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Joseph Lazarus Matthes

Question: Was one of the nine horsemen on “This is the Place Monument’ Joseph L. Matthews?

Answer: Joseph Lazarus Matthews was born in Johnson County, North Carolina, on January 29, 1809, to Lazarus Entail Matthews and Delia Howard.

Joseph married Rhoda Carroll on July 14, 1832. A short time after their marriage, Joseph moved to Noshaba, Noxsuby County, Mississippi and here he, with many other southern people, accepted the teachings of Elder Benjamin Clapp and Elder Benjamin Mathews, and was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the early part of 1845, when his third child was five years of age, he disposed of his property and purchased a lot in Nauvoo, Illinois. One year later he moved his family to a temporary abode at Winter Quarters. Leaving his wife and children with little to sustain them during his absence, he started west in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. Brigham Young selected Joseph Matthews to join the original company as a captain and scout. Joseph Matthews was one of the Captains of Ten.

Vanguard Company:

Thursday, July 22, 1847, the morning was cloudy and it looked like rain in Emigration Canyon. Early in the morning Elder Orson Pratt from the advance company of the Pioneers (encamped 1 ½ miles up from the mouth of the canyon) visited the main company of pioneers, encamped about a mile above Elder Pratt’s company and consulted with Willard Richards and George A. Smith, when it was decided that Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Erastus Snow, Joseph Matthews, John Brown, John Pack, Porter Rockwell, Jesse C. Little and one other man whose name is not given in the record, started on horse-back for the valley and look for a suitable place to plant seed, some potatoes, turnips, etc. The exploring party traveled about twenty miles. About four miles north of the pioneer camp were two beautiful streams of water (the two branches of City Creek) with stony bottoms. ~ Heart Throbs of the West by Kate B. Carter

Friday, July 23rd. In the morning John Peck and Joseph Matthews were dispatched to inform President Brigham Young and those who were with him of the programs of the advance company and their discoveries, explorations and arrival in the valley. ~Treasure of Pioneer History by Kate B. Carter

Naturally the pioneers were impatient to explore the surrounding country. Their first duty was to plant the seed they brought with them. Plowing began on the 23rd and continued during the 24th. Monday morning July 26th, a number of exploring companies were sent out, including the eight apostles in the camp and Elders Albert Carrington, William Clayton, John Brown and Joseph Matthews. The two latter crossed the river, which was called the Utah Outlet and later the Western Jordan, and ascended the mountains on the west of the valley. They reported, on their return, that the land on that side of the valley was not as good as the land on the east side. ~Essentials of Church History, page 452

On August 9, 1847, Jesse C. Little, Wesley Willis, Joseph Matthews, John Brown and John Buchanan penetrated the county northward to Bear River Valley, “accompanying James Brown, who was on his way to California via Fort Hall to obtain the pay of the Pueblo Detachment of the Mormon Battalion.” Enroute they visited Fort Buenaventura, the home of Miles Goodyear and on their return to Salt Lake reconnoitered in Cache Valley. ~Heart Throbs of the West, Kate B. Carter

Two years later Joseph was commissioned to accompany Parley P. Pratt’s exploring expedition into southern Utah. The winter of 1850 was spent preparing the families that were chosen to settle in California; Joseph left the Salt Lake Valley on March 13, 1851 in the company of Charles C. Rich and Amasa M. Lyman to aid in the establishment of the Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. Joseph his family remained there until the settlement was abandoned in 1858.

Joseph Smith Tanner left San Bernardino, February 6, 1858 in company with Colonel Kane, as his escort, who had received instructions from the government to come to Utah, and help settle the trouble. On reaching Parowan, Utah, Colonel Kane was escorted the rest of the way by Apostle Amasa H. Lyman, Joseph Matthews and Daniel Stark, who with other Saints in adjoining states were asked to return to Utah. ~Heart Throbs of the West, by Kate B. Carter

Joseph Matthews then settled his family in Santaquin, Utah County, Utah. After returning from a mission to the Southern States, he again took up his work of farming and freighting until he was called to settle in Arizona. Matthewsville, Graham County, Arizona, [four miles west of Pima, AZ] is a small farming settlement situated on the left bank of the Gila River. It was named in honor of Joseph Matthews, one of the original Utah Pioneers of 1847. ~Heart Throbs of the West, by Kate B. Carter

The 2nd wife of Joseph Matthews was Polly Boss, who was a well known mid-wife and pioneer doctor. She was the daughter of Phillip Boss & Nancy Obedience Brown. She married Joseph L. Matthews on February 22, 1848. Joseph’s 3rd wife was Martha Jane Potter. She married Joseph L. Matthews on July 22, 1865. Joseph had a total of sixteen children from his three wives.

Joseph Matthews died Friday, May 14, 1886 in his Matthewsville settlement near Pima, Arizona, and was buried on May 16th in the Glenbar Cemetery in Graham, Arizona.

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