Governor George Mathews

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Governor George Mathews

Also Known As: "George Matthews"
Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Orange, Virginia, USA
Death: Died in Augusta, Columbia, Georgia, USA
Place of Burial: Augusta, Columbia, Georgia, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of John Mathews and Ann (Betsy) Mathews
Husband of Mary Carpenter Mathews; Anne Mathews and Margaret Mathews
Father of Sarah Mathews; George Mathews, Jr.; Ann Paul Blackburn; Rebecca Ann Meriwether; Margaret Mathews and 4 others
Brother of Jane Lynn Paul; Richard Mathews; Mary Elder; William Mathews; Rachel Titus and 10 others
Half brother of Hanna Davis

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Governor George Mathews

George Mathews August 30, 1739-September 30, 1812

Parents: John Mathews and Ann Archer


  • Mary Flowers b.1739
  • Anne Paul 1741-1788
  • Margaret Reed

Children with Mary Flowers:

  • Sarah Carpenter

Children with Anne Paul:

  1. John 1762
  2. William 1767
  3. Rebecca 1770
  4. Jane 1771
  5. George 1774
  6. Charles 1775
  7. Margaret 1775
  8. Ann

Served in the Revolutionary War for VIRGINIA with distinction. Rank: BRIGADIER GENERAL. DAR Ancestor #: A075441

3 time Governor of Georgia


George Mathews (August 30, 1739 – August 30, 1812) was an United States planter, merchant, and pioneer from Virginia and western Georgia. He served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War then settled in Georgia. He served as the 20th Governor of Georgia, one term in the U.S. Congress, then led a filibuster expedition to capture Florida for the United States.

Early life

George was born to John and Ann (Archer) Mathews on August 30, 1739 in Augusta County, Virginia. His father was an Irish immigrant from Ulster, who brought his young family to the Virginia frontier. Young George helped expand the family enterprise. He went into business with his older brother, Sampson, and the brothers acquired property as far west as the Greenbrier district. Their commercial or mercantile efforts extended to oversees markets.

George joined the militia, and became active in civic affairs. He became a vestryman in the church, a Captain in the militia, and the sheriff of Augusta County. He earned a military reputation leading his company in the Battle of Point Pleasant against the Shawnee Indians during Lord Dunmore's War in 1774.

Revolutionary war

Mathews was named the Colonel of the 9th Virginia Regiment in early 1777. Soon after he led them north to join the Continental Army, but met with serious reverses. In the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777 his entire regiment was killed, captured, or scattered. Mathew himself became a Prisoner of War, at first held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the British withdrew from there, he was moved to a prison ship, anchored in New York harbor.

By 1779 Mathews gave a limited parole and was permitted to live in New York City, He wrote to Governor Thomas Jefferson and to the Continental Congress urging a prisoner exchange, but exchanges were limited by disagreement at the highest levels. He was finally exchanged in 1781, but got back into action only after the Battle of Yorktown.

Mathews was named commander of the 12th Virginia Regiment, but this was only a nominal command, since his new regiment had been prisoners since the fall of Charleston in May 1780. But, he went south to work with any available force in clean up actions in South Carolina and Georgia.

Life in Georgia

Mathews was impressed with what he saw as the opportunities on the Georgia frontier. Released from service in 1783, he bought land in Wilkes County. He augmented that with land grants, given for Revolutionary War service. He liquidated his Virginia property, and moved his family to a log cabin there. He and his wife, Polly, would raise their children there and in their later, larger house. In all, they had eight: John, Charles Lewis, George, William, Ann, Jane, Margaret, and Rebecca.

George encouraged other Virginia families to help settle the area. He became a judge in Wilkes County, and a town commissioner for Washington, Georgia. Then in 1787 he was a successful candidate for the Georgia Assembly. His bearing and military experience gained the respect of the other members, and they named him Governor that same year. He attended the state convention that ratified the United States Constitution. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1789 but served only one term.

Mathew's political career had struck its first bump. His identification as a Federalist and his involvement in land speculation caused him to lose the Election for the U.S. Senate in 1792. But, by 1793 he had regained enough support to again be chosen Governor.

His second administration was much less successful than his first. He couldn't get Federal support or funding from the Assembly for his planned series of frontier forts to protect against stepped up raids by the Creek Indians. Frustrated, Mathews again turned to dealing with land speculators in an effort to maintain his popularity. When the western land speculation, known as the Yazoo Land Fraud became public, his career was over. James Jackson resigned from the U.S. Senate and returned to replace him as Governor in the 1796 election.

Later life

Mathews started afresh in the Mississippi Territory. Polly had died, so he married a widow, Mary (Fairchild) (Lewis) Carpenter (widow of Richard Carpenter, 1729-1788.), who owned property there. A few years later he again became involved with politics, at first as a spy. U.S. President James Madison and he had conceived a plan to annex East Florida, then governed by Spain. English and other European colonists had been abandoned by Britain after the Revolutionary War. He was to foment a rebellion in St. Augustine, then lead troops in to make the annexation a reality. Mathews succeeded in the first steps, and early in 1812 activated a commission from Madison as a Brigadier General, and gathered local troops for the invasion.

But, in Washington, D.C., the congress became alarmed at the possibility of being drawn into war with Spain. Madison was forced to recall his commission, and the effort fell apart. Mathews decided to go to Washington to appeal his case personally. But, on the trip he became ill and was forced to stop in Augusta, Georgia. He died in Augusta on his 73rd birthday, August 30, 1812, and was buried in St. Paul's Churchyard there.

Fought in Revolutionary War as colonel, was governor of Georgia for 2 terms and

was a representative in Congress

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Governor George Mathews's Timeline

August 30, 1739
Orange, Virginia, USA
Age 21
Age 22
Augusta, Virginia, USA
Age 27
Virginia, USA
September 24, 1770
Age 31
Virginia, USA
Age 31
Augusta, Virginia, USA
September 21, 1774
Age 35
Augusta, Virginia, USA
Age 34
October 13, 1775
Age 36
Alabama, USA