Margaret Matthews is, as we know, the abandoned wife of Prophet Matthias. Her written account provides missing sections of the intriguing story of Sojourner-Truth and the unforgettable American Prophet Matthias! Contained within Margaret’s unique written statements from 1835 is the original information stating the current and pending course of action of Sojourner-Truth and Prophet Matthias. After years of research, I, Mike Wilkins, present all the evidence, exposing for the first time the entire unfortunate horrors endured by American Christians.
History has been incredibly kind to the Folgers and their whitewashing as perpetrated within the writings of Mr. Stone, and the newspapers. With a smart mind and lots of funding, a story, when repeated, can become the established story. After reading all the evidence in this book, the developed story, as presented by the Folgers, will never be the same again! The information within this book presents facts and opinions seldom expressed. Sadly, the unfortunate suppression of this intriguing story has been influenced by social standing, poverty and prejudice. Within this manuscript, we present all the available evidence, so that the student or careful reader may decide for themselves which version of the story they choose to believe.
After directly communicating with her returned husband, and children, along with Sojourner-Truth, we find Margaret Matthews at home in Albany, reflecting on her options. In yet another statement, Margaret Matthews said, and I quote. ‘For this purpose, Mr. Folger gave Matthias the money to go and purchase a farm and gave it to him in the presence of his sons, the colored woman (Sojourner-Truth), and Mrs. Galloway.’
In a court of law, a witness statement can present evidence that will turn the case either for or against the accused. Astonishingly contained within Margaret’s report, we have four witnesses who are happy, willing, and able to confirm that they have seen Benjamin and Ann Folger willingly give gold, silver, and cash to Prophet Matthias. Unquestionably the witnesses in Albany understand the current situation; they all believe that Matthias is in Albany as part of the organized, agreed plan with the Folgers. According to the witnesses, the gold, silver, and cash, was given to Prophet Matthias so that he could find and purchase a new home in the west. Unable to escape the onslaught of public interest, Margaret makes a further statement in her desperate attempt to present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, she said quote. ‘I was afterwards told, that Mr. Folger gave it to him, telling him to go and purchase a farm with it and that he would then come to him, and they would live together, and get me also to live with them if they could.’ With this evidence given verbally and in writing, Margaret Matthews only wants to tell her understanding of these events, which are entirely different from the Folger version as perpetuated continually for almost 200 years! Undoubtedly the actions of Matthias and Sojourner-Truth, along with this information from Margaret, make perfect sense, as they are standing together, working as a team, attempting to build a new Zion, and a new home in the wilderness of the west.
Undaunted, the dreams and visions of Prophet Matthias are not dead, because all local reports from Albany show him to be in good spirits, with his future, and destiny still within his grasp!
Attempting to share her version of events, Margaret continues by saying, quote. ‘And Mrs. Folger (Ann) said to the colored woman (Sojourner-Truth) to the same effect, you go, and stay with father in the country, where he will purchase a farm, and Benjamin and myself will get through with our difficulty, and come to you as soon as we can, and I believe this to have been their intention.’ (Ref MW 39.) Unfortunately, many if not all, history books have overlooked or ignored the real intentions of Prophet Matthias, Sojourner-Truth, and the Folgers. After correlating all the evidence, the words and actions of the aforementioned during the year of 1834, are without question.
Important side notes for American students. The Folger position dramatically changed in 1835 when Mr. William L. Stone, publishes his book entitled The Progress of Fanaticism. The original newspapers from 1835 onwards have repeated and perpetrated the Folger version of events as presented in Stones 1835 publication. The remembered version is the commonly repeated version, as reported by the wealthy members of New York society. The forgotten, neglected version of events, as presented by Sojourner-Truth and the impoverished, struggling females of New York, should be of interest to all students and believers of truth, honesty, and freedom of speech!
THESE FACTS ARE POINT NUMBER 114.
As we continue to look at the facts, we find Sojourner-Truth and Prophet Matthias reunited in Margaret’s house in Albany. Sojourner-Truth arrived on Saturday, 24th August 1834, traveling on the Nimrod steamer boat. She boarded the Nimrod, after looking for Matthias at Mr. Durando’s on the corner of Chamber Street, New York. Interestingly Sojourner-Truth informs us that she was surprised that she did not find him (Matthias) at Mr. Durando’s! Adapting to the changed situation, Sojourner-Truth concluded that she should, quote. ‘Go immediately to Albany, as she had promised Matthias that she would be there on Saturday when his children were expected.’Reading this one sentence, from the testimony of Sojourner-Truth, as recorded by the pen of Mr. G Vale, we have undeniable proof that Matthias and Sojourner-Truth are working together, attempting to find their new home. Turning to the statement from Sojourner-Truth, we read that she was, and I quote. ‘Surprise that Matthias had preceeded her and was sitting in his wife’s house.’ Once again, we can see the master manipulator Matthias at work, as he is completely controlling the situation, arriving in Albany before his planned, agreed date! He knew that Sojourner-Truth was visiting on Saturday, 24th August; however, Sojourner-Truth was surprised that Matthias had preceded her by arriving on Friday 23rd August 1834.
