Skip to main content

Matthews, Charles O. (Charles Oakson), 1890-1944

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1890 - 1944

Biography

Charles Oakson Matthews was born in Washington, D.C. on 15 November 1890. On 12 June 1917, Matthews and his brother Jim enlisted in the District of Columbia National Guard. Charlie served with the 165th Field Hospital, 177th Sanitary Train of the 42nd Division out of Camp Mills, Hempstead, New York (later called the "Rainbow" Division.) As part of the Medical Corps, Matthews followed the frontline troops, setting up field hospitals where needed. The 42nd Division moved to the front line in March 1918 and participated in six major campaigns. They held several key positions in France-such as the Lorraine, Champagne and the Marne-and in Germany during the occupation in late 1918-1919. Matthews discharged 14 May 1919 as a corporal.

As a civilian, he picked up his father's trade as a carpenter and received some training in architectural drafting. Matthews married Thelma Beall in 1920. In the 1930s he worked as a foreman with one of the contractors that built the Washington National Airport (now Reagan National Airport.) He also worked for the Army Corps of Engineers on the Coastal Foritification Project to repel possible enemy invasions during WWII. He had bad health ever since exposure to mustard gas in 1918. Matthews died in Washington, D.C. on 15 June 1944 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles O. Mathews, Military Correspondence

 Collection — Box: 001
Identifier: MS-0314
Scope and Contents The Matthews correspondence is composed mainly of letters written during World War I by Charlie to his family. Folders 1-6 contain original correspondence to Mathew's father Lewis, his sisters Laura and Helen, his brother Lawrence, Helen's husband and Edith Sullivan, a childhood friend. Correspondence during wartime was read by army censors. Matthews could not divulge his exact location to his family and often began his letters with "Somewhere in France." Of the sample of envelopes in folder...
Dates: 1917-1937