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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Georgia: Jefferson County

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Aquilla Matthews and His Family - Part 1
Posted by: Jim Maddox (ID *****0465) Date: June 03, 2008 at 20:15:57
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The name Aquilla derives from two different sources. Aquilla in Spanish means either eagle or eaglelike vision. The English Aquilla comes from a biblical reference. (Priscilla and Aquila were a First Century Jewish Christian couple described in the New Testament. Of the seven times they are mentioned, five times Priscilla's name is mentioned first. They lived in Ephesus and became ministry partners and fellow tentmakers with the apostle Paul. The teaching ministry of Priscilla with her husband Aquila was well known in Ephesus. They were responsible for solidifying the faith of Apollos, a powerful preacher of the day.

Although it has dropped from usage today Aquilla was common in the 1700's and up to the 1800's. Whenever you find communities of Irish, Aquilla will appear many times.

Aquilla Matthews (Mathews, Matthis, Mathis) was given the name of his mother's father. Aquilla Snelling was a prominent man in Virginia and married into very prominent families. You'll find much to be proud of in the Allen, Wagonner, Jones, and other families in that line. They were in Virginia from almost the beginning of the colony. The name Aquilla Snelling survived many generations before and after him. I will try and get their genealogies put on at a later date. The Snelling family is very much an Irish family.

Aquilla's father John Matthews is now being intensively researched. I hope to have more on him later. He does not appear to be an immigrant but does appear to be of Irish decent based on the Daniel Moxley biography (posted earlier). John's children Benjamin, John, James, and Elisha appeared to have raised their familys and died in Culpeper County, Virginia. Frances (Frankie) may have married into the neighboring Lear's family. Mary Ann married Frederick Coons and moved to Kentucky. I am still researching the youngest son Daniel. John, Benjamin, and Elisha had a large number of children. Apparently most of those children migrated to other states and by 1850 there were few left in Culpeper county. The family lived in the Little Fork area and near the town of Jefferston which they played a part in founding.

Aquilla Matthews appears first in Culpeper when selected in the Culpeper Draft Class of 33 along with brother William. John Matthews was selected in the class of 34. These draft classes were created by the Virginia legislature in 1780 They were pools from which one man was selected for service in the Revolutionary War. They reflect the neighbors of each individual. Also, each member was recogized as having given service in the war and were eligible for land lotteries and grants. In Class 33, there were:

Jacob Coones, Lt.;
Henry Coones;
Joseph Hufman;
Joseph Weyman;
Nathaniel Spilman;
James Samuel;
William Matthis;
Stephen Jett;
Davis Holder;
Benjamin Holder;
Jesse Williams;
John Curtis;
James Hufman; and
Aquila Matthis.
(John Curtis was the initial draft, but John Proctor was drafted in his place. Perhaps Curtis had medical problems.)

Apparently Aquilla had not married and was living with his parents. William and John had apparently married and wereliving outside of their parents home. Since Aquilla appears seperately on the 1782 tax list of Culpeper county we can assume he was married between 1780 and 1782. He married Elizabeth Weeks, daughter of Benjamin Weeks. (See earlier posts for more information). Having left Culpeper County in 1787 we find Aquilla in Rutherford County North Carolina in 1790 and find him in Jefferson County, Georgia by 1799. Aquilla dies in 1825 in Jefferson County and leaves a will which names four of his twelve children. Aquilla lived and died on a 200 acre plantation on Brushy Creek. It's about three miles east of Wrens and just outside the town of Matthews which was undoubtedly named for his family. Matthews is not far from the McBean creek area where the Weeks family lived. McBeans creek divides Richmond County from Burke County and joins Jefferson County at it's northeast corner which was home of most of Aquilla's children and grandchildren.

The work I have done on this family would not have been possible without the generous time and efforts by the folks at the Jefferson County GenWeb site. A second and very important contribution was the biography of Dr. Daniel N. Moxley, grandson of Aquilla. It was originally posted by Ann Anderson and I have since reposted it.

From the biography of Dr. Moxley we know that Aquilla had twelve children (six sons and six daughters). This template gives us a blueprint for reconstructing Aquilla's family. Prior to starting I need all to understand a fact: FROM THE 1819 PROBATE OF THE WILL OF MESHACK MATTHEWS UNTIL THE 1860 CENSUS OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALL THE MATTHEWS IN THE COUNTY RECORDS ARE AQUILLA AND HIS PROGENY!! Ofcourse some day someone will find an unrelated Matthews but so far I haven't. All the marriages that you find beofre 1860 will be decendants of Aquilla. Of course not all his family was married in Jefferson County. I have identified each male and female marriage recorded in the county and associated them to the proper parents.

Given the facts above I will start with the known children and grandchildren of Aquilla. I won't list them by age and will let you sort them. I will only expand the family of my immediate ancestor Charles to benefit my family. And again - I have no lock on truth!!!!!!!!! If you have different information you are welcome to post it here or email me. I am posting this to correct some misinformation, to properly vett it in an open forum, and for the benfit of my family. It's a story long past due to be told.

1. Nancy Matthews. From Aquilla Sr.'s will be know that Nancy had deceased by 1825. Farmer researchers show her married to Henry Jordon Farmer (son of Isaac) in about 1804. I have estimated her birth at about 1785 which means she could have been born in Culpeper County, Va. The 1820 census shows her living in Burke County next door to Isaac farmer with her three sons. You will have to consult the Farmer genealogies for their names.

