROW: It hung down in front of the door, off the porch?
AH: In front of the door there, the big door.
BARROW: Tell me about the coat rack, number 91-Q that's stained.
AH: 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.
BARROW: Right. ,^ Ij
AH: And it hunthere for years. I don't know whether that's still... I could
get... Bail told me the history of it but I can't remember what years.
BARROW: Who gave it to you?
AH: He gave it to me. He had collected it, you see, because he had been Post
Master. A6|l
BARROW: Page Baae? .
AH: Page Beagis 'heni Page moved into the village, we could get that year,
he gave me a picture that's out there, you know.
BARROW: Of the Post Office?
AH: Of the Post Office.
BARROW: And the rack?
AH: 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.
BARROW: The Baird?
AH: The Baird hardware Store.
BARROW: Have you got that?

I have those.
BARROW: Oh, Good, good.
AH: They're in the sink out here.
BARROW: 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
about it?
AH: It was in the house.
BARROW: Was it in Chris' office before? Do you know?
AH: 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.
BARROW: It may have been in the house or. it may have come from his office.
\H: 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.
\H: That s the one in there?
BARROW: That's right.
\H: 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.
BARROW: For sure. Well we can look up his anme.
,: I'll get that done.
BARROW: But this little writing desk is part of Chris' office?
H: 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
just inside.
BARROW: Right. There's some tall lamps. There's one in the back living room, Chris'
H: They were bought in Shawnee.
BARROW: 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.
H: Oh yeah. That would .be wonderful.. -.._... : .:
BARROW: They just sew the little loose parts and then we'll put it behind glass. I
have the names of some who do that.
H: 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
room, What?
kH: That was in the house.
BARROW: That belonged to the Matheson family?
\H: Right, to the Matheson family.
BARROW: O.K. So it was here the whole time?
\H: Yeah.
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 LarkiE desk. Do you know about that?
\H: I don't know about that. I just know that it was here in the house.
BARROW: O.K. Did it belong to Chris or just part of the house?
\H: It belonged to Chris.
BARROW: O.K. It wasn't in his office then, you don't think?

S No. I don't think that one was. I'm sure the other one was but I don't
believe both of them were.
BARROW: Tell me about the quilt that's in there. That's the oriental one. qt-toC
AH: This one in here?
AH: 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
BARROW: Was the pillow with it?
AH: 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.
BARROW: What was his name?
%H: His name was Un Ta Kim and the other was Hung Jun Jure.
BARROW: 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. yi -t10o
\H: That came from Davidson.
BARROW: That came from Davidson?
fl: I brought that from Davidson.
BARROW: Oh. So that's real old then?
fH: Yeah. It's old.
BARROW: Alright. Tell me about this picture that's hanging there by the bed.
,H: Well, I know that it was one of my mother and fathers wedding gifts. q1-10'
BARROW: One of your mothers?
,H: My mother and fathers.
BARROW: 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. c(I/-06 ~ -{
H: We bought them in Oklahoma as we went to housekeeping.
BARROW: Those are from Oklahoma? Alright. Number 91107. There are some iand irons
that are in there. Tell me about those.
H: They were bought in Oklahoma when we went to housekeeping.
BARROW: O.K. Then on the porch, the front porch, there's a bench that's painted
H: That was here. That was here when we came.
BARROW: So that's very old.
H: It's been here 100 years.
BARROW: So we need to get that restored and fixed.
H: It's over 100 years old. Yeah.
BARROW: And then there's also this little square table.
q: It just belonged. It's not very historical.
BARROW: That was here too? But that one was original. That one we want to be sure
and save.
I: That was original, yeah.
3ARROW: 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?
i: 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.
3ARROW: So that was bought here?
1: So I bought that and it opens up and makes a bed.
3ARROW: Oh. So it makes a bed. O.K. That was purchased here in Gainesville?
1: Yeah. It was purchased here in Gainesville.
3ARROW: That's number 9183. Then you've already talked to me about this two-shelf
oak book shelf. The item 180. /
I: Yeah. That was just here. -
ARROW: That was here in the house. O.K. Back to number 9166 of Catherine
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.
BARROW: 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?
AH: Yeah. The whole set.
BARROW: And the chest of drawers was at Warren's Store up there and the mirrow that
goes above it too?
AH: 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
two chairs.
BARROW: 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.
AH: That's fine.
BARROW: 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.
AH: That's the problem.
BARROW: It's a big problem. You may not want to decide right now.

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