Throwback Thursday by Matson Insurance: Local Writers Acknowledged

matsonMatson Insurance is partnering with Jefferson County History Center to offer readers a look in Jefferson County’s past. Today The History Center is being showcased.

[Photo above: Richard “Mac” Matson wrote a humorous memoir as well as a book titled The Story of the Christ As Told by the Evangelists. (JCHC Photograph)]

The following article was written by Carole A. Briggs, Curator, Jefferson County History Center:


Over the years, I’ve become acquainted with historians Kate Scott, Dr. McKnight, and William* McCracken. I’ve read the accounts written by Alfred Truman and “Neighbor” Kennedy. And I’ve discovered others who have written all kinds of things. Some writing ended up in book form. Some didn’t.

Alfred Truman, for instance, didn’t write a book; instead he wrote “hundreds of descriptive pieces concerning his travels for the press as well as discussion on matters of leading interest.” He was sixteen in 1861 when he arrived from Nottingham, England. An engineer, he worked on the first logging railroad in the county and described his experiences quite well.

Another local writer, Richard M. Matson, wrote a forty-three page paper titled “Biography of R. M. Matson by himself,” a title I find amusing! His autobiography relates his growing up, school, farm life, his brief law career, timber ventures, public service and politics, and finally his retirement in Florida. I enjoy reading and learn much from these topics, but as the mother of three, I find Matson’s stories of his youth especially interesting. For example, he writes:

We all attended church, with the exception of one person that stayed at home to keep the house. Once I prevailed on them to let me stay and keep the house. The family had not gone long until the lonesomeness and quietness of the place began to tell on me and I looked around for something to do. Finally I discovered the powder horn. I took it down from the nail on which it always hung and made a long streak of powder the entire length of the front porch about 30 feet in length. When all was ready I obtained a live coal from the fireplace and touched off the train. It went off all right but left a streak as black as ink the entire length of the porch. I had plenty to do from that on trying to obliterate the damaging evidence of my folly. The result was not as satisfactory as I wished, and when the family came home the porch was wet and the black streak was still there. Grandfather scolded a little but Aunt Jane and Grandmother did not say much and I no doubt kept as still as possible, while they enjoyed my embarrassment. One was enough. I never asked to keep house on Sunday again.

Matson’s book The Story of the Christ As Told by the Evangelists was printed in 1916.

The History Center archives the writings of the people who live here, so if you know an author, remind them to send us a copy or two of their books.

[email protected] County Historical Society, Inc.

Throwback Thursday is brought to you by Matson Insurance in Brookville.


Submitted by the Jefferson County History Center.

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