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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cecil Mathis' Paternal Grandparents- Joshua & Rebecca Grant Mathis

There is always quite a bit of interest in the Mathis family, as evidenced by the recent questions regarding Cecil Mathis. We pretty much covered Cecil and his immediate family in our last Blog entry, where we also gave family information for his parents, Leon Hilliard and Verda Mathis, and his paternal grandparents, Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Their family information is reproduced below, so that you do not have to page back to last Wednesday's Blog to refresh your memory. It was transcribed from the family history from Jean and Murray Harris' "The Mathis Family of Little Egg Harbor".
Joshua H. Mathis, son of Aaron (2020) and Zelphy (Anderson) Mathis, born September 1863, died August 21,1921, married, in 1892, Rebecca A. Grant, daughter of Abraham and Matilda (Goldy) Grant, born at Chatsworth March 2, 1874, died February 16, 1963. He lived on Greenbush Road and worked in a sawmill. They are buried in Miller Cemetery, New Gretna. Children:

i Ray Etta, married (a) John Allen Jr. and (b) Harry Allen
ii Marjorie Nevada, married Benjamin Cavileer
iii Martha Elizabeth, married Leslie Parker
iv George W., married Jennie Brown
v Leon Hilliard, married (a) Betty Baker and (b) Verda Mamie Mott
vi Esther Mathilda
vii Adelia Margaret, married Arlington Conrad
viii Clarence Lloyd, born November 15, 1911, died August 29, 1974, married Margaret Ford, no children, buried Miller Cemetery
ix Herbert Franklin, married Kathryn Radar
Today, I thought that I would put a face on Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Fortunately, I have photos of them from an old Mathis family photo album compiled by Sarah Allen Ware, the late wife of Howard Ware. Howard currently lives on North Maple Avenue and is well known around New Gretna for growing the best lima beans in the area. Sarah gave the album to Ben and Elaine Allen who loaned it to me so that I could scan the photos for our Bass River Photo History Collection. I thought I would share some of the photos here on the Blog, along with some census information which, together, shed some additional light on the family.

We find a 16 year old Joshua, at the time of the 1880 Bass River Township census, living at home with his parents, Aaron and Esther Mathis, along with two sisters and a brother. His father, Aaron, a farmer, is listed as being blind. In a few conversations I had some years ago with some New Gretna old timers, they referred to Aaron as "Blind Aaron". It appears that his affliction became a part of his name.

1880 Bass River Township Census

The first census that we see Joshua and Rebecca married is the 1900 census which finds them living in Shamong Township. I have no idea regarding why they were living there. Perhaps one of our Blog readers can help out there.

1900 Shamong Townhip, N.J. census

The snapshot of the family provided by the 1900 census shows that Joshua and Rebecca have been married for 8 years and have three girls- Ray, Margie, and Martha. Joshua, born in 1863, is 36 years old, tens years older than his wife, Rebecca. His occupation is listed as "Bayman".

The 1910 census shows that Joshua and Rebecca have moved to Bass River Township and live on East Greenbush Road with a growing family which now includes 6 children - Ray, Neveda (Listed as Margie in the 1900 census), Martha, George W., Leon, and Delia.

1910 Bass River Township census

Joshua and Rebecca's home on East Greenbush house is no longer there. Elaine Allen described its location to me over the telephone. I hope that the following map accurately shows where the old Joshua Mathis homestead sat. If not, I'm sure that I will hear from Elaine, in which case I will revise the map.

Joshua and Rebecca Mathis' old homestead on East Greenbush Road
was not far from the present New Gretna Parkway exit.
Map courtesy of Bing Maps.

The last census where we find Joshua and Rebecca is the 1920 census, as Joshua died on August 21, 1921. Changes have occurred in the family. Ray, Marjorie Nevada, and Martha are no loner living at home and Clarence and Herbert have joined the family since the 1910 census. The family is still listed as living on East Greenbush Road.

1920 Bass River Township census

Having lost her husband, Joshua, on August 21, 1921, we find Rebecca, in the 1930 Bass River Township census, still living in Bass River Township but having moved to New York Boulevard (Now Rt. 9) with only sons Clarence and Herbert living at home. Clarence is listed as a State Forest laborer.

1930 Bass River Township census

Following are some photos of Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Next Wednesday, we'll follow up with photos of some of Joshua and Rebecca's children.

I find these first two photos interesting as they show Rebecca Grant Mathis with her sister, Rachel, at a young and old age.

Joshua and Rebecca had quite an influence on our area's genealogy, as evidenced by their children, 25 grand children, and 43 great grand children mentioned in Rebecca's obituary.

Obituary courtesy of Shirley Whealton

That ends today's little journey back in time to visit with Cecil Mathis' paternal grandparents, Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Be sure to join us next Wednesday for some photos of their children.

Pete S

PS- Beverly, The above are some more photos from the Mathis photo album that you have been so interested in.


  1. Yes, I'm sitting here just drooling over the pictures and itching to dig into the family to see just where they fit in. Bring 'em on please.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  2. My grandmother's correct name was Jennie Holman(Brown)Mathis Fallon; not Jennie Fallon Brown. She was from West Creek. After George W. Mathis was killed in a construction accident, she married Arthur J. Fallon of Bristol, PA.

  3. Your blog is great! I tripped upon this site by accident when searching for an obit for Kathryn Mathis. My Grandmother was Adelia Mathis Conrad. I am facinated following the ancestry of my family.

    G. Walters son of Eva Mae Conrad Walters

  4. G. Walters,

    Are you Gary or Gregory? I have some photos of your mom when she was young and, also, some 1977 photos of your brothers and sisters. I'll try to get them up on the Blog sometime soon.


    Pete S

  5. I am Gregg(not Gregory). I also have found some old pics recently and I will try and scan them and email them to you.

  6. I recently discovered Bass River History and am now a faithful follower as I'm related to or know of most of those mentioned in these stories. Especially enjoyed the blogs on the family of Joshua and Rebecca (Grant) Mathis as they are my Grandparents. And all are my uncles, aunts and cousins. I am the youngest child (78 years) of Marjorie Nevada Mathis and Benjamin F. Cavileer. Thanks for a great job.

    Ben and Marge Cavileer of Egg Harbor City, New Jersey

    Comment reference. An older blog(Dec. 29th 2009). A house pictured in Win Salmons "This Old House". Was located at the corner of Turtle Creek Road and Route 542. Built in late 1800's by Levi AustinDowns Pictured in the "Heart of the Pines" page 640 New edition by John E. Pearce. I seem to recall Tom Gibbs living there in the late 1940's. Signed Ben Cavileer, Egg Harbor City