Matson

 
General Robert Matson
(1796-1859) Robert was from a wealthy and slave-rich Bourbon County Kentucky family, though he had years of disagreements with his siblings.  He was a confirmed bachelor for most of his life. He served in the War of 1812 as a lieutenant but in later years was given the honorific of "General."  He was elected to the Kentucky Legislature in 1832 and '34. By 1830 he owned nineteen slaves and seems to have retained about that number until the Civil War.  Only in 1830 do we know him to have owned a slave over 36 years old, and that was a woman, possibly Jane's mother.  He bought property on the Brushy Fork near where Lucy Dupee lived and some in Edgar County about a mile across the county line in 1835, but later sold the southern Brushy Fork property. In 1842 he bought the land he called Black Grove, which was about two miles east of today's Newman.  He divided his time between his Illinois and Kentucky lands.  Matson stated in court that he made a habit of bringing some of his slaves here to help work the land and then returned them to Kentucky, trying to circumvent Illinois laws prohibiting slavery.  Jane and her children had been here, though, for two years when they fled to Oakland.  Immediately after the trial he sold his Illinois land and returned south.  He also sold his property in Bourbon County, moving to Fulton County in western Kentucky where he continued to own slaves and prospered.  We do not know who was the mother of his first two children, both born in Kentucky.  Matson died and is buried on the farm that is still in his family.
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