(24 September 1907 – 23 June 1994)
Information for this post originally compiled by Lisa Giencke in December 2005; updated by Carol Ann McCormick in 2020. Special thanks to Dennis S. Taylor, University Archivist, Clemson University and to Scott Leon of Southport, North Carolina for information & images of Camp Sapona and Mathew’s role there.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged about 140 vascular plant specimens and 1 moss specimen collected by Andrew Clark Mathews. As cataloging continues we will find more specimens collected by him. Our vascular plant specimens are available at sernecportal.org , and our moss, liverwort and hornworts are available at bryophyteportal.org . Mathews usually signed his name as “A. C. Mathews” or “Andy Mathews”. Other herbaria curating specimens collected by Andrew Clark Mathews include New York Botanical Garden (NY), Pennsylvania State University (PAC), and Clemson University (CLEMS).
Andrew Clark Mathews, son of Bertha and James Lester Mathews, was born in Magnolia, Duplin County, North Carolina, on 24 September, 1907.2 James Mathews was a barber in Magnolia, and had five other children (James, Rebecca [Martha Rebecca 1914-1937], Lawson, Mabel and Bertha M.) in addition to Andrew.4,7 Andrew attended Graded School and High School in Magnolia.5
Andrew Clark Mathews earned his A. B. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1928. Mathews taught at Alexander Graham Junior High School in Charlotte, North Carolina from 1928-1929.5 He returned to UNC-Chapel Hill for graduate work, and earned M.A. (1931) and Ph.D. (1939) under Dr. William Chambers Coker. His collections are comprised of a few distinct events: a summer spent on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina in 1931; specimens from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus late spring and early summer 1932; and specimens collected around the Civilian Conservation Corps camp at Southport, North Carolina in 1935.
The nation was reeling from the weight of the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt was elected President. One of his first acts as president was to introduce a bill for Emergency Conservation Work on March 27, 1933. The bill cleared both houses of Congress in four days and FDR signed it into law on March 31. The first enrollees signed upon April 7, and the first Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC] camp opened on April 17… Within three months, the CCC had 275,000 enrollees in 1300 camps. Young single men between the ages of 18 and 26, who had dependents – parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents – were eligible to join the CCC. They could enroll for six month periods, and could re-enroll for up to a total of eighteen months. The men were given a place to live, a job, clothing, and $30 a month, $25 of which was sent home to family. And food. Food was a big deal for enrollees. Young men gained on average twelve ponds while they were part of the CCC. It was the first time many of them had had three meals a day in a very long time. Camp Sapona, or Camp P-62, Company 427, operated from October 1934 to December 1937. The first enrollees lived in tents while clearing the surrounding pine woods to build camp buildings. Work then concentrated on building access to forest areas, and the enrollees built roads, bridges, fire breaks, as well as fire towers in Shallotte, Maco, and Bolivia [Brunswick County, North Carolina]…
Enrollees worked eight-hour days, five days a week. In off hours there were plenty of opportunities for education, training, and recreation. The camp offered classes in literacy, math, carpentry, and other vocational skills. Their large motor pool encouraged mechanic skills training. Camp Sapona had a wood shop and a blacksmith shop. The big rec hall would hold dances open to Southport residents. The local Amuzu Theater provided entertainment for the enrollees. The camp had organized sports teams and its own newspaper, The Sapona Sandspur. They had a series of canine mascots, including Soapy… North Carolina had a total of 163 CCC camps, with an average of forty-five operating in any one year, giving employment to more than 75,000 men… Over 3,000,000 men served in the CCC throughout the country during its eleven years of operation. President Roosevelt declared “a government worthy of its name must make a fitting response” to the unemployment of its citizens, and the Civilian Conservation Corps was part of that response. It was the most popular of the New Deal programs. — Nancy Gadzuk 1
A. C. Mathews enrolled at Camp Sapona in December of 1934 and departed in August of 1935. According to Scott Len, who has studied the history of Camp Sapona, Mathews served as an Assistant Education Advisor and “being a bit older, and better educated, [it was] not unusual that he would have been made Editor-in-Chief of the camp newspaper [The Sapona Sandspur].”
