The Matthews Family in Jackson County, Alabama

The Mathis, Mathews, Matthews Family


Jackson County, Alabama

Note: The modern day spelling "Matthews" will be used on these pages with the understanding that past spellings of "Mathis" and "Mathews" have been used by family members.

Family History

This is an extensive listing of ( Walker Matthews branch) Matthews family genealogy


Walker Matthews was the first member of our family known to be in Jackson County, Alabama in the early 1800's. Some indications show he may have come from Savannah, Georgia, other say Kentucky. He said his name as "Mathis" but family members spelled it "Mathews". There was more than one Matthews family in the area. One group that claims no relationship to Walker Matthews descended from William Matthews of Viginia. They were James and John Matthews. Although no kinship can be established, the families settled no more than three miles from the other.

Family pictures

To view, submit or help identify family photographs, go to Pictures

Revolutionary War

Benjamin Matthews was a Jackson County, Alabama Matthews who fought in the Revolutionary War. At this time he cannot be linked to Walker Matthews' family. His wife's name was Mary.

Flat boaters or Mountain men

The Matthews family, along with other early Jackson county settlers, may have come down the Tennessee River to Bellefonte, Alabama (See map) on flatboats along with their animals and belongings. Some think that the Big Coon area was settled by pioneers that came over Cumberland mountain from the Winchester, Tennessee area. There was a trail, up the mountain from Winchester, that followed the mountain ridges. That part of Tennessee was settleed earlier than the Jackson county area. Coves off of the mountain, lead down into Paint Rock , Big Coon, Little Coon, Crow, and other valleys.

Some think Walker was born in Savannah, Georgia. This is a good possibility. At the time of his birth, 1789 the state of Georgia stretched all the way to the Mississippi River, but only the coastal area was settled. there was a small settlement just north of Savannah named, Mathews;. Many families left Savannah and moved inland. Early trails lead northward to through the Carolinas toVirgina. Others lead to the upper Tennessee River area in eastern Tennessee. One trail lead up through the middle of Georgia and on to Nashville.According to early maps this trail went near the Chattanooga area and then turned south to go through the northeast end of Jackson County and up through what later became Doran's Cove into Tennessee. Along this route are modern day communities of Bridgeport, Bolivar, Mt. Carmel, Doran's Cove, and Orme, Tennessee. As a point of interest, in Savannah is a place called Bonaventure. In our area near Bolivar is also a Bonaventure.

Pioneer Settlers

The Matthews family was among the earliest settlers of Jackson County, with some members being in the area possibly as early as 1812, while the area was still Indian lands.Jackson County was established in 1819 and then only land north of the Tennessee river was a part of the county. Many Cherokee Indians still lived in this area at that time, mostly on Sand mountain, and were not moved West until the 1830's.

The Creeks and Coves

The early Matthews settlers traveled up the creeks and choose land in the remote coves of Jackson County (See map) They settled on creeks that were called "Big Coon", Little Coon", and "Crow" creeks. They were said to have been, "Living on the Coon" or "Living on the Crow".

Early trails and roads

Modern day roads will leave one with the impression that the Matthews family was spread out in their choice of living places. Following modern roads make what was then just a short horseback ride up and over a mountain ridge into an extended car ride to travel around the mountains and up into the coves. Old maps show old roads and trails connecting the families in nearby coves by the shortest distance of up and over the ridge. As the county grew Matthews men worked on county road crews in lieu of paying county taxes.


Nearby creeks and the river were sources of food, work, and entertainment for several Matthews men. They were trotline catfishermen, mud bank hand grapplers, and boatmen who used canoes and skiffs for a means of transportation. Some were known to work on floating crop graineries.

Matthews Cove

Visit Matthews Cove online

One of the most remote areas of Jackson County, to this day, was settled by and named for the Matthews family. (See map) Walker Matthews settled on the land around 1814 and legally obtained title in 1830. The family owned the land until 1931. The cemetery (.5 acre) there is still family owned.


