Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Mattson (nee Ina Malvina Karstunen) in 1902.
Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Mattson (nee Ina Malvina Karstunen) in 1902.

Oscar and Ina Mattson*, both Finnish immigrants, were married in British Columbia around 1891. They had six children, all of whom were born in Nanaimo: Lillian, Edwin, Arnold,  Adiel, William and Emil.  Adiel passed away during the 1919 influenza epidemic.

The Mattson family moved to Albion in March of 1903 from Nanaimo. Oscar had met John Jackson [another Finn despite his adopted English name] on Vancouver Island, who had told him about land in Maple Ridge. When John moved to Albion, the Mattson family followed suit. Oscar and Ina purchased their land from Hector Ferguson on Bosomworth Road off 17 Ave (now 240th Street). When the family moved onto the land, they were lucky enough to inherit a small house, which was eventually moved and converted into a sauna.

Oscar and Ina Mattson with their son Bill at their home in Albion in 1920.
Oscar and Ina Mattson with their son Bill at their home in Albion in 1920.

In order to support his family Oscar, like many other pioneers, participated in numerous activities. He worked with John hauling gravel for municipal road building projects and also worked with his team of horses on those same projects. With hard work and dedication, the family managed to do quite well for themselves. Within the year, the family built their new, larger house. Eventually they also added a woodshed and large barn, blacksmith shop, and chicken houses. Also, Oscar was one of the earliest automobile owners in Maple Ridge, purchasing a new model “T” Ford in 1916.

Mrs. Arnold Mattson and Mrs. Emil Mattson in the CPR stop shelter window circa 1910.
Mrs. Arnold Mattson and Mrs. Emil Mattson in the CPR stop shelter window circa 1910.

The family’s farm land was productive and yielded wonderful bounty. They had about 50 fruit trees including 15 varieties of apples, cherries and pears. In the 1920s, Oscar and Ina decided to subdivide their land into 5 twenty-acre parcels, giving one to each of their five children. The sons all built houses there and farmed or worked out and raised their families there. One of the couple’s sons, William E. Mattson, lived on the family’s farm land for many years after his parents passed away.

Daughter Lillian married John Lampi in 1917 and moved to Red Lodge, Montana. In a letter that she wrote to the Gazette in 1971, she talked about her first year of high school in 1908-1909 and how she had to walk four miles to the school. She would first take Bosomworth Road, then go up along Kanaka Creek Road to River Road.

Ina passed away in 1942, while son Edwin, who served on Maple Ridge council, passed away in 1945. Oscar died at the age of 83, in 1948.

*Please note that it was commonplace for some immigrants to change their surnames upon arrival in Canada. In the case of Oscar Mattson, his original Finnish surname was Karst.