A Jan Joosten Van Meteren Line: INTRO & DIRECTORY

Joseph Van Matre (1832-1900)

Joseph Van Matre, son of John Johnson and Mary “Polly” (Matthews) Van Matre. Although not in the direct line I am following, I thought his story worth sharing.

Joseph Van Matre (1832-1900)
Joseph Van Matre (1832-1900)5

Born:               25 Aug 1832 in Clinton County, Ohio, USA.

Died:               13 Dec 1900 at the age of 68 at the Frances E. Willard Hospital, in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

Married:           1 Oct 1854 Jane Martin most likely in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #117495832 buried at Waldwick Cemetery, Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.  

Jane Martin daughter of William and Mary (Lurnsden) Martin.

Jane (Martin) Van Matre
Jane (Martin) Van Matre6

Born:               8 Jul 1834 in Mains. of Craig Hall, Kennethmont, Scotland..

Died:               13 Dec 1920 at the age of 86 most likely in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Iowa, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #117495875 buried at Waldwick Cemetery, Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.  

Table of Contents


It’s important to note that many webgens show the family being born and dying in Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin. Waldwick is within a mile of the Townships and County Lines, just north of where the 5 Van Matre farms were located in Fayette Township, Lafayette County.  It’s clear that many were buried in Waldwick, but I suspect their deaths were most likely on their farms in Fayette Township, Lafayette County. You can find the 1895 Fayette Township Plat Map on my post Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin (coming soon).

The following are three excerpts from A Story of a Van Matre Family, by Joseph M. Van Matre, page 44-45, 1985:1

He came to Wisconsin with his family in 1838. Joseph, like his brother Peter, walked to California during the gold rush. It has been said that he walked from Omaha to San Francisco barefooted. He shed his shoes whenever it was possible, whether it was proper or not. In the fall of the year the footprints of his bare feet could be seen in the frost when he had been out early in the morning to bring in the cows.

A book on the early gold mining days of California told of the holdups, robbing the miners and taking their gold. This situation became so bad and so frequent that a crew of vigilantes was organized. The story related that the culprits were caught, and one who helped hang them was Joe Van Matre of Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

When his gold mining adventures were over, Joseph returned to Wisconsin and settled on the family farm in the town of Fayette. On September 1, 1856, he married Jane Martin and they had six children.

Jane Martin was born on a farm known as the Mains of Craig Hall, located near the village of Kennethmont, fifty miles from the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. She was born July 8, 1834, the oldest child of William and Mary Lurnsden Martin, came to America in 1852, and settled with the family on a farm two and a half miles northeast of Waldwick, Wisconsin. She was a teacher at the Georgetown school. Later Joe and Jane had a post office, also called Georgetown, right across the road from their house.

It was at a Van Matre picnic in Lathrop’s Grove, near Freeport, Illinois, that Judge W. N. Cronkete of Freeport spoke the following words in regard to the family: “I want to tell you what a stranger thinks of the Van Matre family, whose connection with the history of this community dates with its earliest colonization. Members of this great family have been recognized as leaders in agricultural pursuits, in the production of fine stock, in politics, and in the educational and religious movements which have marked the progress of this section of this great commonwealth. The Van Matre family has placed its mark upon the history of this community. By your fruits are you known! No every hero makes his mark as a president or a professor. Members of this family were heroes in the pioneer life and in the humbler walks of life, but were heroes nevertheless. The community regards this family with pride, and well it may.”

It was at this same picnic that T. J. Van Matre of Fayette told an interesting story. He and his brothers had gone fishing and when they returned, Joseph went to wash the milk utensils to have them ready for the next day. Suddenly his mother remembered that she had left a mass of tallow in the container which Joe would be using. She hurried out to warn him not to spoil her unfinished tallow, but she was too late. From that day on Joseph was known as “Greasy Joe.”

Joseph and Jane were buried in Waldwick.

The first child born to them was a daughter, Mar Ella, on February 9, 1858. Mary Ella went to college in the Platteville Academy. On September 1st, 1882, she married John H. Calvert and then went to Whitewater to live, where John was the depot agent. Early in her married life she became a charter member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Whitewater. Ella was killed in a car accident while riding with her son and his wife from her childhood home to Whitewater on September 24, 1940. Both she and her husband were buried in Darlington.