2. William Matthews. From his tombstone we are given a birth year of 1791 and a death date of January 19, 1821. This would mean he was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina. We know from records that he married Catherine Louise Collins November 23, 1812 in Richmond County, Georgia. From her toomstone we are given a birthdate August 2, 1796 and a date of death of April 20, 1874. Catherine was the daughter of Leven Collins and Catherine Tamar Odom. William and Catherine Matthews had three children: Leven Collins, Elizabeth Jane, and Bathsheba Sharpe Matthews. There is some good reliable work out there on the Collins family so you may want to consult it for additional information.

3. James Matthews. James was named in Aquilla's will as an executor. He is one of the easiest to work with since he left a will. James was a wealthy landowner and left large tracts of land to his family. James was born in 1787 in Culpeper county according to the 1850 census. He married Elizabeth Ross November 22, 1812. James died in 1855. Elizabeth was born in Hancock county abt 1797 and her family apparently moved to Jefferson County. James and Elizabeth had one son and five daughters. Martha M. Matthews born in 1819 married James L. Cheatam. Margaret A. J. Matthews, born August 20, 1833 married her cousin Rufus G. Weeks. Julia Elizabeth Matthews, born 1841 married William Rhodes Palmer. Unknown daughter, born abt 1810 and died before 1855 married Elemuel Thompson and had a daughter Margaret A. J. Thompson. Unknown daughter born abt 1815 and died before 1855 married a McGains (McGanus) and had a daughter Elizabeth McGains. An unknown son was born about 1825 and died before 1850.

4. Thomas Matthews. Thomas was named in his father's will as a co-executor. From his tombstone Thomas was born in 1784 and died at age 71 October 12,1855. Thomas was born in Culpeper County, Virginia. There is a lot of confusion over Thomas and his children since there is no copy of the actual will left by him. Reconstructing his family has been difficult and inaccurate by others. Thomas first appeared in an 1802 Tax list of Jefferson county living close to his father Aquilla. Since he wasn't listed seperately in 1799 the best guess is that he was married in the year 1802. Since we don't have his wife's name she will remain as Unknown. I think I have a good GUESS but maybe others can pin it down. I believe his second son's middle name was Jordon and he could have married into the many Jordon families near him. Anyway Thomas and Unknown had three sons and 2 daughters: Aquilla Matthews, born 1804 married his Uncle William's widown - Catherine Louise Collins Matthews July 20, 1823 and Aguilla died August 20, 1834. Since I have previous posted the information on Aquilla Jr. on this board I won't repeat it here. Aquilla and Catherine had Emily Francis A. Matthews, Caroline Mary Matthews, Lewis Daniel W. Matthews, and Louisa Catherine Matthews. The second child of Thomas was Daniel Matthews, born 1807 and married Amanda E. Johns on November 15, 1832. Daniel and Amanda had one known child - Maria Matthews. Daniel and Amanda soon moved to Pulaski County, Georgia and then to Hamilton County, Florida. Charles Jordon Matthews, born 1808 married Nancy R.F.C. Hudson July 6, 1843 and had children Martha, Celestine, William Sharpe Matthews, Diana, James Jordon, Charles A., Emma A, Benjamin, Mary E, and Thomas Booth Matthews. Amelia Matthews, daughter of Thomas, born 1810 married Alexander Berryhill, November 13, 1823 and had children Mary, Carter, Elizabeth, George M.C. and Charles. Diana Matthews, daughter of Thomas, married Edmond Thompson, March 7,1839 and had Mary F., Emily F., and David J. Thomas second married Unity Toole King. She was the widow of Charles King. She had four children by him: Rufus, Michael, Isabell, and Geraldus. Unity Toole King and Thomas Matthews were married September 5, 1814. They had one child togeather: Elizabeth Matthews, January 1, 1816 and died March 24, 1870 Children: Jane, James, Julia A. and Martha. Jessie had apparently died before 1870. And FINALLY, we find that Thomas married Nancy Green, the widow of Edward Foley, in 1847. They had no children togeather. Although there were two Thomas Matthews listed on the 1850 census I believe they are one in the same. One is listed next to his son Charles and the other with Nancy, his new wife. The one with Nancy list his birth place as Culpepper, North Carolina. Since there is no Culpepper North Carolina we can figure it was really Virginia. The other Thomas is listed next door to his oldest son Charles you can figure it's the same one although there are some explainable differences in the ages.

That wraps up about all I can do at one sitting so I will continue with part II and maybe III. I want to leave you one final thought on the family of Thomas. Thomas did not name Auguilla and Charles with the Junior title. It was a designation placed on them by the county clerk and recorder to differenate them from the elders in the county with the same name. I have seen many such situations in other counties and states. I know it's hard for some to understand at first and it has resulted in many different arrangements to try and justify the Jr. designations. My advise is to try and understant it. In some counties around the world two men with the same name were somestimes differentiated by their physical location, their trade, or relationships. Thus you have the Millers, the Stratton's, or the O'Bryans or McDonald's. In this case you have the Juniors.
I leave you with the dictionary to help with the Junior problem.

–adjective 1. younger (usually designating the younger of two men bearing the same full name, as a son named after his father; often written as Jr. or jr. following the name): May I speak with the junior Mr. Hansen? Mr. Edward Andrew Hansen, Jr. Compare senior (def. 1).

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