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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN L. MATHER, mason, contractor, and builder of Northampton, was born in Amherst, Mass., January 9, 1851, son of William E. and Henrietta (Lyman) Mather. He is a scion of an ancient and honored New England family, the founder of which was the Rev. Richard Mather, a gifted divine of Dorchester, Mass., who was born in Lowton, Lancashire, England, in 1596, studied at Oxford, was ordained, and engaged in the work of the ministry before coming to Boston in 1635. He died in Dorchester, April 22, 1669. He was a son of Thomas Mather and a grandson of John Mather, of Lancashire, England.

The Rev. Eleazer Mather, one of the sons of Richard, was the first settled pastor in Northampton. He was born in Dorchester, Mass., May 13, 1637, began to preach in Northampton in 1658, and was ordained in June, 1661. John L. Mather, the subject of this sketch, is a descendant of the Rev. Richard Mather’s son Timothy, who was of the fourth generation from John, the next in line being successively the Rev. Samuel Mather, of the fifth; Dr. Samuel Mather, of the sixth; Dr. Samuel Mather, Jr., of the seventh; Elisha Mather, of the eighth, born in 1740; William Mather, of the ninth; and William E., of the tenth.

William Mather, son of Elisha, was an able farmer, possessing a farm on Pleasant Street, where is now the crossing of the Consolidated Railroad, and extending back to Hawley Street. He died August 5, 1835, aged fifty-nine years; but his wife, whose maiden name was Annie Clark, lived to be seventy-eight, dying March 22, 1854. They reared four sons and two daughters. The youngest, Sarah Ann Mather, was a teacher in Virginia some fifteen years, and died in St. Augustine, Fla., at the age of seventy-six.

William E., son of William and Annie (Clark) Mather, was a farmer in Amherst, owning a farm in that town some fifteen years. His term on earth comprised fifty-eight years, ending January 20, 1862. On June 15, 1848, he was united in marriage with Henrietta H. Lyman, of Hockanum, Hadley, Mass., daughter of Enos and Lydia (Wadsworth) Lyman, of Ellington, Conn. Enos Lyman was a farmer in moderate circumstances, and was a Captain in the militia. He died some years before his wife, whose death occurred in 1875, at the age of seventy-four. Mrs. Mather was born March 31, 1818, and was the eldest of ten children, and the only daughter. She lived through many years of widowhood, passing away May 19, 1890. She was a model wife and mother, a practical Christian, and was a member of the Edwards Congregational Church. Two of her four children are living, namely: John L.; and Charles Dwight, a carpenter and builder residing on Pleasant Street, Northampton. George Howe died in early childhood; and Frank C., who was a mason by trade, died in August, 1892, at the age of forty-three, leaving a widow.

John L. Mather attended school at Amherst, Hadley, and Northampton. At the age of seventeen he was apprenticed to Daniel R. Clark to learn the mason’s trade, remaining until twenty-one. He received five hundred dollars of the Oliver Smith Fund, and on attaining his majority bought his employer’s business. From that time to the present the business has prospered under his management; and he has established a reputation for good workmanship and honest dealings that adds new prestige to the honorable name of Mather. One of his first contracts was the building of Cosmian Hall; and in the spring of 1874 he built the main building and the president’s house of Smith College. He also erected the Hillyer Art Gallery of the college and many fine residences and school-houses in the vicinity, his business amounting to as much as one hundred thousand dollars in a year.

On February 25, 1891, Mr. Mather married Mrs. Ella K. (Child) Warnock, daughter of Henry Child, of Northampton, and widow of William Warnock. Mrs. Mather has two sons by her former marriage, Henry C. and William Harold Warnock, aged respectively seventeen and fourteen. One daughter, Esther Henrietta, born October 25, 1893, is the fruit of her union with Mr. Mather.

John L. Mather is a Republican in political views. He has served as Councilman, and is now one of the Board of Aldermen of Northampton. In Masonic circles he is prominent, being a Master Mason. His home is a handsome brick dwelling-house at 275 Main Street, which he erected in 1882 and moved into in 1883, installing as mistress his mother, whose gracious presence came to be missed a few years later in the spacious rooms now brightened by the smiles and voices of wife and children.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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