What does the "Matthews" in William Matthews Cooley mean?

From: Michael Cooley <michael_at_newsummer.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 22:55:16 -0700

William had a grandson named William Mathis Cooley. Descendants are found
in James's line (William's possible brother) as Mathias. These three
names, Matthews, Mathias and Mathis are the same name. (Changes like this
in spelling and pronunciation are not uncommon.)

Those of us trying to figure out who John was married to have considered
the names of sons Rice Cooley and Perrin Cooley as possible clues. But no
avail. So here's a bug in your ear: There was a Matthews family in Surry
county in the late 19th century and at least one Matthews family in
Caroline county VA, where John Cooley served with his life long
"associate" Richard Goode in 1755 (Capt Spotswood's company).

That's all that I have! I've found very little on these families, but it
is certainly something worth exploring. Has anyone gone down this path?

BTW, it's interesting that William used the middle name Matthews in NC,
dropped it entirely in KY and then used only M in TN. In those days, when
middle names were uncommon, people would sometimes adopt them, usually
just a middle initial, to distinguish themselves from others of the same
name. We know that there was another William Cooley in the Yadkin Valley
(Boone's companion), so William may have need to not be confused with this
man. He could have come up with Matthews for any number of reasons. A more
modern example of this is Harry Truman who was born without a middle name.
He simply adopted the es (a good 2-letter Scrabble word, by the way).

-Michael
Received on Thu Sep 22 2011 - 23:55:16 MDT

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