History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index



CHARLES HENRY MATHEWS, of Philadelphia, is a descendant of the early settlers in Bucks county, and was born in Doylestown, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, April 21, 1844, being a son of Dr. Charles H. and Margaret (Rodman) Mathews, the former an eminent physician of Bucks county, and the latter belonging to a family that had been prominent in the affairs of the county since the time of Penn. Simon Mathew, the paternal ancestor of Dr. Mathews, was a native of Langenych, South Wales, from whence he emigrated with a colony of Welsh Baptists in 1710, and settled in the Welsh Tract, New Castle county, now Delaware. He was accompanied from Caermarthenshire by Anthony Mathew, either his father or brother, and among others by Simon Butler, who was in some way connected with him by ties of blood or marriage, and with whom he was closely associated during his whole life, both in New Castle and Bucks counties. The Welsh Tract comprised a large tract of land granted to a colony of Welsh Baptists who, having formed themselves into a church at Milford Haven just prior to sailing for America, migrated to Pennsylvania in September, 1701, in the "James and Mary," and settled at Pennypack, where they remained for a year and a half, and, being joined by later arrivals from Pembroke and Caermarthenshire, removed in 1703 to Pencader Hundred, New Castle county, where they built a church and founded a colony, both known by the name of "Welsh Tract" for a century. In course of time, the spelling of the names has been changed in two particulars. One "t" has been dropped, and the oldest legal documents do not show that it has been used since the emigration to America. The final "s" at first was not used; but old deeds of a date previous to the Revolution show that the name had come to be spelt "Mathews."

In 1720 Simon Mathews and Jane his wife, Anthony Mathews, Simon Butler and Ann his wife, and Daniel (??) and Jane his wife, removed from Pencader Hundred to New Britain township, Bucks county, bringing certificates from Welsh Tract church to Montgomery Baptist church, the parent of New Britain Baptist church, founded in 1741. Simon Mathew and Simon Butler purchased large tracts of land comprising the greater part of the present borough of Chalfont, where they jointly erected what was known for many years as "Butler's Mill." Butler being the miller, and Mathew a millwright. This mill was the nucleus of the present town, and was the objective point of many of the early roads laid out from the ferries on the Delaware and points in Upper Bucks during the first half of the eighteenth century. Anthony Mathew died in New Britain, March 3, 1726. Simon Mathew died about July 1, 1755, and his wife Jane prior to December 28, 1751, the date of Simon's will. By this will the testator's half interest in the mill, mill lots and dwelling house was devised to his son Edward, as well as a tract of land adjoining, the remainder of the real estate, about 150 acres, the homestead, was devised to the youngest son Thomas.

 The children of Simon and Jane Mathew, were: John, married Diana Thomas, and is the ancestor of Edward Mathews, of Lansdale, the historian of the family; Simon, who removed to Virginia; Benjamin, who also removed to Virginia; Edward, who lived in New Britain, on Pine Run; Margaret, who married a Thomas; Ann, who married Simon Morgan; and Thomas. John, the eldest son, died in New Britain in 1783, and his widow Diana in 1799. Their children were: Benjamin; Margaret, married John Young; Mary, Married Thomas Barton; Joseph; Rachel, married James Meredith; Ann, Married Jonathan Doyle, and removed to Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, and Susanna, Married ---------- Thomas.

 Thomas Mathew, youngest son of Simon and Jane, was born in New Britain in 1728. He inherited the homestead farm near Chalfont, and was a prominent and successful farmer, acquiring considerable other land in the vicinity. He married Mary Stephens, daughter of David Stephens and granddaughter of Evan Stephens, an early Welsh settler in New Britain. He died in 1795.

 Edward Mathew, son of Thomas and Mary (Stephens) Mathew, was born on the old homestead in New Britain (purchased by his grandfather in 1720), in 1755. In 1779 he purchased a farm of one hundred acres in New Britain, on which he resided until 1791, when his father conveyed to him the homestead farm of 127 acres, whereon he resided until his death in the winter of 1813-14. He married Eleanor Thomas, daughter of Ephraim and Eleanor (Bates) Thomas, of Hilltown, and granddaughter of "elder" William Thomas, who was born in Llanerwarth, Wales in 1678, and came to Pennsylvania in 1712 and located in Radnor, Chester county, removing to Hilltown in 1718, where he became a very large landholder and one of its most prominent residents. He was a Baptist preacher, and officiated in that capacity for the Baptists of Hilltown prior to the founding of the Hilltown church, the land for which was donated by him and the first church erected at his expense. Edward Mathew was a man of excellent parts and good standing in the community. He was for many years a deacon of the Baptist church of New Britain. The children of Edward and Eleanor (Thomas) Mathew were: Abel; Rebekah, wife of Charles Humphrey; Simon; and John, all of who married and reared families in New Britain.

