Tunstal Quarles Matthews

Thought to be Harriett (Stone) and TQ Matthews
Thought to be Harriett (Stone) and TQ Matthews. From an old family photo collection passed down from William and Mary (Matthews) Robertson to Glen Robertson. Matches description of TQ from ``A Ram In The Thicket.'' (discussed below)

born: 23 Sep 1807, Pulaski Co.,Kentucky
died: 7 Nov 1878, Sterling,Johnson Co.,Nebraska
bur.: Sterling,Johnson Co.,Nebraska
occu: minister, shoemaker, farmer, blacksmith, and postmaster
Will: 6 Jun 1875, Sterling,Johnson Co.,Nebraska
Probated: 23 Dec 1878, Johnson Co.,Nebraska
spouse: Jane Chlo MORGAN
marr: 25 Dec 1828, Fayette Co.,Indiana
born: 10 May 1807, Pulaski Co.,Kentucky
died: 7 Apr 1837, Shelby Co.,Indiana
bur.: Shelby Co.,Indiana
Louisa Matilda MATTHEWS
Sophronia MATTHEWS
spouse: Harriet STONE
marr: 13 Aug 1839, Shelbyville,Shelby Co.,Indiana
born: 26 Mar 1808, Genesee Co.,New York
died: 12 Apr 1895, Esmond,South Dakota
bur.: Esmond,South Dakota, at Esmond Cemetery
Alvin Stone MATTHEWS

Pedigree Chart

                      |--------Preston MATTHEWS ( - )
           |---------Joel MATTHEWS (1755, (probably) Virginia - 1834, OH)
           |          |
           |          |--------RANSBIRD ( - )
  |------James MATTHEWS (1779, Virginia - 1837, Indiana)
  |        |
  |        |          |--------
  |        |          |
  |        |---------Patty (1757, (probably) Virginia - )
  |                   |
  |                   |--------
Tunstal Quarles MATTHEWS (1807, Kentucky - 1878, Nebraska)
  |                   |--------
  |                   |
  |        |---------
  |        |          |
  |        |          |--------
  |        |
  |------Margaret REED (1784 - 1824, Ohio)
           |          |--------
           |          |

Tunstal Quarles (or TQ) Matthews is probably the most interesting person I have encountered in assembling my family history. We have been fortunate to piece together much of his life through various writings. The starting point for a lot of what we know about the Matthews family is a letter that TQ Matthews wrote to his daughter Ruth listing several of his aunts, uncles, places of residence, how his first wife died, and other details. This letter was handed down through Ruth's granddaughter Ida Scott (daughter of Avesta).

TQ was apparently named after Tunstal Quarles, a leading citizen of early Pulaski County, Kentucky. Quarles was an officer in the war of 1812, founded the first bank, etc.

TQ Matthews moved with his family from Pulaski County to Ross County, Ohio, in about 1815 and then on to Fayette County, Indiana, where Jane Chlo's family already lived. About three years after marriage, TQ and Jane Chlo moved to Shelby County where they assisted in organizing the Church of Christ Brandywine and TQ was chosen one of the Deacons.

Records of the Little Flat Rock Church in Fayette Co. confirm TQ's recollections in his letter. The church records show TQ joined the church on May 22, 1830 and that he left that parish September 24, 1832 (which would be when they moved to Shelby Co.) The same records show John P. Thompson was the founder of that church April 16, 1830.

After Jane Chlo's death, TQ remarried and then moved to South English, Iowa in about 1853 and finally to Sterling, Nebraska in 1871.

This map shows the migration path of TQ Matthews and his father and grandfather across the United States.

We know even more about TQ from the book ``A Ram in the Thicket'' which was written by TQ's grandson, Frank Robertson, who never met TQ and would have only known him through stories from TQ's daughter Mary.

