Increase (Matthews) Mathews
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Increase (Matthews) Mathews (1772 - 1856)

Dr. Increase Mathews formerly Matthews
Born in New Braintree, Worcester, Massachusetts Baymap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 7 Apr 1799 in Oakham, Worcester, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
Husband of — married 23 Mar 1803 in Marietta, Washington, Ohio, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Putnam, Zanesville, Muskingum, Ohio, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Jun 2019
This page has been accessed 475 times.



Increase Mathews was born in New Braintree on December 22, 1772 to Daniel Matthews and Huldah Putnam.[1]

Early Life

Increase was the ninth of ten children. He was too young to serve in the Revolutionary War as his father and brothers did. He attended a course at college[2] then studied with Dr. Field of Oakham.[3][4]

When he completed his medical training, there were already two physicians, so it was not until 1799 that Increase became a physician in New Braintree.[5]

In 1798, Increase traveled to the Northwest Territory to visit relatives and to explore the Ohio lands. Like his brother John, he kept a journal of his travel.[3][4]


Increase returned to New Braintree, Massachusetts and married Nabby Willis on April 7, 1799.[6] His diary tells us they were married in Oakham by Rev. Daniel Story.[3]

Along with Nabby and their infant daughter Melissa, Increase returned to Ohio. They arrived in Marietta during October, 1800 and spent the winter months there.[7] Their daughter Abigail was born on May 30, 1802 in Springfield.[3] Within two weeks Nabby passed away.[3]

On March 23, 1803, Increase married Bestsey Leavens at Major Joseph Lincoln's (her brother-in-law) home in Marietta.[3] They were the parents of eight children.[3]


When Increase first arrived in the area surrounding the Muskingum River, he was the only physician in the area. When other doctors settled in the area, he withdrew from practicing medicine until a smallpox epidemic occurred in his town.

In June of 1798, Increase recorded in his diary going with Dr. Foster to visit a family ill with small pox. Dr. Foster had inoculated members of this Fairhaven, Massachusetts family.[3] Increase would use this knowledge on his daughters. "When small-pox broke out in Putnam in the fall of 1809, Dr. Matthews procured vaccine virus and vaccinated himself and family. People in general had no confidence in vacillation, and would not consent to it. In order to prove its efficacy Dr. Matthews took his two little daughters, Abigail and Sarah aged six and seven years, who had been vaccinated, into a house and up to the bedside of a patient very ill with virulent small pox. The children did not take the disease, and the doctor triumphantly proclaimed the protecting powers of vaccination. The rest of the villagers were inoculated but Dr. Matthews’ family was the only one that depended upon vaccination. So far as can be learned the doctor’s family was among the first, if not the first in Ohio, to be vaccinated." Quoted from page 108[8]

Northwest Territory

In March of 1801, with his brother, John Mathews, he opened a store on the northeast side of the Muskingum River inside John McIntire's settlement. Ebenezer Zane had chosen this section of land as part of his award after completing Zane's Trace. He deeded this section to his son Jonathan Zane and son-in-law John McIntire. The settlement was originally called Zanetown but was later renamed Zanesville when a Post Office was located there.

Founding of Springfield (Putnam)

The first land sale under Harrison's Land Act was held the last Monday of May, 1801.[9] Increase returned to Marietta to make his land purchase. He met John McIntire on the road. When the Marietta land sales office opened the next day, both men bid on the same section of land. Increase made the highest bid.[8][10][11] This would not be the only time these men were in fierce competition.

Increase had the financial assistance of his uncle, Brigadier-General Rufus Putnam and his uncle's nephew, Levi Whipple, to purchase this land. On July 27, 1801, these three men formed the Springhill Company and submitted the town plat for Springfield[11] (renamed Putnam in 1814 and annexed by Zanesville in 1872). They took advantage of the new three-year credit terms for land purchases and completed their purchase in 1803. Their joint land patent was handwritten, signed by Thomas Jefferson as President and James Madison as Secretary of State.[12]

These men planned for future generations when they laid out their town:

In the original plat the proprietors assigned to the town of Springfield, for the purpose of erecting such public buildings thereon as might be needed for the use of the town, or any religious society established in it, or for the county or state, the eleven and one-half acres now known as Putnam Hill park, and the tract, or so much of it as should not be occupied by public buildings of the description named, should remain a perpetual commonage. The site was heavily timbered and the proprietors opened a road around the hill, next the river, passing the spring, previous to which time there had been only a bridle path, so narrow that two horsemen could not pass; the new road was made wide enough for wagons to pass except in a few places. With the opening of the road the spring became a popular resort and was called the “lovers’ fountain."[11]

This area was originally called Spring Hill Park and was changed when the town name was changed. Putnam Hill Park is now a national landmark.

The section of land they purchased was in Newton Township. At the time of their purchase, this was part of Washington County, Northwest Territory.

After Increase built a two-story hand-hewn log house, he and John Mathews moved their store to Springfield. The upper level housed the Dr. and his family, while the lower level consisted of a medical office and store. Their joint daybook is now in the New York Public Library archives. [13] They sold a wide variety of products, including drugs. It's been called the first drug store in Ohio. The drug store was owned and operated by Increase's Bailey descendants until 1943.[7]

On December 9, 1801, the Springhill Company contracted John Sharp to build a mill. Their wing dam was built on the second falls of the Muskingum. With an undershot water wheel, it operated both their saw and grist mill.[7]

Increase (Matthews) Mathews was an Ohioan.


President Thomas Jefferson signed the Enabling Act in April of 1802. This act set the boundaries of the future state and set the process for Ohio statehood. Ohio's constitution was drafted in November of 1802.

In March of 1803, the Seventh Congress enabled a land office in Zanesville, but did not appoint any officials. Dr. Increase sent a letter in February 1804 to the Marietta Register of his intent to purchase a section. In March of 1804, the Eighth Congress set up land sale dates for the new land offices and appointed officials. On May 12, 1804, Dr. Increase traveled to Marietta and completed his purchase of this section on May 16th. John McIntire purchased this same section of land from the new Zanesville office on May 26, 1804.[14]

It is unclear whether Dr. Increase was trying to get ahead of his competition or didn't know about the appointment of an official for the Zanesville Land Office. The two men went to court and battled their way through the Ohio system. The case was finally settled by the U.S. Supreme Court and set a precedent for other cases. [15]

In June of 1803, the residents of the area met to form Springfield Township. Dr. Increase was elected Township Clerk and swore in the other members of the board.[10] He served a two-year term. He was elected as Township Treasurer in April of 1809.[10]

Muskingum County was established on January 7, 1804 from sections of Fairfield and Washington Counties. This law became effective March 1, 1805.[10] So the town of Springfield was now located in Springfield Township, Muskingum County.

With the dissolution of Springhill Company in May of 1805, the section was divided between the three partners. Increase's portion of the land included a stone quarry.[11] In 1805, he built his stone house at a cost of $882.80.[7] His home is now a museum owned by the Muskingum Historical Society.[16]

In 1806, Mathews, Whipple, and Putnam established the lower ferry between Zanesville and Springfield.[11]

In 1807, the doctor along with his wife, his cousin Mrs. Martha "Patty" Tupper, her husband Benjamin Tupper Jr., and Levi Whipple founded the Congregational Church. Rev. Robbins of Marietta and others occasionally preached for them. Springfield and Zanesville were both too small to support a pastorage at this time. In 1809, the United Presbyterian Church of Zanesville and Springfield was formed.[8]

Things were not always harmonious between these two settlements. The people who settled in Springfield were mainly from the New England states. Those who settled in Zanesville came mostly from the Southern states. Zanesville residents called them "Yankees". In turn, they were called "Tuckahoes" by those who lived in Springfield.

In 1808, hoping to entice the state legislature to consider Springfield as the state capital, Dr. Increase formed the Springfield School House Company. [17] With subscription money, the Stone Academy was built with stone from his quarry and completed in 1809.

