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Biography of Rufus S. Mathewson

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The name of Mathewson has for several generations occupied a prominent place in the annals of Windham county. Joseph Mathewson, the grandfather of the subject of this biographical sketch, married Mary Bowen. Their son Darius, whose wife was Mary Smith, became the father of seven sons and three daughters, of whom the eldest son, Rufus S. Mathewson, was born September 14th, 1802, in Brooklyn, and received his elementary training in the schools of his native town. He fitted for college with the intention of entering Yale, but yielding to the solicitations of his father, abandoned his purpose with reference to a classical education and devoted his life to the pursuits of a farmer. He also gave some attention to the study of medicine under Doctor Hubbard, of Pomfret, but relinquished this also in obedience to the filial devotion which influenced his future career. Joseph Mathewson, his grandfather, purchased the historic farm, formerly the home of General Putnam, where the subject of this biography was born and for eleven years resided. He afterward removed to Woodstock, where for thirty-three years he followed an agricultural career. After a year spent in Mississippi, Mr. Mathewson became a resident of Pomfret, where his death occurred on the 29th of May, 1886.

He occupied many positions of honor and trust, both of a civil and political character. His habitual adherence to principle -rather than policy sometimes provoked opposition, but left no room for doubt as to the strength and integrity of his character.

When the New York and New England railroad was projected he was appointed to the difficult task of appraiser of property along the route, while his services were invaluable in the offices of administrator and trustee, where soundness of judgment, no less than probity and rectitude, are invaluable qualities. No influence brought to bear was sufficiently strong to cause him to swerve from the line of duty or depart from his convictions. Mr. Mathewson represented his town in the Connecticut legislature in the years 1861-62, and was often called to the office of selectman and to other positions of trust. He was for many years bank examiner of the state, and one of the incorporators and a director of the Putnam Bank. He was actively interested in the Masonic fraternity as a member of Putnam Lodge No. 46. In early life he united with the Congregational church, to which he gave his firm allegiance and support, and contributed in a spirit not less of duty than of liberality.

Mr. Mathewson, on the 10th of March, 1828, married Faith Williams McClellan, daughter of John McClellan, of Woodstock, and granddaughter of General Samuel McClellan and Hon. William Williams, one of the signers of the declaration of independence. Their children are: William Williams, Harriet Cordelia, wife of Dwight M. Day; Mary Trumbull, married to Colonel Alexander Warner; John McClellan, deceased; Arthur, now residing in Brooklyn, New York, and Albert, deceased.


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