Thomas Jefferson Van Matre
- Born: 16 Feb 1834, Scales Mound, Jo Daviess County, Illinois
- Marriage: Mary Ann French on 7 Apr 1855 in Stephenson County, Illinois
Noted events in his life were:
• Census, 1850, Illinois, Stephenson County, Oneco Township, Roll 129 Book 1, Page 295a. Age 16 yrs., attended school within the year.
• Census, 1860, Illinois, Stephenson County, Oneco Township, Orangeville Post Office, Roll 230 Book 1, Page 326. Age 27 yrs., farmer.
• Census, 1870, Illinois, Stephenson County, Oneco Township, Lena Post Office, Roll 275 Book 1, Page 240a. Age 36 yrs., farmer.
• Census, 1880, Illinois, Stephenson County, Oneco Township, Roll 253 Book 1, Page 218a. Age 47 yrs., farmer.
• General History, 1880, Stephenson County, Illinois. Thomas Jefferson Van Matre, one of the oldest and longest cultivated farms in Oneco Township, and one which has been kept in the family by succession from the time it was taken as a claim up to date, is the one on which Mr. Van Matre now resides. This gentleman was born on the 16th of February, 1834, at Scales Mound, Jo Daviess County, Illinois. He is the son of Lewis V. Van Matre, who was the son of Morgan Van Matre, of Holland, who came to this county when a young man.
The father of our subject was born in Ohio, in 1807, on a farm. His father died when he was a boy, and his mother marrying again he remained at home with her until he was twenty years of age, when he came West and secured employment in the lead mines at Galena. He remained there for nine years, farming and mining alternately. During the Indian war which occurred at that period, he was a soldier in the service of the Government. In April, 1863, he moved to Oneco Township, and paid $100 for a claim of 150 acres of land, on which the subject of this sketch now lives. He built a log cabin, commenced tilling the soil, and lived there twenty years, until his death at the age of seventy-nine. The first trip he made from Cincinnati to Galena was by river and the return was made on horseback, in 1837. On January 13, 1831, he was married to Nancy Alexander, whose father was a Scotchman, and lived in Kentucky. Our subject's father had fourteen children, and left 347 acres of land in Oneco Township, as well as valuable property in the town, where he lived sixteen years as a retired farmer. He erected the first barn in this county, which is still standing.
The subject of this sketch gained his limited education in the district school one and a half miles distant from his home, and has always followed the vocation of farming. On the 7th of April, 1855, he was married to Mary Ann French, daughter of Samuel French. Her mother was Catherine Smith, a daughter of Daniel Smith, a native of North Carolina, who was born in 1785, and grew to manhood there with his parents. He learned the trade of a blacksmith, but was a farmer the greater portion of his life. He was married there to Miss Doreas McDaniels, and moved to Ohio some years after, locating in Highland County. In 1846 he moved to Oneco Township and settled near the Wisconsin line, where he lived about seven years. He then moved to Oneco and lived on a rented farm two years, from which he removed to the McConnell farm and remained there until his wife died, in August, 1858. He then lived with the father-in-law of the subject of this sketch until June, 1885; then one of his sons took him and cared for him until December, 1886, when he was taken to Alfred Smith's, where he remained until death. At the time of his death he was one hundred and two years of age, and strange to say retaine4d his faculties until the last hour. Mr. and Mrs. Van Matre have had two children; Nancy Florida died June 28, 1858; Charles E., born January 17, 1856, is married and lives near by. Mr. Van Matre is a Democrat, and holds the office of School Director, which office his father held before him. It affords us gratification to present in this connection an excellent portrait of Mr. Van Matre, as that of a highly esteemed citizen of Oneco Township, and one of the old settlers of Stephenson County.
• General History, 1880, Oneco Township, Stephenson County, Illinois. T. J. Van Matre, stock and grain farmer, Sec. 21; P.O. Oneco; born at Scales Mound, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, February 16, 1834. His father L. D. Van Matre and his brother Thomas J. came to Stephenson County in 1836, and took up their claims, on which their sons now live. Of the old family, there are L. T., John and Melissa now living; L. D. was born September 20, 1807, and married in January 13, 1831, to Miss Mary Alexander, who died October 3, 1855; he married again, June 22, 1856. T. J., the subject of this sketch, together with his brother W. J., owns about 324 acres, and, in partnership with William Raymond, have imported, and are introducing, full-blood Norman horses, together with short-horn Durham cattle. In April 7, 1855, he married Miss Mary Ann French, of Ohio; they have a son living, Charles W., and one daughter, Nancy F. (deceased). His barn now standing is supposed to be the first built in this county. Politics, Democrat.
Thomas married Mary Ann French, daughter of Samuel French and Catherine Smith, on 7 Apr 1855 in Stephenson County, Illinois. (Mary Ann French was born on 19 Aug 1833 in Union, Highland County, Ohio and died on 25 Sep 1908 in Stephenson County, Illinois.)