Bio & Incident Details
Tour: Not available
Badge # Not available
Incident Date: 9/25/1887
Weapon: Unknown weapon
Suspect: Never prosecuted
By 1887, African Americans in Matagorda County had elected a state, representative, a county commissioner, two justices of the peace and a constable, Jerry Matthews. John Nuckols and Dan Kennedy, two white men were living in the Sargent neighborhood, refused to work on the roads with a group of African Americans and under the supervision of an African American commissioner.
Constable Matthews was ordered to summon them before Justice of the Peace A. B. Brown. Before leaving, Constable Matthews borrowed a pistol and advised several people that he would return after serving the writs, and if not, he had met foul play. Constable Matthews arrived at Nuckols’ home and found him away. A man in Nuckols’ employ, a desperado by the name of Stafford, met Matthews at the door. After a few words with Stafford, Matthews departed. Stafford got on his horse and overtook Matthews and shot him. He dragged the body off and hid it in a swamp. A group of about 75 armed African Americans found Matthew’s body floating in a creek with a bullet wound in the head.
The crowd went searching for Nuckols and Stafford, but both fled the community. The sheriff was summoned and instructed the group to return to their homes. However, news of the “Matagorda Uprising” had reached surrounding county sheriffs and the Governor. The sheriffs sent posses of armed white men and the Governor called out two local militias into Matagorda County. The posses and militias shot and killed several African Americans, but the alleged ringleader, Oliver Sheppard, escaped with the assistance of a white district court judge. No one was ever prosecuted for the murder of Constable Matthews.
Very little is known about Constable Matthews. It is unknown if he was married or had any children. His place of burial is unknown at this time.