Sunday, December 6, 2015

Arthur William Matthews - d. December 6, 1915 - Turned None Away

My great-grandfather, Arthur William Matthews, died 100 years ago today.  Until recently all I had or knew of him was one photograph and some of my grandfather's written memories. And that is a lot, more than a lot of people have, but I was very happy to find more about him when I subscribed to last year and again this past September in Dad's secret stash.
Arthur William Matthews
b. 1844 Coleford, Somersetshire, England
d. Dec. 6, 1915, Pittston, PA

From the Pittston Gazette, Wed Dec 8, 1915
If you have read any of my grandfather's autobiography which I transcribed over many weeks for Amanuensis Monday, you might remember that Arthur came to the United States as a member of an orchestra in 1865. Once settled in Pittston, he led the choir at the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years and owned a music store. He also composed music, including for this hymn, "I Left it All with Jesus, Long Ago."

I was over the moon to find this in September, I had read that my grandfather had it, but had never seen it.

Also, among a literal stack of Bibles and prayer books, I found this.

The embossing is almost completely gone on the cover. It reads A W Matthews.

It's nice to have these physical connections to my great-grandfather, but even more than this, and especially in this Advent Season, I remember most proudly one thing that my grandfather wrote in his autobiography, "The visitor was there by virtue of my father's rule that no one ever be turned away from the Matthews house hungry." Amen.


  1. Oh what wonderful treasures here, Anne. And the wonderful family 'rule' - priceless. True compassion.

    1. Thank you, Celia. I can't say for sure yet, but there are indications that he grew up in poverty and without a mother from the age of 4. That doesn't always make people compassionate but it seems he never forgot what it is like to be hungry.

  2. Wow and wow some more. It is so gratifying to find those bits and pieces that show us an ancestor's personality, values, behaviors that bring them to life.

    1. The hardest questions to find answers for, especially the further back we go. We can find their birth info and parents and all those dates and details, but what we really want to know is who they were.