John and Ella Van Matre Calvert had two children. Clarence Calvert graduated from high school and then attended the Colorado School of Mines at golden where he became on of their star football players. After graduating from college, he went to British Columbia to work in the mines , where he was injured. After his recovery, he went to Butte, Montana, and again found a job in the mines. He ended his mining career by being foreman of the Mountain View mine in Butte. It was while he was in the hospital with an injury that he met and fell in love with his nurse, Anna Stephens of Anaconda, Montana, who later became his wife. Their marriage was blessed with only one child, a son they named John, who graduated from the Idaho School of Mines. Most of his working days were spent as a diamond driller. In his early manhood he lived a very carefree life but later he really became obsessed with religion and his existence became monastic. He gave away practically all his possessions to the church and charitable causes. He never married. John died in 1982 and was buried in Santa Barbara, California, beside his mother and father.

The second child of John and Ella Calvert was a daughter named Ida, who married a man named William Martin and lived in New York City. They had one child. William Martin, Jr., and shortly after his birth Ida died.

The second child born to Joseph and Jane Van Matre was another daughter, Frances Marian, on February 17, 1859. She married F. Wilson Baker of Barnston, Quebec, Canada, on December 31, 1884.

Marion Ella Baker Smyth Noble gave me the following interesting commentary on her grandmother: “My grandmother, Frances Marion Baker, was a very self-reliant, fun-loving person. She met tragedy with an unbelievable stoicism. Her husband, son, a brother, and her sister all died tragic deaths. She loved nice clothes; at 96 she traded her beaver coat for a nice new seal one. She was neat and stylish and remained young until she died, one month before she was 99. Even when she was in her eighties, her thin ankles turned men’s eyes. Widowed when she was in her forties, she spent many years alone. She was always busy, caring for her large home, dewing and mending, hooking rugs, doing the repair work herself and even doing the carpentry work for minor remodeling. She was a whiz with a hammer as well as a needle. I was always welcome to spend the night with her, but she never allowed me to sleep late. grandma was an early riser. My father loved to tell how she would get up early, get everyone else up and put to work, and then go back to bed herself.

True to her Scottish heritage, Grandmother was frugal about many things. She was always developing recipes to “use up” something. The results were not always completely successful. No doubt she was “using up” something the day of the “Great Pancake Battle.” We all loved to hear my father tell the story-even Grandma! It seems my father when he was eighteen or so, and a cousin, Clarence Calvert, were to have some of her famous pancakes for breakfast. The boys complained that they just weren’t up to standard and started throwing them. Grandma joined in – first throwing pancakes at each other and then throwing batter. Grandma ended up under the backyard pump. My father held her under the pump and Cal pumped water on her trying to wash away the batter.

She could play only one piece on the piano – “Pop Goes the Weasel.” She had learned how to play on an old pump organ and she always pumped the piano when she played.

I was the first grandchild – on both sides of my family – so it was decided I should be named for my grandmothers. I was given their middle names, Marion Ellen. Had I been given their first names, I would have been Nancy Francie. I’m grateful they decided against that.”

Joseph Van Matre Obituary

Joseph Van Matre

Another of our pioneer citizens has passed away; one who has taken a prominent part in the settlement of southwestern Wisconsin.

Joseph Van Matre was born at Snow Hill, Clinton County, Ohio, August 26, 1832. In April, 1836, he came with his parents to Wisconsin, and settled on the old homestead, now owned by his brother,, Mr. T. J. Van Matre., in the Town of Fayette. He remained on the farm, working with his brothers until the spring of 1850, when, in company with his brother Peter and other relatives, he crossed the plains to California in search of gold. After a period of six years spent in mining, he returned to Wisconsin, and in the fall of 1856 he wooed and won Miss Jane Martin, and settled on the farm which he owned at Duke’s Prairie. Last spring he retired from the farm, and lived with his two daughters at Whitewater and Blanchardville.

On the 5th day of October he was taken with a severe chill, which resulted in pleurisy, from which he failed to recover. On the 6th day of December he was taken to Frances E. Willard Hospital, Chicago, and on the eighth he underwent an operation. He seemed to improve until Tuesday, when pneumonia developed which terminated fatally on Thursday, December 13th. His remains were brought to the home of his son-in=law, F. W. Baker, at Blanchardville, from which place on Sunday, December 16, a large concourse of relatives and friends escorted the remains to Waldwick N. E. church and cemetery, where Rev. Bradley conducted the funeral services.

