Home > Uncategorized > Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South

Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South

Source: Fawn M. Brodie, Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1959).

[page 27]

[Thaddeus] STEVENS was remembered at the [Peacham] Academy as a “wilful, headstrong” youth with an “overmastering burning desire to secure an education.”  Once his books and hat were detroyed in a school fire.  Coming down the hill afterward, bareheaded and desolate, he met John MATTOCKS, who later became his law teacher.  “Here Thad,” said the lawyer, handing him ten dollars, “take this and buy some books and go to college without a hat.”

[page 32]

Thaddeus STEVENS went from Vermont to Pennsylvania in 1815, when he was twenty-three.

[…] There was a two-year residence requirement for lawyers in York, but STEVENS felt himself ready after a single year’s study, since he had read law for a year with John MATTOCKS.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Steve Russell
    24 May 2009 at 10:20 am

    I am researching Thaddeus Stevens and see you are a member of the Mattocks family. Do you have much background info on the Peacham Academy and the relationship your relative had with Stevens?

  2. 24 May 2009 at 11:14 pm


    Thanks for leaving a comment. As John Mattocks is not in my direct line of ancestry, I have not done much research on him.

    I did find another book on Thaddeus Stevens, written by Ralph Korngold, with which you are probably familiar. It contains a couple of fleeting references to John Mattocks. I have reproduced those passages in a new post here.

    I checked a book I own by Lynn A. Bonfield and Mary C. Morrison, entitled Roxana’s Children, and it contains a few references to Thaddeus Stevens. Apparently Stevens’ mother was the maternal great-aunt of Alfred Rix. In 1841, Alfred came to live with Steven’s mother for a time and attend Peacham Academy. Alfred eventually married Roxana’s daughter.

    Let me know if you would like excerpts from Roxana’s Children that pertain to Stevens. I should be able to find time to copy them off for you. Or you can check for the book in your local library.

    Good luck with your research.

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