Mather, Thomas

Born: 1795-04-24 Simsbury, Connecticut

Died: 1853-03-28 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Flourished: Springfield, Illinois

In 1813, Mather left Connecticut to engage in business in New York City. In 1818, he moved to Kaskaskia, then the capital of Illinois, where he created a mercantile partnership with Edmund Roberts, James L. Lamb, and Stacy B. Opdycke. Soon after, the partners laid out the town of Chester and expanded their business there. Mather represented Randolph County in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1820 to 1825, when President John Quincy Adams appointed him to locate a military road from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1825, Mather married Hannah G. Lamb. Mather once again held a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1828 to 1830, before being elected to the Illinois Senate for two consecutive terms, 1832 to 1834, and 1834 to 1836. Mather resigned from the Illinois Senate in 1835 and moved to Springfield, Illinois. There he opened his firm, Mather, Lamb & Company. Mather also became the president of the State Bank of Illinois in 1835, and he held the post for seven years. Mather was greatly interested in railroad development and was involved with the Northern Cross, the Illinois Central, and the Galena Union Railroad Company. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois College at Jacksonville. Mather was a member of the Presbyterian Church. In 1850, he owned $45,000 in real estate. Mather died in 1853, while visiting Philadelphia.

John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 511-12; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 198-199, 201-203; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Sangamon County, IL, 105.