He leaves to mourn their loss, a wife, two sons, John and Frank, of Fayette, two daughters, Mrs. Ella Calvert, of Whitewater, and Mrs. F. W. Baker, of Blanchardville, two brothers, N. K. Van Matre, of Mineral Point, and T. J. Van Matre, of Fayette, and one sister Mrs. Mary Jane Baker of Blanchardville, together with a large circle of relatives and friends.

Jane Martin (Martin) Van Matre Obituary

Mrs. Joseph Van Matre

Jane Martin was born near Aberdeen, Scotland, July 8, 1834 and died in Whitewater, Wisconsin, December 9, 1920. At the age of 18 years she came with her parents to America. They lived for a time near Palmyra, Wis., and later moved to Iowa County. In 1856 she was married to Joseph Van Matre, who preceded her to the great beyond 20 years ago this month.

She leaves to morn her death Mrs. J. H. Calvert of Whitewater, Mrs. F. W. baker of Blanchardville, John and Frank Van Matre of Fayette, also ten grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She was the eldest of a family of twelve, eight brothers and three sisters. Four brothers survive. John C. who makes his home with a daughter in Braintree, Mass., Jame, Alexander and Franklin Marin all of Sutherland, Iowa.

After a short service at the home of her daughters, the remains were taken to her old home north of Fayette where relatives and friends gathered to pay their last respects. She rest in the family plot at Waldwick, Wisconsin.


Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre Children

1. Mary "Ella" Van Matre

daughter of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.

Born:              9 Feb 1858 in Fayette, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:              14 Sep 1940 at the age of 82 in an auto accident, in Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Married:          24 Oct 1883 John Henry Calvert in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #104681060 buried at Union Grove Cemetery, Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

John Henry Calvert, son of John and Lavinia (Britton) Calvert.

Born:              19 Aug 1855 in New Diggings, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:              1 Nov 1919 at the age of 64 in Whitewater, Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #104681057 buried at Union Grove Cemetery, Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA. 

John Henry and Mary “Ella” Calvert Children:

  1. Clarence Emmet Calvert (1883-1961) married Anna Naomi Stephens.
  2. Ida R. Calvert (1893-1921) married William Martin, Jr.

2. Frances Marion Van Matre

daughter of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.

Born:               17 Feb 1857 in Fayette, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:               1 Jun 1957 at the age of 98 in a Chicago, Illinois hospital after a long illness, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

Married:           24 Oct 1883 Frederick “Wilson” Baker in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #76440678 buried at Union Grove Cemetery, Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Frederick Wilson “F.W.” Baker, son of Prentiss Munroe and Mary Jenette (Stevens) Baker.

Born:               5 Dec 1858 in Barnston, Stanstead County, Quebec, Canada.

Died:               12 Feb 1908 at the age of 49 in Moscow, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA. (note: His tombstone states his death in 1907, but the newspaper notice and Iowa County Courthouse death certificate reads 1908.)

Find A Grave:   Memorial #76440678 buried at Union Grove Cemetery, Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Frederick Wilson “F.W.” and Frances Baker owned their farm in Moscow, Iowa County, Wisconsin, which is just north of Blanchardville, Lafayette County, Wisconsin. F.W. had a tragic death as noted in the following newspaper article2

A Tragic Death, 

Universal sorrow reigns in our community on account of the tragic death of our esteemed citizen, F. W. Baker, which occurred Wednesday, Feb 12, 1908. Apparently he was turning on the water from the reservoir for his cattle when his foot slipped and he fell into the water. It was very icy around the cistern and after he fell in there was no possible chance for him to get out again without assistance and as it is situated quite a distance from the house and the hired men were away from home, no one heard him.

It was getting quite late in the evening and as he did not come to the house and had not been seen in town, his family became anxious and parties started to look for him. His body was found in the cistern with his arm around the cut off nut, which he had bent in his effort yto save himself.

Justice Nels Severson and Co stable Lockman of Hollandale arrived here Thursday morning and summoned a jury composed of Gus Ingwell, A. W. Wallace, Lars Dammen, Peter S. Nesheim, O.C. Broton and Robert Lamb. After listening to the testimony, the jury brought in a verdict of accidental drowning.

F.W. and Frances Marion Baker Children:

  1. Hazel Clair Baker (1886-1971) married Heimuth Gustave Brunnquell.
  2. Dwight Baker (1888-1938) married Doris Parkinson.
  3. Ella Baker (1898-1986) married Robert F. McGill.
  4. Corrine Baker (1902-1991) married Dr. William Arthur Olson.

3. John Leon Van Matre

son of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.

