He was born in Lochcarron, Ross-shire, Scotland in 1793 and came to Lower Canada around 1806. He served with the Glengarry Fencibles during the War of 1812, reaching the rank of lieutenant. In 1817, he settled at the military settlement at Perth. Matheson operated a general store there and was a director of the Tay Navigation Company. In 1847, he was appointed to the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada and, in 1855, he was made colonel and put in charge of the 1st military district of Canada West. He was named a Senator after Confederation.
Matheson married Mary Fraser Robertson in Montreal on November 5, 1823. After she died giving birth to twins in 1825, he married Annabella Russel in Gavilock, Scotland on August 11, 1830. Matheson had four daughters and seven sons, one of whom, Arthur, later served as treasurer of Ontario.
- "Roderick Matheson". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2005.
- Roderick Matheson – Parliament of Canada biography