About Thomas Stanley Matthews
Thomas Stanley Matthews (July 21, 1824 – March 22, 1889), known as Stanley Matthews, was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from May 1881 to his death in 1889. Matthews was the Court's 46th justice. Before his appointment to the Court by President James Garfield, Matthews served as a senator from his home state of Ohio.
Matthews was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and studied at Kenyon College. He practiced law in Cincinnati before moving to Maury County, Tennessee, where he practiced from 1840 to 1845. After editing the Cincinnati Herald for two years from 1846 to 1848, Matthews was selected to serve as the clerk of the Ohio House of Representatives and as a county judge in Hamilton County. He was then elected to the Ohio State Senate, where he served in 1856 and 1857. He was then appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, serving from 1858 to 1861.
In 1861, Matthews resigned as United States Attorney to serve as a lieutenant colonel with the 23rd Ohio Infantry of the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Matthews ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1876, but was defeated. A year later, he won a special election to the Senate to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of John Sherman. He did not seek reelection.
Early in 1881, President Rutherford B. Hayes nominated Matthews for a position as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Matthews was a controversial nominee, and as the nomination came near the end of Hayes's term, the Senate did not act on it. Upon succeeding Hayes, incoming President James A. Garfield renominated Matthews, and the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 24 to 23, the narrowest confirmation for a successful U.S. Supreme Court nominee in history. He served on the Court until his death in 1889.
His funeral was attended by many luminaries.
His remains are interred at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also interred there is John McLean, another Associate Justice.
A collection of Justice Matthews's correspondence and other papers are located at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center library in Fremont, Ohio and open for research. Additional papers and collections are at: Cincinnati Historical Society, Cincinnati, Ohio; Library of Congress, Manuscript and Prints & Photographs Divisions, Washington, D.C.; Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio; .Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City, New York; State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Archives Division, Madison, Wisconsin; .and Mississippi State Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi.