My “Favorite Photo”, Mathew Arvin Register ~ 52 Ancestors

Mathew A. Register new photo


I was not raised around any family, almost all of them lived over 1200 miles away. My parents were not the kind to talk too much about their families and neither of them were sentimental about photos nor memorabilia. It wasn’t until I began my Genealogy journey over 20 years ago that I came into contact with several “unknown” cousins who had been blessed with an abundance of photos. Thankfully they had no problem sharing.

I have a lot of favorites but this one warms my heart. This is my paternal 2x Great Grandfather, Mathew Arvin Register. It was taken around 1895 while visiting his farm in Alexandria Township, Kansas. Standing in the corn, he has a very content look on his face. I like that the two corn stalks are taller than him. At this time, he was in his 60’s and had led a very exciting life. Although he had been a farmer his entire life, he did not restrict himself to this one thing.

He was born in Bladen County, North Carolina in February 1833. Sometime before 1850 the Register’s packed up their belongings and moved to the St. Joseph, Missouri area. Within a couple of months, Mathew met and married Elisia Jane White. They built a home there and began to farm. Mathew was a singer and he established himself as a well-known vocal teacher in the area. Singing and teaching was a passion for him. He was known as a kind and compassionate man.

By 1855 he moved his family along with 2 of his brothers to Kansas and once again began farming. Within a few years, the Civil War began. Although the entire Register Family had several slaves they sided with the Union.  Mathew and 2 of his brothers, Owen and Sim joined the Union Army. Owen was soon captured by the Confederates. It was a custom of the rebels to sometimes make their prisoners fight with them. Because of this Mathew and Sim were always afraid of accidentally shooting Owen during one of the skirmishes. Thankfully all three of the brothers survived the war, however, while a prisoner of the Confederates, Owens’ fingers froze, and all of his fingers and thumbs were amputated at the first joint. For a wedding present, Mathew’s father had given them 2 slaves named Tid and London. After the War, Mathew bought a house in St. Joseph, Missouri for them.

In 1873, Mathew moved his family from Kansas to Perry, Oklahoma which was located in the Cherokee Nation.  He had obtained a government contract to deliver supplies and horses to the Cherokee Strip. Mathew started and ran a wagon freight line between St. Joseph and Perry for several years. He also raised broodmares on his farm in Missouri (which he still owned) and delivered them to the Army Fort in Oklahoma. The family only lived in Oklahoma for 2 years before returning to St. Joseph. Mathew continued with his freight business, running it from his farm.

In about 1880 they moved near the town of Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. There he owned a farm with an orchard and grew Golden Seal apples. He would comb the hills around the town digging up wild Ginseng Root and he sold both apples and the Ginseng to the public. In 1902 his beloved wife died. In June of 1913, Mathew made a trip to St. Joseph to visit some of his married children. While there he fell ill. He died on 23 June 1913 at the age of 80.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

4 thoughts on “My “Favorite Photo”, Mathew Arvin Register ~ 52 Ancestors

  1. I grew up 8 miles from Dover. Matthew Register is buried in Dover. His son Robert and wife Elisa (“Mae”) (my great grandparents) are buried in Lexington. — Sharon Shurmantine

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