Posted By: Tony N
I live only a few minutes from Factoryville, PA - and this article was in our local newspaper this morning. I had no idea this occured. It sounded like Nick Mathewson was going to be a promising baseball player as well. I thought you guys might find this article interesting.
Century of unanswered questions
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
FACTORYVILLE It was 100 years ago today that one of the regions most promising athletes decided to call it quits.
Nicholas Wellington Mathew-son, 19, younger brother of New York Giants pitching sensation Christy Mathewson, had three weeks earlier received an offer of $3,000 a year to play for the Detroit Tigers, and was struggling with taking the pro offer or returning to Lafayette College.
On the afternoon of Jan. 14, 1909, he ended his life with a .32-caliber revolver.
Family members had been told he had gone out to the barn which is still standing to tend the horses.
When Gilbert Mathewson discovered his sons nearly lifeless body in a hay mow, Nick still had a pulse. Drs. French and Gray of Factoryville were on the scene within 10 minutes. Dr. Burns of Scranton arrived just after 6 p.m. on the Northern Electric railroad.
In order to give the youth a fighting chance at recovery, a decision was made to take him to Burns private hospital in Scranton, where an operation was performed.
According to the Scranton Republican, It was found that the bullet had entered behind the right ear and piercing the skull, had completely shattered the brain.
Brother Christy was summoned from New York and was at Nicks bedside, along with another brother, Henry, and Gilbert Mathewson, when the young man died at 7 a.m. on Jan. 15.
As news of the death spread, people had difficulty understanding what happened, as Nick generally had a good-natured disposition and was a favorite at both Keystone Academy and Lafayette.
Although he had been home in Factoryville for a holiday break after his first semester in college, he returned to Lafayette in early January.
But he returned home a week before his death, complaining that he felt ill and run down and was worried about schoolwork he was missing. News accounts suggested melancholia had set in, but history has left unanswered what caused the youngster with such great potential to break.
The summer after his 1908 graduation from Keystone, Nick was pitching nearly flawlessly for the Moosic team in the old Scranton New York State League.
The Scranton Republican noted, His record of no defeats while the pitcher of the Keystone Academy team was not excelled by any scholastic pitcher in the country. Some suggested that he was destined to have that kind of college career, too.
In the summer after his freshman year at Lafayette, he was already guaranteed a spot in Nashville as a player in the Southern League or he could have gone to the Detroit Tigers, despite his parents wish to see him finish college.
Neither was to be.