|Date of Birth||October 31, 1892|
|Place of Birth||St. Antoine Abbé, Huntingdon County, Quebec|
|Next of Kin||Noe Mathieu (father), St. Antoine Abbé, Quebec|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Bouville P.O., Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||May 16, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 27, 1975|
|Age at Death||82|
|Buried At||Pineridge Cemetery, Sioux Narrows, Ontario|
Private Romuald (Ronald) Mathieu was born in 1892 in St. Antoine Abbé, Huntingdon County, Quebec. According to his baptism record he was born on 2 November but most other records have his birth date as 31 October. His parents were Noë Mathieu, a farmer, and Marie Paméla Pied. Noë and Paméla were both born in Quebec and they had at least nine children: Eda, Dolard, Alfred, Eugenie, Rosanna, Romuald, Aloysius, Eva and Raoul. Romuald was still living at home in St. Antoine Abbé when the 1911 census was taken. Sometime after that he moved out west and apparently spent a few years in Saskatchewan before settling in Manitoba.
Conscription was introduced in Canada in the summer of 1917, as the war entered its fourth year, and single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register by that fall. Romuald reported as required and he was called up for service on 16 May 1918. His address at the time was Bouville, near Fisher Branch, Manitoba, his occupation was farmer and next of kin was his father in St. Antoine Abbé. Romuald had his medical in Bouville and he was sent to Port Arthur, Ontario and assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. He trained with his battalion in Port Arthur and according to family members he served as a cook in his unit. He was discharged on demobilization on 18 January 1919 in Port Arthur.
After the war Romuald took out a homestead in the RM of Bifrost, east of Fisher Branch. By the time the 1921 census was taken he owned his own farm and his brother Alfred was living with him. In 1923 Romuald went to St. Jean Baptiste in southeastern Manitoba to do harvest work and while he was there he met Delphine Beaudette. Delphine was born in 1903 in the RM of Montcalm, Manitoba, the daughter of Ernest Beaudette and Marie Morin. Romuald and Delphine were married on 30 April 1924 and they farmed in Manitoba for about four years. A son, Adelard (Don), was born in 1925 followed by a daughter, Eva.
Between 1928 and 1946 Romuald and Delphine lived in Fort Frances and Flanders, both located in northwestern Ontario. For part of that time Romuald worked as a cook for logging companies and he also spent a few months employed at a paper mill. In Flanders he and his wife operated a boarding house and general store and Delphine was the postmistress. Two sons died in infancy and their fourth son and youngest child, Raymond, was born in 1934. By the early 1940s Romuald was involved in fur buying for M.T. Cathcart Furs and this took him to a number of communities in northwestern Ontario, including Sioux Narrows.
Romuald and Delphine moved to Sioux Narrows in 1946 and began operating a general store in a log building beside the highway. The business, R. Mathieu and Sons, was moved to a new building in the 1950s and continued in operation for more than thirty years. During the Second World War the oldest son, Don, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Don married Helen Balkham, Ray married Enid Hoff and Eva married Eugene (Gene) Dion. They all lived and raised their families in Sioux Narrows.
Romuald passed away at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora on 27 October 1975, a few days before his 83rd birthday. His funeral was held two days later and he’s buried in Pineridge Cemetery in Sioux Narrows. Delphine passed away in 1991 and she’s also interred at Pineridge along with other family members.
By Becky Johnson
Family photos and information are courtesy of ‘Beyond the Bridge: Sioux Narrows’ by Sioux Narrows Historical Committee (1985).