Thomas Mather Papers
Scope and Content of the Collection
Small collection consists of letters, two manuscript diaries (with transcriptions), an account book and a map which concern Mather’s activities as one of three commissioners appointed to survey a route from Missouri to Santa Fe in 1825. The letters, and copies of official letters, relate to Mather’s appointment as one of the commissioners of the Santa Fe Road Commission, and include communications to and from George C. Sibley and Benjamin H. Reeves (the other two commissioners) and other officials, plus two letters to his wife Hannah. Also, a memoir of Mrs. Hannah G. L. Mather and two newspaper clippings.
- Creation: 1825-1886
- Mather, Thomas (Person)
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The Thomas Mather Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Thomas Mather Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.
Biography of Thomas Mather
Illinois businessman and legislator.
Thomas Mather was born in 1794 in Connecticut, but established himself in business in Illinois, where he married Hannah G. Lamb in 1825. Mather was not only a businessman but also served in both branches of the Illinois Legislature. As a member of the lower house, in the 1822-1823 session, he conspicuously opposed a resolution for a convention that would amend the constitution with the view of admitting slavery to the state.
In 1825 Mather was appointed by the Department of War under President John Quincy Adams to be one of three commissioners to survey the route from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe. The assignment of the commissioners – Thomas Mather, Benjamin H. Reeves and George C. Sibley - was to survey and map the route, negotiating agreements with Indian tribes to secure safe passage along the line. By the time the commissioners submitted their report in October, 1827, there was already constant traffic on the Santa Fe Road.
In 1835 Mather, who held an honorary title of Colonel, moved to Springfield, where he organized and became president of the State Bank of Illinois. He also was connected with the organization of the Illinois Central and Galena Union Railroad Companies and several other Midwest railroads. He served a number of years as a Trustee of the Illinois College in Jacksonville, and contributed liberally to that and other institutions of learning.
Hannah and Thomas Mather had no children, but adopted several, including R. Pennell Lamb and Susan R. Lamb. Mather died in 1853.
0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)
Letters, diaries, account book, map and biographical sketch, most in connection with Mather’s activities as one of three commissioners appointed by the government to survey and mark a route from Missouri to Santa Fe in 1825.
The letters are arranged chronologically, with diaries, map, memoir and clippings at the end.
Collection Stack Location
Vault 40 4
Forms part of the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana, Newberry Library.
Existence and Location of Copies note
Collection has been digitized as part of “The American West”, an Adam Mathew collection available through subscription. For digital copies, contact Digital Imaging Services, Newberry Library (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Existence and Location of Copies note
Collection also available on microfilm.
Virginia Hay Smith, 2013.
- Inventory of the Thomas Mather Papers, 1825-1886
- Virginia Hay Smith
- Language of description
- Script of description