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Memories of Virginia/Note on the name of Matthews

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The name of Mathew and Matthews is the same in Welsh, English, American and family history. In the old days "Ap" signified "Son of"—and surnames were not adopted until 1440, when Sir John Ap Mathew, son of David, adopted Matthew, as spelt by St. Matthew, and used in the English language. He was the first of the race to settle in England, and his descendants use two t's while the family in Wales still use one t. Governor Samuel suited his convenience, his name spelt according to custom of locality. His son, Francis, was educated in England and passed down to his descendants through Baldwin the name of Matthews. His son, Samuel, who died about the date of his father, Governor Matthews, remained in this country, and through his son, Captain John, employed the name Mathew, but both sons of the same "Ap" of Wales and England. A cousin, Thomas, of the same family in Wales, settled in Ireland, his descendant came to this country in 1734, and his branch took root in Mathews County, Virginia—the families intermarried, but all love David of Wales, First Lord of Cardingshire, the great Welshman, the eldest son of Mathew of Ievan, and one of the most distinguished men of his age. History relates that when an old man, as standard bearer of the King of Great Britain, he was in the battle of Towton Palm Sunday, 1461, when, through valor and heroism, he saved the life of King Edward IV. "A wonderful act of courage." His tomb in the chapel of St. Mary's venerable cathedral at Landaff, Wales, is ornamented with a life size alabaster statue and is one of the most interesting extant of monuments of that time, and has ever since been the property and burial place of the Matthews of Wales.

There are many Coats of Arms and Mottoes in the long line of ancestors from 675, but the old Welsh motto is most beloved:

"Heb a Dim, Heb a Dim ad Dhew a digon."
"With God everything, without God nothing."

The English branch employ the motto first used by Sir John:

     "Omne Solum viro Patria est."
"Every country is native soil to the hero."

Governor Samuel Mathews made this his coat of arms. He married the daughter of Sir Thomas Hilton, his second wife, widow of West, brother of Lord Delaware, and naturally made English affiliation with England, but lived and died a son of Wales.