The Folger written record continues when we read, quote. ‘It appears; he (Matthias) had then given his wife (Margaret) the money to take care of and had told her that the kingdom must retire into the wilderness for time.'(Ref: H108.) Reading from a different original historical document, we find Matthias’ actions and words are consistent during his time with his estranged wife Margaret, as she reports quote. ‘On the same day, Mr. Matthias brought his trunks and committed them to my protection. I knew the amount of money which they contained and should have been justified by many in taking some, but the deposit was safe in my hands, and the treasure remained untouched by me.’
In unity, there is no misunderstanding between Matthias and Margaret as Matthias has, with crystal clarity, informed Margaret of his understanding regarding the intentions and funding from the Folgers. Undoubtedly Margaret has no loyalty to her estranged husband because of the abandonment and subsequent suffering she and her family have endured and are still enduring. The arrival of Matthias with his so-called treasure made his return a more positive prospect! Continuing with Margaret’s statement, we find some remarks about her feelings towards Sojourner-Truth, we read quote. ‘When she came, I thought her to be a decent looking colored woman, and for her kindness to the children, I felt disposed to treat her with civility.’ (Ref: MW38)
THESE FACTS ARE POINT NUMBER 115.
General side note. Margaret, Sojourner-Truth, and Matthias have no idea that Benjamin has been extremely busy moving against Matthias back in New York. We as students and interested readers, understand Benjamin Folger’s character. We know that he continually changes his mind, blowing hot then cold between the ideas and desires of his wife Ann, and his common sense. The action and charges which Benjamin has perpetrated against Matthias and Sojourner-Truth are dangerous, and public knowledge! No longer will the dreams of Matthias continue along its planned course, as he has limited options. From all the available evidence, Ann Folger is the driving force behind Prophet Matthias; however, Benjamin Folger is attempting to break free from the original plan to find a home in the west!
Continuing with our investigation, we find after the arrival of Sojourner-Truth, that Matthias went for a brief walk, eventually returning to his lodgings in Washington Street. Staying with the agreed plan, the Matthews boys (Matthias sons) have information that they wasted no time in sharing. John exclaimed quote. ‘Mother, Mr. B Folger has got a police officer after father, for stealing and robbing things; the other boy confirmed this, and on the re-entry of Matthias, these statements were made to him.’Upon hearing the charges against him, Matthias was quote. ‘Interrogated by his wife, to whom he explained all the circumstances, and took no precaution to escape.’ (Ref: H108.) In overview, these are not the actions of a criminal attempting to avoid arrest; indeed, he is not even ranting or raving while trying to explain his side of the story.
There is a saying in life which tells us to follow the money; with this in mind, we now have a statement from Margaret, which is both intriguing and challenging. We read the quote. ‘By the boys, I received a letter from Mr. Folger, which enclosed $10.00 for me, and stating that he (Benjamin)would come and see me in the beginning of the week. And that Mr. Matthias and the colored woman (Sojourner-Truth) had both gone south.’Once again showing consistency, Margaret continued by saying quote. ‘I knew not what to make of it, as they were both of them in Albany, and thought I would show the letter to Mr. Matthias, and ask for an explanation of it.’ After reading the letter, Matthias became angry and threw it in the fire. Once again, Matthias is constant in his reaction, indicating that he disagrees with the words and actions of Benjamin.
THESE FACTS ARE POINT NUMBER 116.
In a frank exchange of words and opinions, Margaret informs Matthias of her innermost feelings towards the Folger family, she said quote. ‘I then told him (Matthias) what I thought of his conduct in that family, and my utter detestation of their proceedings, and that I hoped yet to see them punished for their crimes.’ Once again, in honesty and open frankness, Margaret then informs us. ‘I could not perceive that this affected him at all, and he said, for whatever I had suffered in consequence of him, I should have my reward.’ (Ref: MW38.) Endeavoring to move forward, Matthias attempts to make right many of his past wrongs. He provides food, along with leaving cash for Margaret. From his actions and words undoubtedly, Matthias wants to communicate and plan for the future.
Interestingly he has a special request of Margaret. This application is the smoking gun, as it provided us yet again with cast-iron evidence regarding the planned intentions of Matthias and Sojourner-Truth. Matthias said quote. ‘He wished me (Margaret) to keep the boys until he came for them, which he would before a great while.’ The response from Margaret is surprising as she has just received them back from Matthias; she said quote. ‘I was willing to keep them if he could not do better for them.’
