MATHENY, CHARLES R. - Among the substantial farmers who crossed the Alleghenies from the Shenandoah Valley through Cumberland Gap, were James Matheny and his wife, Diana, and their children. One of these, Charles Reynolds Matheny, in early manhood was licensed in the Methodist ministry. He was located for a time in the ancient settlement of Harrodsburg in Kentucky, but about the year 1805 was sent as a missionary to the Illinois Country. He located at Lebanon, in what is now St. Clair County, the future site of McKendree College, where his elder children were born.
His wife, Jemima Ogle, was a daughter of Captain Joseph Ogle, who was notable among the settlers in the Ohio Valley as a militant Christian of the most aggressive type, a force in the religious life of the scattered settlement and a strenuous Indian fighter as well. Captain Ogle was commissioned by Governor Patrick Henry on the 2d day of June, 1776. He was in command in vigorous fighting against the British and Indians at Fort Henry (Wheeling), W. Va., in 1777. He soon after removed to the west and, in the words of one of the early histories, was "was one of its bravest defenders," and Ogle County, Ill., was named in his honor.
The organization of civil and education affairs in the new communities was a matter of much interest to Charles R. Matheny and he developed much aptitude for them. He was a member of the last Territorial Legislature at Kaskaskia (1817), and Representative from St. Clair County in the Second General Assembly after the adoption of the Constitution in 1818. In 1821 the seat of government for Sangamon County was established in Springfield and the County was organized, and he removed to Springfield to assist in these matters.
He was Clerk of the County Court from the organization of the County until his death, which occurred in 1839. For some years he was also Clerk of the Circuit Court. He was active in the organization of the village of Springfield and was President of the Board of Trustees from 1832 to 1839, with the exception of the year 1834. Among his associates on the Board of Trustees were Stephen T. Logan, the most distinguished lawyer of his day in Illinois; Samuel H. Treat, afterward Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois and Later Judge of the United States Courts for the Southern District of Illinois, and Abraham Lincoln.
Charles R. Matheny was a strong advocate of higher education at the time when popular sentiment was strongly opposed to it, and was one of the Trustees of McKendree College in its early years.
Of the children of Charles R. Matheny, five sons grew to manhood. One, Dr. Lorenzo Dow Matheny, a physician of much promise, died at the beginning of his career. The other four, Noah W. Matheny, James H. Matheny, Charles W. Matheny and Elijah Cook Matheny, had a large part in the political, professional and business affairs of Springfield and Sangamon County for nearly half a century, during the period of most active developme