GEORGE BOWEN MATHEWSON

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903      P.  115

GEORGE BOWEN MATHEWSON.  During his long and well remembered career in Pomfret, Windham county, George Bowen Mathewson was not only associated with the agricultural and political advancement of his adopted locality, but by reason of pronounced talent, built up a reputation as an artist by no means local.  A scholar also, and an earnest student of men and events, his horizon was necessarily a broad one, and caused him to be an important figure in a time when the hand guiding the plow and harrow recognized in the surrounding landscape a chance for harvests only rather then an opportunity for pictorial delineation.  Yet in the life of this man, so appreciative of the fine and beautiful things of this world, farm work had its compensations and seems to have been harmoniously blended with a study of the classics, and with the portrayal upon canvas of the sunsets, dawns and faces which made up his environment.  Born in the beginning of the nineteenth century, in 1804, he was but a lad when the family fortunes were shifted from the Israel Putnam farm in Brooklyn, Conn., to Pomfret, where he received his preliminary education at the district schools, where he spent his entire life, and where his death occurred in 1877.  He was a worthy descendant of one of the oldest families in Connecticut, and it was ever his design to maintain its traditions and excellencies.

(I)            Henry Mathewson, or as the name is written in Rhode Island, Matteson, of East Greenwich, R.I., was born in 1646, and was an early resident of Greenwich.  He took up land in East Greenwich in 1678, and about that time married Hannah, daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth Parsons, of which union the following children were born;  Henry, Thomas, Joseph, Francis, Hannah and Hezekiah.  The father, who died in 1690, was deputy of the general court in 1685.

(II)          Joseph Mathewson, of East Greenwich, had one son, Joseph, by his first wife, Rachel, and by his second wife, Martha, had ten children;  Obadiah, Jonathan, William, Alice, Elizabeth, Thomas, John, Ezekiel, Lois and Eunice.

(III)       Joseph, son of Joseph, was born March 22, 1706-7, and to him and his wife, Rachel, were born the following children:  Rachel, born Dec. 24, 1729;  Annie, Sept. 6, 1731;  Elizabeth, Jan. 26, 1733-4;  Clement, Jan. 7, 1735-6;  Joseph, March 3, 1737-8;  Lydia, July 17, 1740;  Hannah, Oct. 25, 1742;  Benjamin, Dec. 3, 1744; and Elias, Feb. 11, 1746.  These births are all recorded in Coventry.

(IV)       Joseph, son of Joseph (2), born March 3, 1737-8, married Jan. 5, 1763-4, Prudence, daughter of Aaron and Experience Bowen, of Coventry, born May 15, 1736.  In 1795 Mr. Mathewson purchased the Colonel Israel Putnam farm, then in the town of Brooklyn, Conn., but in later life he removed to the home of his son, Darius, in Pomfret, where he died Oct. 14, 1825.

(V)         Darius, fifth child of the third Joseph, and father of George Bowen, was born Nov. 3, 1775, and in 1800 married Mary Smith, daughter of Ebenezer and Margaret (Bowen) Smith, of which union there were three sons and six daughters, viz.:  Rufus Smith, married to a daughter of John McClellen, of Woodstock, Faith Williams McClellen, of whose six children, William Williams, Harriet Cordelia, Mary Trumbull, John McClellen, Arthur and Albert, the second married Dwight M. Day, of Putnam, the third married Colonel Alexander Warner, of East Orange, N.J., the fifth is a well known eye specialist of Brooklyn, N.Y., and the sixth died young;  George B.;  Huldah, who married John W. Adams of Pomfret;  Cordelia, who married Rev. C. P. Grosvenor, a minister of the Congregational Church at Kingston, R.I.;  Harriet, who died at the age of nineteen;  Charles, who married Mary G., sister of Rev. C.P. Grosvenor, and died in Nebraska;  Nancy, who died unmarried;  Caroline, who became the wife of Edwin C. Searls, and mother of the Hon. Charles E. Searls; and Emily, the wife of Jeremiah Olney, a retired business man of Thompson, now residing in Hartford, Connecticut.

During earliest youth the student propensities of  (VI) George Bowen Mathewson manifested themselves in divers ways, and to his childish eyes even the commonplace contained much of beauty and charm.  He would draw and paint with fidelity to detail when his companions were absorbed in their sports, and it was his good fortune to be able to repair to Boston occasionally to perfect himself in technique and composition. During his whole active life he farmed during the summer and painted his portraits and landscapes during the winter season, and so excellent was his work that it drew praise from those excelling in the art of criticism.  He never failed to study and read, and he was one of the best informed and generally well read men of his time in Pomfret.  One of his many varied interests was politics; he was a staunch believer in the principles and issues of the Republican party, and represented his town in the State Legislature.  He was a member, and for many years a deacon, of the Congregational Church, and contributed generously towards the maintenance of that denomination.

In Pomfret Mr. Mathewson married Hannah Payson, daughter of John H. and Amaryllis (Paine) Payson, the latter a daughter of Rev. Joshua Paine, a minister of a Congregational Church in Massachusetts.  Of their children, (1) Amaryllis was educated at a young ladies seminary in Massachusetts, and for many years engaged in educational work in Fairfield county, Conn.  She is a woman of culture and breadth of mind, and is an ardent worker in the Congregational Church.  (2) Edward Payson was educated in the public schools and at the New Britain Normal, and subsequently taught school in Coventry and in South Carolina before the Civil war.  He was a soldier during the war, and later became very prominent as a probate judge and was one of the leading citizens of Pomfret.  He married Marian Chandler Holt, in 1863, his wife being a daughter of Dr. Holt.  Edward Payson died in 1892.  (3) Elizabeth P., who also was a school teacher, married Hon. Charles Grosvenor;  (4) Anna became the wife of Benjamin Grosvenor, of Pomfret;  (5) Mary is deceased;  (6) Olive lives at home; and (7) Darius, who married Mary Baldwin, lives in Nebraska.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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