(1907 – 1981)
Born the oldest of ten children to a farming couple in Crenshaw County, Matthew Sexton plowed the fields beside his father from the tender age of eight. This same father helped build a one-room schoolhouse for his children to attend. The three-mile walk to school gave young Matthew time to think about his goals in life. He had an unquenchable quest for knowledge, but his true ambition was to impart that information to others in order to ease their burden and make living conditions better.
Mr. Sexton’s inventive and intelligent mind coupled with a gentle, patient nature enabled him to realize his calling. In 1937, he was appointed associate agent in Choctaw County. Ten years later he became county agent and remained in that position until his retirement in 1976.
After putting himself through Auburn University, Matthew Sexton wanted to work with local farmers and share the knowledge he had acquired. He learned quickly that it was hard to teach experienced farmers new methods. Even his own father at times resisted change. But with the warmth and humor he had inherited from his mother, he developed an easy-going, natural style for dealing with the people of Choctaw County. His genuine affection won the hearts and hands of the folks he most wanted to serve.
Through “The Hitching Post,” his column in the county newspaper, and a weekly radio program, Matthew Sexton reached out to share advice with even more people. The mass media provided him the opportunity to share pertinent scientific information and timely facts to the continual edification of his community.
During his career with Extension, Matthew Sexton was recognized as an outstanding agent working with 4-H. In 1968, he received the National Distinguished Service Award from the Alabama Association of County Agents. He was active in the Farm Bureau and Cattlemen’s Association. Besides his work-related activities, Mr. Sexton participated in the Lions Club, the Masons, and was a Shriner. He also served as a Steward in the Methodist Church.
In appreciation for his devoted service, the name of Matthew Sexton is inscribed on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 74