1849: Eleanor (Calhoun) Culbertson to Mary Ellen (Culbertson) Mathiot

Gravemarker of Joshua Mathiot and wife

This letter was written by Eleanor (Calhoun) Culbertson (1792-1853), the wife of Rev. James Culbertson (1785-1847) of Zanesville, Ohio. Eleanor was the daughter of John Calhoun (1751-1822) and Agnes Thomson (1750-1801). Eleanor and her husband had at least four children: Milnor (1820), John Calhoun (1822), Howard (1828), and Elizabeth Ann (1830). Howard and “Lizzie” are mentioned in this letter.

The letter was addressed to Eleanor’s cousin, Mary Ellen (Culbertson) Mathiot (1811-1853). Mary Ellen’s parents were Samuel W. Culbertson and Nancy Boyd. Samuel passed away sometime in the 1840’s but Nancy lived with Mary Ellen in Newark, Ohio in 1850, as did Mary Ellen’s sister, Sidney.

Mary Ellen’s husband, Joshua Mathiot (1801-1849) was a native of Connellsville, Pennsylvania and came to Newark in 1820 where he studied law and became a member of the bar. He was elected County Prosecuting Attorney in 1832 and as mayor of Newark in 1834. He was elected to Congress in 1840. He died suddenly of cholera in 1849 after attending a Temperance Convention.

Samuel W. Culbertson, Mary Ellen’s father, was the son of Capt. Alexander Culbertson who came to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1809. Samuel’s brother, John Culbertson (1753-1844) was the father-in-law of the Eleanor Colhoun.

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[Addressed to Mrs. Mary Mathiot, New. Ark. [Newark] Ohio]

Zanesville [Ohio]
August 6th 1849

My dear Mary,

I ought to have written to you last week, but the shock of your dear Husband’s death completely unnerved me that I could not perform the duty. I need not say how we all sympathize with you all in this trying bereavement, so unexpected, and so sudden. Such a kind and affectionate Husband & affectionate Father, and Friend as you all have lost. It is a severe stroke from your Heavenly Father’s hand. I hope, my dear Mary, you see his hand in this stroke and you may be ready to ask, why is it so, that he must be taken away from us poor weak mortals. Short sighted, we only can see a short distance. For some wise reason this stroke is sent by your Heavenly father. It may be to wean your affections from this fading transitory life, short at the longest period, to raise you to more sublime enjoyments. When we see our dear friends die all around us, and death – the mighty conqueror – comes into our dwellings, what a lesson it ought to teach us of the vanity of this fleeting, fading world. What is our life life – a vapour, a thing of naught. What is the lesson this trying dispensation is designed to impress upon our hearts? God would say to you, “Come to me, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, as your Redeemer.” He says, “I will be the Widow’s God, a Father, to the Fatherless.” He never casts away any that come to him. Fly then, my dear Mary. Cast all your cares upon him. He will sustain and comfort you, tho it may seem dark now. Yet to every scene there is a bright side. Trust in the living God. He is a God near at hand, not far off. Come just as you are, poor and needy, sick and sire, come to Jesus. No trial is for the present joyous, but grievous. But Oh, if it work for you, the peaceable fruits of righteousness, you may have reason to bless God and praise his holy name in the trying dispensation. We had so many rumours about his death, that I was glad when Alexander told us some of the particulars – sorrowful particulars.

Zanesville is tolerable healthy. We have a good deal of Cholera Morbus among the inhabitants. We have had no death from this disease. Last week, Mrs. Mathew Wilson died an old lady, and poor Mary Ellen Culbertson [Editor’s Note: I think the writer intended to write, Mary Ellen McCleary], I do not know what arangements Jamison C. will make. Perhaps Mrs. McClery will keep house for him, I cannot say.

Where is your sister Sydney? What a shock to her. Alexander told us you were all comeing down next week. Come to our house and stay with us. We will be happy to see you all and do what we can to make you comfortable. Give my love to your Mother, Anie, George, & dear little Sid. The girls & Howard send their love to you & all as if named. Will you, dear Mary, forgive if I have said any thing in my poor attempt to comfort your sorrowful & stricken heart amiss, but take as I design it for your good. God has been my friend and comforter & I hope and pray he will be yours. May you find in him [a] friend that sticketh closer than a Brother is the prayer of your affectionate, — Cousin E. Culbertson

Lizie sends her love to Annie and says she will write soon.


