The photos attached are of Joseph "Quaker Meadows" McDowell, the grandfather of the Rev. Joseph McDowell Mathews, who founded the Oakland Female Seminary in Hillsboro. Quaker Meadows Joe was a Revolutionary War soldier and later a member of Congress.
The photos attached are of Joseph "Quaker Meadows" McDowell, the grandfather of the Rev. Joseph McDowell Mathews, who founded the Oakland Female Seminary in Hillsboro. Quaker Meadows Joe was a Revolutionary War soldier and later a member of Congress.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been back in the 1800s taking a look at the Oakland Female Seminary in Hillsboro, founded in 1839 by the Rev. Joseph McDowell Mathews, but we haven’t delved into the life and times of the good reverend. Let’s go ahead and do that.

Joseph McDowell Mathews was born Dec. 8, 1804 in Augusta County, Va., the son of John Mathews (1773-1813) and Sarah McDowell Mathews (1784-1828). John and Sarah moved to Kentucky and settled in Woodford County, where they farmed until John passed away at the age of 41 in 1813. Joseph was the oldest of four children. His brother, William Harvey Mathews, was born Dec. 29, 1806 in Augusta. A sister, Margaret Mathews, was born Oct. 29, 1808 in Augusta and died in infancy in 1809. Brother Caleb Moffett Mathews was born Oct. 27, 1810. Joseph was just 9 years old when his father passed away.

Joseph’s mother, Sarah, was born in Quaker Meadows, North Carolina. Sarah was a daughter of Major Joseph McDowell (1756-1801), sometimes referred to as “Quaker Meadows Joe,” to distinguish himself from his cousin, “Pleasant Gardens Joe,” who had the same name. Quaker Meadows Joe served as an officer in the Revolutionary army, was a member of Congress during the Presidencies of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and was general of the old-time militia of North Carolina. Sarah McDowell Mathews would marry Larkin Fahr Price (born in 1754, so he was 30 years Sarah’s senior) after John Mathews died, and Sarah and Larkin would have a son, Larkin Foster Price, in November of 1821. Larkin Farhr Price would have been around 67 when Larkin Foster Price was born. Sarah McDowell Mathews Price, like her first husband, also died relatively young, passing away in 1828 at the age of 44. Sarah is buried between her two husbands with John on the left and Larkin on the right in the Pisgah Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Pisgah, Woodford County, Ky.

Joseph’s brother, Caleb, would go on to be a prominent lawyer and judge in Kentucky, plus was deeply interested in general education and was largely instrumental in establishing Henry Female College, and was for 25 years President of its board. Caleb married Frances Sullinger Edwards and they had six children, William (1839-1872), Laura Mathews Oldham (1841-1896), Henry (1850-51), Ann Maria Mathews (1856-1872) and Mary Mathews (1871-1872). Caleb Mathews died in 1891 at the age of 80. Frances Mathews died in 1889 at the age of 71 or 72.

Joseph’s brother, William, married Sarah Porter in 1850 and they would have 11 children, one they named Joseph McDowell Mathews who most likely died young, and William passed away in 1891 at the age of 84 in Kentucky.

Joseph’s half-brother, Larkin Foster Price, married Virginia Elizabeth King, they moved to Texas and had three daughters, Octavia (1851-1851), Glendora (1852-1852) and Sallie (1856-1857). As you can see, they passed away either in the year they were born or the year after, and Larkin and Virginia also had a son, McDowell King Price, who was born in 1854 and died in 1898 at the age of 43 or 44. Virginia Elizabeth King Price died in 1881 at the age of 48 or 49, and in 1894, Larkin Foster Price, then more than 70 years old, married Julia Ann Bowman, who was born in 1853 and was roughly 32 years younger than Larkin. Larkin and Julia had a son, “Infant” Price, who died April 8, 1894. Larkin Foster Price died in October of 1895 at the age of 73 and was buried in the Alamo Masonic Cemetery in Texas. Larkin’s second wife married twice-previously married Augustus Lee Baker (1833-1910), who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Confederate Army, in 1896, and she died May 23, 1935 at the age of 81 and is also buried in the Alamo Masonic Cemetery. Her grave monument bears the name, Julia A. Baker.

It was written that Joseph McDowell Mathews, “in his earlier years, up to the age of 18, were passed alternately in working on a farm and in acquiring at school a fair elementary education. In 1822, he assumed the role of educator, and found employment in teaching at Woodford County, Ky.”

Let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a board member of the Highland District Hospital Foundation, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at [email protected]