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Surrey's First Fire Marshall

Source: Surrey Heritage Services', Surrey Stories, Winter/Spring 2006.
Surrey's First Fire Marshall, Lorne Pearson, 2006

Research at the City of Surrey Archives has discovered that the City's first Fire Marshall was Alexander Dougal Matheson. He was listed as such by Surrey Council in 1922.

Alex Matheson

Alexander Dougal Matheson was one of Surrey's first police officers. He was Surrey's first Fire Marshall. He retired from the Surrey Municipal Police in 1937. He passed away in 1957 at the age of 87 years.

A.D. Matheson was born in 1870 at Lucknow, Bruce County, Ontario. (Lucknow is located just south of Walkerton, in western Ontario.) In 1887 at the age of seventeen, Alex, along with his brother, Lucknow and his nephew Dougal, started trekking west. They arrived in Langley one year later, where Alex began working in logging camps. Three years passed and Alex moved to Elgin, working as a bull team driver, logger and apprentice blacksmith with Brunette Mills. His main chore was shoeing oxen and horses for the logging camp. This occupation became his main passion.

In 1898, along with his close friend Charles MacKenzie, he ventured into the Klondike with the Gold Rush, where he worked as a blacksmith on mining equipment, rather than panning for gold.

Alex Matheson's blacksmith shop

This is Alex Matheson's blacksmith shop in Cloverdale. This was located on the location now occupied by Wood's Jewelery Store.

About a year later Matheson returned to Cloverdale where he opened a blacksmith shop in the centre of town. Alex and Miss Christine McCrimmon of Cloverdale were married in 1907. They had one son, Frank in 1907 and a daughter, Isobel in 1910.

Matheson Family

This is Alex Matheson with his wife Christina (McCrimmon) Matheson, and their son Frank and daughter Isobel Matheson.

1909 saw Alexander Matheson appointed as Senior Police Officer for Surrey. He became a full time Constable in 1915, at which time he sold his blacksmith shop to George Morrison. One year later Alex became Chief Constable. In 1922 he was listed as Fire Marshall. He became the Municipal Relief Officer in 1928.

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