John Mathis was born Abt. 1690 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, and died 23 Oct 1779 in Friend's Graveyard, Tuckerton, NJ.He married Alice Andrews on 1716 in NJ, daughter of Mordecai Andrews. Notes for John Mathis: Birth, marriage and some death dates can be found in John and Alice (Andrews-Higbee) Mathis Bible-Atlantic County, and transcribed in New Jersey Bible Records, Vol 1, Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May and Gloucester Counties. John Mathis "Great John Mathis" as he came to be known,was the most important and significant person in the history of Bass River andis said to be the first white settler of Bass River. He politically, economically and socially dominated the region for over 50 years. He and brother Charles emigrated to Oyster Bay, LI in the early 1700's. Purchased land from Proprietor Daniel Leeds shortly after arriving from Oyster Bay Long Island Abt 1713, along with Moses Forman and William Birdsall.The 250 acre plot was at the time known as Biddle's Island; by the 1880s it would be named after his son and knownas Daniel Mathis's Island, an island surrounded, not by water, but by vast acres of salt marsh networked with creeks.John developed this into a farm and built causeways, dikes and bridges which stabilized the high gorund and allowed overland transportatin to the mainland.The area that was later to become Tuckerton was little more than a collection of farms, the Andrews' grist mill, and the Friends' Meeting House.John purchased 813 acres in 1729 which were to the west of and adjacent to his Biddle's Island farm.He built a new house along the Bass River.The virgin forest of the surrounding area provided timber for the shipps which supported successful fishing and trade ventures that became the fundations fr Great John's ambitious land acquisition prgram.Mathis schooners, one of which was captained by his son Daniel, engaged in the West Indies trade, swapping suth Jersey lumber for produce and other goos that enabled the Mathis farms to prosper. By the time of the Revolution he had four farms in operation containing about 5000 a,which were worked and cleared by slaves. Was said to be an extensive slave holder and one of the earliest merchant smugglers.He became one of the largest land holders and one of the wealthiest and most distinguished men of Little Egg Harbor. He was not only an extensive farmer and land holder , but was also a money lender. He seems to have loaned to persons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., Springfield, Northampton, Southampton, New Jersey, and various other places. David Falkinburg secured the one hundred and fifty pounds from John Mathis for the first tavern established in Tuckerton. He lent the government a great deal of money during the Revolution, which cost him the burnng f his house by the British and the loss of a goodly part f his fortune as the new American Government paid himin Continental paper which was nearly worthless and consequently ruined the Mathis fortune, although their extensive landholdings were unaffected. He rebuilt the huse and it reamined as a beacn of Mathis influence in the area until 1973 when it was demolished t make room for the Bass River Marina. He was known as one of South Jersey's greatest patriots. "[Nancy Lacock 2025003.FTW] Mathis is not the original, and therefore not the proper method of spelling the name. The ancient form was "Mathews." It is said that John Mathis considered it a difficult name to pronounce and write, and for this cause he made the alteration, and thus it became modernized into Mathis, and long custom has made Mathis the permanent way of writing and pronouncing the name among most of the descendants of John Mathis. In almost all of the deeds for John Mathis' land his name is written Mathews. The learned in such matters say, that the Norman signification of the term Mathews is "As stubborn as a mule." This is indeed an appropriate appellation, for it is a useless waste of time and patience to attempt to turn a true, full-blooded Mathis or Mathews from what he considers the right course. A Mathis can be led by truthful and pleasant words and just and honorable acts, but treat him to the essence of meanness and he cannot be driven any further than can the most stubborn mule that ever came under the lash. Doubtless the Norman invaders of England found John Mathis' ancestors as true as steel and as stubborn as mules to the interests of their native England, and hence the designation for their stubbornness. The Mathis family is remarkable for longevity, for their excellent Memory, and for their preciseness in business affairs, and their exalted sense of justice, and further for their aptness in learning, for keeping their own counsel and even the secrets of others, and lastly for attending to their own instead of other peoples' business. These are the traits of character of the thorough dispositioned Mathis, yet there are many who possess the name who have but a small portion of the nature and principles belonging to the genuine race. It is impossible at this time, 1887, to name all the lands owned by John Mathis. The following list can be vouched for, they're dated, number of acres and names of the sellers, viz.: 1713 250 acres of Daniel Leeds. This is Dans Island and has never been out of the possession of the Mathis family. 