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Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Samuel Pritchard Matheson (1852-1942)

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Samuel Pritchard Matheson
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Born at Kildonan on 20 September 1852, son of John Matheson and Catherine Pritchard (daughter of John Pritchard), he was educated at St. John’s School and St. John’s College. He was ordained Deacon in 1875 and Priest in 1876. Other positions held included Master of St. John’s College, Professor of Exegetical Theology at St. John’s College, Canon of St., John’s Cathedral (1882), Dean of Rupert’s Land (1892), Deputy Warden of St. John’s College; Warden and Chancellor of St. John’s College; Deputy Head Master, St. John’s School; Secretary of the Provincial Synod of Rupert’s Land, 1883-1902. Prolocutor, 1902-1903; Prolocutor, General Synod of Canada, 1902. He was elected Primate of All Canada in 1909, holding that position of eminence until his resignation in 1930.

He was married twice, first to Seraphina Marie Fortin (?-?) in 1879 and second to teacher Alice Elvira Talbot on 18 October 1906. He had seven children: Godfrey Arthur Matheson (1881-1978), Adele Constance Matheson (1883-1967, wife of Desmond Fitzgerald), Maud Elizabeth Matheson (1888-1980, wife of Harold Wynne Trenholme), Norah Evelyn Matheson (1891-1984, wife of David Merritt Duncan), Edgar Hugh Earn Matheson (1892-?), Margaret Talbot Matheson (1907-2006, wife of Edmund Henry “Harry” Botterell, daughter-in-law of John Esterbrooke Botterell), and Mary Matheson (?-?).

He was a founding member of the Manitoba Historical Society. He served as chancellor of the University of Manitoba and Grand Master of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Manitoba, as well as Chairman of the Provincial Advisory Board of Education. He founded Havergal Ladies’ College in Winnipeg and was its first President. In 1927, he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Manitoba.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 91 Kingsway Avenue, on 19 May 1942, and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. There are extensive papers at the Archives of Manitoba, some of which belong to the Diocese of Rupertsland.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Floods at Red River: Some Tales of the Great Inundations of 1826, 1852, 1861
MHS Transactions, Series 3, 1946-1947 Season

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Graham House (91 Kingsway, Winnipeg)


1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Archbishop’s marriage,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 October 1906, page 5.

Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.

“Archbishop Matheson dies at age of 89,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 May 1942, page 1.

The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.

The Leading Financial, Business & Professional Men of Winnipeg, published by Edwin McCormick, Photographs by T. J. Leatherdale, Compiled and printed by Stone Limited, c1913. [copy available at the Archives of Manitoba]

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

Obituary [Godfrey A. Matheson], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 January 1978, page 91.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 November 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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