For the complete detailed description of the origins of this family and their movements from Virginia to the Carolinas and other states refer to the menu in the header above. The complete narrative is quite long so I have split it up and categorized it by century and family groups. All items are sourced as completely as I am able. Where a source is available there is an endnote number that is clickable such as the superscript number 1 following this sentence.1 Click the 1 after the previous sentence to be taken to the source page. In some places additional notes are provided by clicking on the speech bubble icon such as the one following this sentence. Simply move your mouse over the bubble and the notes will appear.

The most distant verified ancestor for this family is James Mathews and his wife Jane (synonymous with "Jean" as given in some sources). James appears as early as 1688 in a Charles City County, Virginia court order record. He and his wife Jane had at least five known sons: Thomas, James Jr., Isaac, Charles and Matthew as well as at least two unnamed daughters. By the 1740s James and several of his children had moved to that part of North Carolina which would become Halifax County in the area of Little Fishing Creek (southwestern corner of Halifax County).

James Mathews Sr. died by 1762 in Halifax County, NC and within a few more years his sons Thomas, James Jr. and Isaac had also died there. James' son Charles remained in Virginia for most of his life and died in Brunswick County in 1780. James' son Matthew is rather enigmatic and not much is known about his later life with certainty. James and his sons left behind a large family. Several grandchildren fought in the Revolutionary War, some served as officers and others in the ranks of infantry or cavalry. By and large the family would stay in Halifax County, NC until the late 1700s when they began to move south and west in search of new land to settle after the war.

Of the children of Thomas Mathews most moved to Chatham County, NC, and then later to parts of Georgia and further west. With almost no exceptions this family group adopted the "Mathis" spelling variation either around the time of the death of Thomas or shortly after.

Of the children of James Mathews, Jr. at least two remained behind in Halifax County, NC while two others moved to Georgia and Alabama.

Of the children and grandchildren of Charles Mathews, who remained in Virginia after the rest of his family moved to North Carolina, most of his children moved west to Tennessee, some to North Carolina and then those eventually went further west.

Of the children and grandchildren of Isaac Mathews, Sr. one or two remained in Halifax County, one (possibly two) moved to Georgia, while the most visible, Isaac Mathews Jr. (my ancestor) settled in Edgefield County, SC. Several of the children of James Mathews Sr's sons would briefly live in Edgefield County and the surrounding areas before moving on to Georgia or Alabama.

For those wanting the full saga in all it's glory use the menu links at the top of each page.