HOLMES COUNTY, FLORIDA

HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- The First Settlers of Holmes County --- The John T Mathis Family (written by Addis Mathis)

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))  This book is chock full of pictures and what has been used within this web site is only a small about of the book.  It can still be ordered from Sue Cronkite or from the Holmes County Advertiser, 112 E Virginia Avenue, Bonifay FL 32425; phone 850-547-2270; fax 850-547-9200

John Thomas Mathis, son of Zenas Leander Mathis, and Sarah Frances Fulton, married Frances Louisa Brock and it is with genuine filial devotion that the writer pens this sketch of them because they are his parents. This family history is dedicated to them with the love and devotion that remains undimmed by the years.

My parents were hard-working, honest Christians, whose every action and thought was for the benefit and well-being of their large brood of children. Gentle and humble, but ardently devoted to the highest ideals of patriotism, they sacrificed much to provide for and encourage their children to better educations and greater heights than they themselves had attained. They were simple forthright people, completely devoted to each other and by example taught us how to face life and adversity with courage, tenacity, faith and hope. They lived and died highly respected by their neighbors and beloved of all who knew them.

John Thomas Mathis was born Dec 28, 1858, in Randolph County, Georgia. Sometime after his father returned from service in the Confederate States Army, the family moved to Alabama. They were living in Dale County when the 1870 US Census was taken, but there is evidence to support the fact that they were living in Holmes County, Florida, by 1875. The family was enumerated in the 1880 Census of Holmes County. Although no public record has been found that places them in an exact geographical location from the end of the Civil War (1865) to 1870), it is safe to say that John Thomas and his two sisters grew up partly in Dale County, Alabama, and partly in Holmes County, Florida.

John Thomas Mathis and Frances Louisa Brock (known as Louisa) were married in Holmes County, Jan 20, 1881. He died Jan 3, 1918, in Holmes County and is buried in the Sandy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. He served the Sandy Creek church many years as a deacon.

My mother, Frances Louisa Brock, was born June 19, 1864, in Coffee County, Alabama, and was a daughter of John Ellis Brock and Mary Rebecca Barrow. Her paternal grandparents were Leonard C Brock and Catherine Messer, who moved first to Sumter County, Georgia, from North Carolina prior to moving to Alabama. The Brock family genealogy is detailed, as far as is known, in a later chapter (in the writerís book The Thomas Mathis and Allied Families). Frances Louisa Brock died in Holmes County, on May 12, 1904, and is buried beside my father in the Sandy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.

John Thomas Mathis and Frances Louisa Brock were the parents of 11 children, all born in Holmes County: Pearl Cornelia, John Lee, Charles Columbus, Mary Lou, Bascom Vernando, Margaret Garah, Addis, Vida Hortense, Pallie, Alva Guy, and Thomas Otis.

        1. Pearl Cornelia Mathis was born Jan 14, 1882, and died in early childhood on Feb 5, 1889. She is buried in the Sandy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.

        2. John Lee Mathis, known as Lee, was born Dec 5, 1883. He was a successful businessman and farmer and never married. He died Jun 9, 1960, in Paxton, in Walton County, and is buried in Florala, Alabama.

        3. Charles Columbus Mathis was born Mar 3, 1885. He received a good education and was a teacher in the public school system of Bay County. After several years of teaching, he ran for a seat in the state Senate and was elected. He served Bay County as a state senator for several years and then returned to the educational field and served for many years as superintendent of Bay County schools. He died Dec 3, 1933, in Panama City, and was buried there.

Charles Columbus Mathis married twice. His wife was Ruth Howell, whom he married in Holmes County, June 22, 1907. Ruth was buried in the Mount Ida Cemetery, Holmes County. Charles and Ruth were the parents of three children, Zuliema Mae, Randall Howell and Mary Charles Mathis.

Charles remained a widower for several years, and then married Cora Stanley on July 21, 1933, in Dublin, Laurens County, Ga. She was born in Laurens County, Feb 10, 1906 and lived in Macon, Ga. Charles and Cora were the parents of a daughter, Charlotte Ann Mathis, born in Columbus, Ga, on June 12, 1934. Charlotte was married to the Rev James Henry McNeil, Ph D.

        4. Mary Lou Mathis was born in Holmes County on Jan 25, 1888. She married Luis Knight Hutchinson, D D, in Bonifay, Jan 25, 1888. Dr Hutchinson was born in Coffee County, Ala, Dec 14, 1876, and died Nov 10, 1950, in Bonifay. Mary Lou survived him 20 years and died July 7, 1970. They were buried beside each other in Bonifay. Mary Lou and her husband had two children, Margaret Louisa and Louis Knight, Jr.

        5. Bascom Vernando Mathis was born in Holmes County Sept 2, 1889. He died in Paxton, Fla, Nov 11, 1961, and is buried in Florala, Ala. He married first, Isabel Graham Oct 20, 1915, in Lynn Haven, Bay County, Fla. She was born in Manchester, Iowa, Jan 31, 1885, and died July 2, 1928, at Florala, where she is buried. They were the parents of three children, Cornelia, Harlon Graham and Allan Gordon.

Bascom Vernando Mathis married second, Nannie Tucker Smith, who was born in Coffee County, Ala, Jan 18, 1906. They were married Nov 8, 1954, and had no children. Nannie died in Ft Walton Beach, Fla, on Jan 18, 1973, and is buried at Paxton, Fla.

Bascom was a graduate of law school but never established a law practice. Instead he preferred business and became very successful as a businessman in Bay County.

        6. Margaret Garah Mathis was born July 22, 1891, in Holmes County. Garah never married. She died in Paxton, Walton County, Oct 10, 1959, and is buried at Florala, Ala.

        7. Addis Mathis, was born in Holmes County on Apr 14, 1893. When Heart and History of Holmes County was first published he was a retired civil service employee and lived in Jacksonville, Fla. He was 85 at the time and was working toward completion of a genealogy of the Mathis family. He married Minnie Ruth Brown at Lake Park, Ga, Sep 11, 1929. Minnie Ruth was born at Blountís Ferry, Columbia County, Fla, on Nov 20, 1898. They had no children.

        8. Vida Hortense Mathis was born Mar 9, 1895, in Holmes County. She married John Milton Earnest in Bonifay, Feb 28, 1931. He was born in Lynchburg, Va, Oct 21, 1872, and died in Mt Rainer, Md, Mar 3, 1936. He was buried in Lynchburg. Vida was a teacher and a businesswoman. They had no children.

        9. Pallie Mathis was born Aug 20, 1897. Pallie was a teacher and state employee, and never married.

        10. Alva Guy Mathis was born in Holmes County Mar 20, 1899. He died Nov 20, 1930 in Crestview, Fla, and is buried in Florala, Ala. He married Vera Bayles at Crestview on May 8 1927. Vera was born Jan 20, 1907, and was buried in Crestview. They were the parents of one child, Virginia Alva Mathis.

Guy owned and operated a hardware store in Crestview and was a very successful businessman; well-known and respected by his neighbors and friends.

        11. Thomas Otis Mathis was born in Holmes County June 21, 1902. He married Velma Teal in Montgomery, Ala, Apr 11, 1936. He was a graduate of the University of Florida and a businessman and farmer. Velma was born in Clio, Ala, Dec 30, 1902. Velma and Otis were the parents of a son, Thomas Othis, Jr.

 


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This page was last updated on:  17 June 2002 , 08:42 PM