Mathias is first listed in the 1890 Ashland, Wisconsin City Directory. He is not found in the 1888 directory, even though he should be in the area by this time. Though, he may have lived outside of the city or his name was spelled differently.
He is listed as living at 303 Seventh Ave E and working as a millwright for Mowatt & Thompson. His sons Albert and Henry also reside here. Mowatt & Thompson was a saw mill in the area as mentioned in the Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake Region from 1905.
Mr Mowatt had by his industry and keen business acumen acquired a fair working capital and in 1885 he came to Ashland, deeming it a good field for his future operations, in which time proved the correctness of his judgment. That year he bought a saw mill forming a partnership with JR Case. This mill they subsequently rebuilt and together successfully operated it for three years, when Mr Case disposed of his interest to CF Thompson of Chicago.