Jonah Mathias

Infobox person

“Infobox officeholder”
honorific-prefix
name Jonah Mathias
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image 2014.99.188.jpg
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order 8th
office Mayor of Brigham City
term_start December 30, 1895
term_end December 28, 1897
constituency
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predecessor William L. Wight
successor John F. Erdmann
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honorific_prefix
name Jonah Mathias
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native_name
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birth_date July 30, 1843
birth_place Carmathen, Wales
death_date Interwiki: Death date and age 1928012918430730++
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resting_place Brigham City Cemetery
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Jonah Mathias was born in ::Carmathen, Wales, on ::July 30, 1843. He came to Box Elder with his parents in 1853 when he was 10. Jonah’s father carried the front end of the chain used to lay out the city and had first choice of the lots. The family moved out of the Old Fort and onto Lot One in Block One of Plat A.
On April 4, 1868, Jonah married Abigail Burbank. Over the years, they had 12 children.
In September 1870, Jonah’s right foot was caught in a threshing machine. When gangrene set in, his leg was amputated five inches above the knee. Thereafter, Jonah walked on a peg leg. The socket was made professionally from bone taken from his hip joint, but Jonah crafted the rest. According to stories written by his cousins, Jonah would whittle off some wood from his leg to start a fire when they were camping, then replace it at a later time. Despite his handicap, Jonah did his own farming, driving to the farm in a buggy.
Five days after Jonah Mathias assumed the office of Brigham City Mayor, United States President Grover Cleveland signed the proclamation declaring Utah the 45th State of the Union, and a festive celebration ensued in Brigham City and throughout the new state. After the excitement of statehood, Mayor Mathias had more mundane matters to deal with. He set the annual salaries of City officials at $80 for the Mayor and $50 for City Councilmen.
That same month, citizens of Mantua expressed a desire to sever ties with Brigham City, and Mathias decided that Mantua residents should not be subject to Brigham City taxes or licenses until the separation of communities could be decided in an election.
Two months into Mayor Mathias’ term, tragedy struck the community when a fire destroyed the Box Elder Tabernacle, just six years after it was completed. The rebuilding began immediately, and townspeople worked day in and day out. A year after the fire, the project was finished with many improvements over the original structure. It was dedicated March 21, 1897 while Mayor Mathias was still in office.
He permitted James Knudsen to sell ice cream and summer drinks in the City Park on July 4, 1896, required fruit peddlers at the train depot to be licensed, placed a sign prohibiting camping on the square north of the Courthouse, approved the grading of streets as well as “rocking up” of creeks on Main street, appointed a City building inspector for 25 cents an hour, and placed headstones on graves of unidentified persons with the inscription “Unknown.”
Jonah served the community in many capacities, including county clerk, justice of the peace, county collector, city councilman, county commissioner and mayor.
On ::January 29, 1928, Jonah passed away. He is buried in the Brigham City Cemetery.

Resources

Jonah Mathias Indian War Affidavit
: Government
: Book

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