Leonard Matthews, 98, Attributes Long Life to Outdoor Exercise
Monday Morning, December 14, 1925
Former Investment Banker Doesn’t Smoke, Chew or Drink Intoxicating Liquor, and Still Maintains Interest in Gardening.
Leonard Matthews, 5447 Cabanne avenue, once one of the well-known business men of the city, will celebrate his 98th birthday Thursday. Matthews, in spite of his age, still retains an active interest in his hobby of gardening and attributes his longevity to outdoor exercise.
Matthews was with Gen. Galatin Edwards, founder of the firm of Whitaker & Co., investment bankers, and retired from active participation in the firm, which was then Matthews & Co., about twenty years ago.
Carries Self Erectly.
He carries himself erectly, and his ready memory enables him to recount interesting reminiscences of events to the present generation. The gold rush of ’49, when he traveled with two other men in a wagon West to the Sacramento River; the wedding of Gen. Grant, afterwards President of the United States to Julia Dent in this city, which he attended, and the civil war, during which as a druggist in St. Louis he supplied troops with medical goods, are all real episodes in his life. Matthews says he is the oldest druggist in St. Louis, Meyer Brothers being his successors.
Of the rules for longevity Matthews has few to lay down. “I believe that healthful habits are formed in a child before he reaches the age of 10,” he says. “But even then it’s a matter of nature. I don’t believe that any man my age can drink.
“I don’t smoke, chew, drink,” and Matthews was going to add swear when he smiled and hesitated. “I do swear little now and then, but I don’t say any real bad words.” Heavy eating is a thing he warns against.
The old man’s one great regret is his failing eyesight. On his 300-foot lot at the Cabanne address where he lives he once had a beautiful garden, which he has been forced to neglect somewhat lately on account of his eyesight.
“Of course I’d like to have many more birthdays, but it’s heard without being able to read or keep the garden.”
Don’t Mind Open Windows.
However, Matthews does not observe any special precautions. Sitting in a draft between two windows, the reporter asked him is he wanted to shut one. “It won’t hurt me,” he laughed. The question is, will it hurt you.”
Matthews was born in Baltimore, Md., and came to Hannibal at the age of 10, and later came to St. Louis, where he married in 1861.
He and his wife had eight children, seven of whom, three daughters and four sons, are still living. The are Leonard, Jr.; William N. and Claude Matthews of St. Louis, and Edmund O. Matthews of Nogales, Ariz.; Mrs. Robert L. Morton of Webster Groves, Mrs. William Chambers of Rolla, Mo., and Mrs. Belle Norvell of New York City.