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MATTHIS / LAWSON FAMILY HISTORY
By Anthony Matthis
2004

 
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BETTER UNDERSTOOD IF USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MATTHIS/LAWSON ANCESTRAL TREE GRAPH Most of the information gathered in this note is from my personal research of the National Census via Ancestry.com, and from discussions with family members. One very interesting thing is the name. It hasbeen passed down through the decades that our name may have changed from Mathis to Matthis. I have seen it spelled differently from several documents such as the Census, Social Security Records, Death Certificates and Obituaries. When looking through these various records I have found our name spelled: Matthis, Mathis, Matthews, Mathews and Mathes. My conclusion is since the mid 1920 it is MATTHIS. My results are based on the death certificate of Wade Matthis Sr. The hospital, the Funeral Home and the cemetery all have it as “Matthews”, but Little Grandmom, Mattie Matthis, signed the Death Certificate “Mattie MATTHIS”. Joseph, Christine, Timothy from their Social Security Record show they all spelled it MATTHIS. Wade Matthis Jr. spelled his name Matthews on his Social Security Records. Antoinette Ford told me a story about how her Grandmother, Sula Gaskin Mathis, changed their name because she thought it was spelled incorrectly. Again I thought this was interesting and describes how some of us spell our name with one “t” and others with two “ts”. Wade Jr. may have spelled his name Matthews with Social Security—but all his children were named MATTHIS. Francis Matthis the only child of Timothy Matthis spelled his name with two “ts”. My research takes me to the city of Ninety-Six, County of Abbeville in the state of South Carolina, to the 1870 Census. I have not been able to find anything prior to this census for either side. Both families originated from Ninety-Six, South Carolina and were farm laborers, share croppers. This can be depicted from the Census, as they did not own their land. Throughout my research the county changed many times, but the city of Ninety-Six remained. Today Ninety-Six is part of Greenwood County. We will first look at the Matthis side. Wade Sr. grandparents were Geo and Anny Matthis, African American, farm worker and share choppers. Geo was born in 1819 and Anny in 1824. They had five daughters, Ida (1849), Elvira (1849), Amanda (1859), Georgianna (1864), Jane (1870), two sons Enoch (1852) and Wade (1868). There was little information in the 1880 Census. What I gather from bits and pieces, the family was no longer together under one roof. I suspect the reason behind them not residing together may have been the death of Geo Matthis. The older children took custody of the younger ones. Georgianna resided with Ann Hutchinson (who may have been Anny) and Wade with his older brother Enoch. The older girls last names may have changed and I lost the ability to gather any more information on them. Even though the 1880 and 1890 provide little, the 1900 Census shows that Wade M. Matthis Sr. was born in 1880. Talking to family members, we know that Wade’s. Mother was Georgianna -- Georgia. We also know that he was raised by one of Georgianna’s sisters being that she was too young and unmarried. The only sisters that may have raised Wade would have been one of the three older ones. From conversations it may have been Elvira. It is my assumption they raised Wade Matthis Sr. Georgianna married someone later who’s last name was Blake. They together had many children of which Maggie was the youngest. Maggie Blake Gary (1906) is the mother of Mamie Gary Adderly (1923). Mamie is the mother of Richard Adderly (1939). I have no information to conclude this Blake person is not the father of Wade Matthis Sr., Mattie’s husband. Georgianna passed on May 17, 1928.

 Now for the Lawson side. From this census I was able to find the father, Peter Lawson and mother, Arrow Lawson, of Martha Matthis, Mattie. Peter was African American and Arrow was a mulatto. Peter was born in 1853 in South Carolina. Arrow Lawson was born in 1855 in South Carolina. They both were farmer, share choppers, which lead me to believe they were field hands during slavery. I have been told that Arrow may have had Indian blood, but the census does not verify this. According to the 1880 Census, Mattie was born in 1878 or 1877, the second child. She had two brothers, George Lawson (1875) and Thomas or Perry (1880). She had three sisters, Mary (1883), Bella (1891) and Lorrie (1895). During the 1880 Census Peter had a brother George Lawson residing with them.

Based on the 1900 Census, I conclude that Mattie and Wade Sr. married in 1899 or 1900. They resided with Mattie’s parents and she had a son Tilman Lawson (1897). I believe T.L. is short for Tilman Lawson. The 1910 census shows the children in the family consist of T.L., Timothy (1900), Christine (1902), Joshuay (1903), Wade Jr. (1908) and Peter L. (1910). In the 1920 Census Peter L. doesn’t exist. I have heard that Mattie and Wade had loss several children. Peter must have been one and they also lost a set of twins who were born after Queen. The 1920 Census reveals much. This Census shows the whole Wade and Mattie family and they all resided together in Ninety-Six, South Carolina and were Share Croppers. Two more children were born to the family, Joseph (1911) and Ella Queen (1913). Also T.L. was married to Bertha (1900). In the 1930 Census we found no records of Wade Sr., T.L. or Bertha. It was also told to me that both Timothy and Christine attended college. Christine dropped out because she became pregnant. When I was of a young age, I recall Christine telling us children about her brother Joshua, Uncle Buddy. Uncle Buddy had run away from home when he was but twelve years old to escape a whipping from his dad. She said one day some four or five years later, she open the door to find standing there this very tall handsome black man. It was her brother Joshua. He had traveled to many places which included working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. Joshua was the tallest of the children; he stood over six feet five inches. Now all the sons were over six feet except for Timothy. He stood around five feet, six inches. From Wade Sr. death certificate he died in Philadelphia, PA on December 8, 1927 of Heart Failure, complicated by an Inflamed Kidney. He died at the Hannamann Hospital and was buried at Mount Lawn Cemetery. T.L. died in South Carolina of a gunshot wound while hunting. No information of what happened to Bertha. Wade Matthis Sr. and his family moved from Ninety-Six, South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania around 1924. Not many families with grown children pack up and all move. Normally some will stay behind, but not the Wade Matthis family. We have been told that one of the sons received a beating from a white man and the other sons inflicted grave bodily injury to that man. They had to leave. If there was a name change it occurred then. From this reunion of Mattie and Wade, over 300 family members have been conceived. Of this number 95% reside in the Philadelphia area. In the 1930 Census, I found Wade Matthis Jr. married to Ida Curveton and had one child, Dolores (1928) and resided at 145 Sharewood Street, Philadelphia, PA. Mattie, Christine, Joseph, Queen, along with Christine’s children Jessie (1925), Gussie (1927), and Herman (1928) resided with Timothy, his wife Clara and son Francis (1925) at 244 W. Diamond Street, Philadelphia, PA. This census does not list Jessie, Gussie or Herman. I was unable to find anything of Joshua Mathis or his spouse and children in the 1930 Census. The 1930 Census is the last one made available to the public.