Roderick Nicol Matheson (May 28, 1824 – 2 October, 1862) was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Matheson was born in Ross and Cromarty, Inverness-shire, Scotland, and emigrated to New York City with his parents at the age of 15. He married Maria Antoinette Seaman at the Green Street Methodist Church in New York City on 6 January 1846. During the California Gold Rush he moved to San Francisco via a six month voyage around Cape Horn on the ship Pacific. He he became involved in San Francisco's public affairs and was named Controller of San Francisco in 1852 and two years later received the title General of Division of the Mexican Army and Resident Commander of Mexico in San Francisco after spending a year in Mexico working on the Gadsden Purchase.
In 1856 he moved to Healdsburg, California, becoming a prominent city benefactor and landowner. Matheson had become a member of the Free Soil Party, which was intent on keeping slavery out of Western territories. In January, 1861 president-elect Abraham Lincoln invited Matheson to attend his inauguration in Washington D.C. He traveled to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration on 4 March 1861, intending to stay only a few weeks, but found himself swept up in the fever of approaching war.
Matheson was made colonel and commander of the 32nd Regiment of New York Volunteers, that he founded in June 1861 and what was referred to as the 1st California Regiment. He fought in the First Battle of Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, and the Seven Days Battles.
Col Matheson was mortally wounded at Crampton's Gap during the Battle of South Mountain. These circumstances are documented by General Joseph J Bartlett..."The 32d N. Y. was being cheered on by the brave Col. Matheson, as my horse struggled along the steep side in rear of his regiment. A moment after I had spoken an encouraging word of praise to him, he fell, wounded: but smiling still, he waved on his gallant men, and shouted: "You've got 'em, boys; push on." The enemy no longer had a stone wall in front of them, and our fire was telling well upon their ranks, as we could see by the numbers of killed and wounded which we passed over." Col. Matheson was taken to a field hospital in Burkettsville, Maryland and died on 21 October 1861 reportedly of a 'hemorrhage' [requiring further research].
An elaborate funeral was organised at the Green Street M.E. Church involving Gen. John C. Fremont, Hon. C. K. Garrison, Gen. James S. Ellis, Hon. F. F. Low, Geo. Wilkes, Hon. Samuel B. Smith, Hon. E. F. Burton, Henry Thompson, Dr. Eugene Crowell and other dignitaries.
Matheson's remains were returned to California where a State funeral was held in San Francisco attended once again by many notables including then Governor of California, Leland Stanford, and the founder of the Bank of California, William Ralston. Col. Matheson is buried in Oak Mound Cemetery in Healdsburg. A major street in the town is named after him.
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Roderick is 13 degrees from John Adams, 15 degrees from Calvin Coolidge, 17 degrees from Dwight Eisenhower, 15 degrees from John Hanson, 16 degrees from William Harrison, 16 degrees from Thomas Jefferson, 17 degrees from Abraham Lincoln, 17 degrees from James Monroe, 13 degrees from Franklin Roosevelt, 16 degrees from Martin Van Buren, 14 degrees from George Washington and 18 degrees from Jana Diamond on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.
Categories: 32nd Regiment, New York Infantry, United States Civil War | Clan Matheson | New York, Immigrants from Scotland | Battle of South Mountain | Died of Wounds, United States of America, United States Civil War | Gunshot | Scottish Americans in the American Civil War | Killed in Action, United States of America, United States Civil War