From all the direct and indirect evidence, Prophet Matthias has everything that he requires to find, then build, his New Jerusalem upon the frontiers of the Wild West.His vision of Zion and the fulfillment of his desires are progressing; however, as the saying goes, it’s still close but no cigar yet! Working together, Prophet Matthias has surprisingly united his blood family, with the promise of a better brighter future.
After breakfast on Monday morning, Sojourner-Truth leaves Albany. Reunited and staying with his family, Prophet Matthias continues moving forward with his plans, until the long arm of the law comes a knocking at the door, on Monday afternoon. In the Evening Post newspaper, we read. ‘The notorious Matthias has been arrested at Albany in consequence of an advertisement which we published two days ago.’ (Ref: 272.) The arrest took place on Monday 25th August 1834: just two days after Sojourner-Truth arrived in Albany! In the Albany Evening Journal, we read. ‘Matthias was arrested in this city on Monday afternoon, upon the authority of an advertisement issued by Benjamin H. Folger, of the city of New York. The specific charge against him was that he had left New York having in his possession a large amount of Mr. Folger’s property, but he has been guilty, it is asserted, of many other mal-practices, some of them of the blackest character, and worthy of the most severe punishment. ‘(Ref: 194.)
After his arrest in Albany, Matthias had what some believed was incriminating evidence. We read from the Baltimore Patriot newspaper the following quote. ‘The sum of six hundred dollars in gold was found on the person of Matthias when he was arrested in Albany, besides a small number of bank bills, which were found under the lining of his boot.’ (Ref: 258) Turning once again to the newspapers we read that Matthias quote. ‘Expressed a good deal of surprise when arrested.’ (Ref: 194)
In another report, we find he had quote. ‘Two large trunks, which he acknowledged contained articles which did belong to Mr. Folger, but which he said, Mr. Folger gave to him when he left New York. Among the articles were sundry rich dresses, about $500.00 in gold, a gold watch worth $150.oo a sword of great value, and a rod by which he was going to measure the bounds of his paradise, the gates thereof and the walls thereof.’ (Ref: 254.)
Surprisingly in the New York Sun newspaper dated 4th October 1834, we find information that Mormons and Freemasons may find interesting, we read.’ He had in his possession a number of dresses with stars and miters, appendages of his kingly and priestly office.’ (Ref 27.) In ancient Israel, the high priest wore a headdress called the Mitznefet. When translated from Hebrew into English, this means ‘Mitre.’The Mitre used in religious worship was a broad flat-topped turban. The idea of wearing a flat hat or headdress continues in some religions, organizations, and cults. Matthias practiced religious worship that involved the use of specially prepared clothing. One such item was his mitre cap! Secretively, the use of a mitre cap is yet another curious connection between Matthias and Joseph Smith!
THESE FACTS ARE POINT NUMBER 117.
Monday, 25th August 1834.
When Officer Smith arrested Prophet Matthias, he found in his possession quote. ‘A sword of great value and a rod by which he was going to measure the bounds of his paradise, the gates thereof and the walls thereof.’ Firm in his convictions, Matthias believes he is a Prophet of God: on some divine mission, to find a new home. Curiously we read the remainder of this newspaper article, at which point we quote. ‘Mr. Smith brought down the baggage of Matthias, consisting of a large leather and hair trunk, and a carpet bag, the latter filled with new boots, shoes, and pumps, and the former with linen and wearing apparel of the richest and most costly description. Linen shirts of the most exquisite fineness, the wristbands fringed with delicate lace, silk stockings and handkerchiefs, kid and other gloves, and a great variety of similar articles, filled out the trunk.’ Matthias had additional items of clothing that we have detailed in previous chapters. however, as a closing note on his clothing, we read, quote. ‘But the cap sheaf of all were two-night caps, made of linen cambric, folded in the form of a Mitre, richly embroidered.’ (Ref: 254) Once again, after examining all the evidence, Prophet Matthias had everything that he required to re-start his life and dreams in a new home in the west. After the arrest of Matthias, and with his baggage secured, the arresting officer Mr. Smith: leaves Albany on the morning of Tuesday 26th August 1834.
On the day of the arrest, Isabella was visiting her children and friends in Cocksakie. She was in all probability saying her farewells to her family or friends, before departing into the West with Matthias, in search of their new home.
Attempting to present all the facts, we must investigate some of the details leading up to the arrest of Matthias in Albany on Tuesday, 26th August 1834. A few days previously back in New York, Benjamin reported to the police the theft of property and gold coins.
