The Mathewsons and Pattons –
“Go to Metis; no place like it!”
When you come from a big family, it can be mind-boggling figuring out how everyone is related. Parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews – it’s no surprise that your head will start to spin, trying to decipher the family tree, particularly when efforts are complicated by the fact that different generations sometimes use the same names as their forefathers. The Mathewson and Patton families, with branches added through marriage, are no exception – they came by the dozens!
The Mathewsons (and Baylis’s and Gillans …)
The Mathewson family lived in Montreal and from 1834 until 1940 ran a wholesale grocery business, Mathewson’s Sons, that was on McGill Street. Many of the Metis hotels at one time ordered groceries, coffee, and tea from Mathewson’s Sons.
The family patriarch in Canada, Samuel, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Adams), had nine children: Eliza Scott Mathewson, Matilda (Mathewson) Holland, Rosa Mathewson, Clark Mathewson, James Adams Mathewson, Margaret (Mathewson) Patton, Sarah Jane Mathewson, Rebecca Lavens Mathewson, and Ellen Mathewson. One of their sons, James Adams Mathewson, is reputedly the first to have brought his family to Metis as regular summer residents.
James Adams Mathewson was the first Mathewson to visit Metis, which he did in the summer of 1847 en route from his home in Montreal to get married, in Halifax, to Amelia Seabury Black. They married on August 10, 1847 and had fourteen children: an unnamed infant, William Black Mathewson, Jessie Mathewson, Henry Martyn Mathewson, Fanny Smith Mathewson, Rachel Mathewson, Elizabeth Adams Mathewson, Amelia Seabury Mathewson, Samuel James Mathewson, Joseph Benson Mathewson, Edward Payson Mathewson, James Adams Mathewson, Jr., Ellen Hope Mathewson, and George Herbert Mathewson.
By 1854, James Adams Mathewson purchased a summer home in Metis, Seabury Cottage, which was (and still is) across from the schoolhouse in the village of Metis. This house later belonged to the Pilgrim family and is still known by many as the “Pilgrim house”; it currently belongs to David Johnston. James Adams Mathewson and his family would spend every summer there.
He also enticed many of his siblings, and their spouses, to bring their families to Metis. Amongst these was his sister Margaret, who brought the Patton family to Metis – more on the Patton family is provided below.
Another sister who brought her family to Metis was Sarah. Sarah married James Baylis on September 15, 1853 in Montreal. They had eight children: Samuel Mathewson Baylis, Mary Elizabeth (Baylis) Williams, Annie Campbell (Baylis) Brown, Henry Wilkes Baylis, Rosa Ellen (Baylis) Wait (who brought the Wait family to Metis), Emily Scott Baylis, Sarah Jane Baylis, and James Adams Baylis.
The eldest son of Sarah and James Baylis, Samuel Mathewson Baylis, wrote an 18-page booklet in 1928 called “Enchanting Metis”, in which he wrote:
“The discovery of the possibilities of this charming spot as a refuge and retreat for city-dwellers seeking new and unspoiled fields, is due to the vision and foresight of the late James A. Mathewson, of Montreal, who, about the middle of the last century, had there acquired a farm and urged friends and relatives to “Go to Metis, no place like it!” The first pilgrim [after himself] to this Land of Promise was his sister [Margaret Mathewson], Mrs. James Patton, who came with her brood to rail-head at Rivière du Loup and from there drove the remaining 100 miles by antiquated carriage and rocking buckboard to her destination in a lone farmhouse. She was followed later by her sister [Sarah Jane Mathewson], Mrs. James Baylis, who, with her tribe of youngsters, came by the paddle-wheel “S.S. Secret”, landing off the “Point Rocks” and by a succession of pilot-boat, “flat” and hay-cart were dumped on the beach among the “flakes” where the odorous herring and cod were drying before the door of their fisherman-host’s cot.”
Samuel James Mathewson, another son of James Adams Mathewson and Amelia Seabury Black, married Carrie Louise Smith on July 3, 1884. They had ten children: Frederick Howe Mathewson, Amelia Evelyn Black Mathewson, Winifred (Mathewson) Porter, James Arthur Mathewson, Samuel James Mathewson, Jr., Kenneth Mathewson, Carrie Louise (Mathewson) Brodie, Dorothy Ruth Mathewson, Faith (Mathewson) MacLennan, and Clive Mathewson. Three of these ten children (Fred, Arthur, and Faith) later had their own summer residences in Metis, Fred’s and Faith’s on opposite sides of Campbell’s Bay and Arthur’s west of Lighthouse Point.
Samuel James Mathewson bought a home at Eagle Point on May 18, 1897, and put it in the name of his wife, Carrie Louise (Smith) Mathewson. When she died in 1944, it reverted to her husband Samuel James, and when he died in 1948, it went to their two unmarried daughters, Amelia and Dorothy. Amelia died in 1959 and Dorothy owned it until her death in 1983. Dorothy left the home to her only surviving sibling, Clive, who owned it until he died in 1986, and he left it to his two children, Anne-Louise and Bill Mathewson. Anne-Louise became sole proprietor in 1996. At that time, she did some research on the property and remarked that its history was puzzlingly complex. Except for evidence that the house was built prior to 1874, she found no records identifying either the builder or the exact date of construction. In 2015, when Anne-Louise was no longer able to stay there on her own, she sold it to her cousin, Rod. So, happily, the Eagle Point property remains in the family.
