Herbert Matthews and Goldie Reeder

For the early life of Goldie, see this post.

After Herbert’s mother died, he left home and took various odd jobs in Chicago.  He had a wide variety of jobs (see his autobiography) – traveled on trains, worked for Barnum and Bailey Circus, did odd jobs in Indianapolis, etc.  He worked on a British ship and sailed around the world.  One of his buddies on the ship was Jim Hanna.  After the trip, Jim and Herbert went to Indianapolis where Herbert’s father and step-mother were living.  Jim Hanna met Laurinda (Renie) Hatcher.  She was Goldie’s great aunt (Amanda Cozatt’s sister).  Amanda was Nettie’s mother.  Jim and Renie later married.  Herbert met Goldie at Aunt Renie’s house.

Young Goldie and Herbert Matthews

They were married on January 6,  1916 in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS NEWS - JAN. 7, 1916, p4.   Marriage License:  Herbert L. Matthews and Goldie Reeder

Newman’s daughter Iva married John Wickliff Denton in Indianapolis on June 1, 1916.

Herbert had passed the Civil Service examination on Oct. 2, 1915, and was notified by mail on April 12, 1916.  He sent his medical certificate on Oct. 8.  He was appointed as substitute clerk Nov. 25, went to work on Dec. 5 at 5:59 pm at the Indianapolis, getting a his first paychecks on Dec. 18th of $11.78, and Jan. 3, 1917 of $28.10.

He took a leave from there and entered the Navy in October 1917 for service in WW1.

Goldie and Herbert Matthews, as Herbert entered WW I service
Herbert Matthews left the postal service for WW I. The Indianapolis Star, November 14, 1917.

After the war, Herbert went back to the post office but remained in the Naval Reserve.

Their first child, James Douglas, was born at 10:00 am on Friday, February 7, 1919 at their residence at 717 E. 11th Street in Indianapolis.

In the 1920 census Newman (65) and Helen (52)  were living at 1036 N. King Avenue on the west side of Indianapolis with daughters Nellie R. (20, a typist), and Bernice E. (15), and a 13 month old boarder, Adolph Milharsie.  All had been born in Illinois but the baby (1 1/12), born in Indiana. Iva (23) and her husband, John Denton (34), were living in Indianapolis with son Glenn (15 mo.), and a Sybil Trosky (47), probably a boarder.  Mable (32) and her husband, Fred Reeder (32), were living in Posey County, Indiana.

In the 1920 census, Herbert L. Matthews (30, a postal clerk) and wife Goldie (22) were living with son James D. (11/12 months) at 450 N. Senate Avenue.

Their second child, Mary Luella, was born at 12:00 noon on Friday, May 28, 1920, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.  Anna Louise was born at 11:00 pm on Thursday, February 16, 1922 at Methodist Hospital.

Newman lived at 537 North Capital where daughter Betty walked to Manual High School.

Glenn Denton, Newman Matthews; c. 1921

Daughter Nellie married Ralph Sidney Cox in Marion County, Indiana on August 19, 1922. They remained in Indianapolis, and were living at 340 N. Hamilton when Newman died on January 25, 1923 of cancer of the pancreas and chronic intestinal nephritis.  His age was 68y7m28d.   He was buried in the Mackinaw Cemetery, Mackinaw, Illinois.

Newman Matthews Obituary, The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), Jan 26, 1923.


N. H. Matthews, a former resident of Clinton and brother of C. H. Matthews, 403 East Main street, passed away at his home in Indianapolis, Ind., this morning at 2:30 o'clock, following an illness of several months.  He was 69 years old.

