History

Mather 1903
In the late summer of 1897 the first sod was turned on what was to be the first siding of the village of Mather. For years the farmers in the district had to draw their grain either to Cartwright or Clearwater. So pleased were they to have the promise of a market near at hand that they joined together and put in the necessary grading free of charge. That fall, Robert Rogers who kept a general store and bought grain in Clearwater, moved one of his warehouses to Mather. Mather is named after David Low Mather of the Keewatin Lumber Mills. He promised residents of the new rail point that he would build a mill if they named the town after him. The next year people saw to it that the new post office was named Mather, but in the years to come no mill materialized. The promise went unfulfilled, but the name of the town remained the same.

Businesses located in Mather in 1909-1912

W. & G. Bisset Livery
Wes. Howard Lumber
Geo. Storey Livery
A. Hill Blacksmith
J. Evans Boardinghouse
B. Davis Laundry
Doc. Walton Drugstore
G.H. Davis Barbershop
Wm Lees Butcher
Elliot & Argue Store and Stock
Charles James Harness
Wm. Dafoe Carpenter
H. A. Laughlin Store and Stock
Howard Bros. Lumber
McGillvray Store and Stock
Hugh McLeod Harness Store
Hugh McLeod Bank
Mrs. Fowler Furniture
John Moore Telephone and Store

Mather Fire September 1947

By Charlie ArgueMather 1957

The weather had been very dry. Harvesting was in full swing. A strong north-northwest wind was blowing. It was about eleven o’clock in the morning. The village was practically deserted. I, Charlie Argue, was working at the back of the store. Maude Edom who worked for us, was at the front when she called to me, “Charlie I think there is a fire behind the lumberyard!” I immediately ran out and over between the former lumber yard office to the next building. The west end of the building was on fire, all along the bottom.I immediately ran back Maude met me at the door with a pail. I ran to the town pump and filled it and back to the fire. I was amazed how rapidly the fire had developed in this short time. The pail of water made little impression but I ran back for another pail, stopping to shout into the hardware to Bob Taylor who was running the hardware that day. Maude had another pail of water ready so back to the fire I went.Before long, the ladies had a tub under the pump and kept it full as fast as it was taken away. But the fire couldn’t be stopped. The strong wind fanned it, and soon everyone realized the entire west side of the street was going to go. This consisted of what had been, the harness shop, and the home of the Ed Janzen family, the old bank building which Janzen was using as a garage, then the Karl Howard Store. All these were joined together.South of the Howard Store, with room to drive a truck between, was a two story building that housed the Ross McIntyre family and the post office. Next to this was the C. Thody garage where the community hall now stands. South of this was Ivy Myall’s house.Realizing all was going to go, everyone started moving things out of the buildings, piling it across the street. Many of the things removed later caught on fire from sparks form the burning buildings and were eventually lost. Help rolled in from the country around and from neighboring villages. Fire engines from Rolla, North Dakota and Killarney came and managed to save the Myall dwelling, and watered down the burnt buildings.Embers from the fire were falling as far south as No. 3 highway. Shingles on the Wes Howard and Art Douglas houses were set on fire but put out without much damage being done.Several amusing incidents were recalled after the fire was over. A traveler, who had seen the fire from the highway, drove in while the fire was at its height. When he got out of his car, the first person he met was Dr. Davidson. He told Dr. Davidson, “If any one gets hurt bring him to me. I am a St. John’s First Aid graduate and have a first aid kit in my car.” The good Dr. thanked him but did not tell the man who he was. Also how Art Douglas had picked up the McIntyre sewing machine and thrown it out the second story window. And how Art and one other had carried the soft drink cooler out of the Howard store, and the next day it took four men to carry the same cooler into our store.

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