|Birth: ||Jul. 4, 1766, Germany|
|Death: ||Nov. 22, 1823|
Matthias Hester was born in the Kingdom of Hannover, Germany. His education was in the German language. He was brought up under protestant intruction and received into the Lutheran church in his youth but fell away from the church for several years until the Autumn of 1809, when he was so spiritually moved while listening to a sermon given by a Rev. Pain that he joined the M.E. church. He remained a faithful member until the day he died, in spite of the fact of having previously been a strong critic of that denomination.
When Matthias was only 19 years old he left Indiana and travelled to what is present day Kentucky near the Louisville area. He found Kentucky such a rich and beautiful country, he resolved to make it his permanent residence. For a time after moving there, he worked teaming for a citizen of the Louisville area.
It was during this time that Matthias had a life altering experience from which he narrowly escaped death.
While helping two families move from the Pond Settlement to Shelbyville, Kentucky, Matthias and his party were fired upon by Indians. Matthias and a man in his company by the name of Mr. Leatherman were wounded. Mr. Leatherman was wounded in the hip and although it didn't seem a lethal wound at the time, it mortified and killed him in two years. Matthias was shot with a rifle ball above the left eye from a distance of four paces. He sprang off his horse as he saw the Indians approaching. He managed to run 170 yards into the forest, falling three times before they overtook him.
He made the life saving decision to play dead and receive their butchery without a struggle. The first Indian drew up his tomahawk to strike his head but it was a glancing blow and only chipped his skull bone. The second Indian also delivered a glancing blow and broke the skull. Next, believing him to be dead, they scalped him alive. With his bloody scalp in their hands, they left his body so that they could loot and destroy as much of the wagons and their contents as possible. At some point Matthias thought them to be gone and began to try to get up but upon hearing his attackers, threw himself back down into the same position and resumed playing dead until they finally left.
Phrophetically, Matthias had had a dream a few nights before the trip. He dreamed of losing his whole team in some disastorous circumstances. The prophetic dream was repeated to him three times in the same night. Naturally, this caused him great anguish about his upcoming trip and he resolved to get his hair cut as short as possible before leaving. The reason for this, he told the barber, was that he did not want the Indians to have the convenience of his long hair in taking his scalp.
Sometime during his attack the Indians had speared Matthias in the back with some sharp instrument. Out of all of the horrific injuries incurred on that fateful day, it was this one that caused Matthias the most pain and it was complications from this injury that claimed his life 30 years later.
Thankfully, when the attack began the families in Matthias's party fled to get help. Once help arrived, Matthias was taken to the nearest house and the lady of the house, destitute of human sympathy, initially refused him entrance. Stung with indignation, severely injured Matthias had to be coaxed into the house for treatment.
A physician was sent for and arrived during the night. His name was Dr. John Knight who lived 6 miles West of Shelbyville. Dr. Knight was a Revolutionary War veteran and the first physician and surgeon known to practice medicine in Shelby County, Kentucky. He said that he could do nothing for Matthias unless he had him in his own house which was 14 miles through the woods. Matthias spent 15 months recuperating in the home of the doctor and his family.
At the time of his attack, Matthias was already engaged to marry Miss Susannah Huckleberry. He told her, "As I have lost my scalp, I release you from your promise of marriage." To which Susannah lovingly replied,"I am not after the scalp, I want the man, and therefore, do not wish to be released from the engagement." Eighteen months after the attack they were married and when their first child was born on September 26, 1794, they gave the honor of naming him to the doctor's wife. Fittingly, she named him George Knight, after her husband, Dr. John Knight, the man who had saved Matthias's life. It is for this reason that many Hesters bare the name of Knight.
Amazingly, several years later, Matthias again crossed paths with one of the Indians who had scalped him. Upon seeing Matthias, the Indian surprisingly exclaimed, "Me thought me killed you!" Matthias had to be restrained from attacking the man who had taken his scalp and almost taken his life.
Susannah Huckleberry Hester (1775 - 1859)
George Knight Hester (1794 - 1874)*
Milton Payne Hester (1813 - 1906)*
Hester-Rowland Family Cemetery
Maintained by: RememberMe
Originally Created by: Gail Black
Record added: May 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69837705