The farming interests of Putnam county have a worthy representative in Newton J. Mathis, who is successfully carrying on operations in his chosen field of labor on section 30, Magnolia township. His early home was in Ohio, for he was born in Champaign county, that state, on the 22d of November, 1837, and is a son of Caleb and Margaret (Home) Mathis, both of whom were natives of New Jersey, the former born March 3, 1793, and the latter July 15, 1795. The parents were reared and married in their native state and from there removed to Champaign county, Ohio, soon afterward. In 1843 they came to Champaign county, Illinois, and one year later took up their residence in Putnam county, settling on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which at that time was but slightly improved. It was partially covered with timber, while the rest was prairie land. Upon his place the father erected a good brick residence, which is still standing, and made many other useful and valued improvements which added to the attractive appearance of the place. On the old homestead he died in 1875 and his wife passed away at the age of seventy-nine years. She was an earnest and consistent member of the Methodist church, while he was connected with the Society of Friends. His political support was given to the republican party, but he took no active part in public affairs. In his family were twelve children, but only our subject and his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Hoyt, of Lacon, Illinois, are now living.
Being the youngest son in his father's family, Newton J. Mathis remained under the parental roof during his boyhood and youth and acquired a good practical education in the common schools of the neighborhood. After reaching man's estate he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of the old homestead, upon which he still resides. All of the buildings and improvements found thereon are first class and have been put there by our subject. As time has passed he has added to his property and is now the owner of an excellent farm of two hundred acres where he resides, and also has eighty acres one mile north, one hundred and sixty acres near Magnolia, and one hundred and sixty acres in South Dakota. For twenty years he has devoted considerable attention to the feeding of cattle, but not on a very extensive scale. In all his undertakings he has met with marked success and is accounted one of the most enterprising and progressive farmers of his community.
It was on the 23d of September, 1858, that Mr. Mathis was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jane Seybold, a native of Knox county, Illinois, and five children bless their union, namely: William Leslie, who married Ora Norris and died November 23, 1906; George E., who died at the age of two years; Edward A., who wedded Mary Hiltebrand and resides in Magnolia; James N., who died at the age of twelve years; and Vernon, who is still at home with his parents. He is a graduate of the Magnolia schools and now aids his father in the operation of the home farm.
Mr. Mathis and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and stand high in public regard. He votes with the republican party, and for the long period of thirty years has efficiently served as school director, but has never sought or desired to hold other office. His wife is well known as a splendid cook and excellent housekeeper, and the many friends of the family are always sure to find a hearty welcome at their hospitable door.
Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 392.