In his final column in The Sapona Sandspur, “The Editor’s Exit,” Mathews writes: “Amid severe pains of tearing himself away from Camp Sapona, the editor-in-chif of THE SAND SPUR has a few parting words to say. It has been a real privilege and a sincere pleasure to have worked, played, and “shot the bull” with the member of Company 427 during my stay here since December 18 last. I count it one of the brightest periods of my life. I regard the experiences I have gained among you, officers, members and all, as a real treasure; and if I have been of any help to anyone at any time, I only regret that my help could not have been bigger and better. I shall miss working on THE SAND SPUR staff and getting cussed out for somebody’s being “burnt up.” It has been fun. About all I can say in closing is just what has been said so many times before: —- WORK HARD, ’cause it’s good for you and other people too, and it’ll keep you out of mischief; PLAY HARD (at the right time) ’cause it’ll keep you better able to work hard; SMILE HARD, ’cause it’ll make the whole business of living so much easier; KEEP YOURSELF IN GOOD HEALTH, and AIM AT SOMETHING BIG IN LIFE and WORK LIKE HELL TO MAKE YOUR GOAL. Happiness will come. S’long, and the best of luck always. Yours most sincerely, Andrew C. Mathews
Mathews’ collections after the completion of his Ph.D. in 1939 are mostly from the Soil Conservation Service Nursery on the Mason Farm Biological Reserve in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Herbarium has many yet-to-be-cataloged specimens of experimental grasses collected by Mathews that were in cultivation by the SCS at Mason Farm.
Mathews was a Junior Botanist then Assistant Botanist with the Soil Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and in Chatham, Virginia from 1938-1945. He served as an Associate Forester doing range re-vegetation research with the United States Forest Service in Tifton Georgia from 1945-1947. In September, 1947 he joined the faculty of the Botany Department of Clemson University in South Carolina. He taught general botany, general plant pathology, mycology, and plant taxonomy during the academic year, and did timber and vegetation survey work with Clemson’s Forestry Department during the summer months.5 The exact year of Dr. Mathews’ retirement from Clemson University is unclear; his name last appeared in the roster of faculty in the Undergraduate Announcements for the academic year 1973-1974.6
Andrew Clark Mathews married Hazel Landreth Brown of Statesville, North Carolina, and together they had two children, Elizabeth Anne Mathews (b. 9 March 1941) and Charles Thomas Mathews (b. 17 October 1943).5
Dr. Mathews’ last residence was in Anderson, Tennessee. He died on 23 June 1994.3
Mathews, A. C. 1931. The seed-development in Pinus palustris (long leaf pine). M.A. Thesis, Botany Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mathews, A. C. 1932. The seed development of Pinus palustris. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 48: 101-118.
Mathews, A. C. 1932. Cytological observations on zoospore formation in Leptolegnia caudata, deBary. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 47: 281-292.
Mathews, A. C. 1939. The morphological and cytological development of the sporophylls and seed of Juniperus virginiana L. Ph.D. Thesis, Botany Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mathews, A. C. 1939. The morphological and cytological development of the sporophylls and seed of Juniperus virginiana. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 55: 101-118.
Mathews, Andrew C. 1947. Observations on Methods of Increasing the Germination of Panicum anceps Michx. and Paspalum notatum Flugge. Journal of the American Society of Agronomy 39(5): 439-442.
1. Gadzuk, Nancy. 2016. Scott Len: Overview of CCC’s and Camp Sapona. Federal Point Historic Preservation Society. http://federal-point-history.org/previous-month-meeting-report/scott-len-overview-of-cccs-and-camp-sapona/ accessed on 20 September 2017.
2. The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Virginia 10/16/1940 -03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 492. Ancestry.com. US WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011.
3. Andrew C. Mathews. Number: 249-60-2326; Issue State: South Carolina; Issue Date: 1955. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
4. Year: 1930; Census Place: Magnolia, Duplin, North Carolina; Roll: 1686; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0018; FHL microfilm: 2341420. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2002.
5. Staff Biographical Information, Clemson News Bureau, 1960. “Mathews, A. C.” Clemson University Archives.
6. Pers. comm. Email, Dennis S. Taylor, University Archivist, Clemson University. 20 September 2017.
7. ‘Martha Rebecca Kelly’. North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. accessed on 6 August 2020.