From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing
biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.
ROBERT MATHERS, who carries on general farming on section 34, Walnut Grove Township, is one of the most
extensive landowners of Henderson County. He was born in Washington County, Pa., on the 19th of August, 1827, and
is a son of Samuel and Jane (Green) Mathers. His parents were both natives of the Emerald Isle, but were married in
New York, and removed to Washington County, Pa., where the father carried on farming on rented land until 1842,
when he emigrated with his family to the West. He moved to Henderson County, Ill., where he spent his remaining
days, passing away in August, 1859. Mrs. Mathers died on the 13th of February, 1891, at the advanced age of
ninety-one years. In their family were ten children, four of whom are now living. Jo Mathers, the eldest surviving
member, is now a resident of Biggsville. Robert is the next younger. Samuel follows farming in the same township
with his brother; and George now makes his home in California.
In the usual manner of farmer lads Robert Mathers spent the days of his boyhood and youth. He made his home with
his parents until his marriage, but for some time previous earned his own livelihood. When he started out for
himself he had no capital, but, possessed of a resolute will and a determination to succeed, he has steadily worked
his way upward. The first year he worked for John Peasley, and though he only received $122.50 for the entire
year's work, he saved some money out of that. As the result of his industry and frugality he at length became the
owner of a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres.
On the 12th of October, 1859, Mr. Mathers was united in marriage with Miss Alzoria Powell, daughter of Nathan
and Mary Powell, who were numbered among the early settlers of Henderson County. Their union has been blessed with
a family of seven children, five of whom are yet living: Eugene, at home; Dora, wife of John Irons, a prosperous
and well-known fanner of Walnut Grove Township; James and Samuel N., who aid their father in the operation of the
home farm; and Ethel, who completes the family. They also have with them a grandchild, a son of their deceased
daughter. Their family is one of which they may well be proud, for all are doing well in life and are a credit to
In his political views, Mr. Mathers is a Republican and has served as Road Supervisor, but has never been a
politician in the sense of office seeking, preferring to give his entire time and attention to his business
interests, in which he has met with signal success. As his financial resources have increased he has made judicious
investments in farming lands, until his possessions now aggregate ten hundred and seventy acres, all in one
township. This is certainly a creditable showing for a man who started out empty-handed. Step by step he has worked
his way upward until he has reached a position of affluence. Upon his farm are good buildings, a good residence,
barns and outbuildings (which are models of convenience), and all modern accessories. Among the self-made men of
the community Robert Mathers well deserved to be numbered.