FLEMING, MATTHEW (deceased). - Ireland sends many of its best sons to America, where they develop into our best citizens under more favorable conditions than they are given in their native land. Sangamon County has always welcomed this class realizing how much the country owes to the brilliant minds and keen wits of the sons of the Emerald Isle. One of the men who ably represented all that is best in his fellow country-men, was the late Matthew Fleming, who for years was a farmer of Riverton, Ill. He was born in County Karlo, Ireland, in March, 1830, a son of Patrick and Bridget (Felming) Fleming, both of Ireland. The father was a weaver, who never came to this country, and he, his wife and their five sons and two daughters have now all passed away.
Growing up in his native land, Matthew Fleming attended the local school and worked for his father until 1857, when he came to America, landing in New York, from there going to Vermont, where he spent six years farming. He then came to Springfield, Ill., where he lived for a few months when he removed to Chatham and there spent a year farming. Then returning to Springfield, a he spent a year in the city, when he again engaged in farming in Clear Lake Township. In 1869, he located at Riverton and there worked in the Howlett distillery for a number of years. His death occurred July 16, 1894, his family losing a beloved member and the community a reliable citizen. He was a consistent member of the St. James Catholic Church, and in politics a Democrat.
On January 29, 1854, Mr. Fleming was married to Johanna O'Shaughnessy, born in County Carlo, W. Ireland, in December, 1828, a daughter of Patrick O'Shaughnessy, a native of Ireland who came to America, joining his sons at Springfield, who had come before him but died soon after his arrival. His wife died before the family came to America. There were three sons and two daughters in the family, two of the sons remaining in Ireland. Those surviving are, John; Mrs. Margaret Daley and Mrs. Fleming. Mr. and Mrs. Fleming became the parents of ten children, eight now living: Bridget, wife of William Smith, Superintendent of mines at Springfield; Patrick, janitor of the Franklin Life building, Springfield; Margaret, wife of Leon Bosquet, a carriage maker of St. Louis; William, a blacksmith, died November 6, 1905; James, living in Springfield, is a mine manager; Elizabeth married Millard Mitchell, a master mechanic of a large brewery in Brooklyn, and her twin, Marie, wife of William Gragg, a manufacturer of ladies' garments at Decatur; Johanna, wife of Michael Layden, a farmer of Riverton; Lawrence, with the Illinois Hotel Company, Springfield. There are thirty-eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in the family. Mrs. Fleming owns her comfortable home in Riverton, in addition to other property. She is a pleasant lady, devout in her religious views, and devoted to her large family. She was a worthy helpmate for her husband, always encouraging him and supporting him in his endeavors to lay aside something that would provide for them in their old age.