 Simon Mathew, second son of Edward and Eleanor (Thomas) Mathew, was born in New Britain in 1781. At the death of his father he inherited sixty-three acres of the old homestead, on which he resided for some years, though he was at one time a resident of Montgomery county, and prior to the death of his father had resided in Roxborough, Philadelphia. He was a man of excellent character, and succeeded his father as deacon of the New Britain church. He died in New Britain in February, 1828. He married his cousin, Isabella Stephens, daughter of William and Sarah Stephens, of Doylestown, formerly, New Britain township, and granddaughter of David and Ann Stephens, who were the parents of his grandmother Mary (Stephens) Mathew. Isabella was born and reared on the old homestead of the Stephens family in Doylestown (then New Britain township) which was purchased by her great-grandfather Evan Stephens, in 1729, and most of which remained the property of the family for four generations. Isabella (Stephens) Mathews died in 1833.

 Dr. Charles H. Mathews, only son of Simon and Isabella, was born at Roxboro, Philadelphia, November 6, 1805. He received a liberal education and graduated from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1827, locating at Doylestown, Bucks county, where he practiced his chosen profession until his death, July 25, 1849. He was a man of fine intellectual ability, pleasing address and irreproachable character; a popular and skilled physician, who was loved and respected by all who knew him. He took an active interest in the affairs of the town and county, and filled many positions of trust. He was prothonotary of the county for the term 1836-9. He was for several years an officer of militia, and was commissioned major-general of the district composed of the counties of Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware, his commission being delivered to him by General W. W. H. Davis but a week prior to his death. Dr. Mathews married first Mary Meredith, of Doylestown township, and (second) Margaret Rodman, daughter of Gilbert and Sarah (Gibbs) Rodman, and a sister of his classmate, Dr. Lewis Rodman, who achieved high distinction in the practice of his profession in Philadelphia.

 Mrs. Mathews was born January 29, 1797, and died January 12, 1875. She married Dr. Mathews on May 3, 1837. She belonged to a family that had been prominent in state and national affairs for several generations. Her grandfather, Richard Gibbs, was sheriff of the county of Bucks for the term 1771-2, and filled a number of other high positions.

 The pioneer ancestor of the Rodman family was John Rodman, who died in the Barbadoes in 1685. He is supposed to have been the same John Rodman, a Quaker, who for wearing his hat at the assizes at New Ross, Ireland, in 1665, was sent to jail for three months and later banished the country. See Rutty's "History of Quakers in Ireland." This theory is strengthened by the known fact that a great number of Quakers and other "dissenters" were transported to Barbadoes between the years 1669 and 1685. John Rodman died on his plantation in the parish of Christ Church Island of Barbadoes, in 1686, leaving a widow Elizabeth, sons Thomas and John, and daughters Ann Thwaite and Katharine Brandeth. The sons Thomas and John removed to Newport, Rhode Island, Thomas in 1675, and John in 1682.

 Dr. John Rodman, the second son of John and Elizabeth, born in 1653, became a freeman of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1684, and was prominent in the affairs of that colony for five or six years. He later removed to Block Island, having purchased a three-sixteenth share of the Island. In 1691, he removed to Flushing, Long Island, but returned to Block Island later. He died September, 1731, at the age of seventy-eight years. He was a prominent physician, and a minister among Friends for forty years. In 1686 he purchased one thousand acres of land in Burlington county, New Jersey, where some of his descendants later lived. He married Mary Scammon and had twelve children, as follows: John, born in Barbadoes May 14, 1679, see forward; Mary, died at Newport in 1683; Samuel, died in New York city in 1720; Joseph, born August 11, 1685, died September, 1759, married (first) Sarah Lawrence, (second) Helena Willett; William, born May 20, 1687, died May 23, 1704; Anne, born August 11, 1689, died 1715, married Walter Newberry; Thomas, born 1692, died October, 1693; Mary, born December 20, 1693, married John Willett; Elizabeth, died young; Thomas, born January 9, 1698, married Elizabeth Scott; Hannah, born August 6, 1700, married (first) Jonathan Dickinson, and (second) Samuel Holmes; and Elizabeth, born at Flushing in 1702, married Thomas Masters, of Philadelphia.

