Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Owl Creek Boys - The Matheny Sons

Francis A. Matheny House (built c. 1858)

Taking a look at the family of John M. Matheny who was mentioned in the previous article from a newspaper clipping one can see a much bigger picture. John’s father, Francis A. Matheny was born in Kentucky in 1804 and he moved his family to Indiana in the early 1830s. Two of his oldest children, John and a daughter, Rachel were born in Kentucky according to census records. Francis and his wife, Eliza A. Matheny had a family of at least nine children. Francis A. Matheny built a large log home on Jackson Branch Ridge Road that is still there today. It has been thought that it might be the largest existing log home in Indiana that is still standing from the 1800s.

Francis A. Matheny - Shipley Cemetery

Just down the road from Francis Matheny’s house and still on the same property is a small cemetery where Francis A. Matheny has his grave marked. He has Masonic Lodge emblem on his gravestone. Sadly nothing has been found for his wife. Francis died in 1861 and according to his Will his wife survived him. Of Eliza A. Matheny little is known about her except from census records she was also born in Kentucky about 1802. Of the known nine children there names in order by age are Rachel C. born 1833, John M. born 1835, Felix G. born 1835 (a twin?), Francis D. born 1838, Nancy J. born 1840, James M. born 1842, Thomas J. born 1844, Andrew R. born 1847, and Salem T. Matheny born abt. 1850. Starting with the two daughters both were married in Brown County. Rachel married John Christy on March 17, 1855. The youngest daughter, Nancy J. Matheny married Frank A. Cunning on Feb. 15, 1864. The girls remained in Indiana.

Francis D. Matheny's Civil War Pension card

Now for the sons we found that after marriage they all moved west to states such as Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, and some most likely beyond. What is especially interesting about the sons is that almost every one of them was Civil War veterans. Felix G., Francis D., Thomas J., and Andrew R. Matheny all moved to Champaign County, Illinois. Francis D. Matheny married Mary Cooper in Brown County on May 22, 1865. He served in Indiana and Illinois. James married Nancy J. Pettigrew on March 13, 1863 in Brown County and they moved to Kansas. He served in an Indiana infantry unit. Thomas J. and Andrew R. Matheny also served in the Civil War. The youngest boy, Salem, doesn’t show up in the next census so it is assumed he died at a young age. And we know from the previous post on John M. Matheny he ended up in Nebraska.

James M. Matheny's Civil War Pension card

I’m going to follow this family a little more to see if I can wind up the family statistics. All the sons mentioned previously are named in an old compiled list of Brown County men who served in the Civil War. So far nothing has been found to show that Felix had ever served in the Civil War. All-in-all the Mathenys were a most patriotic family. It’s a shame all the children moved away, the family left behind a large estate with a beautiful huge log home in one of the most beautiful places to live, Brown County, Indiana. I drove by it the other day and tried to get a photo, but it was almost obscured by huge draping trees, what a sight! Maybe I’ll try again this fall after the leaves are off.

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