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Mathes, William Carey (1869–1917)

W. Michael Mathes Biography Entry

William Carey Mathes, attorney, judge, teacher, and banker, son of William M. and Mary C. (McCarver) Mathes, was born in Limestone County, Texas, on June 11, 1869. His father had served as a Texas volunteer of the Confederate States of America and as an Indian fighter in West Texas. Mathes attended schools in Coryell County and graduated from Sam Houston Normal School, where he taught English literature. He also read law as an apprentice in the offices of Stephens and White in Gatesville and of Al Jennings (later a famed train robber) in Oklahoma. Mathes was admitted to the Texas state bar at Breckenridge in 1892, relocated to Hale Center in 1895, and to Plainview in 1899, where he was an attorney and teacher. From 1900 to 1906 he was elected county judge of Hale County on the independent ticket. From 1906 to 1917 he served as director and vice president of the First National Bank of Plainview and formed the general practice law firm of Mathes and Williams with C. Sumner Williams. Mathes was a member of the Methodist Church. On December 8, 1894, at Breckenridge, he married Lela Mai Burke, a graduate in music of Sam Houston Normal School. They had eleven children, including Burke William, William Carey, Jr., and George Curtis. Mathes died on December 22, 1917, at Plainview of a heart attack, following the delivery of a speech for the Fourth Liberty Loan Drive of World War I. He is buried in Plainview Cemetery.

Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).


  • Education
  • Educators
  • English and Journalism
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

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

W. Michael Mathes, “Mathes, William Carey,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995
August 11, 2020