MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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William Grant (Bill) Matson and
Phyllis Irene (Nielson) Matson

Pinepound Reflections - A History of
Spring Coulee and District page 287
by Bill Matson

William Grant "Bill" Matson was born April 19, 1896 in Ottawa Illinois, the youngest child of William Nehemiah Matson and Clara Mae (Grant) Matson. In 1906 he came to Canada with his parents and two brothers, George and Roy. On arriving in Canada they lived in several different areas in Southern Alberta.

Phyllis Irene Nielson was born July 6, 1897 in Cardston Alberta, one of nine children of Olaf and Christina Nielson. Phyllis grew up and received her education in Cardston.

In 1916 or 1917 Bill rented farm land in Spring Coulee and began farming on his own at a young age. About this same time Phyllis was working for a Mrs. Kelley in Spring Coulee and that's when Bill and Phyllis met. They were married April 24 ,1918 in Cardston. They continued living and farming in Spring Coulee until 1924, by that time they had bought land in Raley. This land had no buildings on it so Bill made a small makeshift house 16 x 16 and moved the family into that while he along with his father and father-in-law began building a home. After about a year the family moved into their new three bedroom home.

Farming in those days was a lot of many long hours and of hard work every day and Bill and Phyllis both worked steady for many years building their farm into a well established place. They drilled a well on land close to the buildings and a windmill pumped water for livestock and into the house so that made work inside and outside a bit easier. In 1927 Bill was able to purchase his first farm tractor and a threshing machine. That was a big achievement and a great help in maintaining the farm land. Every year after harvest, grain was hauled to Raley Hutterite Colony to be milled into flour, usually a years supply Coal had to be brought from a mine north of Magrath, with a little luck they were able to make the trip in two days. Shelves in the store room were filled with canned vegetables and fruit and preserves, enough to last through the long winter months.

In 1935 they purchased a combine, another big advancement in farming. By 1939 a windcharger was installed on the farm, this charged batteries and provided electricity to the house and a pressure pump allowed running water and hot water taps too. What a great help that was for Phyllis.

Bill was very active in community affairs. He served on the St. Mary's School Board for ten years as a trustee and later as chairman. He also served on the Cardston Municipal Hospital Board for nine years. He was a life member of the Lions Club and held various positions during his active years, also a member of the Masonic Lodge and a Shriner.

Phyllis was a lovely homemaker. She took great pride in making quilts and crocheting as well as other hand work.

In 1964 they sold their farm and moved to Lethbridge where they continued to live until their passing.

They had two children, one son and one daughter.

Bill and Phyllis were prominent farmers and honest caring people who loved life and lived it to the fullest. They loved to travel and drove across Canada and much of the U.S.A.. They loved Alaska for its beauty and enjoyed Australia and New Zealand as well as many places in Europe.

Bill died August 29 1984 at age 88.

Phyllis died January 24 1988 at age 90.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup