The long and interesting history of the Matheson family

The story of the Alex Matheson family as told my members of his family to the authors of Golden Memories.

The story of the Alex Matheson family as told my members of his family to the authors of Golden Memories.

Copies of 2000 Golden Memories can be purchased at the Golden Museum.

In the spring of 1906 Alex Matheson and his brother-in-law, Robert McBeath, arrived in Canada from Dornich, Scotland.

They were following Douglas and Sam McBeath who has immigrated to Canada while Alex Mathieson proceeded to Calgary where he found work in his own trade as a tailor.

Within a short period he read in a Calgary newspaper of sulky races being run in the town of Golden. In his words, he thought that a town sponsoring races would be “a sporty little place” and a probable location for his own tailoring business.

And so within a few weeks he had travelled to Golden where once again he found work in his own trade, this time with Mr. Tom.

Later he opened his own Men’s Furnishings store that was to include a flourishing custom tailoring business.

In the fall of 1906 he was joined by his wife, Elizabeth; his three children, Alex Jr., Elizabeth, and Isabella; as well as his mother-in-law, Elizabeth McBeath, and her two children, Marion (Mrs. Thomas Nicholson, later Mrs. John Watson) and Annie (Mrs. Hedley Dartt).

Thus the Mattieson family settled in Golden, the original plan to immigrate to San Francisco having been forgotten owing to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. They had a quick introduction to Canadian winters when the temperature that year dropped to sixty degrees below zero.

The three McBeath brothers later joined their mother and sisters.

Alex Mattieson and his family lived in Golden for the next fifteen years. In those years five more children were born to Alex and Elizabeth; Marion, Thomas and twin sister Helen, then Ellen and Ann.

Alex experienced the loss of his business by fire on three separate occasions. Twice he rebuilt to start again but on the third occasion he made the decision to move to Vancouver where once again he built up his own business. His store was for many years a meeting place for Goldenites visiting Vancouver.

He also homesteaded near Nicholson and had many tales to tell of transporting pigs, etc. by canoe from Golden to the homestead as well as furniture by horse and cart.

The land was, of course, cleared with hand tools. The log house still stands. Recreation included hunting, fishing and soccer.

On one occasion on a hunting trip with Captain Bert Blyth and  Tim Sargood, they bagged two grizzlies. There were trophies in his den for many years.

He played soccer until after his forty-first birthday and continued to enjoy this sport as a spectator for another forty-five years.

Always a sports enthusiast he was an active member of the Golden Soccer Team and competed with spirited rivalry against their opponents in Field.

Active sports gave way with the years to gardening.

However, up to his eighty-eighth birthday he could be found every spring at Spanish Banks with his nets cast for smelt fishing.

The fireplace was a focal point for family gatherings children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Until the year he died the fireplace logs were gathered and split by him, often with help from grandchildren near :his home by Spanish Banks.

In June 1916, Alex (already a veteran of the Boer War where he served with the Seaforth Highlanders) enlisted in Calgary with the 191st Overseas Battalion CEF and served overseas until peace was declared.

The family moved to Vancouver in 1921. Alex Jr. continued to work in the Golden area for many years.  Marion and her husband (Alex Speirs) returned to Golden in the 1930’s and for a few years managed the Queen’s Hotel.

Alex was a member of the Golden I.O.O.P. Lodge until his death in 1967.

He was predeceased by his wife in 1965.

Helen and Ellen died in infancy. Marion died in 1968 and Alex Jr. in 1979