The Last Woman Standing
An Appreciation of Betsey Mather Bell Lockwood
Deacon Joseph Mather, who built the Homestead in 1778, had, with his wife Sarah Scott, eleven children. One died in infancy, the other ten, 7 girls and 3 boys, lived to adulthood.
Deacon Mather lived to age 86; Sarah Scott Mather to age 85. The seven daughters shared similar longevity, averaging a lifespan of 87 years, ranging from 77 to 97 years.
Betsey Mather was born 23 March 1794 and died 26 December 1891… 97 years, 9 months, and 3 days. She outlived all of her siblings.
After the death of Deacon Mather, the Homestead passed to the Deacon’s two unmarried daughters, Phebe and Rana. They were joined by Betsey, who was twice-widowed, with two daughters, one from each marriage.
When Betsey died, she had not only outlived her siblings, she had outlived two husbands, one daughter, a stepson, and two grandchildren. She was survived by her younger daughter, Ann Elizabeth Lockwood.
Ann Elizabeth inherited the Homestead from Phebe in 1886 and subsequently sold the Homestead to Joseph Wakeman Mather, Stephen T. Mather’s father.
On August 9, 1888, the US Senate and House of Representatives passed an Act granting a pension of twenty dollars per month to Betsy Lockwood “daughter of Joseph Mather, deceased, and a commissioned officer in the war of the Revolution.” After Betsey’s death in 1891, there were only two remaining Revolutionary War pensioners.
Indeed, for a period of nearly half-a-century, the Homestead was maintained by three remarkable sisters, who by their diligence and dedication help preserve the Homestead’s place in our town’s and our nation’s history.