One of the men who can claim to be a self-made man is our local member Mr. J.A. Mathieu, the manager and vice-president of the Shevlin-Clarke Company, millionaire lumberman.
Mr. Mathieu came to this district ten years ago from Minnesota, as manager of the Rainy River Lumber Company's sawmill at Rainy River. He at once became active in advancing the interests of the district. Three years ago he took out his naturalizations papers and threw whole soul into New Ontario and Canadianism.
In the last general provincial elections he was offered the nomination by a number of leading Conservatives and accepted it, the result being a victory over the then Conservative member.
He is unassuming and rather quiet in disposition, not given to fired stunts or agitation, but in all things using good, common horse sense. He is liberal in all his actions and ever ready and willing to go along any deserving project. He never forgets his friends, and, though now nearly the top rung of the ladder he is still "Jim" Mathieu to those who knew him in the past. He is well liked by several hundred men in his employ and is always ready to see that his employees get a adequate deal. He is the type of man that Fort Frances can't very well afford to do without or the district either. We need him to help build up our town and when we say that he is appreciated, we only express the general sentiment of the entire community.
The death of James Arthur Mathieu brings an end to an era in the logging and lumbering industry which never will be repeated.
The whole concept of the lumbering industry has changed and Mr. Mathieu, who began his career under the most primitive logging conditions when the policy was "cut and get out" not only lived to see the adoption of the policy "annual Yield" cut, but was a leader in many present day conservation practices.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Mathieu pioneered the use of mechanized equipment in the woods while other firms were still relying mainly on horses; he saw the advanatages of aircraft for transportation; he advocated a wider use of the species of woods found in this district rather than relying on nature. In keeping with this, the development of his Bonnieview estate as a game preserve was only to be expected.
Mr. Mathieu was a man of many interests. He made many contributions, in many ways, to this district. To many of the early settlers, his interests in colonization roads was responsible for the networks of roads which this district has enjoyed for many years, and then that was his big contribution was the setting up, in 1945, of the Mathieu Educational Foundation which focussed attention on the fact that financial assistance should be available for high school students and graduates. The number of bursaries and scholarships available today are testimony of the wisdom of Mr. Mathieu's decision to support the proposal advanced by the then principal of the Fort Frances High School, Donald W. Scott.
These two examples merely point out how Mr. Mathieu changed with the times. He kept abreast of public thinking and when times changed, he changed too. Yet, in one respect, he did not change. He was always J. A. Mathieu, the lumberman. That was his first and last love and although Mr. Mathieu did not reach the five score years he strove for, his 80-year lumbering career has left it's mark on the woods industry and his 61-year residence also has left it's mark on the district.