Mathews, George, 1739-1812

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1739-08-30
Death 1812-08-30

Biographical notes:

Army officer, governor, and U.S. representative of Georgia.

From the description of Land grant of George Mathews, 1793. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79452870

Member of the U.S. Congress, 1789-1791, and governor of Georgia, 1793-1796.

From the description of Papers, 1786-1794. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 20030137

George and Sampson Mathews, sons of John Mathews, were men of prominence in Augusta County, Virginia. Sampson Mathews rose to become a colonel of the Augusta County militia and served as a commissioner to the western Indians. He died in Staunton in 1807. George Mathews (1739-1812) served in the Revolutionary War as a colonel of the 3rd Virginia Regiment. He was a burgess from Augusta County, a Staunton town trustee, and twice governor of the state of Georgia. These sons owned and operated the Greenbriar general store in Augusta County and also owned two other stores, one in Staunton and one at Calf Pasture.

From the description of Daybook [microform], 1771-1775. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation). WorldCat record id: 61499402

George Mathews (1739-1812) was born to Ann Archer and John Mathews of Augusta County, Virginia. As an adult, he joined his brother, Sampson, in a business partnership that included land speculation as well as agricultural and mercantile components. Mathews became an Augusta Parish magistrate and high sheriff. During the Revolutionary War, he served first as captain of Virginia militia during the Battle of Point Pleasant, 1774, and then as a colonel of the 9th Virginia Regiment in 1777. His regiment was captured at the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania, including Matthews. He was a prisoner of war until 1781. After his release, he served in the Georgia and South Carolina Continental army. Mathews moved to Georgia with his wife, Anne Polly Paul, and their eight children after the war, purchasing property in Wilkes County. He became a Wilkes County justice and a commissioner of the town of Washington. He was elected as governor for 1787-1788. In 1787 he also served as a member of the constitutional convention created with the purpose of ratifying the federal constitution. In 1788 Mathews was elected a member of the House of Representatives. After a few failed political campaigns, he was re-elected as governor in 1793. During Mathew's second term as president, he practiced the policy of granting extensive tracts of land in Glynn, McIntosh, Montgomery, Washington, Effingham, Franklin, and Liberty counties; this was known as the Pine Barren Speculation. In 1795, he signed the Yazoo land act. This questionable act deeply affected his political life. He spent his remaining years trying to regain the political stature and respect he had previously enjoyed. Mathew's died in Augusta, Georgia. No biographical information is available on James Robertson.

From the description of James Robertson commission, 1794. (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 126884092

George Mathews (1739-1812) was born to Ann Archer and John Mathews of Augusta County, Virginia. As an adult, he joined his brother, Sampson, in a business partnership that included land speculation as well as agricultural and mercantile components. Mathews became an Augusta Parish magistrate and high sheriff. During the Revolutionary War, he served first as captain of Virginia militia during the Battle of Point Pleasant, 1774, and then as a colonel of the 9th Virginia Regiment in 1777. His regiment was captured at the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania, including Matthews. He was a prisoner of war until 1781. After his release, he served in the Georgia and South Carolina Continental army. Mathews moved to Georgia with his wife, Anne Polly Paul, and their eight children after the war, purchasing property in Wilkes County. He became a Wilkes County justice and a commissioner of the town of Washington. He was elected as governor for 1787-1788. In 1787 he also served as a member of the constitutional convention created with the purpose of ratifying the federal constitution. In 1788 Mathews was elected a member of the House of Representatives. After a few failed political campaigns, he was re-elected as governor in 1793. During Mathew's second term as president, he practiced the policy of granting extensive tracts of land in Glynn, McIntosh, Montgomery, Washington, Effingham, Franklin, and Liberty counties; this was known as the Pine Barren Speculation. In 1795, he signed the Yazoo land act. This questionable act deeply affected his political life. He spent his remaining years trying to regain the political stature and respect he had previously enjoyed. Mathew's died in Augusta, Georgia.

From the description of George Mathews letters and instructions, 1794-1795. (Georgia Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 122932081

George Mathews, a veteran of the Continental army during the Revolutionary War (1775-83), migrated to Wilkes County from Virginia between 1783 and 1784. He quickly rose to service as a state legislator, governor, and member of the U.S. Congress. Mathews was born in 1739 to Ann Archer and John Mathews, Ulster immigrants, and spent his formative years in Augusta County, Virginia. His family diligently sought recognition as members of the western Virginia gentry, and Mathews exerted his efforts in economic, civil, and military affairs. He joined his elder brother, Sampson, in a business partnership that included land speculation, property leasing, agricultural, and mercantile operations. The brothers' enterprise extended from Staunton, Virginia, to the Greenbriar district of western Virginia and grew to include an extensive Atlantic trade network. Mathews used his circles of influence to obtain appointment to the Augusta Parish vestry, as a county magistrate, and as high sheriff. As Virginia supported the growing rebellion against Great Britain, Mathews eagerly sought a military command. Revolutionary leaders of the colony applauded his persuasive and skillful leadership as a militia captain during the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant, and by 1777 Mathews obtained appointment as colonel of the Ninth Virginia Regiment. His troops were assigned to Continental service under General George Washington, but during the Battle of Germantown in Pennsylvania, the entire regiment was either killed or captured. Mathews remained a prisoner of war until December 1781. Shortly after his release Mathews rejoined the Continental army in Georgia and South Carolina. His sojourn there provided an opportunity to view the rich lands of the Georgia upcountry. By January 1783 Mathews worked with several Virginians, including Colonel George Rootes, Francis Willis, and John Marks, to petition the state legislature for a block grant of 200,000 acres in the Georgia backcountry on which to settle 30 to 100 Virginia families. But assembly members rejected the creation of such an extensive tract. Mathews opted to purchase property in the Goose Pond region of Wilkes County, Georgia, near the Broad River, and obtained additional state lands for his revolutionary service. He returned to Virginia and encouraged family, friends, and former compatriots (including Benjamin Taliaferro) to settle in Wilkes County. As the new chief executive Mathews chafed at the restrictions placed upon the independence of the governor by the Georgia Constitution of 1777, which prevented his quick response to border conflicts with the Spanish and Creek Indians. His term in office prompted an advocacy for stronger state and national government, and Mathews served as a member of the 1787 state convention to ratify the new federal constitution. The following year western residents elected Mathews as a member to the House of Representatives. In spite of a lackluster term, defeat in 1791 by a land speculation faction called the Combined Society, and failure to win a federal senatorial seat in 1792, Mathews rebuilt political support and maneuvered legislative election as governor in 1793. During Mathews's second administration Georgia faced renewed Creek raids along the frontier. A lack of assembly and federal military funding frustrated his defense plans for a chain of blockhouses along Georgia's frontier, as did the actions of a fellow Wilkes County resident, Elijah Clarke, who posed as a French agent and established an illegal settlement in Creek lands called the Trans-Oconee Republic. Mathews, conscious of maintaining strong political support, may have turned to the use of land grants as a means of retaining popularity. He continued to practice a policy of his predecessors, known historically as the Pine Barren Speculation, and granted extensive tracts-some as large as 40,000 acres-in Effingham, Franklin, Glynn, Liberty, McIntosh, Montgomery, and Washington counties. George Mathews, 1739-1812 -- New Georgia Encyclopedia http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved July 4, 2009)

From the description of Benjamin Knox land grant, 1786. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 422084011

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Subjects:

  • Land grants
  • Business records
  • Governor
  • Miners--Diaries
  • Public lands
  • Merchants
  • Real property
  • General stores
  • Augusta County (Va.)--Commerce--18th century
  • Fortification

Occupations:

  • Governors--Georgia
  • Army officers
  • Representatives, U.S. Congress--Georgia

Places:

  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Georgia--Franklin County (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • Snake River (Idaho and Or.) (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Virginia--Augusta County (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Lewiston (Idaho) (as recorded)
  • Georgia (as recorded)
  • Walla Walla (Wash.) (as recorded)
  • Franklin County (Ga.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)