Fred Mathewson, Samuel James’s eldest, later purchased Bland Cottage, the house on Beach Road immediately east of the Metis Beach United Church. He married Amelia Louisa Black on September 25, 1911 in Abercrombie, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. They lived in Montreal and had two children: John Frederick Mathewson and Kenneth Black Mathewson (known as Ken or KB). Fred Mathewson and his wife became year-round residents of Bland Cottage for a few years in the late 1940s and early 1950s, during which time Fred was mayor of Metis for a four-year term. Fred’s elder son, John, was a keen sailor and is the one who taught Betty (Galbraith) Cornell how to sail. Fred’s other son, Ken, married Ruth Parson and they had two children, Suzanne and Rod Mathewson, who also spent their summers at Bland Cottage, which Ken’s son, Rod, still owns in 2021.
Another son of Samuel James and Carrie Louise, James Arthur Mathewson (known to all as Arthur) and his wife, Ruby Tatlow, also summered in Metis; he built the house which now belongs to Célyne Darling. Arthur was Provincial Treasurer of Quebec from 1933 to 1944, and he and Ruby had three children: Arthur, Pamela, and Ailsa. Ailsa (her friends called her Ais) was married twice: first to Albert Riley and later to Robert Gillan. Her children are Lynn (Riley) van Tienhoven, John Gillan, Lorna (Gillan) Pitcher, Debbie (Gillan) Docherty, and Janis Gillan – most of whom who still summer in Metis.
The Pattons (and Forbes and…)
Margaret Mathewson, a sister to James Adams Mathewson (credited as the first summer resident), married James Patton, Jr. in Montreal on July 7, 1852. James Patton, Jr. worked for a time with his father in the wholesale grocery business in Toronto before joining George Childs & Co. in Montreal, eventually becoming a partner. Upon dissolving that partnership in 1878, he entered into a new business, Mathewson & Patton, Importers of Teas and General Groceries in Montreal. James and Margaret had eight children: Ada Gertrude Patton, Arthur Douglas Patton, Charles James Patton, James Patton, Jessie Stuart (Patton) McCormick, William Mathewson Patton, Walter Melville Patton, and Hugh Mathewson Patton. Margaret and her extended family were regular cottagers at Little Metis, now Métis-sur-Mer, on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. James and Margaret (Mathewson) Patton’s home was at the foot of Tuggy’s (Grier’s) Hill, at the location now occupied by Hart Price’s house (414 Beach Road).
Four of their eight children – Arthur, Jessie, Walter, and Hugh – became passionate Metisians and lived between Eagle Point, Patton Point, and along Lighthouse Point Road.
Dr. Arthur D. Patton, the eldest son of Margaret Mathewson and James Patton, Jr., purchased a summer home on Lighthouse Point road in the 1890s. He married Ottilla Hanson and they had two children, Arthur and Ruth Patton. Dr. Patton was a homeopathic doctor and owned the property on which stand 23 and 25 Lighthouse Point Road, today owned by the Hansard family. The center part of the number 25 house was brought across the bay by barge from the Mount Misery area – it was joined to an existing cottage in the 1900s. Dr. Arthur D. Patton died on November 28, 1924. His property was sold in the 1930s to Arthur Barry who bought it for his daughter. She, in turn, left it to her children, Hugh and Pippa Verrier, who still spend summers in Metis.
Jessie, a daughter of Margaret Mathewson and James Patton, Jr., married Alex George McCormick on Christmas day, 1877 at the West End St. Joseph Methodist Church in Montreal. Alex was a merchant from Ottawa, and Jessie came from Montreal. They had seven children: Henry Arthur McCormick, James Patton McCormick, Alex Stuart McCormick, Walter Douglas McCormick, Ada (McCormick) Forbes, Mabel McCormick, and Henry McCormick. They acquired the old farmer’s house at the head of Lighthouse Bay. One daughter, Ada, married John Hunter Forbes in 1920 at Little Metis in a service officiated by her uncle, Rev. Walter Patton, and they had five children: John Forbes, Ruth (Forbes) Howie, Christine Forbes, Jessie Forbes, and Sheila Forbes. Two of the daughters, Christine and Jessie, spent all their summers in their home on Lighthouse Point road until their deaths; they left the property to their nephew, James Howie.
Rev. Walter Melville Patton, Ph.D., another son of Margaret Mathewson and James Patton, Jr., married Harriet Webster Royan in 1893. They had George Sim build them a home in 1910 on Lighthouse Point, now Heather and Adrian Niderost’s home called “Outremer”. Rev. Walter Patton was a Methodist minister, Professor of Theology, and distinguished scholar at McGill University, and later at the University of Wisconsin. Their home was passed on to the Misses Patton who sold it to Walter Attridge, Heather Niderost’s father, in 1945.
Dr. Hugh Mathewson Patton, another son of Margaret Mathewson and James Patton, Jr., was a graduate of McGill University and one of the founders of the Montreal Homeopathic Hospital. He married Isabelle Jocelyn Bradford on August 21, 1894 in Saint Kevin’s Church, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland and they had three children: Isabelle, Brenda, and Hugh Patton. Their summer home was at the foot of the northeast end of Mount Misery. Hugh had a nine-hole golf course built on the flats between Eagle Point and Mount Misery for their enjoyment and that of their guests. The home was left to Brenda Patton and sadly it burned to the ground, to be replaced by the Woods’s bungalow which stands there today. Dr. Hugh Mathewson Patton also had another blue house across the bay which was pulled down and replaced by Beth Nowers’s house.
By Pam Andersson and Rod Mathewson