Newman Matthews was born in Mackinaw, Illinois in 1853.  For several years he lived in Clinton, having been a tinner.  At one time he was in business here, selling out to Herman Metz.  He was married to Miss Anna Swanson in 1887, who preceded him in death fifteen years ago.  He was married a second time and this wife and seven children survive.  They are Mrs. Fred Reeder, Mrs. Nellie Cox, Mrs. Iva [Denton], Herbert, Ralph, and Bernice of Indianapolis, Ind., and Carl, of Ann Arbor, Mich.  He also leaves two brothers and a sister, C. H. Matthews of Clinton; G. L. Matthews of Champaign, and Mrs. B. F. Spencer, of Clinton.  The funeral services and burial will be held at Mackinaw Saturday.


INDIANAPOLIS NEWS - JAN. 25, 1923, p24

OBITUARY - Matthews, N. H., 340 N. Hamilton Ave., passed away Thursday morning, January 25, at the Methodist Hospital.  Mr. Matthews was formerly in the radiator repair business at 142 W. 10th.  Funeral services at the Ragsdale & Price Parlors, 1219 W. Alabama 2:30 p.m., Friday, January 26.  Friends invited.  Burial at Mackinaw, Ill. Saturday afternoon.

Newman’s brother, Charles Holmes Matthews, died in Clinton, Illinois on September 21, 1926.  His wife Mary died on May 5, 1949.  Their son Solomon had died in 1910.  All were buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery.

Stanley Edwards was born at 9:30 am on Thursday, May 17, 1923 at Deaconess Hospital.  Herbert Leslie, Jr., was born at 4:00 pm on Saturday, December 20, 1924 at Deaconess Hospital.

Herbert and Goldie Matthews, and their children left to right: Stan (baby), Jim, Anne, Mary

In April of 1927, for a postal promotional event, Herbert painted 3 foot postcards.

Three foot post cards. The Indianapolis Star, April 5, 1927.
Herbert Matthews (right)

Goldie, Betty, Jim, Herb “Les”, Anne, Mary, StanBetty Jean was born at 11:45 pm on Thursday, September 12, 1929 at their residence at 2837 N. Olney in Indianapolis.

Herbert and Goldie Matthews and their children. Back: Jim, Anne, Mary. Front: Betty, Herb, Stan

Son Jim also remembers the family living near the present site of the Masonic Temple.

In 1930, Herbert, Goldie, and family moved to New Philadelphia east of Indianapolis on US 40.  They moved there so they could have a garden and cow, as this was the worst of the depression.  Carl Eugene was born there at 2:30 pm on Tuesday, September 8, 1931.

Jim Matthews, Buster; 25th Street Indianapolis; c. 1924-1925

In July 2003 Anne Matthews Dillane provided the following story for the Matthews reunion:

“This is an early childhood memory while we were living in Philly Indiana. One evening, Dad decided to take the family into town to see a movie. We all piled into our old Nash and drove the 20+ miles to the big city. Upon arriving, to our surprise we had an extra passenger, Buster, our faithful little dog!! He had ridden all the way with us, lying between the hood and running board of the car. Dad put him in one of the rooms at the post office where he worked while we were at the show. Of course, coming home he had a less airy ride and many loving laps to lay on!!”

They lived there until 1934 and then moved back to Indianapolis and rented a house at 405 N. Beville.  Their last child, Ethel May, was born in the Deaconess Hospital in Indianapolis on September 4, 1934.

Herbert, Stan, Mary, Carl, Anne, Betty, Herb “Les”, Goldie, Ethel; Taken at 414 Beville, looking at the back of 410 Beville

After about a year they moved up the street to 414 N. Beville.  In 1937 they bought the house at 410 N. Beville.

Margaret “Jeanne” Reeder, Mabel (Matthews) Reeder, Janet Cox (Nellie’s daughter), Nellie (Matthews) Cox, Helen (Kilby) Matthews, Iva (Matthews) Denton

Helen Kilby, Newman’s wife, died in September 1940.

