Pioneer Banker, Broker And ’49-er Dies at Age of 102
Wednesday, May 6, 1931
Leonard Matthews Made First ‘Stake’ in Gold Fields.
Leonard Matthews, pioneer St. Louis centenarian, died at 7:45 p. m. yesterday, at his home, 5447 Cabanne avenue, at the age of 102. Formerly a banker and broker here, he was widely known.
He came to Missouri in 1842, locating first at St. Francisville, later moving to a farm in Ralls county. While still a youth, he became a “forty-niner,” joining the gold rush to California. He obtained $2,500 panning gold from sand in six weeks and then went into business in San Francisco, where he accumulated $25,000. In 1851, he sailed around Cape Horn to New York, returning from there to St. Louis.
Enters Drug Business Here.
Mr. Matthews then went into the retail drug business with his brother, William. They sold out to Meyer Brothers & Company in 1865. He then opened a brokerage and banking business with Gen. A, G. Edwards, retiring from the firm in 1888 after Edwards Whitaker and Charles Hodgman joined the firm.
He was born Dec. 17, 1828, in Baltimore, the son of John and Mary Righter (Levering) Matthews. He studied chemistry in the old Pope Medical College her in 1854-56.
Mr. Matthews was proud of a book of memoirs he began at the age of 92. He called it, “A Long Life in Review.” It was a family document, written as if he were addressing his children and contains many anecdotes of early Missouri and St. Louis.
Shaw’s Garden Trustee.
He was a trustee of Shaw’s Garden from 1895 until about 1920.
His wife died in November, 1918, since when he had lived alone much of the time, except for servants. He is survived by four sons: Leonard, jr., Edmund, Claude and William Matthews, and three daughters, Mrs. Robert Lee Morton, Mrs. Saunders Norvell and Mrs. Lucy Chambers. All live in St. Louis except Mrs. Norvell, of Larchmont, N. Y., and Edmund Matthews, Nogales, Mexico.
Funeral arrangements have not been completed.