In the Anglican archives in Ottawa it listed James MATCHETT (who married Jane WILLS\WELLS - I've seen her maiden name spelled both ways) as being burried at Lascalles on June 6, 1903. He is shown as a farmer in Masham, Que., and being a native of Co. Cavan, Ireland. Other researchers in the family have been looking around Portadown in Co. Armagh as there is quite a few MATCHETT's there as well, but I have found no proven link. I spent some time at PRONI in Belfast a few years ago but came up empty.
I believe the father of our James (b. 1821 - 1825) is a John MATCHETT, although I have not proven this link yet. This comes from Ray Daly, another Gatineau area researcher who provided me information on his McCRANK line. He lists a marriage of James Joseph MCCRANK (b. 1806 d. 1870) to Mary Margaret MATCHETT in 1836. Margaret is listed as being born in 1815 (Ireland)& died 24 Dec. 1897 (Wakefield, Que), the daughter of John MATCHETT and Anne CROSBY. I found this interesting as it connects with our James & Jane who named one of their sons James Crosby MATCHETT.
Again, no proof linking the families - just clues. Three other MATCHETT's I've found in the Ottawa\Gatineau area include:
1. John MATCHETT married Mary Ann MUCHMORE in 1835.
2. Frances "Fanny" MATCHETT (1820 - 1884 & buried Old Reily cemetery) married Richard WOODLAND in 1837.
3. Letitia MATCHETT married William JOHNSON in 1842.
I am still searching for evidence which will link these 5 lines together. I would like to compare notes on the descendants of James & Jane MATCHETT. I will send you my file on their family when I can access if off my old computer.
For interest, here is an article from the Ottawa Citizen in 1933. It was also posted on Ancestry.com last year by kathyhogan66 so you may have already read it, but if not I'll post it again here:
Ottawa Citizen - December 1933
How Mrs. Alex Neeley Surprised Husband in Gatineau in 1851 - Came on an earlier boat - Walked 30 miles to Lascelles - As told by his daughter, Anna Neeley-Boon of Cantley
In the year 1849 Alex Neeley who lived near Sligo, Ireland, at the suggestion of his sister, Mrs. John Joynt, who lived near Lascelles on the Gatineau, decided to come to Canada and make a new home. Things, as you know, were not good in Ireland in '49. Alex Neeley was in comfortable circumstances himself, but general conditions were bad in Ireland. His sister had told him of great quantities of free land in Canada and urged him to come to the Gatineau. Leaving his family in Sligo, Mr. Neeley started for Canada to build up a new home. For almost two years he laboured preparing a little home near Lascelles, about 4 miles back of North Wakefield (now Alcove). Then he fixed a date for his wife and family to come out.
Mrs. Neeley decided to come a little earlier and surprise her husband. She left a boat earlier with her children, Albert 21, Margaret 16, Thomas 12, Annie 6 and Alexander, the smallest.
In due time, and after a seven week trip in a sailing vessel, the Neeleys arrived in Bytown, tired but happy. In Bytown they stayed for a couple of days with Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Wills, who was a relative by marriage. After the two days rest, Mrs. Neeley, guided by directions from Mr. Wills, set off on her 30 mile walk up the Gatineau. They had left their personal belongings with Mr. Wills til Mr. Neeley could come for them. All the little party carried was a generous lunch that had been put up at the Wills' home.
It was an August day, and warm but fair, when the walk was taken. The little family left Bytown at daybreak, crossed the bridge at the Chaudiere, passed through the then village of Hull, and was on its way.
Mrs. Boon (Annie Neeley) was only six when the trip was made, but she has today a distinct recollection of the roughness of the old wagon road, and the height of the mile hill above Ironside. The long hill was much steeper then and ran to the east of the present road.
When the little party reached the top of old Eaton Chute hill they rested, and to the soothing roar of the Eaton Chute, ate some of their lunch. Mrs. Boon tells that she would have liked to remain at Eaton Chute all day as her feet were getting sore, but Mrs. Neeley wanted to press on. She was afraid of the bears and wolves her husband had written her about.
By ten o'clock the little party had reached Carman's farm at the Cascades. They were thirsty. Albert rapped at the door and asked for a drink of water. When Mrs. Carman heard what the Neeleys were doing, she was greatly interested and brought them all into the house, where she produced a large crockery jug full of rich milk. She asked the party to stay all night, but Mrs. Neeley wanted to press on.
The next stop was at MacLaren's store at Wakefield where directions were asked. It was a little after 3 o'clock by the time the family reached North Wakefield, and the road that led to Lascelles. Another hill to climb and another four miles of hard footwork. By 4 o'clock the little family had reached the home of Mrs. James Matchett, Mrs. Neeley's sister, where they were to stay that night.
What a surprise. The coming of the Neeleys was entirely unsuspected, and what was worse, Mr. Neeley was not there. He was up in Farrellton helping a man. But Mr. Matchett hitched up the team and went after Mr. Neeley. When husband and wife met, they first wept in each other's arms, then Mr. Neeley embraced all his children. He especially paid his endearments to little Annie.
Annie pulled her mother aside and said "Mother, who was that man who kissed me?" "Why child, that was your father." "That's not my father" protested Annie. She had been only four when her father left for Canada. Mrs. Neeley told Mr. Neeley and he again embraced Annie and assured her he was her father. "No you are not" she said "I want to go back to Ireland, I don't like it here." But the next morning, Annie, after a good night's sleep, took a different view of life.
The Neeley's lived two years near Lascelles, but things didn't go well. The land was blue clay and hard to work. Then somebody told Mr. Neeley about some fine land over near Farrellton and west from Brennan's Hill. He bought seven hundred acres of fine pine land and began to lumber. The Hamilton's of Hawkesbury were lumbering on the Gatineau then. He sold the output to the Hamilton's. In later years when he was able to produce hay and oats and general farm produce, he sold all his surplus to the Hamiltons and made money.
The place where the Neeley's had settled back of Farrellton was 7 miles north of Lascelles. Mrs. Boon tells that even when she grew to be fifteen there was no place of worship nearer than Lascelles. The Neeleys were Anglicans. There was an Anglican mission or small church at Lascelles. The rector was a Mr. Seaman or Seamon.
Mrs. Boon tells that when she grew to be 15 she used to make a practice of walking every Saturday afternoon (after her chores were done) to Lascelles where she stayed overnight with a girlfriend. The seven mile walk she took was through a long swampy bush. There were only two houses along the seven miles. Mrs. Boon says she never met a bear or a wolf. "I had faith in God's protection" she said "and was not afraid".
There were three small churches in Lascelles; Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian. They held services at different hours of the day so that settlers, missing one, could attend another if they desired. Young Annie Neeley attended them all. She liked to go to church. Besides, people met people there. It was different from the lonesomeness of the farm.
The next afternoon brother Henry would come to Lascelles for his sister on horseback. Henry used to try to get Annie to sit on the horse, but she always refused. She preferred to walk, and did walk the seven miles. "I was full of life in those days" Mrs. Boon said "and people knew how to walk then".
The old Neeley homestead is in the hands of strangers today, but there is a Neeley on the adjoining farm. Alonzo Neeley, the owner of that farm is the son of Alexander Neeley, the youngest son of Alexander Neeley, the pioneer. Mrs. Boon is the only member of the pioneer family still alive. She is living with her daughter, Mrs. W.J. Usher, 62 Hamilton Avenue, Ottawa.