 Dr. John Rodman, eldest son of Dr. John and Mary (Scammon) Rodman, born in Barbadoes, May 14, 1679, was reared at Newport, Rhode Island, where he became a freeman in 1706, removed to Block Island, and from there to Flushing, Long Island, in 1712. In 1726 he purchased land in Burlington county, New Jersey, and settled there. He was, like his father, a prominent physician and a member of the Society of Friends. He was a member of provincial assembly 1727-9, member of governor's council 1738, and commissioner to treat with the Indians in 1741. He owned 1300 acres of land in Burlington county, and in 1703 purchased 3000 acres in Warwick township, Bucks county, comprising nearly the whole eastern side of the township, which at his death in Burlington county, July 13, 1756, was devised to four of his sons, John, William, Scammon, and Samuel. Dr. Rodman married (first) Margaret Grosse, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Grosse, of Boston, who died at Flushing, Long Island, June 2, 1718. He married (second) July 7, 1719, Mary Willett, daughter of William Willett, of Westchester county, New York, granddaughter of Thomas Willett, a native of Bristol, England, who married in 1643 Sarah Cornell, daughter of Thomas Cornell, of Cornell's Neck, Westchester county, New York. The children of Dr. John and Margaret (Grosse) Rodman were: John, born at Flushing, Long Island, 1714, died 1795; Thomas, born 1716, died in Burlington, New Jersey, 1796, married Elizabeth Pearson; Mary, married John Johnson, of Bucks county.

 The children of Dr. John and Mary (Willett) Rodman were: William, born May 5, 1720, see forward; Anna, born 1722, died 1763, married October 20, 1759, William Lister, of Essex county, New Jersey; Scammon, born March 8, 1723, died January 4, 1762, unmarried; Hannah, born July 4, 1726, died October 7, 1755; Samuel, born May 30, 1729, died July 4, 1761; and Margaret, born August 6, 1731, died October 18, 1752, married October 10, 1751, Charles Norris.

 William Rodman, eldest son of Dr. John by his second marriage with Mary Willett, came to Burlington county, New Jersey, from Flushing at the age of six years. In 1744 his father sent him to Bucks county to take charge of six hundred acres of land in Bensalem township, called Rodmanda, later named by him after his birthplace, Flushing, where he lived until his death, January 30, 1794. He was one of the most prominent men of his day in Bucks county. He was a justice 1752-57, and a member of provincial assembly, 1763-76. He married Mary Reeve, of New Jersey, September 6, 1744, and they were the parents of eight children; Sarah, died at the age of four years; Mary, born July 23, 1747, died December 1, 1765, married, June 27, 1765, Phineas Buckley; Gilbert, born July 21, 1748, died August 21, 1830, married Sarah Gibbs, daughter of Richard and Margery Gibbs; Hannah, born 1751, died 1775, married John Howard; Margaret, born September 20, 1752, died February 22, 1781, married Dr. William McIlvaine; Elizabeth, died unmarried; William, born October 7, 1757, died July 27, 1824, married Esther West; and Rachel, born December 1, 1759, died September 1, 1783, married September 20, 1782, Samuel Gibbs.

 Gilbert Rodman, born at Flushing, Bucks county, July 21, 1748, died in Bucks county, August 21, 1830. He was a major in the continental forces during the Amboy campaign of 1776, and was disowned from the society of Friends for his military services. He inherited from his father, William Rodman, the farm on which the Bucks county alms house is now located in Doylestown township, it being part of the tract purchased by his grandfather of John Gray, alias Tatham, in 1703. He lived on this plantation until 1808, when he sold it to the county and removed to Bensalem, where he died. He married, June 3, 1784, Sarah Gibbs, and they were the parents of eleven children: Mary, married Anthony McCoy, and was the mother of Dr. Gilbert Rodman McCoy, who succeeded to the practice of Dr. Charles Mathews at Doylestown, and was one of the most prominent physicians of the county; Margery, married Judge John Fox, president judge of the courts of Bucks county, 1830-40, and a leader of a powerful faction of the Democratic party in Bucks county for many years; Gibbs Rodman, born January 8, 1782, died December 18, 1812, unmarried; Sarah, married John S. Benezet; Elizabeth, married William Drinker of Philadelphia; Margaret, wife of Dr. Charles H. Mathews; Hannah, died unmarried; Gilbert, born August 25, 1800, died January 15, 1862, unmarried, studied law with Judge Fox, later with Judge Dallas at Philadelphia, located at Lancaster, was a clerk in the United States Treasury department under Samuel D. Ingham in 1829, later becoming chief clerk and filling that position until his death; Euphemia, born 1802, died 1807; Mary Ann, born 1804, died in 1827, unmarried; and Lewis, who graduated from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in the same class with Dr. Charles H. Mathews, located in Philadelphia, where he became a prominent physician, was censor of the College of Physicians, consulting physician for Preston's Retreat, Etc.

Text taken from160-163

David, William W. H.,  A. M. History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905]  Volume III

Transcribed January, 2001  as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published January 2001 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/


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