According to a photo described (but not shown) in ``A Ram in the Thicket'', ``TQ was tall and thin with a kindly benevolent face. He had a long flowing white beard and a clean-shaven upper lip.'' As of 2008, I am very happy to report that we believe we have found this photo. It was in the possession of Glen Robertson (Frank's son) and was part of a collection of old family photographs Glen had inherited from Frank. On the back is written ``Mrs. Mary Robertson - Chesterfield, Ida.'', which makes us think it is some Matthews relative (as opposed to a Robertson). Otherwise, this photo had no identification written on it. It is the photo from the collection which best matches the above description from the book. Unfortunately, Glen did not know about the photo from the book either. But I believe this probably is TQ and his second wife Harriett. ``A Ram in the Thicket'' further describes TQ as a man of peace, but with the courage of his convictions. He belonged to the sons of temperance. For many years, he had helped slaves escape to Canada over the underground railroad, because of his hatred of slavery.

On one occasion during the Civil War a large body of Southern sympathizers called ``copperheads,'' led by a man named Tally, invaded South English. As they paraded up the street three wagons abreast, Tally, a gun in one hand and a knife in the other, shouted, ``Cowards! Cowards!'' The Union men rushed to a blacksmith shop where their guns were stored and a battle seemed imminent. Grandfather Matthews walked out unarmed between the two factions urging them to avoid trouble. As he turned his back on the copperheads to address his own people he heard a shot fired by Tally, then another fired by a disabled Union soldier, and Tally fell dead. The copperheads fled and the battle was over, but Grandfather had risked his life trying to prevent bloodshed.

There are more details about this Copperheads incident in the South English Bicentennial history, but it doesn't mention TQ's role.

South English wasn't yet a town when TQ moved to Iowa. It was just the name of a post office located in a farm house west of the present village. The town was platted in 1855. At the time, there were only buildings there: a general store run by a man name Post, and a tavern run by Hugh Rodman. A school house was built in South English in 1855. T.Q. preached there once a month, the Baptists, Methodists and Dunkards using the house the other Sundays. A union Sunday School was started in which he was prominent as leader and teacher, and where he made his influence felt to such an extent that a Christian church was established. T.Q. Matthews had a great influence on the community and helped transform it into a very moral and christian neighborhood.

This town history and some further description of T.Q. Matthews comes from H. H. Seerley, who grew up around South English and later became president of Iowa State Teachers' College (now UNI). T.Q. had a large influence on Mr. Seerley and encouraged him to go to college. Mr. Seerley remembers, One half-mile east of the new village of South English there was a large farm house built of logs, with an old-fashioned brick fireplace at each end, large enough to burn cordwood. This dwelling consisted of two large rooms and on this account became the center of all activities of this pioneer community. The proprietor was a man past middle age whose name was Moses Hall. He was a generous, Christian man and welcomed the people who assembled there each week for mid-week prayer meetings, Sunday School and preaching services. It was here that I first learned to know T.Q. Matthews, who was the volunteer pastor of this flock of Christians, made up of all kinds of denominations. He was active in the service and was the central figure in organized Christianity in that community. He was a man a little past middle age, was independent in his thinking, liberal in his views and decided in his standards. The men and women he met from Sunday to Sunday were all God-fearing people and they cooperated with him in a very cordial manner. There was an organization of those who were members of the Christian church, but all others were accorded a consideration that made them recognize the effort and organization as a community affair.

T.Q. Matthews has a pleasing personality; he was a didactic, inspirational preacher of the Gospel and felt his true responsibility as a servant of his master. He was of medium stature, very spare in flesh, nervous in temperment and methodical in management. His sermons were simple enough for as a child to understand, yet they were of a progressive kind and character that appealed to the conscience and the intelligence of the conscience of the congregation.

So far as I know, T.Q. Matthews received no remuneration as a pastor of this early congregation, as the people were all beginners in occupation and had very little incomes. He farmed on a small scale, followed the trade of a shoemaker and made boots for the men and boys of the community, having quite a fine patronage for that early day. He was justice of the peace, post-master and general legal adviser and servant of all the people, drafting their legal papers, such as deeds, mortgages and contracts as the business needs of the community required. He was trusted, appreciated and honored by everybody, because he believed in doing nobly and ably every duty that came as an opportunity.