Helen Kilby Obituary, The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), Sep 21, 1940

Mrs. Helen Kilby Matthews, daughter of N. L. and Margaret Allensworth Kilby, was born on the Kilby homestead south of Mackinaw June 6, 1867, and died at 2:55 pm Friday [Sep 20, 1940] at the Illinois Christian Home in Jacksonville.  She was married to Newman Matthews of Indianapolis, Indiana, at Mackinaw in September, 1913.  They made their home in Indianapolis, where Mr. Matthews preceded her in death several years ago.  After his death she returned to this community to make her home until 1938 when she entered the Christian Home for the Aged at Jacksonville.

She is survived by one sister, Mrs. Inez Bollan of Havanna, onr brother, O. B. Kilby of Mackinaw; two step-sons and four step-daughters, Herbert and Ralph Matthews, Mrs. Mabel Reeder, Mrs. Iva Denton, Mrs. Nellie Cox, and Mrs. Bernice Blase, all of Indianapolis.  There are also several step-grandchildren and a host of friends in the Mackinaw community.  Funeral services were held in the Christian home at 2:30 pm Sunday, in charge of the Reverend M. L. Pontius of Jacksonville.  Burial was in the cemetery at the Home.  Pallbearers were Glenn Kilby of Virginia, Alvin Trimble of Hopedale, Warren Trimble of Pekin, Francis Kilby of Mackinaw, Glen Denton and Mr. Blase of Indianapolis.

In 1942, Herbert was called up to serve in WW II, but was sent home after breaking his shoulder in Canada.

Herbert Matthews, WW II

Herbert was an active member of several lodges, including the Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, the Murat Shrine, and the Queen Esther Chapter of the eastern Star. He was very social and enjoyed the activities. Goldie was very reserved and tolerated them.

On right, Goldie and Herbert Matthews
On right, Goldie and Herbert Matthews
On right, Herbert Matthews, unknown man, Goldie Matthews

In 1962 Herbert was installed as the vice-president of the National Association of Retired Civil Employees. In 1963 he was installed as president. His chapter had over 400 members.

Herbert Matthews installed as president. The Indianapolis Star, January 1, 1963.
Herbert Matthews

Herbert was a friendly, fun-loving man, who enjoyed being the life of the party.

Herbert Matthews

Herbert and Goldie lived at 410 N. Beville when Herbert died on September 11, 1965 in the Veterans Hospital in Indianapolis due to a failing heart caused by emphysema.  His age was 76y1m4d.

Herbert Matthews obituary. The Indianapolis Star, September 12, 1965.
INDIANAPOLIS NEWS - SEP. 13, 1965, p17.

OBITUARY - Rites for Herbert L. Matthews, 76, 410 N. Beville, will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Flanner & Buchanan Fall Creek Mortuary.  Matthews was a retired postal clerk.  He died yesterday at the 10th Street Veterans Hospital.  He was a member of East Park Methodist Church, Capital City Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and Murat Shrine.

Goldie lived at 410 N. Beville a few more years, then sold the home and rented a double in the 2300 block of North Elizabeth Street on the east side of Indianapolis.  A few years later she rented a small house at 129 N. 2nd Avenue in Beech Grove.  When her health started to deteriorate, she moved into Crestwood Village South Apartments.  She died in the Hospice at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on April 23, 1981 of breast cancer.

Goldie Matthews obit, The Indianapolis Star, April 30, 1981.

Herbert and Goldie were buried in the Washington Park East Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Newman Hamlin Matthews

Newman Matthews was born on May 22, 1853, reportedly in Mackinaw, Illinois.  He is thought to have been raised in Mackinaw.  He entered the University of Illinois in Champaign on February 1, 1873, and left after three years without a degree.  He was listed on the university records as Newman Hamlin Mathews.

Newman met and married Anna Swanson in 1887, reportedly in Chicago.  She was born in Sweden on December 26, 1865, and her parents were Carl Magnus and Anna Sophia (Bentgson) Swanson.  Anna reportedly spoke seven or eight languages fluently, and was a good seamstress.

Mable was born Oct. 19, 1887 in Chicago.

Herbert was born on August 7, 1889 in Sheffield, Indiana during a visit Anna (Swanson) Matthews, made to her parents, Carl and Anna Swanson.  Sheffield was a community on the Indiana side of 106th Street in Chicago.