Across the river, John McIntire organized the Zanesville Courthouse Company to build a brick building. In October 1810, the legislature chose Zanesville as its capital. McIntire's victory was short lived. Zanesville was only the Ohio capital for two years. In 1812, it moved to Columbus.[17]

Though it wasn't selected as the state's capitol, the Stone Academy was an integral part of Springfield. In 1809, the joint Presbyterian church services were held there. For many years, it was used for the Putnam Female Seminary.[8]

Later, it became the center of abolitionist activity: The Ohio Anti-Salvery Society held state conventions there in 1835 and 1839. Violence erupted when pro-slavery mobs disrupted the proceedings. The Stone Academy has been recognized as a stop on the Underground Railroad.[18]

The Bureau of Land Management patent records show that, in partnership with Lewis Nye, Increase purchased quarter sections in 1809 and 1810. He also purchased a quarter section in 1817.

The various histories agree that Dr. Increase brought Merino sheep to Springfield. These differ on the when and where. Page 107 of Goodspeed's Biographical does not give a date and says the Merinos were brought from Washington, D.C. and these were the first ones in Ohio.[8] Page 521 of The Special Report says in June, 1811 he purchased one Infantado ram and two ewes just imported into Alexandria, Virginia and also states that Seth Adams brought the first Merino sheep with him when he arrived in 1801.[19] I believe this is accurate information.

There was already somewhere to process the wool. "In June, 1810, the Putnam Manufacturing Company put in operation three wool-carding machines at their factory in Putnam. Two of these were for carding common and one for carding Merino wool."[8]

I feel sure his brother John shared his correspondence, so Increase was aware of the possibility of another war with England and was preparing for it with this purchase.

In 1812, he partnered with Levi Whipple, Ebenezer Buckingham Jr., and Benjamin Tupper Jr. and secured a franchise to build a bridge over the Muskingum from their town to Zanesville and also procured a franchise to operate a ferry.

Due to problems with mail delivery (because there was another town with the same name in Ohio) in January of 1814, Springfield was renamed Putnam to honor Brigadier-General Rufus Putnam.[8]

On December 25, 1816, the Ohio General Assembly enacted a law to allow the Zanesville to Lancaster Turnpike. Increase was one of the turnpike directors.[20]

With the birth of his tenth child at age 45 in 1818, it appears that Dr. Increase shifted his attention to his large family. None of the various histories mention his accomplishments after this time period.

Did he and his family watch from the riverbank as Captain Green piloted the steamboat, "Rufus Putnam," on its maiden voyage on the Muskingum River from Marietta to Zanesville in 1815?[8]

I wonder how he and his family survived during the year without a summer in 1816. Was he a witness when his cousin Catherine's husband, Ebenezer Buckingham Jr., was drowned as the Main Street bridge collapsed during the Great Flood of 1832?

Dr. Increase's hard work provided a generous legacy to his children. He built a two-story stone house on Woodlawn Avenue for his son Henry and his family. This house still stands today (photo).

Increase outlived his wives and two of his children. His will of February 1, 1853 directed that his real and personal property be divided into equal shares; two of the shares were held in trust for the benefit of his grandchildren by his deceased children.[7] The family of Abigail Mathews Bailey inherited his drug store.

He died on June 6, 1856.[3][21] His town of Putnam was annexed by Zanesville in 1872.


