Our final installment of highlights from the Anthology on History Hall (published July 2014) and Lake County, Ohio will examine a very prominent figure from our past. John Henry Mathews may have been born in Hoosac, New York in 1785 but his arrival in Painesville, Ohio in 1808 and marriage to Martha Huntington, daughter of Governor Samuel Huntington and Grandon- Fairport landholder in 1813 were initial footnotes in county history.
Mathews was a physician by trade, having studied in New York. His practice in Northern Ohio began around 1808 in Painesville. His legacy was this. He was believed to be the first physician to ever perform trephination, the making of a burr hole into the skull to relieve intracranial diseases. This surgery on a ten year old boy led to a complete recovery and gained him world-wide acclaim internationally.
A less important decision made in 1829 cemented his legacy in our county history to this day. He commissioned Jonathan Goldsmith, mentioned in an earlier part of this series to build him a home at 71 North State Street. The Mathews home is generally acknowledged as one of Goldsmith's finest architectural builds. This famous house was moved in the '50s to the campus of Lake Erie College. John died in 1862 and his wife in 1866. Both are buried at Painesville's Evergreen Cemetery. Their original home is now a campus office and listed on the national register as a NHS. Both sites merit visits by any early American history lover.
This story and more than 100 others may be found in the book on History Hall. Many of the notable Lake County pioneer families mentioned in the book have sites still in existence and accessible for viewing- a mere one tank trip!
source - article by Jan Bathhurst in the book History Hall...released July 2014