The Mathews Family
Mathews Family Saga Book 1
Under the pen name Trana Mathews, I self-published this early American historical fiction in January 2020. It is available in ebook and paperback formats. Here’s a brief synopsis:
From their beginnings in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, their lives have been intertwined with American history. Known facts about this 18th century family are listed in my book trailer.
As a young child, Increase “Ink” witnesses the birth of the United States. Along with his mother and siblings, he remains on the farm while their older male relatives join the ranks of the Continental Army. After the war ends, social and political unrest continues throughout central Massachusetts during the period known as Shays’s Rebellion and a battle takes place inside New Braintree.
Ink’s uncle Rufus Putnam, brother-in-law Captain Jonathan Stone, and older brother John Mathews are among the “First 48” settlers to Ohio in 1788. The peace of their settlement is soon shattered. Trying to divest the land of these new Americans, Indians attack and massacre many pioneers. The British also prove problematic. Conflict continues in the Ohio Country for almost ten years.
My historical fiction includes transcripts of actual letters written between family members during the 18th century.
I’m a member of The Independent Author Network and available to answer your questions at Goodreads Author Trana Mathews. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Join my YouTube channel for book trailer updates.
Why are you interviewing yourself?
Unfortunately another independent author has not sent me a private message on Goodreads to arrange an interview. Since this is Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about my ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War.
Who served in this legendary war?
While my third great-grandfather Dr. Increase Mathews “Ink” is the narrator for all my historical fiction novels in the Mathews Family Saga series, born in 1772, he was too young to serve but relates the history of his entire family. Their service records are contained within the multiple volumes of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War.
Daniel Mathews Jr.
This is Ink’s father who served as both a matross and a bombardier. These were artillery positions which loaded and fired the cannon. Daniel had previously served with the British military during the French & Indian war in America.
Elisha “Lish” Mathews
Ink’s eldest brother who briefly served twice during this war. Lish was also part of the Massachusetts militia called out to suppress Shays’s Rebellion which occurred in central Massachusetts after the war ended.
Ink’s older brother who was only age 16 when he joined the Continental Army in December 1780. After the war ended, he surveyed the Seven Ranges for the Confederated Congress in 1786. He provisioned many frontier forts during the Indian War in the Northwest Territory and witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.
Captain Jonathan Stone
Married Ink’s eldest sister Susannah and served with Rufus Putnam as paymaster at West Point. Part of the Massachusetts militia who suppressed Shays’s Rebellion. Listed among the first settlers to Ohio, bringing Susannah and their children to the frontier in 1789.
Brigadier-General Rufus Putnam
The youngest brother of Ink’s mother Huldah Putnam Mathews. Rufus served the Continental Army as General Washington’s chief military engineer. Like his brother-in-law Daniel, he also served with the British during the French & Indian War.
After the war ended, he submitted the Newburgh Petition to the Confederated Congress asking that military land warrants be issued to veterans. He organized and sold shares in the Ohio Company of Associates to veterans to settle land in the Northwest Territory. Today, he is known as “The Father of Ohio” for his role in settling the Northwest Territory.
What inspired you to write about your ancestors?
As a young teen, I was assigned a genealogy project. While working on this, my mom shared a small booklet which was a 1932 limited edition of Increase’s 1798 travel journal which had been published for family members. Reading his words gave me a view of our country’s history not found in textbooks!
Also, during the 1980s in company with my mom, aunt, and daughter, I had toured Increase’s home. He had built this house in 1805 using stone from his quarry. The Muskingum Historical Society has owned his residence since 1970, provides tours of this museum, and describes it as the area’s oldest building.
What is the best thing your research revealed?
The personal letters between family members! By today’s standard, some would call historian Samuel P. Hildreth a hoarder. I’m so thankful that he accumulated so much material. In addition to his collection, Marietta College also has Special Collections for John Mathews and Rufus Putnam.
Like Increase’s journal, these letters show a glimpse of our country not found in a textbook. John’s early letters downplay Indian aggression. In fact, he thinks others are imagining danger where there isn’t any. He changes his mind and later barely survives a massacre!
My original intent was just to write about Increase. Getting the transcripts of these personal letters changed my focus to his entire family. These were too important not to be shared.
Thanks to all who have served in the United States forces! Our country wouldn’t exist today without the efforts of the many men and women who serve.