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Centennial History of Hurricane (1994 Edition): The Matthews Family

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. In 1994, the Centennial Committee published a follow up book which included family histories which were not submitted in time for the 1988 Centennial History. This week’s selection is the 26th history from The Centennial History of Hurricane WV Continued — 1994.

Part I

The Matthews family has been part of the history of the Hurricane area for more than 160 years, having arrived in Cabell County, Virginia, in the mid-1830’s. (Became Putnam County in 1848 and State of West Virginia in 1863). So, they can truly be called “early settlers.”

The information contained herein came from a variety of sources, including county, state and federal records, but the stories are primarily from numerous family members. They are the basis of our family history.

The story begins with William and Lucinda Roberts Matthews. William (b. ca. 1790) and Lucinda (b. ca. 1794) were married March 2, 1818, in Charlotte Co., Virginia. Lucinda was the daughter of Thomas and Nancy (Ann) May Roberts. (A word about the Roberts family, as they are part of the Matthews ancestry.) The patriarch of the Roberts family was one Francis Roberts, who arrived in the Virginia Colony near Jamestown before 1635 and probably lived in Henricus, the 2nd Virginia city, in what would become Henrico County. Succeeding generations lived in Luhenburg, Mecklenburg, Henry and Charlotte Counties. It isn’t likely they moved all that much — that was in a time period when new counties were constantly being formed. Brothers, Thomas and Henry Roberts (direct descendants of old Francis Roberts) married sisters, Nancy Ann and Oney May in Charlotte County, Virginia. Henry brought his family to Cabell County prior to 1818. Thomas and Nancy followed in the mid-1830’s, might even have traveled with them. Thomas and Nancy were the parents of Claburn, Gabriel, Thomas, Lucinda Matthews, and Rita Garrett. Cousins Jones Roberts and Pleasant Roberts also lived near the Matthews farm. Jones Roberts was active in the County Militia and his farm was sometimes used by the Militia for training purposes. Thomas and Nancy died before 1850 and are probably buried in unmarked graves in the Jones Roberts cemetery.

Back to William and Lucinda Matthews. It is not known exactly when or how they came to what is now Putnam County. It is logical to assume that they loaded their belongings into wagons and traveled to the area via the James River Turnpike. Upon their arrival, they first settled near what is now the junctions of US 60 and State Route 34, near the small village of Hurricane Bridge. It isn’t known how long they lived there, but in 1841-42, William purchased a 300 acre farm on Sycamore Creek at a Cabell County auction. This farm had some of the best bottom ground on Sycamore. The original house on the property had burned, so the family lived in an old log house up the hollow until a new house could be built. William built a fine, sturdy, two story house of hewn logs which served five generations of the family and is still used as a residence today, although it has undergone extensive remodeling.

In addition to being a farmer, William was also a doctor and was known in the area as “Doc” Matthews. When he built his home, he had shelving of poplar boards installed in a room on the 2nd floor to hold his medical books. Other doctors apparently had confidence in him as they would sometimes refer patients to him. There is some indication that he also served the area as veterinarian.

William and Lucinda were the parents of three Children: Ann, b. 1822, m. Charles Riddle; Mary Elizabeth, b. 1823, m. Jeremiah Kirtley; John William, b. July 1828, m. Margaret Paul. Their stories as well as the slaves they brought with them, will be told later. Lucinda died Feb. 2, 1857 at about the age of 62. William lived on past 1860 but died before 1870. They, too are probably buried in the Jones Roberts Cemetery on Trace Fork.

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