Supplement to the Culbertson genalogy, by Lewis Rogers Culbertson

“Capt. Alex. Culbertson, tanner moved in the summer of 1809 to Zanesville, O., with part of his family. He was not donated any land for military services. His children who moved with him to Muskingum county, O., were Alex. (Jr.), Sam. W., William, James, Robert, John and Elizabeth (Mrs. Cassel). So far as I can ascertain his wife died in Pennsylvania. She was a Miss Mary Sharpe, daughter of Capt. James Sharpe, a member of old Rocky Spring and a captain in the Revolutionary War. Her mother was a Miss McConnell. In 1810 he bought a store of Ebert & Wood, on the corner of Fourth and Main Streets, Zanesville, where he resided. He gave this property to his son Alex., Jr. In 1810 he and his son James owned a large tannery in the Second Ward, Zanesville. In 1812 he bought of the United States two square miles of land in Muskingum county. This he divided among his children. He died about 1821, and was buried on High School Hill Cemetery. His son Alex. owned one of the first glass works in south-eastern Ohio, and made considerable in real estate. He was worth about $80,000 at his death.’ His brother William lived in Washington township, not Blue Rock, as I state in Genealogy. Samuel W. Culbertson, in 1809, built on the corner of Fifth Street and Fountain Alley what for many years was the most palatial residence in Zanesville. He owned much valuable real estate in Zanesville, and 1,500 acres of land in Muskingum county, and at his death was worth $125,000 at least. It was his son William who owned the old homestead at Brush Creek Bridge. Samuel W. Culbertson’s son-in-law, Joshua Mathiot, was Congressman from Licking county for many years.


Hon. Joshua Mathiot was a prominent member of the Licking county bar. He was a native of Connellsville, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and came to Newark, Ohio, about the year 1820, before he had fully reached manhood, and when it was yet a small village. Joshua Mathiot was ambitious, and availed himself of every opportunity to acquire an education suitable and requisite for :he profession of the law. Having acquired that, he entered the law office of General Samuel Herick, of Zanesville, and after pursuing his law tudies for several years, he was admitted to the iar, and soon succeeded in acquiring an extensive law practice. He was elected prosecuting attorney of the county in 1832, and served until 1836. In 1834 he was elected mayor of Newark. Hon. Joshua Mathiot was for a time associated with his father-in-law, Samuel W. Culbertson, esq., of Zanesville, in the practice of law, and afterwards with Judge Buckingham, who had been a law student in his office. Samuel White, esq., had also studied law in his office. He also entered into politics with a good deal of energy, and was elected a member of Congress in 1840, the district being composed of the counties of Muskingum and Licking.

Hon. Joshua Mathiot died suddenly, in 1849, when he had barely reached the “noon of life,” leaving his widow and several children, one of whom was the wife of Rev. Dr. Cuyler, of Brooklyn, to mourn the loss of one who had been preeminently faithful and devoted as husband and father. He was a man of correct deportment, and exemplary in all the relations of life, always giving the weight of his influence on the side of philanthropy, good morals, temperance, and the institutions of Christianity.

In 1822 the first Presbyterian church, of Newark, organized a Sunday-school, and the records show that Joshua Mathiot was chosen one of its managers. The church was generously supported by him, and educational enterprises and temperance organizations were liberally upheld and sustained by him. The many admirable traits of character he possessed secured him numerous and warm friends. His circle of friends and acquaintances was large, and they were as warm in their attachment and devotion, as they were numerous. It may be safely said that we have had but few men among us who more largely enjoyed the public confidence than Colonel Joshua Mathiot.”

  • David Jamison Culbertson (1811-1863) was the son of James Culbertson and Cassandra Jamison. He married, in Zanesville, to Mary Ellen McCleary on 9 October 1841. Mary Ellen McCleary died 27 July 1849 in Zanesville.
  • The author of this letter mentions Mrs. McCleary. This is undoubtedly Susanna McCleary who appears in the 1850 Census as the head of the following Zanesville, Ohio household: Susannah McCleary (b. 1797 in PA), Jane McCleary (b. 1826 in OH); James S. McCleary (b. 1827 in OH), Susan Culbertson (b. 1842 in OH), and Elizabeth Culbertson (b. 1844 in OH).

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