Hatleys around the world / 4
By Ishbel Beatty
Inspired by the greetings exchanged with North Hatley, Quebec in 1999 on its 200th anniversary of settlement, I turned to the atlas and found Hatley, Wisconsin, USA.
Then followed some hard thinking: you cannot just post a letter to (say) the Post Office, Hatley in the American continent and expect it to be delivered. The stern guardians of public funds insist on a postcode or – no delivery. I made various enquiries to no avail.
Time passed, and I did some research into the Cambridgeshire origins of an American family. Would my correspondent do something for me? She was delighted. And in due course I received a letter from the Village Clerk of Hatley, Wisconsin, with a short history of the place and a picture of Hatley Hotel, 1904.
The village was incorporated in 1912, but the first land grants were issued in 1857 and 1859. The first industries were sawmills, in an area once known as ‘the Great Pinery of Wisconsin’. By the 1900s, any immigrants came from eastern Poland and worked as lumbermen.
The present-day Village Clerk has a Polish name and works in a local bank. She put on a display of local pictures last year for the county historical society, and she knew of the Hatleys in Quebec.
Because of my link with a local historian in Quebec, I was able to put the two in touch, and Phyllis Skeats of Quebec wrote to Joan Warswarek of Wisconsin with some genealogical information about Matthew Wadleigh, who moved from Quebec in 1858 and gave the name of Hatley to his new place of residence.
Once peaking at 1,000, the village today has a population of just under 500, and as well as a lumber company and a veneer mill; local businesses include several restaurants, a grocery store, a tavern and a beauty shop. If stats are your thing, there are plenty about Hatley WI on the Datausa website.
So if you holiday in North America and feel homesick, remember these two places which have something in common with Cambridgeshire (although not the lake pictured at the top of the page). The ‘WI’ Harley village website is http://villageofhatley.org/community/about-the-village.
Can anyone find another Hatley out there with links to our Hatley? Wikipedia has a useful list of Hatleys.
Gamlingay Gazette, September 2001
First published in the Gamlingay Gazette and then on the original Hatley website, 2006; with minor changes for this website plus graphics 13 March 2019. ▲