Mr William John Matthews was born in Penwithick, St Austell, Cornwall, England in late 1889 1.
He was the son of Joseph Matthews (b. 1863), a China Clay labourer, and Ellen Green (b. 1861), St Austell natives who had married in mid-1884. One of seven surviving children from a total of eight, William's siblings were: Susan (b. 1884), Samuel (1886-1919), Emma Jane (1888-1974, later Mrs Eddie Rescorl), Richard (1893-1959), Philip (1896-1977) and Beatrice Annie (1905-1911, later Mrs John Wale).
He first appears on the 1891 census living with his family in Penwithick. The 1901 census shows the family living at Ashes Park, St Austell but they would be returned to Penwithick by the time of the 1911 census. The latter record shows that William and all of his brothers had followed in the footsteps of their father and worked as China Clay labourers. The head of the household, Joseph, was by this point registered as disabled.
Reportedly engaged to be married, William was travelling to meet his fiancée in LaSalle, Illinois when he boarded Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger (ticket number 28228 which cost 13). It is possible that he travelled with Richard Slemen of Landrake, Cornwall.
William John Matthews was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His mother died in 1927 and his father on 29 June the following year.