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The Kingdom of Matthias$
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Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098358

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195098358.001.0001

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Robert Matthews

Robert Matthews

(p.49) Two Robert Matthews
The Kingdom of Matthias

Paul E. Johnson

Sean Wilentz

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the life of Robert Matthews, who was born in 1788 to a Scots immigrant family in the farming village of Cambridge, Washington County, New York. It notes that the few associations they sustained with others came mainly with their fellow immigrants in the surrounding New York and Vermont country towns who clung to their uncompromising Scots Calvinism, nursing ancient ecclesiastical grudges unknown to the rest of the world. The chapter reports that in 1835, an enterprising Manhattan journalist disclosed that Robert Matthews had his own conversations with supernatural spirits and impressed his friends with feats of clairvoyance. It notes, however, that the source is highly suspect and that no such report appears in the Coila church records. It is just possible that the visions did appear and that the worried Coila churchmen suppressed the fact.

Keywords:   Robert Matthews, immigrant family, Cambridge, New York, Scots Calvinism, supernatural spirits, Coila churchmen

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