George Coull Strachan Paterson

Calgary, Alberta, 1883
Submitted by Karen McQueen, December 28, 2023

John Paterson and Elizabeth Walker Paterson
William Cameron Paterson

George Paterson
George Coull Strachan Paterson

George Paterson was born in 1867 in Midmar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to John and Elizabeth Paterson. He emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1873 and attended church schools. The family then moved to Winnipeg and he attended Winnipeg Business College. Three of his siblings remained there.

In 1883, prior to the railways arrival in Calgary, George's father John walked from Saskatchewan to Calgary. He set up a store out of a tent and immediately called for his sons

William and George to meet him. William and George set out on the 400 kilometer walk from western Saskatchewan.

John, William and George Paterson built a store on Atlantic Avenue across from the railway station, in March of 1884. His mother Elizabeth, sister Georgina and younger brother David then joined them. They lived and prospered in Calgary.

Sometime in the late 1880's or early 1890's the family relocated to Okotoks, Alberta and opened Paterson and Sons General Store. John became Postmaster, and after his death in 1909, George took over and remained Postmaster until his own death in 1942. George was the only member of the John Paterson family to remain in Okotoks, all the others went west.

George married Teressa Mae of Collingwood, Ontario, in 1896. After a short time in Nelson, B.C., they returned to Okotoks in 1900, where he built a home at the foot of the hill. Their son Frank W. Paterson was born in Nelson in 1899, and their daughter Louise C. Paterson was born in Okotoks in 1902.

George Paterson, Okotoks

He was an active member of the community and became the second mayor of Okotoks in 1906. He helped organize the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, and served as the vice president for 11 years. He was also a member of the national executive. He was the chairman of the School Board for many years.

George was a district deputy of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, A.F. and A.M., and was a Master of the Corinthian Lodge No. 22, Okotoks, and secretary for 25 years: 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason; charter member of the Eastern Star and Okotoks member. He also belonged to the Royal Arch Chapter, High River, and the Perfection Lodge, Calgary.

George Paterson Grave

He served on the Executive of the Southern Alberta Pioneers' and Old Timers' Association, and was a member of the Old Timers' Association of High River. George was a member of the Presbyterian Church and later the United Church, and was an elder for many years.

Mrs. Teressa Paterson was active with church work with the Missionary Society and Ladies Aid. She enjoyed bridge, handwork, and was an excellent cook.

George and Teressa Paterson enjoyed dancing, and big parties held in Rowle's Hall where they all dressed in evening clothes. Tuxedos and white gloves for the men, and gorgeous gowns for the ladies.

George Paterson died at 75 years old, on April 16, 1942 and is buried in Burnsland Cemetery in Calgary. Teressa Paterson died on June 25, 1945 and is buried with her husband.


A Century of Memories, Okotoks and District, 1883-1983. Essay by Mrs. Elizabeth Smith (Granddaughter)
Journal of Alberta Postal History, Issue #4, Published 2016, by Dale Speirs Burnsland Cemetery Memorial for George Coull Strachan Paterson
Okotoks Museum and Archives