May 29 in a Many Things Thursday post, From A Simple Postcard, I wrote about a postcard I had found in an antiques store in Missoula, Montana. I took the postcard and researched its owner, Grace Mathewson, and her family.
While wandering the web, Andy Graybeal bumped into that article. Andy is Grace's nephew, the son of her older sister Alice. Andy is an illustrator and designer in Mountain View, California, and authors a blog called Andy's Random Recollections, described as a memoir with periodic updates, beginning at the bottom. The blog is filled with information and photographs. My favorite post is, Required Reading: Random Recollections while I Still Remember Anything, which includes a photograph of E.P. Mathewson holding Andy.
Andy wrote to Shades and very kindly filled in more of the blanks for our readers.
What a surprise to see this blog! Grace was the second child of Edward and Alice Mathewson. Her sister Alice, the eldest, was my mother.
Grace was Miss Personality of the family when eligible young men were invited to call. My dad, Edward V. Graybeal, another young mining engineer, came to call on one of these occasions and when he came into the room, my mother whispered to Grace, "This one's MINE!"
What an amazing discovery! I wonder if her daughter Barbara overlooked the stash of postcards when cleaning out Grace's home on Brook Street. Incidentally, Grace's daughter Barbara and son Dave are still around.
Grandpa Mathewson left a whole shelf full of photo albums-pictures of mining and smelting operations in South America and Mexico taken in the early 20th century. I turned them over to the U of Arizona when we cleaned out our mother's garage. I have copies of the photos of more general interest.
Grandpa was responsible for many improvements on the basic reverberatory furnace used in copper smelting. At the time he was GM of the Washoe Reduction Works, he could boast of the lowest cost per ton in the production of copper metal.
We have an album full of post cards from trips as well. His last contract was in 1936-'37 for a smelter near to Hong Kong. He had colleagues in Japan dating from an earlier job in 1923 whom he visited on the way over. They advised him to discourage the Chinese from building the plant as war drums were indicating it would be captured by and used for the Japanese war machine. He convinced his clients of the veracity of this warning. Grandpa died in Tucson in July of 1948.
Grace . . . lived in Missoula all her adult life and was, before she died at 97 the oldest living alumna of the U of Montana, having graduated in 1916.
Edward Payson Mathewson, (Grandpa to me,) as you discovered was the general manager of the Washoe Reduction Works in Butte. The family lived in Anaconda.
Alice Mathewson, (Grandma) had six children, Alice, Grace, Gertrude, Margaret (died in infancy) Mary Elizabeth and Edward Jr. They were originally from Montreal,and EPM, upon graduating from McGill University, sought employment as a metallurgist and started an illustrious career in that field at Pueblo (CO) Smelting Co. in the assay office.
It was in Pueblo where Alice and Grace were born. E.P.Mathewson worked for the Amalgamated Copper Company, later the Anaconda Copper Co. for 14 years. He became general manager of what was then the largest smelter in the world and developed improvements on the reverberatory furnaces which could run 24/7 even during maintenance, leading to the lowest cost for extracting copper in the industry.
He was also sympathetic to the plight of the workers and was at odds with the owners and their anti-union tactics. His departure from that job had much to do with his position.
His profession took him and sometimes the entire family to such places as Chile, Peru, Mexico, Burma, Japan and China. He served as president of the American Institute of Mining & Metallurgical Engineers in 1923 while an independent consultant in New York City before retiring in Tucson, AZ as a professor of mining administration at the U. of Arizona.
Andy, what a wealth of information you possess. Thank you for sharing this with us. Please keep writing!
I do have one question for you. Do you have any information about the fire at the Arlington Hotel in Santa Barbara? I would love to know more about what happened.
You Never Know Who You Might Bump Into