Ralph was born in 1891.

A daughter, Iva Lenore, was born on Oct. 2, 1896.

Iva (Matthews) Denton, Anna (Swanson) Matthews (mother of Iva)

Newman and his family were living at 10214 Ewing Avenue on the south side of Chicago.

They lived in Chicago until about 1898 when Newman moved the family to Clinton, Illinois and engaged in business there as a tinner.  In the 1899 Clinton City Directory he was listed as a plumber on West Washington Street.

Nellie Ruth was born May 14, 1899.

In the 1900 census, Newman (46) was a tinner in Clinton City, Clintonia Co., Illinois, living on North Maple Street with wife Anna (34), and children Mable (12), Herbert (10), Ralph (8), Ivy (3), and Nellie (1).  Newman and all the children were listed as born in Illinois, Anna in Sweden.  Newman and Anna were married 13 years and had 5 children, all living.  Mable, Herbert, and Ralph were in school.  The birth dates were listed as Newman, May 1854; Anna, 1865; Mable, Oct. 1887; Herbert, Aug. 1889; Ralph, Mar. 1892; Ivy, Oct. 1896; and Nellie, May 1899.

Newman’s brother, Charles Holmes Matthews (61), was a house carpenter in Clinton, living with his wife Mary (50), and son Solomon (18).  Newman’s sister, Hannah Belle (42), was living out in the county in Harp Twp., with her husband, Benjamin F. Spencer (49), and their two children, Lizzie E. (8), and Ruby O. (2).

Carl was born Jan. 2, 1901 in Clinton, IL.

In 1903, Herbert was taken out of school when he was 13.  His father wanted him to work and help support the family, but his father squandered the money on inventions.  Because of this, Herbert left home off and on.

Bernice Elizabeth was born Aug. 25, 1904 in Clinton, IL Newman moved the family back to Chicago in 1904.

In the 1904 Clinton City Directory, Newman was listed as a tinner living at the corner of West Clay and North Maple streets.  His brother, G. L. (George Leslie) Matthews was a grocer at 204 East main and resided at 308 East Adams with his wife Sarah, and Pearl.  Another brother, C. H. (Charles Holmes) Matthews was a weaver living at 403 East Main with wife Mary, and Charles.

Newman Matthews

In March 1904, while working on a tin roof, Newman fell 20 feet and was injured.

Newman was injured in fall, The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), March 1, 1904.

The same month, he sold his tin shop.

Newman sold his tin business. The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), March 31, 1904.

Newman returned to Chicago in 1904 and remained there until Anna’s death on March 27, 1907 of tuberculosis, abetted by heart disease.  Her death was probably hastened by the rigors of the birth of a child two months earlier, which died the next day.  She reportedly had a heart attack while washing clothes.  They were living at 1550 Wrightwood Avenue at the time.  Anna was buried without a marker in the common area of the Montrose Cemetery in northern Chicago.

Newman put the children in the Lutheran Home of the Friendless near Lincoln Park in Chicago.  The children hated it.  The food was terrible.  They were constantly fed a nasty tasting pudding which they refused to eat, and were receiving cruel punishment.  When Newman came to visit them in the fall of 1907, he saw that they had lice and other signs of poor care, and he took them out.  Betty was sent to stay with her grandparents, Carl and Anna Swanson, in Charlevoix, Michigan, and Iva and Nellie were taken in by two families.  Mabel said that after he took them out, he had various housekeepers.

Newman Matthews

Needing a wife for himself, and a mother for his children, Newman placed an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune of Oct. 12, 1907, page 4, with a large picture of himself, with pictures of his four children at the time, Nellie, Bernice, Iva, and Carl at each of the four corners of the ad. This was picked up and carried across national newspapers.