Like most other early pioneers, the Matthews settlers were farmers and some of the family still practice the profession. They farmed land around Stevenson, Hollywood and near Crow mountain. A typical Matthews farm was mostly self sufficient, with orchards and gardens, cows for milk, fish from the creek, beef and pork, chickens for eggs and meat, bees for honey, turkeys, not to mention plentiful wild game. There were blacksmith sheds, corn cribs, barns, chicken houses, and smoke houses, as well as out houses. They grew cash crops of cotton, corn, and potatoes and timbered their lands for firewood, lumber for farm buildings, and to sell.

Slave Owners

Early Matthews family farmers did own several slaves and they were willed as family property up until the War Between the States. They were not large plantation owners but as many as sixteen slaves were in the family at the start of The War Between the States. Some of the former slaves assumed the Matthews family name and became members of the Jackson County population.

War Between the States

Many members of the Matthews family enlisted on the Confederate side of the conflict. One, William Jasper Matthews, was killed in the war. Much of Jackson County was ravaged and left barren by federal troop occupation during the last years of the war.


Matthews Cove has housed a few stills through the years and some Matthews men have been known to tend those stills. County records show a James Matthews charged with distilling spirits in the mid 1800's. County land titles also show a James Matthews purchasing land in remote areas of the county, about that time, that had within their boundaries clear mountain springs.

Some moved on West

Some Matthews family members moved on from Jackson County to Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas after the war, when conditions were awful in this area.

The Cemeteries

There are three known Matthews family cemeteries in Jackson County. (See map) One is in Matthews Cove and two are in Little Coon Valley. The cemetery in Matthews Cove is the family of Walker Mathews. The one at the head of Little Coon is the James Matthews of Lunenburg ,Virginia family cemetery and is well marked but poorly kept. The other in Little Coon is unmarked and exact family is unknown.

The Family cemetery in Matthews Cove is the resting place of Walker Matthews and his wife. The cemetery is under a large Cherry tree like the one shown above. Over a dozen of our family rest there. Marked graves are those of Wiley Matthews and wife Zelphia. It is thought that a scratched limestone rock headstone is that of Luvina Mathews.

Family book

Thomas E. Jacks has written a family book, "Walker Matthews of Big Coon". He can be reached at

Extended Matthews Family Discussion list All kind of Matthews' are here.

Family Information

The John Robert Matthews branch of the family submitted by Joyce Ann Matthews

This information provided by our cousin David pierce, who lives in Scottsboro, Alabama

This is concerning the William J. Matthews line (my particular line). First of all his wife was Caroline CROUCH, the daughter of George Crouch and Nancy Carlton of Wilkes County, N.C. (See walker Matthews history in the Story of Stevenson), etc. George Crouch died prior to his father's (John Crouch) death in 1828, but the Wilkes Co. probate has this>
170. JOHN CROUCH. 22 July 1828, November 1828. Wife Abigail. (This was his second wife, as John Crouch married Abigail Hampton in Wilkes Co. N.C. on Oct 22, 1817). daughter Sarah Crouch. Grandson Larkin Carlton. The rest of my children, that is to say, my daughter Elizabeth Richardson, Tabitha Hoof, Wm. Crouch, John Crouch's heirs, Jacob Crouch, Richard Crouch, Emelia Grayson, Polly Magee, GEORGE CROUCH'S heirs, Nancy Carlton, Thomas Crouch, and Jesse Crouch. Exec: son Jesse Crouch, Witn: John Carlton, Judith Hampton. Book 4, page 120. Wilkes Co. N.C.
If you look in the 1820 NC census it has George Crouch 1 male 26-45, 5 females 0-10, 1f 26-45. So George died in the early 1820's. On page 75 in the Stevenson Story, you read that Nancy Carlton Crouch and her 7 daughters came to Jackson County, along with the Knights, Allisons and Carltons.
John Crouch's (George's father) first wife was Judith Wiggins (born March 3, 1747) in Albemarle Parish, Sussex Co. Virginia. She was the daughter of Richard and Tabitha (?). This according to Ann Oppenheimer, 10715 W. Texas, Wichita, KS., 67209.
Nancy (George's wife) Carlton was the daughter of Thomas Carlton (1756-1845) and Mary Land (who in turn was the daughter of Thomas and Anna (Sumter) Land. (All this info is in a Heritage Book of Wilkes Co. N.C., which I can't remember if I found in the Huntsville or Birmingham Library.) Thomas Carlton, in turn was the son of John and Elizabeth Wallace Carlton.
Back to William J. Matthews, child #10, I believe should be Nicey Angeline. I have not seen Erica anywhere, in William's probate, or in the 1870 census. So I know nothing of her.
Ok, now to my specialty. See child #2 Nancy Elizabeth Matthew (April 9, 1849-January 27, 1940) married James Martin Bryant (August 8, 1845-March 12, 1906) on May 23, 1867. Martin was the son of John J (not A.) Bryant (Sept 3, 1818 Lincoln Co. Tn-March 7, 1898 Jackson Co.) who married Mary Arena Webb (Oct 11, 1820-March 12, 1906) on January 23, 1840. Her parents are unknown. John J. Bryant's parents were Randolph Bryant (Nov 18, 1786 Va-August 1, 1856 Jackson Co) and Mary Polly Alexander (Feb 1, 1796 Ky- August 7, 1856 Jackson Co.) Randolph was a farmer and Baptist Preacher. His parents were John Bryant (November 5, 1754 Va-March 29, 1842 Jackson Co) and Judy Elizabeth Winfrey who died in Jackson County on September 22, 1842. John fought in the revolutionary War and I have his pension records if you so desire. Judy's parents were John Winfrey and Mary Turpin.
I wrote this in narrative form for the Jackson County Heritage Book, which you both need to buy. If you don't have one, I'll copy these pages for you. Well, I'm about typed out for now. I will go on another line some other time.