Born:              11 Nov 1862 in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:              12 Aug 1953 at the age of 90 in Fayette, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Married:          20 Mar 1889 Ida Lillian “Lillie” Campton    

Find A Grave:  Memorial #160492974 buried at Waldwick Cemetery, Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA. 

Ida Lillian “Lillie” Campton, daughter of Abraham Van and Emaline (Canon) Campton.

Born:              11 Nov 1862 in Fayette township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:              12 Aug 1953 at the age of 90 in Fayette, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:  Memorial #160492900 buried at Waldwick Cemetery, Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA. 

John Leon and Ida Lillian “Lillie” (Campton) Van Matre farmed just outside of Fayette, Lafayette County, Wisconsin. 

Their son, Joseph Merle Van Matre is the author of the book A Story of a Van Matre Family, 1985. The link will take you to  FamilySearch.org (it’s free to sign up for an account). In the search box, just type “A Story of a Van Matre Family” and you should then have access to the full book. It is apparent that Joseph put a lot of time and effort into his book. Although not in the direct line I am following, his post Joseph Merle VanMatre is a tribute to him (coming soon). Thank You Joseph!!!

The following is what Joseph wrote about his father in A Story of a Van Matre Family:

John  Leon Van Matre, my father, the third child of Joseph and Jane Van Matre, was born in LaFayette County, Wisconsin, on November 11, 1862. He grew to be a tall, slim man, who could well have passed for an Indian.

Although only half Scottish – his mother was born in Scotland – Dad had all the characteristics of a full-blooded Scotchman. He was very frgal and wasted nothing. He was a hard worker and expected a full day’s work from the family and any hired help. In the summer his day was from five in the morning to nine at night. As soon as the crops were harvested, his hours changed; he rose an hour later in the morning and stayed up until ten at night. Most of his evening hours were spent reading books.

I can’t remember leaving home when Dad didn’t ask,  “Do you need any money?” If I were not able to pay my way, I should not go. Dad always wanted to pay his fair share in everything and he expected his sons to do likewise. He had no use for a sponger.

My dad’s favorite pastime was to go fishing. This pleasure he shared many a time with a friend named Ira Patch, who lived in Fayette. I remember he was called “Old Patch.” After the grain harvest was over, Dad took a team of horses and a light wagon loaded with his tent and other camping equipment and together with Old Patch headed for the river either at Argyle or Calamine to fish for three or four days. After Old Patch died, Dad did his fishing closer to home, using a horse and two-wheeled cart for his conveyance. Seldom did he take the car when he went fishing.

It was in his later years that the transition came from horses to tractors. When Dad was about eighty years old, he thought he would try his hand at plowing with the tractor. As he went over the hill, out of sight of the buildings, he came to a corner. He yelled “Whoe!” but the iron horse didn’t stop! It went right through the fence and onto the neighbor’s land. Without stopping, Dad made a big turn, went out the same hole he had made in the fence and continued plowing. At noon he told my brother that the fence was down and needed to be repaired but he volunteered no explanation.

As he grew older, Dad did less of the farm work and liked to listen to baseball games on the radio. Being hard of hearing, he turned up the volume; I assure you, we could hear that radio as far away as the barn. I’m sure my  mother’s ears suffered many a time! Dad’s vision was good, How he would have enjoyed the baseball games on TV today!

Dad really loved going to the circus, and he always took us when one came into our area. Also he enjoyed the county fair. As we entered the gates, he gave each of us boys a quarter to spend. How we spent it was up to us, but when it was gone, there was no more that day. A quarter wasn’t too bad in my childhood days since ice cream cones were a nickel and so were all the rides.

Dad married my mother, Ida Lillian Campton, on March 20, 1889, and they lived their entire life on the same farm. Mother was a hard worker. Since she had no daughter to lend her a helping hand, we boys sometimes had to pitch in. I well remember when she got the first washing machine that was operated by a crank because I was the one that had to turn the crank. The same was true when we changed from the old plunger-type churn to the barrel kind.

Mother enjoyed company. Whenever unexpected guests arrived, she could whip up a good meal in a hurry. She always had a large garden. Mother liked good clothes and made a lot of them for her children and herself. In her later years her eyesight gradually failed, and by the time she died, on April 24, 1958, she could not see at all.

Dad was deaf and Mother was blind, but they shared a happy life for sixty-four years. When Dad died, the light of Mother’s life was gone. In less than five years, she had joined him in their heavenly home. They were fine parents and I shall always be grateful to them for the many good things they taught me.