The above article was written after its author was inspired to find out more about TQ from a speech Seerley gave Dec 5. 1920 at the dedication of the Christian Church in Cedar Falls. The speech was described in the Christian Standard.

Here are some other passages from the speech description: \ldots Mathews was not only a good preacher, but that he was a man deeply interested in humanity, and greatly encouraged the youth publicly and privately to noble and lofty ideals. He was greatly beloved by the people, and, without financial compensation, he constantly and faithfully served the community. Seerley said he, could not speak too highly of the great and good influence this man of God had upon the life of the people, and, though long ago dead, he yet lives in the lives of others.

This same Homer (H.H.) Seerley wrote a letter which was published in a South English Bicentennial book in 1976. It contained much the same sentiments about TQ.

TQ was appointed as the seventh postmaster of South English on Sept. 23, 1863.

In 1861 ``T. Q. Mathes, South English'' was recorded as one of the preachers at the state convention of the Disciples of Christ church.

Trudy (Morrison) Heiman said that Ida (Scott) Medlin could remember her dad (Avesta Scott) having a picture of TQ's blacksmith shop which doubled as a church on Sunday.

As a minister in the Christian Church, there are a few mentions of TQ in early Church publications. These include

The above correspondence firmly establishes the date when the S. English Christian Church was organized. The 1880 Keokuk Co. history said it was organized in 1856, with T.Q. Matthews as pastor and that the church building was erected in 1875.

In his will, T.Q. Matthews left half of his estate to his wife and half to his daughter Mary, who still lived with him at the time. According to his Johnson County estate papers, he still had his shoemakers tools, which were sold for $7.00 as part of his estate.

In 1996, Shirley (Anderson) Reed looked through the Fayette and Shelby county land records and found the following entries for TQ Matthews and his wives. (The following abbreviations are used here: S=Section,T=Township, R=Range, Q = Quarter.)

TQ was issued a patent from the US Land Office in Indianapolis on 2 Sept. 1833 for the E. half of SE Q, Sect. 34, T 14N, R6E, 80 acres, in Shelby Co., Indiana You can find an image of this land patent on the WWW at % http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/IN/0610/379.tif. % That matches the 1831 land record found for TQ also.

Harriet Stone's family mostly lived in Hanover Township, so it looks like TQ may have moved to that part of the county when he married her.

From these transactions, we can see that TQ must have been primarily a farmer for his living in Indiana. This is in contrast to Keokuk County, Iowa, where he only owned 8 acres of land, as far as we know. So he may have depended more on his other trades such as shoemaking and blacksmithing in Iowa. Of course, he may have rented other farm land in Iowa, too. TQ's land in Keokuk County was in English River Township as follows:

commencing at the S W corner of the S W 1/4 of the N E 1/4 quarter of Section Twenty three (23) in Township Seventy Seven, 77, North of Range Eleven (11) West and run North thirty five (35) rods and nine (9) links, then East thirty six (36) and five links, then South thirty (35) Rods and five links thence West thirty Six (36) rods and five links containing eight acres

The courthouse record is sort of unclear, but apparently TQ acquired this land August 8, 1862, after he had already been living in Iowa for several years.

According to a newspaper index in Johnson Co., Nebraska, TQ bought the W one-half of the NW quarter of Section 36 and the NE quarter of the NE quarter of Section 36, Sterling township, in Johnson Co. That makes 120 acres.


The % ``Footprints'' family history WWW site % is also maintaining an % online research center on TQ Matthews % to act as a central gathering point for family researchers, documentation, etc.

Census: 1830, Fayette Co.,Indiana
Census: 1840, Hanover Twp,Shelby Co.,Indiana
Census: 1850, Moral Twp, Shelby Co., Indiana
Census: 1860, English River Twp, Keokuk Co.,Iowa

More information: BIOGRAPHY | LAND | LETTER | WILL | MARRIAGE LICENSE (scanned image)

Sources for this individual: @S142@ @S143@ @S144@ @S145@ @S146@ @S147@ @S148@ @S107@ @S27@ @S133@ @S149@ @S150@ @S1746@ @S1747@ @S1749@

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