Matthias, John J
Matthias, John J.
a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born at New York Jan. 17, 1796. His childhood and early youth were spent with his parents in Tarrytown. At a suitable age he went to Brooklyn to learn the art of printing, but, brought to a knowledge of converting grace, and persuaded in his own mind that he was called of God to preach the Gospel of Christ, he determined to prepare for the work. He entered the ministry when twenty-one years old, in the New York Conference at Goshen Circuit. In 1818 he was appointed to Pittsfield Circuit; in 1819 to Stow; in 1820 to Leyden; in 1821 and 1822 to Cortlandt; in 1823 to Middlebury, Vt.; in 1824 to St.Albans; in 1825 to Pittsfield; in 1826 to Cortlandt. He was stationed in the city of New York in 1827 and 1828, and in the city of Albany in 1829 and 1830; was transferred to the Philadelphia Conference in 1831, and stationed in the city of Newark, N. J. In 1833, 1834, and 1835 he traveled the East Jersey District; in 1836 he was stationed at the Nazareth Church, in the city of Philadelphia. His health failing, he took a superannuated relation, and continued to hold it until 1841. While sustaining this relation to his Conference, the Pennsylvania and New York Colonization Societies appointed him governor of Bassa Cove, on the West Coast of Africa. He was in Africa about a year, but, subjected to severe suffering by the African fever, he returned to the States. In 1842 he was retransferred to the New York Conference, and stationed at Flushing, L. I.; in 1843 at Rockaway; in 1844 to 1847 was presiding elder of the Long Island District; in 1848 and 1849 was stationed in Williamsburgh; in 1850 and 1851 in the Twenty-seventh Street Church, New York; in 1852 was supernumerary at Hempstead, L. I.; but was given an effective relation in 1853, and stationed at Jamaica. In 1854 he was obliged again to superannuate, but his relation was changed to effective at the ensuing Conference. and in 1851 to 1857 served as chaplain to the Seamen's Friend Retreat on Staten Island. "He was held in high esteem by the managers and officers of that institution. At the bedside of the sick and in his chapel services he was felt to be well adapted to the duties of his office." The tax upon his sympathies and the labors of the position were more than his enfeebled health could sustain, and in 1858 he resigned the chaplaincy, and received a superannuated relation. He retired to a quiet and comfortable residence in Tarrytown, where he resided until the day of his decease, Sept. 25, 1861. "Few ministers have a longer or more worthy record than this. Some of these fields of labor were very arduous, others of them very responsible. In all of them he was faithful and useful. He was a high- minded, intelligent, and honorable man. His tastes were refined, his feelings delicate, his conversation chaste, and his manners dignified but affable. His Christian reputation is without blemish. He possessed the disciplinary attributes of a minister — "gifts, grace, and usefulness." His preaching was practical and experimental. He sought assiduously and successfully to lead the members of his Church to a higher spiritual state, and a holy, active, religious life. As a pastor he had few superiors. Gentle, affectionate, and sympathetic in his manners, his pastoral visits were highly prized by the people of his care. He fostered the Sabbath-school, and fed the lambs of the flock, a good minister of Jesus Christ" (bishop Janes, in the N. Y. Christian Advocate, Jan. 9, 1862). See also Smith, Memorials of the N. Y. and N. Y. East Conferences, p. 11.