1722 50 acres of Thomas Wetherill 1722 270 acres of Thomas Wetherill 1729 813 acres of John Budd 1727 10 acres of John Budd 1734 10 acres of Zebulon Grant 1737 50 acres of Zebulon Grant 1737 37 acres of Zebulon Grant on Ives Branch 1737 100 acres of Nathaniel Gripps 1737 156 acres of Mordecai Andrews 1737 68 acres of Joseph Parker 1738 10 acres of Joseph Parker on Bass River Branch 1739 5 acres of Joseph Parker on Bass River Branch 1739 50 acres of Reuel Elton on Bass River Branch 1741 50 acres of Joathan Wright 1742 20 acres of Joathan Wright 1742 50 acres of Joathan Wright Turtle Island at the mouth of Mullican River 1742 50 acres of Joathan Wright 1742 109 acres of Joathan Wright 1742 150 acres of Joathan Wright This was a tract of cedar swamp on Tronqurlity 1742 100 acres of Langdon Bills of Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. 1745 400 acres of Joseph Parker of Chester, Pennsylvania. 1747 230 acres of marsh on Belanga Creek 1747 44 acres of Thomas Wetherill of Burlington City, New Jersey 1749 150 acres of Thomas Wetherill 1751 50 acres of Charles Read 1751 107 acres of Charles Read 1751 100 acres of Thomas Gardiner 1759 36.5 acres of Thomas Gardiner 1761 50 acres of Smith & Hewlings 1738 John Mathis bought of his step son, Edward Higbee, lands which he owned in Huntington township and county of Suffolk on Long Island. Higbee's grandfather paid three hundred pounds for the right to locate the land above named. There must have been several thousand acres as rights were very low at that time. At this time no one knows what Mathis did with those lands which he owned on Long Island. He might and he might not have conveyed them away. I think it probable that he did sell the land and that was one source from which he derived the money which he lost by continental paper. In 1722 John Mathis bought of Thomas and William Fox of Springfield, New Jersey, a large tract of marsh on the west neck Meadow which lies in the township of Little Egg Harbor extending from the point of Miles Island to a considerable distance above Mathistown Mill including within its bounds cedar swamp and upland. He also bought surveys of George William and Thomas Pancoast, also George Budd, Williams Hewlings, Thomas Macks, Henry Davis, and others. Whenever one of John Mathis' sons married he provided him with a farm as far as his farms went he gave each a farm. Too such as he had not farms for he deeded large tracts of unimproved land on which they settled and made farms for themselves . He deeded his son, Micajah the farm now known as the Francis French farm. To his son, Job, he deeded Daniel Mathis Island, John gave Sarah her portion of his estate in money. To his son, Jeremiah what is now call Mathistown, Nehemiah he gave the property called the Point Place, to Eli, he gave the property on the west side of Bass River in which is now included the Arthur Crammer Farm, the Maja Mathis farm, the Crammer Howell farm, the Enoch Adams farm and the other settlements. John Mathis was the first King's Magistrate appointed for the township of Little Egg Harbor. He was associated with many of the eminent men of his day and generation, and especially of the state of New Jersey. Having married into the most eminent family of the first settler in Egg Harbor, he was related to people of the highest standing in that locality, as well as in other sections. He was the soninlaw of Edward Andrews, an eminent Quaker minister, a brotherinlaw to Jacob and Peter Andrews, both noted ministers in the society of Friends, also a brotherinlaw of Robert Allen of Bass River, and brotherinlaw to Thomas Ridgway. His soninlaw, John Leeds was a public Friend, his grandson, Vincent Leeds (son of John Leeds) , was a minister and some of his nephews and nieces of the Society of Friends (Quaker Ministers). John Mathis died at the advanced age of 88 years on October 23, 1779 at Tuckerton, New Jersey, and his wife lived to the age of 91 years. They were buried in the Friends' Graveyard at Tuckerton, New Jersey" John left a Will dated 11/26/1776 at Little Egg Harbor, Burlington Co., NJ, yeoman.Wife Alice a good support by son, Micajah; son Micajah all personal and reall; he paying the following: Daughter, Sarah Leeds, wife of John Leeds, 50 lbs; son, Nehemiah 100 lbs; son Jeremiah's 4 sons 10 lbs each; to Elizabeth and Mary 5 lbs each; son Eli 5 shillings; son Daniel 5 shillings; son Job 5 shillings.Executors wife Alice and son Micajah. Wits: William Grant, John Platt, Caleb Cramer. Proved 10/23/1779.Lib. 21, p 164. More About John Mathis and Alice Andrews: Marriage: 1716, NJ. Children of John Mathis and Alice Andrews are:
+Micajah Mathis, b. 09 Nov 1717, NJ, d. 11 Nov 1804, Tukerton Friends Meeting House, Burlington Co., NJ.
Job Mathis, b. 13 Jul 1719, NJ, d. Aug 1771, Little Egg Harbor, NJ.
+Sarah Mathis, b. 19 Sep 1721, NJ, d. 17 Apr 1799, Galloway, Atlantic Co., NJ.
Daniel Mathis, b. 07 Nov 1723, Burlington, NJ, d. Bet. 1764 - 1765, Little Egg Harbor, Burlington, NJ.
Jeremiah Sr. Mathis, b. 14 May 1726, Burlington Co. NJ, d. 23 Dec 1762, Little Egg Harbor, Burlington Co., NJ.
Nehemiah Mathis, b. 13 Aug 1728, Little Egg Harbor, Burlington,NJ, d. Abt. 1780, Burlington Co., NJ.
+Eli Mathis, b. 04 Aug 1730, NJ, d. 14 Apr 1795, Little Egg Harbour Twp., Burlington Co. NJ.