Tomorrow is “Presidents Day.” The students are out of school but the teachers work. It would be nice to think that we will be having some staff development about presidential history but I won’t hold my breath.

As Americans we all have historical connections known or unknown to our Presidents. I recently discovered a connection to President Andrew Jackson through my ancestor, Mathew Payne. Here it is:

This is from the Annals of Northwest Alabama, Into the Hills…….

The patriotic heritage of Winstonians was further enhanced with the arrival of some of the original patriots-the veterans of the American Revolution.

Jacob Pruet was the first, arriving in 1825. He was soon followed by Andrew Nelson, Stephen Garrison and Matthew Payne. Andrew Nelson, a native of York County, Pennsylvania, served as a private in Tate’s Virginia Troops. He died November 1, 1850, at age 88 and was buried in a woodland cemetery about one-fourth mile north of Mack Wolfe’s home on the Double Springs-Addison highway.

Stephen Garrison was a private in Captain Anthony Sharp’s Company of the 4th North Carolina Regiment who died in 1841 at age 84.

Matthew Payne was a veteran of both the Revolution and the War of 1812 but his unit in the Revolution is not known. He was born in Pennsylvania about 1763 and died in Winston on August 17, 1856. Both he and Stephen Garrison are buried in a five-grave cemetery about two miles northeast of Pleasant Hill.


Matthew Payne was one of the most interesting Winston settlers. According to family legend, he volunteered as a youth in the Revolutionary War, was wounded in the shoulder and lost an eye by a British saber thrust at Brandywine. He was at Yorktown when the British surrendered.

By 1783 he was in Davidson County, Tennessee, where he received a land grant of 640 acres on the north side of the Cumberland River at the mouth of Gaspers Creek. In Davidson County he married Amelia (Milly) Cooper on June 17, 1791.

By 1811 Matthew Payne and family were residents of Madison County, Missisippi Territory (now Alabama), where court records indicate he was active in land speculation, traffic in furs, hides, and frontier commodities, often in partnership with his son, John B. Payne.

According to an affidavit on file in the National Archives, executed by him November 7, 1850, at Lawrence County, Alabama, he volunteered in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians in 1813 in the regiment commanded by Colonel John Coffee. He was in Captain Russell’s Company, one of General Andrew Jackson’s spy companies, and was mustered into service at Fort Williams on the Coosa River a short time before the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

He stated that he had “followed the Army from home with his son John B. Payne (now dead) and upon catching up with it, at Fort Williams, he found Gen. Jackson there in command, who was his neighbor and friend at home and that gallant and distinguished soldier, knowing affiant’s qualities as an experienced woodsman, frontierman, and Indian fighter, pressed him to enlist in Captain Russell’s Company of Volunteers, who acted as Spies, and affiant did so, and continued in actual service in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians until the Battle of the Horse Shoe (Horseshoe Bend) on the Tallapoosa River, on the 27th March 1813 (March 27, 1814) in which battle affiant was left among the wounded at Fort Williams where he remained unable to be moved for about forty days, afterwards he was carried to Fort Strother, and thence home, an invalid for life……

Affiant was left at Fort Williams by General Jackson’s order with his son, John B. Payne to attend on him, where it was expected he would have died in consequence of his wound….” He was placed on the pension rolls April, 1816, at $96 per annum. In August 1854 he executed a power of attorney appointing a representative in Washington D.C., “my true and lawful agent and attorney to prosecute the claim of my pension for any amt. of Revolutionary Pension or increase of pension that may be due….”

The judge of the Hancock County, Court of Alabama certified on September 11, 1856, that Matthew Payne died in that county on August 17, 1856, leaving a widow, Milly. Preston Payne (another son) was named attorney for the widow. He was buried in what is now a five-grave cemetery about two miles northeast of Pleasant Hill in Range 8 West, Township 9 South, Section 19, the same cemetery containing the grave of Stephen Garrison.’