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Frances D. Matthews family papers


Held at: Uwchlan Township Historical Commission [Contact Us]715 North Ship Road, Exton, PA, 19341

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Uwchlan Township Historical Commission. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Frances Dinkel Matthews (1907-1999) spent her entire life in Uwchlan Township (Chester County, Pennsylvania). In 1930 she married Elmer Davis Matthews and moved to his family farm, Milky Way Farm. The couple raised four children and lived there until Elmer retired in 1969 and sold the farm. Less than a decade later, Elmer and Frances' son purchased it back and reopened the farm. It is still active as of 2014, the last remaining dairy farm in Uwchlan.

Frances was active in the Uwchlan community throughout her life. She served as a local tax collector, was a member of the Women's Community Club of Uwchlan, and belonged to the Uwchlan Conservation Trust. Frances was instrumental in the founding of the Uwchlan Township Historical Commission, established in 1975, and was particularly involved with the restoration of the Edith P. Moore Schoolhouse.

Frances' family was active in the Uwchlan Township School Board. Her husband, Elmer Matthews, was a school director from 1939 to 1957; her father, Abram Dinkel, was a school director from 1908 to 1913; and her grandfather, S. B. Linton, was a school director from 1883 to 1886.


Brody, Susannah Wilson. Uwchlan Township: 300 Years Above the Valley. Uwchlan, Pa.: Uwchlan Township Historical Commission, 2011.

Fulton, Francine. "Uwchlan Township Historical Commission Dedicates Library." Downingtown-Exton Community Courier, March 31, 2010. Accessed February 18, 2014.

Most of the materials in this collection relate either to local tax collecting, 1952-1979, or schools, 1903-1958. While the majority of materials appear to have been created or collected by Frances Matthews, some intermixed documents seem to stem from other sources. There are only a few Frances Matthews items in the collection not related either to taxes or schools, such as a Women's Community Club scrapbook from the 1930s.

The tax-related materials in this collection appear to be a mix of items from Frances Matthews and from Ethel Otter, who like Matthews was also a Uwchlan Township tax collector and historical commissioner. There are Downingtown Area School Tax for Uwchlan Township notices of taxes due, 1969 and 1972; school tax ledgers, 1963-1973; and tax list drafts, correspondence, and other documents relating to tax collection, circa 1970s. Perhaps the highlight is 25 volumes of tax collector's assessments for Uwchlan Township by year, 1952, 1955, and 1968-1979. The assessments volumes give information useful to property and genealogy research, such as property owner name and address; parcel identification, location, description, land-use code, and deed reference; total land improvement; and assessment (handwritten) and date paid.

Frances Matthews donated many school-related materials from her family to the Historical Commission for the historic Edith P. Moore Schoolhouse, but this collection may also include items stemming from the Connie Happersett family, whose family was also very involved with Uwchlan Township schools, rather than the Matthews family. The collection includes school board minutes, 1903-1917; teacher agreements, check stubs, district reports, minutes, 1914-1926; financial account books for Uwchlan, 1953-1958; lots of newspaper clippings; financial reports, 1940s; and photographs.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Uwchlan Township Historical Commission directly for more information.

Uwchlan Township Historical Commission
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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