Additionally, he also purchased advertising for the apprehension of Matthias, with a reward offered for information. The reward was substantial; it was $100.00, which in real terms is approximately three or four months wages for a working man! In the report for the Journal of Commerce, we read the following. Benjamin quote. ‘Offered $100.00 reward for his(Matthias’) apprehension, and an advertisement to this effect was sent a few days back to one of the Albany Papers. A printer from this city who was in Albany at this time, and out of employment, happened to go into the printing office of the newspaper to look for work and saw the advertisement there before it was published. It immediately occurred to him that he had seen Matthias that day in Albany, and he instantly set out in search for him and took him into custody, which entitled the printer to the reward of $100.00.’ (Ref: 26.)
Even the initial arrest of Matthias is unusual, as he was arrested not by the law enforcement officer; but by a printer, who happened to be unemployed at the time! The printer stumbled upon the information while searching for work. After this, he found and arrested Matthias on the strength of the advertisement! Being detained by a sheriff or one of his deputies is one thing; however, being held by an out of work printer, acting as a self-appointed bounty hunter, is something entirely different!In time we will find out more about this unlikely arrest; however, for now, we must look at events through the eyes of Sojourner-Truth.
Finding herself once again on her own, Sojourner-Truth decides to quote. ‘Return and visit with Mr. J Dumont, who resides near Hyde Park.’ (Ref H108.) Amazingly, the news of the arrest, then transportation from Albany to New York, reaches Isabella on Tuesday 26th August 1834. Without hesitation, Sojourner-Truths thoughts and concerns are centered on Margaret back in Albany and with Matthias on his way to stand trial in New York. In hindsight, Margaret said quote. ‘Mr. Matthias was arrested in Albany, on Monday, and brought back to New York to stand trial for swindling, and from hence to stand trial, from them, at White Plans, in West Chester County, for the death of Elijah Pierson.’ (Ref: MW39.)
Concerned and wanting to help Prophet Matthias, Sojourner-Truth understands that Margaret has seen a change in Matthias. Compassionately her actions are now focused on finding allies who are willing to help! Traveling back once again to Albany, Sojourner-Truth may have prayed that Margaret would forget all the hurt and pain of the previous years, and become the ally both Matthias, and Isabella desperately need! After talking together, Sojourner-Truth and Margaret, are determined to tell their side of this story, in defense of Prophet Matthias. Standing together and attempting to help and support one another: they are oblivious to the fact that they are preparing to face some of the most powerful men and women in New York City! In this modern version of David and Goliath: all the advantages appear to be firmly held within the Folger encampment!
After April of 1835, Mr. Stone, while talking with his friends, decides that he will write the account of what has transpired between the Folgers and Matthias. This version of events, as recorded by Mr. Stone, leaves much to be desired! On close examination, it begins to look like a sieve, unable to hold water, especially when compared with the evidence of other witnesses!
Eventually, New York’s legal system becomes judge and jury, with Matthias in custody on the charge of theft. Interestingly we, like the jurors, need to examine out of necessity all the circumstantial and factual evidence. History has not been kind to Matthias, however perhaps you as the student or careful reader are starting to empathize with Matthias and his version of events?
(Q1) Possibly you as the alert reader would also stand with Margaret and Sojourner-Truth as they attempt to defend Matthias, as they understand his real reasons for being in Albany before his planned departure into the west?
(Q2) Maybe you believe that powerful men who have access to wealth, position, and authority within society and business; should not be challenged?
(Q3) Perhaps you agree with all the actions of Ann and Benjamin Folger?
(Q4) Are you a Christian, or a religious person, who believes the Pierson’s have been on a spiritual journey full of enlightenment?
(Q5) Could it be possible that you are thinking about the deception of the Folgers, resulting in their shared delusion while with Matthias?
We should look at the evidence without prejudice: then form our opinions on our understanding of the facts and witness statements. We can, in our deliberation, discount the social position and financial standing of those involved. We are in many ways the armchair jury, sitting at home reading the actual story of real people who had real lives full of dreams and terrible disappointments. It is up to us to make our decisions about our feelings towards the main protagonists within this narrative. Soon we will have to pass judgment on Matthias and his actions of the past few months. We are judging Matthias on what has happened from August to September of 1834. These two months cannot truthfully define a man’s life; however, they have, for the most part, influenced how millions of interested citizens have viewed Matthias over the past two hundred years!
Our investigation has intended to present the evidence from the vantage point of each main protagonist. Now, like Mr. Stone, who wrote the story from his vantage point, we have the chance to find out the full version of events; after which, we like a jury will be in the position to pronounce our verdict. Which tale will withstand the scrutiny, will we believe the Folgers or can we see past 200 years of the accepted storytelling and believe the evidence and continuity of Sojourner-Truth and Matthias’ version of events? As we continue with our investigation, you will have the ability to draw your own conclusions!