Benjamin Franklin Mateer


BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MATEER, of Boggs township, is a representative of a family numerously represented and highly respected in that section of Armstrong county. The name was formerly McAteer, and the family, which is of Scotch-Irish origin, has been in Pennsylvania for several generations.

James Mateer, the founder of this branch in America, was born in Ireland, and was of Scotch-Irish parentage. Crossing the Atlantic with his wife, Mollie (Sharon), and family, he settled in the Cumberland valley in Pennsylvania some time before 1760, seven miles from Harrisburg and one mile from Mechanicsville, obtaining 414 3/4 acres of land from the Penns, on which he made his home and devoted himself to farming. There be, reared his family. He served in the Revolutionary war. Samuel Mateer, son of James and Mollie (Sharon) Mateer, always followed farming, remaining on the old home place, where he died in 1800. He married Rosanna Quigley and they reared a family. John Mateer, son of Samuel, was a native of Dauphin county, Pa., thence removing in 1806 to Armstrong county with his mother, two brothers and three sisters, and settling in, Franklin township, close to what is now Montgomeryville, on land now owned by the Shawmut Railway Company. He obtained 250 acres of land in what is now East Franklin township, then all in the woods, and developed a desirable property, putting up a substantial brick house and frame barn, and making many improvements which added to its value. In 1855 Mr. Mateer left Armstrong county, moving out to Wayne county, Ill., where he died in 1867. In politics he was a Democrat. He married Margaret Montgomery, who died in 1875, and they had the following children: Washington, Samuel, Robert, John, Margaret, Nancy Jane, Rosanna, Montgomery and Anthony.

Samuel Mateer, son of John, was born Nov. 27, 1818, in what is now East Franklin township, Armstrong county, and was raised there. Later he located in what was then Pine (now Boggs) township, where his son Samuel S. Mateer now lives, and there passed the remainder of his life, dying in 1900. Farming was his principal business throughout life, but in his early years he was also a drover, dealing extensively in stock, which he drove to the eastern markets. He bought the place of 200 acres in Boggs township now owned by his son Samuel, at a time when there were neither roads nor bridges in the vicinity, and the tree under which he pitched his tent the first winter, while he cleared a place for his house, is still standing. In the spring he went for his young wife, whom he had married the previous August, 1843, and they worked together to improve the property, in time being able to build a fine house and barn. Mr. Mateer was a Democrat and took a prominent part in the public, affairs of the locality, holding the office, of justice of the peace for many years and serving faithfully in various township offices, including that of school director. Being a carpenter, he in 1859 built the schoolhouse which still stands on the farm and is known by his name. He also contributed liberally toward the building of the Presbyterian Church of Concord, and was one of the trustees of that congregation. He helped to secure good roads in his neighborhood. He was the promoter of Pine Creek Furnace, and with James E. Brown, of whom he purchased his farm, and James Mosgrove established the furnace where the station of that name now stands. Thus he was associated with many movements which marked the progress of his community. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity.

In August, 1843, Mr. Mateer married Eliza Ambrose, who was born April 2, 1823, daughter of Benjamin Ambrose, a farmer of Westmoreland county, who came to Franklin township, Armstrong county, where. he reared his family of four sons and three daughters. Mr. Ambrose was a Whig and a Presbyterian. Mrs. Mateer died in 1904. She and her husband had the following children, all born on the home farm in Boggs township where their son Samuel S. now lives: Tames E. B., born May 24, 1844, is a farmer of Boggs township (he married Esther S. Lowry, who died in 1906); John Harvey, born July 31, 1846, a farmer of Boggs township, married Clara Calhoun; Robert M., born Oct. 5, 1848, graduated from Jefferson Medical College in the year 1873, and was a prominent physician of Elderton, this county, until his death, June 8,. 1900 (he married Mary Donnelly); Benjamin Franklin is mentioned below; Samuel S., born May 1, 1853, married Mary Houser; Annie Jane, born Oct. 25, 1855, married William C. Calhoun, a farmer of Boggs township; Margaret E., born March 18, 1858, married Findley P. Wolff, an attorney of Kittanning, and she died June, 24, 1910; Mary Elizabeth, born Dec. 5, 1860, married Joseph Banks, who died in 1888; Ambrose M., born July 16, 1863, a merchant at Ford City, this county, married Annie M. Hausholder; Alexander Montgomery, born Oct. 26, 1867, married Hannah Williamson, and is a farmer of Boggs township. Besides their own large family Mr. and Mrs. Mateer raised Daniel Cogley, who was born Sept. 7, 1839, and whom they took into their home as an orphan boy of nine years. He still resides on the old homestead with Samuel S. Mateer. He was a Union soldier during the Civil war, enlisting in August, 1862, in Company K, 155th Pennsylvania Regiment, and serving three years with the Army of the Potomac; after his discharge he returned to the Mateer farm in Boggs township.

Benjamin Franklin Mateer was born Dec. 5, 1850, and grew to manhood on the farm. He received the greater part of his education at Dayton, and for ten years was engaged in school teaching, following that profession in Pine, Boggs, Valley and Washington townships, this county. Meantime he had also followed farming, and when he gave up teaching settled down to agricultural pursuits in Boggs township, obtaining 101 acres of land. He has since bought another eighty acres, and the entire tract is improved and cultivated according to the most approved modern ideas. Mr. Mateer has erected substantial buildings, and his work has shown him to be a typical member of the family whose name he bears, and whose enterprise and advanced methods are proverbial in this part of the county. He also owns a residence in the borough of Kittanning. Mr. Mateer has always been a Democrat, but ha taken no part in politics and has never aspired to office.

In 1876 Mr. Mateer was married to Maggie E. Adams, of Valley township, this county, daughter of Robert and Eliza Adams. They have had four children: (1) Anna Florence is the wife of George W. Robinson, of Mansfield, Ohio. (2) Samuel Warren, who lives on the home farm, married Sadie Miller, and, they have two children, William Franklin and Margaret Mildred (3) Eliza May is married to B. F. Elwinger, and has two children, Anna Florence and Agnes Genevia. By a previous marriage, Mr. Elwinger has one child, Clarence. (4) Margaret Agnes married John S. Spence, and died June 18, 1910; she left no children.

Source: Pages 396, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Vaughn Davis for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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