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The Matteson Line

From: History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical
NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

The Matteson family of Rhode Island is of Danish origin, and was established in Rhode Island in the year 1678, by Henry Matteson, who was born in Denmark, in October, 1646, and died about 1690.  He was of Prudence Island, and removed from there to East Greenwich, R. I.  No relationship has been traced between Henry Matteson and Francis Matteson, who on June 2, 1657, were granted accommodations with a house lot at the further end of Ship Cove, in Providence.  Henry Matteson was the progenitor of the well-known Rhode Island families of the name, and it is to him that Mrs. E. Ellen (Matteson) Spencer traces her lineage.

Arnold and Waitstill (Barney) Matteson, grandparents of Mrs. Spencer, were residents of the town of Warwick, R. I., where Arnold Matteson was a prosperous farmer and highly respected citizen.

Henry Matteson , son of Arnold and Waitstill (Barney) Matteson, was born in Coventry, R. I., in 1813, and was educated in the schools of his native town.  He learned the trade of machinist, and within a short period became an expert mechanic.  Mr. Matteson was employed in the capacity of chief mechanic, superintendent and overseer in several of the largest mills of Rhode Island, among them the mills at Washington and Phenix.  He was employed for several years in plants in Connecticut.  His home was in the town of Coventry, and he was well known in its life and affairs, although he remained strictly apart from political circles.  He was a Republican in political affiliation, and an active member of the Congregational church.

Henry Matteson married, in 1833, Almira Arnold, daughter of Thomas G. and Eleanor G. (Bowen) Arnold, who was born in Warwick, R. I., in 1816, and died in Coventry, in 1881.  Thomas G. Arnold, grandfather of Mrs. Spencer, was born in Coventry, in 1786, son of Benjamin and Sarah (Greene) Arnold.  He married, in 1806, Eleanor G. Bowen, who was born in 1789, and died in 1881, daughter of Asa and --- (Brown) Bowen.  Thomas G. Arnold was a well known educator in Coventry and the vicinity, and built the first school in Coventry, which his wife taught during the opening term.  Henry Matteson and his wife Almira (Arnold) Matteson were the parents of the following children:  1.  E. Ellen, mentioned below.  2.  Emeline A., who became the wife of Amos Fuller, of Worcester, Mass.  3.  Albert Henry, who was born at Scituate, R. I., and was educated at the Norwich Academy, Norwich, Conn.; he subsequently received an appointment as revenue officer, but resigned this to enter Brown University.  After leaving college he was employed in the Greene Mills at Norwich.  Mr. Matteson later was connected with the Pullman Car Company, of Chicago, Ill., for ten years, but at the end of this period retired and returned to the old Matteson home in Coventry, where he resided for the remaining years of his life.  He was well known and eminently respected in Coventry, and took a deep interest in its welfare, espousing the cause of the people against the political cliques.  He was a Republican in political affiliation.  Albert Henry Matteson was a man of broad culture, a deep student, widely travelled, well versed in business affairs, and was looked up to on many occasions for advice in town affairs.

E. Ellen Matteson, daughter of Henry and Almira (Arnold) Matteson, was born in Washington, and educated in the schools of her native town, later attending the East Greenwich Academy.  On completing her studies and until her marriage she was a teacher in the schools of Coventry.  In 1860 she married Henry D. Spencer.  Mrs. Spencer is well known in social circles in Coventry.  She has been prominently identified with charitable and civic welfare work for many years, and is now active in the Red Cross.

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