Elizabeth Mathews Heyward
Wife of Col. Thomas Heyward, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1795 – 1862 A.D.
Elizabeth Mathews, a sister of John Mathews of South Carolina, was the first wife of Col. Thomas Heyward. The date of their marriage is not definitely known, but it was about 1767 or ’68—just after he returned from a several years’ stay in Europe, where his father, Col. Daniel Heyward, a wealthy planter, had sent him to complete his education, by study and travel. The young man came back an enthusiastic American and an ardent patriot, and became an active participant in both the Continental Congress to which he was elected in 1775, and in the field.
He was shot through the leg and taken prisoner during the siege of Charleston, and carried to the British prison at St. Augustine, where he was kept nearly a year. During this time a detachment was sent to plunder his plantation. His family were forced to fly for their lives, their home was looted, and nearly two hundred slaves carried away and sent to Jamaica and sold. His loss from the slaves alone was estimated at upwards of $50,000.
The shock of this experience was one from which Mrs. Heyward never recovered and she died from it, about the time that he was released by exchange. She was the mother of five children, all of whom died in infancy except for her son Daniel.
Col. Heyward married, as his second wife, Miss Elizabeth Savage, by whom he had three children. He died in the sixty-third year of his age in 1809, and was survived by his widow and four children.
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.