- Elijah Truitt Matthews, the youngest child, was born in 1831. In 1852 he
bought an interest with Thomas Bullard at Old Ozark and began to
merchandise. The place up to that time had been called Merrick's and the
post office established at the residence of John J. Andrews, two miles
southwest in 1842, with that gentleman as postmaster, and his son, Samuel
James Andrews, as assistant, was called Woodshop, which name was retained
for a short while after the office had been brought to Merrick. But when Mr.
Matthews went into business he was appointed postmaster and he changed the
name of the postoffice from Woodshop to Ozark, after the tribe of Indians by
that name in Southwest Missouri. Here he continued to merchandise until the
war came up, when he entered the service of the Confederacy. During his
absence his wife, Mrs. Louisa Matthews and their eldest son, Gelbert J.
Matthews, managed the business and took cotton in payment for goods. All the
ports were closed and the staple crops of the South went begging on the
market. When Wilson's raid came through in the winter of 1864-1865, the
large amount of cotton accumulated by this far seeing family was hid out in
old houses along the head of the branch east of the store, and was not
found. When Mr. Matthews came home he sold this cotton for a large amount of
gold. In 1866 he moved to Greenville where he merchandised until the
following fall and then went to Topeka, Kansas. Here he invested in city
property, opened up a wholesale establishment, and bought a large tract of
land near Eugene, forty miles from Topeka. The drought and the grasshoppers
during the period from 1876 to 1880 caused him to lose heavily and he sold
out and moved to Texas. There he remained a few years and returned to Ozark
to live once more. His first wife died at Topeka and when he came to Ozark,
he married Miss Lizzie, daughter of Honorable John W. Simmons.
T. J. Matthews, the eldest son, is a large property holder, a merchant of
Albuquerque, New Mexico; Moses Matthews III is a successful lawyer in
Topeka, Kansas. John Calvin and two other sons are living in Texas. Delphia,
the eldest daughter, married a gentleman by the name of McMasters of
Indiana, now is living in affluence.
It is proper to add that Moses Matthews, the father of this large family,
was always a kind father and assisted his children in making settlements. To
each he gave slaves and money and advised with them as to the best course to
pursue. And be it said to the lasting honor of his generation, more than
1000 of whom, besiaes, tile dead, are living at this time scattered from the
Atlantic Seaboard to where the sun slant bathes, with light the golden slope
on the West, that not one of them was ever been convicted as a criminal by
the courts of this country.
(s) W.E. Andrews
Taken from the original written by WE. Andrews now in the hands of the
Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.