Jack Ross Matthews
Navarro County, TX


Biography Index || Obituary of Jack Ross Matthews


Many years ago....someone told the story of a Mississippi riverbank filled with people gathered to picnic and to watch huge steam boats as they paddled up and down the river. The crowd noticed a small boy making his way down the dirt road toward the picnic area. Most little boys were with families..but this young boy was alone.

"Have you come to join us for the picnic?" questioned someone in the crowd.

"No," said the little boy. "I have come to meet my father. His paddle boat will stop here and he will take me home with him. He made an appointment to meet me right here.....and my father never breaks appointments."

"But little boy, " said the inquirer...."the paddle boats never stop here.

This is no designated stop for them. Those large paddle boats only stop at places like Memphis or New Orleans....nothing is important enough for them to make a stop at this isolated picnic ground."

Undaunted....the young boy made his way to the river's edge. He watched as one paddle boat went by.. .then another...and then another. When the fourth paddle boat appeared around the band of the river the young boy shielded his eyes from the sun and watched carefully for a few moments.

Then...he began to wave his hand as if to signal the paddle boat to come ashore.

Someone told the young boy that he was wasting his time trying to have the river boat make an unscheduled stop at such an isolated location.....but the young boy waved on.

Suddenly.....the crowd watched in amazement as the huge river boat began to make it's way toward the shore.....heading straight for the picnic area. Soon the river boat was eased into the soft mud of the river bank....and...workmen aboard the boat began to lower a gangplank at the feet of the little boy. The crowd stood speechless as the little boy ....half way up the gangplank...turned to the crowd and said...."I just knew that this boat would stop here. My father told me it would...and I believed him. You see....my father is the captain of this ship. We had an appointment to meet here today...and my father never breaks an appointment.



Many years ago, there was a revival meeting in progress at the little Baptist Church in Dawson, Texas. God's Holy Spirit was dealing with the hearts of many....men and women, boys and girls...struggling with decisions they knew they needed to make. One night after the evangelist has poured out his heart....the little choir began to sing "Just As I Am...without one plea, but that Thy blood...was shed for me.....!"

God spoke to the angel presiding over the Lambs Book of Life and said...."Angel, dip your pen into the blood of my Son, Jesus. That boy born to Fred and Ennis Matthews in September 1924 has been struggling all the day long....but his struggle is over."

Jack Ross Matthews left the pew where he had been struggling...walked the aisle of that little church....gave his hand to the evangelist....and his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. And God's angel wrote his name in the Lamb's Book of Life and an appointment was made to meet his Heavenly Father on October 24, 2002.

And sure enough....that Great Ship of Zion made,,,, what may have been to some....an unexpected stop at Mexia, Texas. Not so with Jack....an appointment had been made....an appointment was kept....for the Captain was Jack's Heavenly Father. And Jack was anxious to meet him...and go home.

When I began to remember......Jack was there. We were born one month apart...and we spent much time together as children.

There was Christmas Eve with his family at our house in 1928 when we lived across the street from Houston Akers.

Jack and I once smoked two for a nickel King Edward cigars when we were six or seven. We were shaded from the hot summer sun by the Dawson watertower....and the more the shade moved...the worse we felt. We didn't need to be punished by Aunt Ennis....King Edward had already taken care of that.

And, during the depths of the depression....there was Thanksgiving dinner on the banks of Richland Creek at the log cabin Fred Jr. and some older boys had constructed. We spent the morning hunting for pecans and eating wild persimmons. Thanksgiving dinner loaded a crude table, but those delicious sweet potatoes...baked in the coals of the campfire....and liberally lathered with fresh churned butter...was what I remembered most.

Uncle Fred died in 1936. Jack and I stood together as Fred Jr....still critically ill from Typoid Fever...was carried to that front room ....cried as he stood by the casket, "Momma, what are we going to do?" And I remember so well Aunt Ennis saying, "Fred Jr., everything's going to be alrigbt." And it was. Jack Ross Matthews had come from some hardy stock.

I watched with pride and amazement as Aunt Ennis gathered her family, tore down the house in Dawson, and built it back on the north end of the Bermuda grass pasture. It was a house filled with love and determination...

I watched with pride as my cousin played football for Dawson and beat my home team from Hubbard after we moved there in 1939.

And during World War II...Jack and I were home on leave....had our pictures taken in our front yard in Hubbard. Jack, in his Army uniform....towering above me in my Marine dress blues. Jack was smiling....much like that lovely smile that Aunt Ennis always displayed.

When the war ended we saw little of each other. We were both busy with our education, finding mates, building families, and getting on with our lives. Jack completed college and began teaching and coaching. When I met people from LaMarque and mentioned Jack's name...there was always a good report...and I was proud of who and what my cousin had become.

When I last saw him....it was at a gathering of the "Onion Pickers" at Cloyce Floyd's A crippling disease was in evidence, but his smile and his laughter was the same as always. My camera recorded that big smile as he...surrounded by school mates....retold some happening of long years past.

Jack Ross Matthews was born. He lived seventy-eight exciting years.

When the end dew near he commented that he was tired....that he was ready to meet his Heavenly Father. And he waved as he stood on the gang plank of that Great Ship of Zion...and said...."See you later!"

The Lord Giveth....

The Lord taketh away...



Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright February, 2020
Edward L. Williams