BEF 1641 - Cherry Point, St. Stephen's, Northumberland, VA
BEF 28 FEB 1706 - London, England
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Thomas Matthews' quarrel with the Doeg Indian Tribe was a direct cause of Bacon's Rebellion.
In 1663 Thomas purchased 150 acres in Cherry Point from Joseph Horsley for 18,000 pounds of tobacco. In the deed Thomas is referred to as a merchant. On October 20th of the same year Thomas received a land grant of 600 acres from the Northumberland County Court for the transportation of himself to the colony three times, the transportation of his son Thomas Matthews Junior five times and four black slaves, Plato, Tobey, Fryer and Jack. On June 20th, 1664 and additional 200 acres was granted to Thomas in Northumberland for the transportation of John Houghton and Nathaniel Brale.
On September 6th, 1665 an indentured servant to David Lyndsay named Benjamin Johnson swore in front of the Northumberland County Court that he was "in feare of loosing his life br Mr. Tho Mathew." The court ordered Thomas to give bond with security for peace or else be taken into custody by the sheriff.
A 1671 deed in Northumberland shows Richard Walton of Stafford County, his sister Frises Mathew and brother-in-law Thomas Mathew. Frises must have died before she and Thomas had any children. Thomas remarried to a sister of Capt. John Cralle and had four children. Also in 1671 Thomas was approved by the Northumberland County Court to take a Native American child as an indentured servant.
In 1675 member of the Doeg Indian tribe stole hogs from Thomas as revenge for not making payment on an earlier trade. Thomas responded by assembling a group of men and killing several of the Doeg. The Virginia militia then led a raid against the natives and attacked the friendly Susquehannock tribe by mistake. This led to more violence and ultimately Nathaniel Bacon stepped in and used the fighting against the Indians as political cover to rebel against his cousin, Governor Berkley and the elite ruling class of Virginia.
In 1676 Thomas represented Stafford County in the House of Burgesses. That year the General Assembly declared war on the hostile tribes, raised taxes to pay for more fortifications against the natives and established strict rules for trading with friendly tribes. Thomas twice refused offers from Bacon to serve as an officer and for the most part stayed out of the political fight between Nathaniel Bacon and Governor Berkley.
In October of 1678 Thomas served as a Justice in Northumberland County court. In November 1678 Thomas patented 300 acres in Cherry Point Neck adjoining his own land, and the lands of; William Keene, Capt. John Rogers, John Rogers, Jr., Henry Metcalfe, Col. Samuel Griffin, John Ashton, Nicholas Owens, Fancis Little and Robert Bryerley for the transport of six people to the colony.
In 1679 an order from Jamestown prompted Northumberland to begin preparing men an supplies for a fort in the county. The County order named Thomas' home as a storage site for the supplies. The county tax list from that year listed him as living in Chery Point Neck and responsible for 20 tithables, one of the largest numbers in Northumberland.
On February 20th 1680 the Northumberland Court granted a certificate to Thomas for 3,800 acres of land for the importation of 76 people to the colony. Included in the list were; "Mr Thomas Mathew and ten Negroes from Barbados, Mr. Thomas Matthew from London, and three Negroes from New England." In 1681 Thomas filed suit against the estate of Mrs. Frodesham in Westmoreland County court for a debt of 10,550 pounds of tobacco.
Thomas wrote his will in May of 1703 in Bowtracy Parish, Northumberland County. He asked that if he died near London that he should be buried near his son William at the Church of St. Dunston. He left his lands in London, Stafford County Virginia and Northumberland County Virginia to be divided between his three remaining children. Thomas also instructed that Capt. John Cralle as well as Mr. James Gunn and his wife Mary to live peaceably in the houses that they now inhabit.
Before his death Thomas wrote his account of Bacon's Rebellion. In 1705 he addressed the manuscript to Robert Harley, Minister of State to Queen Anne in London. The paper is thought to have been part of Harley's personal library and written at his request. Eventually the document came into the hands of a London book seller who sold it to an American diplomat in 1801. By 1803 the diplomat had given the manuscript to President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson made of copy of Thomas' work and that copy is now in the Library of Congress.
Thomas' is thought to have died in London. His will was presented in Northumberland County court by John Cralle on February 28th, 1707 and was not fully recorded until August 20th, 1712.
- 1662-1666 Deed & Will Book Northumberland Co Va; Antient Press: Pg 128
- Northumberland County Va Deeds and Wills 1670-1672
- CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS PATENT BOOK No. 6; Pg 192
- WESTMORELAND COUNTY, VIRGINIA ORDER BOOK 1679-1682; John Frederick Dorman; pg 69 Page 233 - 26 Oct. 1681
- VIRGINIA GLEANINGS IN ENGLAND; The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, pp 187
- Virginia Gleanings in England: Abstracts of 17th and 18th-century English Wills and Administrations Relating to Virginia and Virginians : a Consolidation of Articles from The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, pp 187
- (1705) Thomas Mathew, The Beginning, Progress and Conclusion of Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib026582/.
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, 1853-1935. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. New York: Lewis historical publishing company, 1915.
- Haynie, W P. Records of Indentured Servants and of Certificates for Land, Northumberland County, Virginia, 1650-1795. Bowie, Md: Heritage Books, 2008. Print. Pgs. 66, 74, 80, 132.
- Bulletin of the Northumberland County Historical Society. Heathsville, Va: Northumberland County Historical Society, 1998. Print. Pg. 17.
- Bulletin of the Northumberland County Historical Society. Heathsville, Va: Northumberland County Historical Society, 2004. Print. Pg. 31.
- Bulletin of the Northumberland County Historical Society. Heathsville, Va: Northumberland County Historical Society, 1994. Print. Pg. 49.
Spouse & Children:
- John Matthews
- Anne Matthews
- Thomas Matthews
- William Matthews
- John Matthews
- Anne Matthews
- Thomas Matthews
- William Matthews