William B. Mathews, one of the extensive land owners of San Joaquin county, his realty possession aggregating twelve hundred acres, is engaged in general farming, but makes a specialty of the raising of barley and wheat. He annually harvests fine crops and has become one of the foremost representatives of the grain-raising industry in this section of the state.

Mr. Mathews is a native of Posey county, Indiana, born on the 4th of August, 1854. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Hust) Mathews, the former a native of Wisconsin and the latter of Posey county. Both the paternal and the maternal grandparents located in Posey county when it was a frontier district and were actively connected with its pioneer development and progress. Upon the old homestead farm William B. Mathews spent the days of his boyhood and youth, attending the public schools through the winter months and assisting in the labors of the field through the summer seasons. he gave his father the benefit of his services until he attained his majority, when, in 1875, he left home and came direct to California, settling in San Joaquin county. Here he began farming upon rented land lying along the San Joaquin river, and when his labors had brought to him sufficient capital he began buying property, and from time to time he has added to his estate until he now has two fine ranches, comprising twelve hundred acres. For a number of years he has engaged in raising draft horses and was likewise engaged at one time in raising mules, but now confines his attention along stock-raising lines to horses. In his fields his principal crops are wheat and barley, and his harvests are large and the product finds a ready sale on the market. He keeps fully abreast with the most progressive ideas of the times bearing upon agricultural and stock-raising interests, and his valuable and well equipped farms indicate that his life has been one of untiring activity, crowned with desirable and gratifying success.

In public affairs Mr. Mathews is deeply interested in a public-spirited way and endorses all measures for the general good. He is now serving as a trustee of Reclamation district No. 17, and has also served as a trustee of the public schools of French Camp. He votes with the Democracy, and in his religious faith is a Methodist, belonging to the church of that denomination at French Camp, of which he is now serving as a trustee. He takes an active part in its work and is zealous in behalf of its growth and upbuilding.

In May, 1891, Mr. Mathews was united in marriage to Miss Julia Wilson, of Posey county, Indiana, a daughter of Christopher and Elizabeth Wilson, now deceased, who were residents of the Hoosier state. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mathews are charter members and active workers in Castoria Grange No. 322, P. H. He was its first master and his wife has served as secretary since its organization. Through this avenue they have done much to promote the agricultural interests of San Joaquin county, and they are most worthy representatives of the intelligent, enterprising and progressive agriculturists who have done so much to reclaim and improve this county and make it one of the prosperous sections of the great state of California. From humble surroundings Mr. Mathews has worked his way gradually upward to prosperity, and his life history exemplifies the statement that success has as its foundation earnest and honorable labor.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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