Philip Mathewson (1736-1796) was born in Scituate, Rhode Island, and married Lydia Angell (1738 or 9-1825) on June 22, 1760. They had six children: Jeffrey (1761-1833), Anne (b. 1763), Philip (1765-1828), Jeremiah Angell (1769-1841), Mary (1772-1822), and Lydia (b. 1777). The papers of their three sons, Jeffrey, Philip, and Jeremiah Angell ("Angell") make up the bulk of the collection. Around 1786, Philip and most of his family joined the early Shaker community in New Lebanon, New York. According to the account of Jeremiah Angell Mathewson, he and his father were expelled from the community after a contract dispute regarding a farm in the neighboring town of Canaan that Philip leased in 1796 from Samuel Hand. Philip's wife and daughters stayed on with the New Lebanon Shakers after the expulsion of their male relatives.
Jeffrey Mathewson (1761-1833) was born in Scituate, Rhode Island, and apparently did not follow his father and siblings in joining the Shakers. In 1791, he married Almy Knight (1770-1846). Their children were Knight (1793-1795), Bucklin (1795-1882), and Robey (1800-1876). The family had moved to Lisbon, Connecticut, by 1801. Bucklin Mathewson spent his young adulthood as a merchant in Norwich, Connecticut, but eventually returned to manage the family farm in Lisbon. He married Cifuentes Battey (1802-1852) in November 1825, with whom he had three children.
Philip Mathewson (1765-1828) and Jeremiah Angell Mathewson (1769-1841) apparently journeyed with their father to the Shaker community in New Lebanon, New York. Both brothers had separated from the community and were living in Hamilton, New York, by 1801. Philip acquired a 100-acre plot of land that year, on which he and his family remained settled through the 1820s. Jeremiah married Electra Cross (1782-1863) in 1801 in Hamilton, New York, before eventually settling in Pulaski, Oswego County, New York around 1806. He died there in 1841.