The following is a transcript of a document “My Grandmother Jane was Beautiful” posted to ancestry.com by Roderick Martin. Memories of Joseph Merle Van Matre as told to Robert Husley Martin. My comments are in brackets:


(Joseph Merle Van Matre is the son of John Van Matre and the grandson of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.) Jane Martin was the first child of William and Mary Martin.

I live in Cassville, Wisconsin from May to October, and Tucson, Arizona in a high-class mobile home park from October to May.

My wife of 58 years, Leta, and I have built on an addition “like a doll house” and have “his and her’s”, two buildings in the back. Mine is my “rock shop” and her’s is her sewing room, deep freeze and storage area.

I trained as a mining engineer at the University of Wisconsin at the same time as Horace P. Martin (of marysville, Ohio). We did not know each other at that time. Like Horace, I am my family’s genealogist.

The Van Matres came to this country in 1662. They were from Holland and one of their accomplishments was to translate the first English version of the Bible.[See my post on Jacobus and Emanuel Van Meteren for their story]. I am publishing a book on the Van Matre family next spring with our coat of arms on the cover. [This is the book I have in my possession, although it’s only a copy of a copy.]

I spent ten years of my life as a mining engineer with Anaconda Copper Company in Butte, Montana. Our son William, who is head of the mining department at the Montana School of Mines, still lives there. Another son lives in Florida and a third son lives in Philadelphia, where he works for the DuPont Company.

My grandmother Jane martin was born in 1834 in Scotland, coming to America with her parents and the family on a steamer in 1852, arriving in New York, and later settling on a farm in Wisconsin.

I remember her well. She was tall and erect with a pretty face and white hair. In later years she lived in Whitewater, Wisconsin with my aunt, her daughter Ella Calvert. It was always good to see her when she came to visit. She died in 1920 when I was 20.

My father named me after my grandfather, Joseph Van Matre. Grand-dad was quite a character. He went barefoot all the time. He even walked to San Francisco barefoot to dig gold during the Gold Rush, and even went to church barefoot. he was a tough old devil, and never wore shoes. He died in 1900, the year I was. born, so I never knew him. He is buried in Waldwick, Wisconsin near the Martins.

I remember John C. Martin well. He used to come to our house in Wisconsin and always smoked big old black cigars. He also visited us in Butte, Montana. His daughter drove him there. Uncle John was a Mason for 75 years. I was a Mason for 58 years. I am 82 now.

John Leon and Jane (Martin) Children:

  1. Guy Van Matre (1890-1974) married Harriet Mae Wagner.
  2. Genevive Van Matre (1894-1896)
  3. Arthur Van Mate (1898-1900)
  4. Joseph Merle Van Matre (1900-1990) married 1st Lita Marie Grunow; married 2nd Marie E Thomas.
  5. Horace Van Matre (1907-1985)

4. George Franklin "Frank" Van Matre

son of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.

Born:               4 Mar 1866 in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:               19 Jul 1954 at the age of 88 most likely in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Married:           1891 Caroline “Carrie” Doering in Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #126996902 buried at Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.

Caroline “Carrie” Doering, daughter of Jonas and Elizabeth (Gaenger) Doering

Born:                8 Feb 1868 in Gratiot, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:               16 Sep 1943 at the age of 75 most likely in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #126996960 buried at Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.

George Franklin Van Matre

George Franklin Van Matre, better known as Frank, was the fourth child of Joseph and Jane. He was born on the farm where he lived most of his life on March 4, 1866, and died on July 9, 1954. He married Caroline Doering of Gratiot on February 19, 1891.

Frank was a fun-loving person. he liked peppy music. His favorite sport was baseball; he played at the game far beyond the age where most people quit being active. He would drive many miles to a fair, a field day, or a Sunday School picnic – if there was going to be a baseball game. Also, he enjoyed a good horse race. In their younger days the Van Matre boys met on Sundays and either had a track meet or an afternoon of horse racing.

His family consisted of one son, Dean, who lived his entire life on the farm where both he and his father had been born.

George “Frank” and Caroline “Carrie” Van Matre Child:

  1. Dean F. Van Matre (1896-1973) married Ruth M. Humbert.

5. Frederick "Freddie" W. Van Matre

son of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.

Born:               31 Mar 1868 in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:               16 Jan 1871 at the age of 2 years, 8 months 16 days, in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #117495992 buried at Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.