Dr. Increase Mathews was born in New Braintree, Massachusetts, December 22, 1772. He studied medicine with Dr. Field of Oakham. He first visited the territory which now forms Ohio in 1798. Returning to Massachusetts, he married in 1799. He brought his family, then consisting of a wife and child to Marietta where he spent the following winter. Early in the spring of 1801, he moved to Zanesville, where he lived one year. The land on which Putnam now stands, then belonged to the government and was offered for sale in the autumn of 1801. Dr. Mathews and John McIntire, the proprietor of Zanesville, traveled together to Marietta to attend these sales. They intended to reach Gallants, a well known stopping place on Meigs Creek (where David Stephens afterwards lived) the first day, but night overtook them and they encamped in the woods a few miles this side. Dr. Mathews became the purchaser and associated with him was General Rufus Putnam and Levi Whipple, Esq. They laid out the town of Springfield and the name so continued until 1814, when it was changed to Putnam. In 1803, he built the first grist and saw mill ever built in the country. This stood near the western end of the lower bridge, a little above the present site of Beaumont and Hollingsworth's magnificent mill. The little mill thus early built for the convenience of the few primitive settlers presented no greater contrast with the large structure which now succeeds it than would the little patch of cultivated land which occasionally interrupted the continuous line of vast forests, contrasted with the beautiful farms now displaying their waning wheat fields over nearly the entire surface of the country. For a number of years, Dr. Mathews was the only regular bred physician in this part of the country. His practice extended to Lancaster and Coshocton. He did not like the profession and withdrew from it as soon as the arrival of other medical men enabled him to do so. Dr. Mathews was a man of sterling integrity, steady industry, remarkable punctuality and exactness in business. His aim seemed to be to discharge all the duties of life. He died June 6, 1856, in the 84th year of his age. He was one of the pioneers of our land and this sort of notice is written as a memorial of a class now rapidly disappearing from among us.[22]

Research Notes

  • New Braintree's vital records has wrong birth year.
  • The house Increase built in 1805 is now a museum owned by the Muskingum County Historical Society. A portrait of Increase was recently conserved and hangs inside the museum.


  1. Page 34 of Vital records of New Braintree, Massachusetts, to the year 1850.
  2. J. B. Mathews March 10, 1859 letter to Hildreth, Samuel Hildreth Collection, Volume 4, No. 183, Marietta College
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Diary of a Journey From Massachusetts to the Ohio Country, 1798, By Dr. Increase Matthews With a Matthews Family Record Communicated by Willis Adams Bailey, A.B. Reprinted from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register for January, 1932, Boston 1932, George Lilienthal & Son, Zanesville, Ohio – Original publication was OCR scanned into digital format by Diane Hildebrandt from Mary Lou Mathews Hildebrandt's copy and published on the web. archived link
  4. 4.0 4.1 Diary reprinted in Muskingum Journal, Volume 12, No. 1. Copy in Diane Hildebrandt's possession.
  5. Page 50 of Account of the observance of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the incorporation of the town of New Braintree, Mass., June 19, 1901[1]
  6. "Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910," database, FamilySearch ( : 9 February 2018), Increase Matthews and Nabbie Willis, 07 Apr 1799; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 0873751 IT 2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Booklet. The Dr. Increase Mathews House, Norris F. Schneider, 1975. PDF copy in Diane Hildebrandt's possession.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio, Embracing an Authentic and Comprehensive Account of the Chief Events in the History of the County and a Record of the Lives of Many of the Most Worthy Families and Individuals,The Goodspeed Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892.
  9. Harrison Land Act, 1800 [2]
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 History of Muskingum County, Ohio With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men And Pioneers, J.F. Everhart & Co., 1882
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Past and present of the city of Zanesville and Muskingham County, Ohio, J. Hope Sutor, 1904.
  12. Bureau of Land Management, CV-0002-095, dated Feb. 21, 1803 [3]
  13. New York Public Library archives[4].
  14. Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States, February Term 1822, The Banks Law Publishing Co., 1903
  15. Matthews v. Zane, 20 U.S. (7 Wheat.) 164 (1822). PDF available Library of Congress [5]
  16. Dr. Increase Mathews House museum [6]
  17. 17.0 17.1 Muskingum Court House History PDF file[7]
  18. Stone Academy History [8]
  19. Special Report on the History and Present Condition of the Sheep Industry of the United States, Bureau of Animal Industry, 1892.[9]
  20. Acts Passed at the Session of the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, Chapter XIII, Page 17[10]
  21. "Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2015), Increase Mathews, 1856; Burial, Zanesville, Muskingum, Ohio, United States of America, Woodlawn Cemetery; citing record ID 6156793, Find a Grave,
  22. This account was cut out of a paper and pasted in his son's, Alfred Mathews, book. It was transcribed by Anne "Sue" Mathews Lewis and has been OCR-scanned from her typed document of May, 1979.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Increase by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Increase:

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Categories: Zanesville, Ohio | New Braintree, Massachusetts | Ohio, Physicians