|The City's First Exchange - from a Souvenir Postal Card|
Catherine Mathews’ family is an interesting group. Her aunts, uncles, and siblings are involved in some of colonial America’s most fascinating stories – Indian treaties, pirates, the Leisler Rebellion, merchant doings of New York City, establishment of the English church at Albany, and Tory intrigue.
Identifying Catherine Mathews’ ancestors has been a struggle! I have gathered a long list of clues, but no firm evidence. Further discussion can be found in the sketch titled – Peter Mathews: Ancestral Possibilities. The strongest clue lies in Peter Mathews’ relationship to Benjamin Fletcher. Fletcher served as Colonial Governor of New York from 1692 – 1698. Peter Mathews was probably a nephew or cousin of some sort to Benjamin Fletcher, but proof of the exact relationship is still lacking. Fletcher’s ancestral line has also been added to the online database, with the hope that it will eventually provide answers for the Mathews search. It includes such interesting characters as William Fletcher (father), Henry Vincent (grandfather), and Dorcus Charke (grandmother). To read more about the possible relationship between Mathews and Fletcher try - Peter Mathews and Benjamin Fletcher: What’s the Connection?
Some branches of the Markham family hold to the theory that Catherine Mathews was a daughter, or granddaughter of Richard Coote, Lord Bellomont, who served as Colonial Governor of New York following Benjamin Fletcher. My research draws this idea into question, and is discussed in the sketch titled - Our Colonial Governor: Three Theories.
It is my hope that the introduction of the Mathews family to the Markham database will prompt discussion, and eventually lead to answers to the questions surrounding Catherine Mathews. I would enjoy hearing from others who are interested in their stories.
For more details on Catherine Mathews, Peter Mathews, or Benjamin Fletcher, visit their individual pages at the Markham of Chesterfield website.
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Theatres -- U.S. -- N.Y. -- New Amsterdam" The New York Public Library Digital Collections.