Lindsey, Matthew Clay (1877–1955)

By: Seymour V. Connor

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: March 1, 1995

Matthew Clay Lindsey, oilman, was born in Henderson County, Texas, on October 20, 1877, the son of John Jackson and Laura E. (Powers) Lindsey. The family moved to Eastland County in 1887 and later to Palo Pinto County. Lindsey went to public schools in Strawn and Palo Pinto and attended the University of Texas for two semesters in 1899–1900. After serving briefly as principal of a two-teacher school at Strawn, he began working as a cashier in a Palo Pinto bank. On June 2, 1901, he married Eunice D. Cunningham, and the following year the couple moved to Big Spring. The next year the family moved to Dawson County, where Lindsey and his father organized the Lamesa Town Company, which laid out the town that was to become the county seat in 1905. At that time Lindsey was elected the first county judge of Dawson County. He was reelected for a second term but thereafter turned his energies to an abstract business he founded in 1907.

In 1905, shortly after the death of his two-month-old son, Lindsey's wife died. On October 29, 1908, he married Tommie Smith, with whom he had six children. After selling his business in 1918, he moved his family to Gaines County, where he had purchased a ranch that he stocked with registered Aberdeen Angus cattle. The agricultural recession after World War I forced him to sell his herd and ranch, and he returned to the Lamesa real estate business. There he became a specialist in mineral properties and oil royalties and soon recouped his personal fortune. An oilfield near Lamesa and three buildings in the town bear his name. He died on December 1, 1955, and was buried in Lamesa Memorial Park. A history of Dawson County that he compiled was published posthumously as The Trail of Years in Dawson County (1958).

Seymour V. Connor, ed., Builders of the Southwest (Lubbock: Southwest Collection, Texas Technological College, 1959).


  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Oil Entrepreneurs and Wildcatters

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Seymour V. Connor, “Lindsey, Matthew Clay,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 23, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995