Wants a wife ad – Chicago Tribune, Sat., October 12, 1907

The newspaper put a small article in the paper about Newman’s plight:

N. H. Matthews, 1305 North Halstead Street, has a problem on his hands, and he has taken the ‘sign in the window’ method of solving it.  His wife died six months ago.  There are four young children at home.  He cannot get a competent housekeeper, so, in his extremity; he had decided to find a wife.  Three applicants ‘called yesterday,’ but the children, the moving cause of his appeal, frightened them away.

Wants a wife ad – Chicago Tribune, Sat., October 12, 1907
Wants a wife ad – Chicago Tribune, Tue., October 15, 1907
Newman Hamlin Matthews

Newman moved the children to Indianapolis for a short time, then to St. Louis, Missouri where Mable took care of Iva, Nellie, and Betty.  Newman finally moved with the children back to Indianapolis, Indiana in the spring of 1908 and established a radiator repair shop at 142 W. 10th.

Daughter Betty remembers that Newman liked a lady named McComb, and would probably have married her, but she died.  Unsuccessful in attracting a wife, he put the children up for adoption.  In 1909, Ed and Otha Denton were looking for a girl to adopt.  They considered Betty, but as she said, “My sullen disposition turned them off,” and they selected Carl for his sunny disposition, and he lived with them until college age.

On September 18, 1913 Newman married Helen Kilby from Mackinaw, Illinois, believed to have been a childhood sweetheart.

Helen Kilby



Mackinaw last Thursday was thronged with visitors from all parts of the county and many parts of the state. Pekin had an especially large delegation, over 120 tickets being sold from that point. Many former residents of Mackinaw took advantage of this opportunity of visiting when they could meet all their old friends and the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all in a social way.

Dr. A. L. Koenecke of Pekin was the principal speaker of the day, his subject being the early history of our state and county with particular stress laid upon the facts pertaining to Mackinaw, showing up the history of our village in a very artistic way. Dr. Koenecke’s talk was both interesting and instructive and many people here hope to have the pleasure of meeting him again.

Gehrig’s Band of Pekin dispensed music throughout the day and evening as only Gerhig’s Band can and that with the P & O Quartet of Canton comprised the musical part of the program. Both were much appreciated. Sports and various amusements had their place and the picnic was a success in every way. Great credit is due to the management and committees for their untiring efforts in bringing this pleasure to us.

But the picnic was not the only important occurrence in Mackinaw on September 18, 1913. At one o’clock P.M. upon that day Miss Helen Kilby became the wife of Mr. Newman Matthews. Rev. Nat Sands of Manito, cousin of the bride, performing the ceremony in the presence of immediate relatives and a very few intimate friends. The bride is a daughter of the late Newman Kilby and has been well and favorably known in Mackinaw and vicinity all her life. Mr. Matthews was a former resident of Mackinaw and is well known here. After the ceremony they departed via the west bound Big Four train for Havana for a short visit at the home of Mrs. Matthew Bolan, a sister of the bride, and from there to Clinton where Mrs. Matthews formerly resided and from there to Champaign and Indianapolis, where they will reside, the groom being in business there.

They hoped to get away quietly and escape the usual shower of rice and old shoes, but the news leaked out, and they were followed to the train by a large delegation of friends who were lavish in their expression of good wishes.

Newman’s daughter Betty thought Helen was a wonderful mother, and loved her dearly, and thought the other children did also, except for Mabel, who seemed angry that Newman had remarried.  Betty had had a chronic cough, which irritated the other children who tired of constantly hearing it.  Helen treated it and cleared it up completely.

Newman Matthews, Glenn Denton (baby grandson), Helen Kilby

They lived in Indianapolis, where Newman had a business called “The Matthews Radiator & Lamp Repair Company.”

Ad for business – The Indianapolis News, March 11, 1915
Ad for laundry, The Indianapolis News, July 17, 1915
Ad for book-keeper, The Indianapolis News, October 19, 1917

The story of Newman Matthews and Helen Kilby is continued in the Herbert and Goldie Matthews post.