Matson Home

Built circa 1865.

This house was the home of Dr. J.T. Matson beginning in 1890. James Thornton Matson was born to Enoch and Jane Shobe Matson on December 1, 1821 in Peno Township, Pike County. He was one of thirteen children born to the couple. In 1846, he began studying under Dr. John C. Welbourne of Frankford, Missouri. He went on to study at the Medical School of the State University at St. Louis from 1847-1849. He moved around Missouri practicing medicine until he came to Louisiana in 1890. Medicine was not his only interest. He was also involved in politics. He was a member of the Democratic Party. In 1861, he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1861 as a representative for Ralls, Marion, and Monroe counties. In 1866, he was a candidate for the State Legislature, but was defeated by the Whig candidate, William Samuels. He was described as  “Liberal in his ideas and in favor of everything which encourages the intellectual and physical advancement of the people. He is a recognized as a friend to humanity.” 1

On May 22, 1849 he married Eliza B. Donnelly. Together they had 5 children. They were: Lucy, who died at about 14 months of age, Fannie, John W., Eliza J., and Leonora A. John W. was an influential citizen of Louisiana. He studied at the State University of Missouri, then at St. Louis Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1880 and immediately opened a law practice in Louisiana. He was elected the City Attorney of Louisiana on the Democratic ticket in 1886. 2

Dr. S.B. Ayres lived in this home for approximately five years before his death. Salathiel Bainbridge Ayres was born in 1839 in Spencerburg, Missouri. He attended Bethel College in Palmyra until the outbreak of the Civil War. He was a Confederate sympathizer and joined other young volunteers under the command of Captain Theodore Brace. He served as an orderly sergeant until his period of enlistment expired. After the end of his time as a soldier he started classes at Rush Medical College. He began practicing medicine in Spencerburg in the spring of 1864. On October 24, 1864, he married Susan E. Woodson. They were childless. In May of 1866, he brought his medical practice to Louisiana. He practiced medicine in Louisiana for many years, with various partners, until his health began to fail. Even still, some of his patients still went to his home to seek advice and sometimes treatment. He died at his home in Louisiana in 1914 at the age of 75. 3

1. Portrait and Biographical Record of Northern Missouri Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Together with Biographies and Portraits of All the Presidents of the United States. 1895. Chicago: C.O. Owen & Co. pp. 789
2.  Ibid p. 790
3. Louisiana Press Journal. 1914. “Died.,” February 27.
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