Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MATHEWS, George, statesman, born in Augusta county, Virginia, in 1739" died in Augusta, Georgia, 30 August, 1812. He led a volunteer company against the Indians at the age of twenty-two, took part in the battle of Point Pleasant, 10 October, 1774, and at the beginning of the Revolution joined the patriot army, and was placed in command of the 9th Virginia regiment. He was engaged at Brandywine and at Germantown, where he was captured, after receiving nine bayonet wounds. He was confined on the prison-ship in New York harbor till his exchange in December, 1781, when he joined General Nathanael Greene's army at the head of the 3d Virginia regiment. He removed with his family to Georgia in 1785, and settled in Oglethorpe county, on Broad river. Ha represented that state in the first congress, served from 1781 till 1791, and was governor of Georgia in 1793-'6. During his occupation of this office the Indians constantly engaged in insurrections which he quelled, but ha lost his popularity and excited the animosity of the greater part of his constituents by signing the Yazoo fund bill, by which more than half the state was alienated. Mathews is represented as opposed to this act, and his probity of character clears him from the suspicion of corruption, but he judged that in the passage of the bill the legislature had not transcended its constitutional powers, in which opinion he was sustained by the supreme court of the United States. He was subsequently brigadier-general of militia, and in January, 1811, was authorized by the president to take possession of West Florida, and captured Amelia island.--His son, George, jurist, born near Staunton, Virginia, 21 September, 1774; died in Bayou Sara, Louisiana, 14 November, 1836, removed, to Georgia in 1785, was admitted to the bar in 1799, and emigrating to Mississippi territory was appointed by President Jefferson judge of the superior court in 1805. The next year he was transferred in the same capacity to New Orleans. On the organization of the Louisiana judiciary he became presiding justice of the supreme court, and held office until his death. Judge Mathews, in the beginning of his judicial career, possessed little knowledge of civil law, and no experience in the complicated system prevailing in the territory, but his decisions did much to form a permanent system of jurisprudence in Louisiana.
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