sincerely, your cousin,
david pierce

My Grandfather was Joseph Wheeler Mathews, third generation of Walker Matthews. He and my grandmother died on 10 Feb 1976 in a house fire in Stigler, Oklahoma, where they are both buried.
My Grandfather was part of a large group of Mathews who moved from Alabama and farmed in the valleys around Chickasaw Creek near Kinta, Oklahoma. It is interesting to note that all of the many Mathews in this area spell their name with one, rather than two "t's".
I have researched just a little and have found the name spelled Matthews, Mathis, and Mathews in various document from the 1840 and 1850 census, Jackson County marriage records, and Civil War records of my great-grandfather, Wiley Mathews and his brothers Joel, Walker, James, Godfrey, and William.
Wiley Mathews and Joel Mathews could not write, as evidenced by Wiley Mathews surrender oath to the Union and the pension application to the State of Alabama by Wiley Mathews. Wiley and Joel, who was acting as a witness, signed with an "X". Walker Mathews' wife, Sallie L Mathews, submitted a widows pension application in July 1914 and signed the form very legibly with two "t's".
I am sure we will never know when the variations of the name came about but I am sure it has a lot to do with whoever recorded their names at the time or taught them how to write. I have been in the Army for 14 years and every day it seems as if someone spells my name with two "t's" in official documents.
If you have any other information on the family, especially who the first generation Walker Matthews' parents are I would appreciate you sending it to me. If you would like information on children and descendants of Joseph Wheeler Mathews I would be happy to send it to you.

Rodney W. Mathews

PO Box 620222
Fort Rucker, AL 36362

Thanks for the Matthews Family information on the internet. My cousin
also did a book on the Matthews Family and I am surprised if it is not
in the Scottsboro library. My great-grandmother was Mary Ellen Walker,
married to Alfred(?) Dawson. She died in 1952, and I remember going to
her funeral at Bridgeport. The other family history will fill in many
of the blanks in this one, especially down some of the other branches.
Do you know of any Cherokee bloodlines in the Matthews family? Since
this area was still Cherokee territory at the time, they could only have
settled there that early if they had intermarried. My Moore family also
settled first in the Bellefonte area, originally from the Carolinas by
way of Greenville, TN, and they were part Cherokee. On the map, I do
not see any roads to the Matthews cemetery in case I want to visit my
ancestors' graves. Is there one? My nephew now lives in the old
Matthews home in Bridgeport. We have known the Bridgeport Matthews clan
all our lives and did not know we were related until my cousin did the
research. Anna Moore Carroll, (

You can communicate with me by sending email to:

Paul Richard Matthews, at Scottsboro, Alabama

Matthews Cousins Dee Matthews David Pierce Thomas Jacks Rodney W. Matthews Anna Carrol Moore Pam Matthews

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