6. Horace Greeley Van Matre

son of Joseph and Jane (Martin) Van Matre.

Born:               11 Jan 1871 in Fayette Township, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Died:               23 Feb 1894 at the age of 23 in Shullsburg, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, USA.

Find A Grave:   Memorial #117495992 buried at Waldwick, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA.

Brakeman Dies of His Injuries3

DARLINGTON, Wis., Feb. 24,–Horace Van Matre, a. brakeman on the Shullsburg branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, who was injured while coupling cars at Gratiot last Wednesday, died at Shullsburg last night. The remains arrived here this morning, and were taken to Fayette for interment this afternoon.

Horace Greeley Van Matre Obituary4

Death of Horace G. VanMatre

It was briefly chronicled in The Democrat of last week that Horace G. VanMatre was seriously injured on Wednesday morning Feb. 21, while uncoupling cars at Gratiot, and the hope was indulged in that his recovery was probable. His uncle Mr. John C. Martin came from his bedside on Friday evening with encouraging reports of his condition; but on Saturday morning a telegram bore the sad news of his death, which it appears resulted from internal injuries not discovered by the attending physician.

As to the manner of his being hurt the conclusion is that in coupling or uncoupling cars at Gratiot station his foot was caught between the main rail and guard rail of the track; that he fell on the inside of the main rail onto the guard rail, his body paralied with the rails, was crushed by th flange of the wheel and guard rail, and then dragged about eight feet, when, by a miraculous effort of his he threw himself from his perilous situation out between the truck wheels while th ecars were in motion, stood on his feet and said to the conductor, who was the first person to reach him, “I’m cut in two”. Investigation however showed that no bones were broken.

The deceased was the youngest son of Joseph and Jane Van Matre of the town of Fayette. He was 23 years of age. He was a young man of excellent character, and very highly esteemed by all who knew him. The news of the terrible accident fell with crushing weight upon his family, and more especially upon the mother, who was unable to be at his bedside or accompany his remains to the cemetery, being detained at home by sickness.

A special train was provided to bring Knights of Pythias, and others from Shullsburg and Darlington to the funeral. Knights from Mineral Point also attended in body, there being in all from 75 to 80 members of the orders in attendance, besides an immense concourse of other people, attesting in the strongest manner possible to the high esteem in which the deceased was held. Over 200 vehicles were in the funeral procession, and not over one-third of the people could be accommodated in the commodious Yellowstone church, where services were conducted by Rev. T.W. Stamp. Floral tributes were very profuse and rich, among them being an anchor and shield by the K.P. Lodge of Shullsburg, and a pillow by railroad employees, with the words “Hoarce Rest”, beautifully outlined thereon. The remains were laid to rest in the family lot in Yellostone cemetery.[he was actually buried at Waldwick Cemetery, Iowa County, Wisconsin].

The sympathy of the entire community goes out to the bereaved parents, sisters, and brothers in their sudden and great affliction.

Iowa County Democrat 02 Mar 1894

Citations and Attributes:

  1. Van Matre, Joseph M., "A Story of a Van Matre Family", page 44-45, 1985.
  2. A Tragic Death, F. W. Baker Drowned in Cistern, The Blanchardville Blade, Blanchardville, Wisconsin, Friday, Feb 14, 1908, page 1. Accessed online at Newspapers.com: https://www.newspapers.com/article/the-blanchardville-blade-f-w-baker-drown/125961153/ (Accessed 6 Jun 2023).
  3. Brakeman Dies of HIs Injuries, The Weekly Wisconsin, 3 Mar 1894, Sat, Page 6, retrieved from Newspapers.com at https://www.newspapers.com/article/the-weekly-wisconsin-brakeman-dies-of-hi/126056531/ (Accessed 8 Jun 2023).
  4. Horace Greeley Van Matre Obituary, Iowa County Democrat, 2 Mar 1894, retrieved from his Find A Grave Memorial at Memorial #209041287.
  5. Joseph Van Matre (1832-1900) photo copied from “A Story of A Van Matre Family” by Joseph M. Van Matre, page 51, 1985.
  6. Jane (Martin) Van Matre photo copied from “A Story of A Van Matre Family” by Joseph M. Van Matre, page 51, 1985.

The family Information was retrieved from a variety of family trees, webgens and family stories. I will note citations as appropriate and hope the information assists you in your research, but please do not use this as proven evidence. Feedback is welcome!

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.

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