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Amanda Tate Allen

More family history

Amanda Tate Allen was the youngest child of John Allen and his wife Ann (Nancy) Caroline Morton. She was born 3 December 1846 at the family's plantation home outside Whiteville, Hardeman County, TN.
Amanda was about four years old when her mother died and 14 when her stepmother died and would have been the only mother that Amanda remembered.
The war was over in the Spring of 1865. Ethel Condon recorded this story about Amanda; "Although Grandma was seventeen years old when the war ended, she was inexperienced in the kitchen. I have heard her laugh about her father asking her to cook some beans one day after the Negro slaves had all left. She built a fire in the cook stove; put some dry beans in the iron pot- without any water and cooked them! She had a lot to learn about household chores when taking over the housework for her father."
Amanda Tate Allen married John Makemie Wilson Matthews 25 Feb 1873 at the bride's home by Rev. William M. Norment, pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. John was 40 and Amanda was 26. The couple moved in with Amanda's father according to family tradition.
The following history is of John and his family before his marriage to Amanda.
John Makemie Wilson Matthews was born 11 Sep 1832 on his father's plantation near Statesville, Iredell County, NC. He was the youngest child of Alexander Sloan Matthews and his wife, Elizabeth Hall. John was only four when the family moved to West Tennessee in 1836.

After John & Amanda Matthews marriage

We are fortunate that many stories have been handed down about John and Amanda. Their son Sloan wrote extensively of his childhood, and their granddaughter, Ethel Barnett Condon, wrote down many of the stories she heard growing up as well as many of her memories of her grandmother, Amanda. This is one of them:
"Grandpa (John) operated a mercantile store in Whiteville, riding to and from the store on horseback each day. For ordinary daily travel to town or to visit friends Grandma rode horseback (sidesaddle, of course) I have.heard Grandma tell of how dangerous it was for a girl or woman to travel alone for several years after the War Between the States was over because of roving freed men throughout the South, so she built a pocket into the seam of her voluminous skirts in which she carried a small six shooter for self protection. She laughingly told of being in Whiteville one day and left for home quite late, but before Grandpa was ready to leave his store. When he realized how late it was, he hastily closed the store and rode after her but was unable to catch up with her for when she heard the sound of hoof beats behind her and being unable to identify the rider in the semi-darkness of twilight, she put her heels to her horse and outran him. I can visualize that race!"
In the December after the wedding, John bought a 174.8-acre tract from the minister who married them. It joined John Allen's land on the southeast. The price was $1800; John paid $900 down, and the other $900 was due by December 25, 1881.
A little over two years later, he bought an additional 135. acres which joined John Allen's land on the northwest. The price was $2720; John paid $300 cash, gave $1500 in "cash notes upon other parties", and the other $920 was due by 20 Feb 1876.
The money owed to him from "other parties" could have been from operating the store. Ethel Condon wrote:
"Times were hard after the War and running a store was not a profitable business. Grandpa Matthews could not say "no" to a friend and neighbor whose family needed groceries and clothing when asked to give credit."
On the 1880 U. S. Census, John Matthews listed his occupation as a farmer rather than a merchant; however, in John's obituary his wife said he ran the store until they moved to Texas in 1881.
While times were hard in the South, the cattle business was booming in Texas, and many Southerners were making new lives for themselves as cattle ranchers. There was a strong market in the East for beef, land was cheap, cattle and horses were free for the catching, and the railroads were pushing through Texas and making travel and shipping easier.
John and Amanda decided to move to Texas. In addition to the reasons enumerated above, the precipitating factor may have been that their daughter, Tate, had a sinus condition that was affecting her eyesight and her doctor said she needed to live in a dryer climate.
While thumbing through some old magazines in the Fayette County, TN, Library, I ran across the comment, "We continue to hear from many of our families who moved to Coleman County, Texas ..."
Family tradition says that John went alone to Texas to have a look. We know that in 1880 John put his Tennessee land up for sale in preparation for the move.
The 1880 Census showed that Amanda's father, John Allen, was living in a separate house next door with an 18-year-old black man also named John. Since John Allen was in his eighties, this young man must have been caring for him.
In December 1880 and January 1881, John Matthews and John Allen both sold land in preparation for the move.
John Matthews sold all of his Tennessee land before leaving the state. On December 25, 1880, he sold a 144.8 acre-tract adjoining John Allen's plantation for $1200 ($800 in notes due within two years). In January of 1881, he sold 62 acres in Fayette County from his father's estate plus the 135.7 tract next to John Allen. He received a total of $914.75 for the land and accepted $1600 in notes due within three years. Several years before, in November, 1877, he had received $3000 from selling 30 acres off one corner of the William Normen, tract.
John Allen sold off 290 acres for a total of $4100 in January, 1881. He died at the age of 86 sometime between 12 Jan when he signed a deed and 7 February 1881 when his will was recorded.
When John and Amanda moved to Texas, they had been married a little over eight years and four children had been born in Tennessee:
1. Mary Tate Matthews had been born on March 31, 1874.
2. Joe Allen Matthews was born March 2, 1876.
3. Knox Matthews was believed to be the third child,born about 1878, and died before the family moved to Texas.
4. Sloan Alexander Matthews was born May 31, 1880.
Three young male relatives came to Texas with the Matthews; Euclid Morton Bond (called Uke) was the 21-year-old son of John's sister Malvena, J. Walter Allen, age 23, and his brother Orion Allen, age 21, were the sons of Amanda's deceased brother John.
"Orion Allen stayed with the Matthews family for a few years but finally settled near San Angelo where he married and reared a family . Walter did not stay in Texas very long but soon returned to Tennessee. (This is the J. Walter Allen who is mentioned in the Introduction.)"
Coleman was on the western frontier of settlements when John and Amanda arrived in May, 1881. The last Comanche Indian raid of any consequence was in September, 1976. The first land purchased in the county had been bought by Colonel William Day in 1879. He was considered very foolish to purchase land when it could be grazed for free.
The Matthews were busy during their first months in Texas. They moved into Coleman City, joined the Presbyterian church, bought land for both speculation and for their ranch, registered their brand, and began work on their ranch house.
Amanda bought the first land that the Matthews owned in Coleman Co. On 11 July, 188l, she bought Block 30 on the west side of Commercial Avenue (250 feet square), plus two 25-acre "farm lots." She sold all this property 22 months later and almost doubled her investment.
In August and September, 1881, John bought four pieces of land which totaled 1552.3 acres, then in December he bought another 160-acre tract. That brought his ranch land up to 1712.3 contiguous acres by the end of the year.
The brand that he registered on 5 September 1881 was the initials JMM* branded on the left hip, with both ear tips clipped off and a notch under each ear.
The last three children are; Claude Vincent was born in 1884, Morton Hugh, in 1886, and Walter Len in 1889.
Each of her children were given the surname of some earlier family member, with the exception of Walter, as far as we know.
Schooling was a problem on the frontier and John and Amanda were both from families who obviously had strong beliefs about the value of education for their children. Tate was the only child who was school age when they arrived in Texas. There were schools at Coleman City and at Buffalo Gap, 40 miles northwest of Coleman, and the Matthews decided Tate should attend the school at Buffalo Gap.
John had suffered terribly during the Civil War and was said to have never fully recovered. He was not expected to live to an advanced age, and by January, 1890, he may have been failing. That's when he decided it was time to write his will. John died 21 September, 1890, at the age of 58.

Owner/SourceThe internet
Linked toAmanda Tate ALLEN; John Makemie Wilson MATTHEWS

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