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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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CAPT. JOSEPH MATCHETTE, agent for the Atlantic Dynamite Company and the Ingersoll-Sergeant Drill Company, both of New York, has been a resident of Catasauqua since 1852. He is a native of England, having been born in Seacombe, County of Chester, March 18, 1841. His paternal ancestors were originally from Normandy and came to England at the time of William the Conqueror. Grandfather Richard Matchette was born in Ireland, where he engaged in business as a butcher and stock-dealer. Emigrating to the United States, he settled in Cumberland County, Pa., and there remained until death.

Captain Matchette’s father, also named Joseph, was born, reared and married in Ireland, whence he removed to Liverpool, England, and secured employment in a brickyard there. Later he went to Seacombe, where he worked in the ultramarine blue factory. Three of his children preceded him to the United States, and in 1852 he, with other members of the family, took passage on the sailing-vessel “Rio Grande.” Reaching Philadelphia after a voyage of eight weeks, they came by stage to Catasauqua, where the father became an employe of the Crane Iron Company, being for some time their bridge watchman. At the age of about fifty-two he passed away, June 27, 1862, ten years to a day from the date of his arrival in Catasauqua. In religious belief he was an Episcopalian.

Susanna Truman, as the Captain’s mother was known in maidenhood, was born in Ireland, being a daughter of Thomas Truman, likewise a native of the Emerald Isle. She died in Catasauqua in 1889, aged eighty-five years. In her family there were nine children, of whom eight grew to mature years, and all came to Pennsylvania. At the present time (1894) three sons and three daughters are living. Three sons, John, George and Joseph, served in the Civil War. John, now a resident of Catasauqua, was Corporal of the Fifty-first Ohio Infantry; and George, whose home is now in Steelton, Pa., enlisted in the One Hundred and Eighty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry and served until the close of the war. Two brothers-in-law also participated in the defense of the Union.

The subject of this record was a student in the Episcopal schools of England prior to coming to America. At the time of coming here his two brothers were on the canal, Richard owning a canalboat and two mules, and for two or three seasons he was employed as towboy. Meantime the winter months were spent in the public schools. When fourteen years old he began hauling iron ore for the Crane Iron Company, continuing thus employed for one year, and afterward, for the same company, he helped load wheelbarrows for the furnace. Being an observing lad, he gained a sufficient knowledge of engineering to enable him to run a stationary pump engine, and this he continued for a year or two. When the tracks were laid by the company to their furnace from the Lehigh Valley and the Catasauqua & Fogelsville roads, he was engaged in firing on the “Hercules” locomotive for six months, after which, for six months, he was fireman on the Catasauqua & Fogelsville road. Later he ran an engine between this city and Trexlertown until 1860, when, desirous of perfecting his knowledge of engineering, he entered the machine shops of the Crane Company as a machinist.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War the subject of this sketch enlisted, in August, 1861, in a company organized by Capt. Arnold C. Lewis, a veteran of the Mexican War. The company was united with one from Bethlehem under Captain Selfridge (who afterward became Lieutenant-Colonel of the same regiment), and was known as Company C, Forty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry. Corporal Matchette was mustered into the service at Harrisburg, and in September marched with his regiment into Washington, camping on the heights near that city. Thence they went to Darnestown, Md. (where Major Lewis was killed), and thence to Ball’s Bluff, participating in an engagement there in October, 1861. Going into winter quarters at Frederick City, Md., the troops remained there until after Christmas, when they marched to Hagerstown through the deep snow. At Hancock, on the Upper Potomac, on the 4th of January, 1862, they had a skirmish with the enemy and spent the remainder of the winter there, engaged in reconnoitering.

Crossing the river at Williamsport, the regiment marched to Martinsburg, Va., and the Shenandoah Valley, taking part in several engagements there. After the battle of Kernstown, March 23, 1862, they fell back to Winchester, where one day later a severe battle was fought. About that time our subject was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. After the second battle of Winchester, May 19, 1862, they inarched to Front Royal, where they had a skirmish with the Confederates, May 23. They then marched to Warrenton and Culpeper, and August 9, 1862, took part in the battle of Cedar Mountain, where out of five hundred men less than one hundred were left to tell the story of the day, the others being either killed, wounded or taken prisoners.

It was at this battle that Sergeant Matchette was severely wounded in the abdomen. Directly after this he noticed the flag go down, but though weak from the effect of this injury he grasped the flag staff and held it upright, so that the Stars and Stripes waved in the breeze, until increasing weakness obliged him to turn it over to some one else, and with the pluck characteristic of him he reported to the regiment from the field hospital the following day. He was at White Sulphur Springs August 25, 1862, Bull Run August 27, the second engagement at that place three days later, Chantilly September 1, South Mountain September 14, Boonesboro the same day, and Antietam on the 16th and 17th.

Sickness and death had so reduced the company that at this time it contained only twelve men. The regiment was temporarily with the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, becoming the color company of the regiment, having only sufficient numbers to represent one full company. The winter was passed at Maryland Heights, and while there Sergeant Matchette was commissioned First Sergeant. In December, 1862, they went to Fairfax Court House, Va., and were there during the battle of Fredericksburg. At Fairfax Court House he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant of the same company, and accompanied his regiment to Stafford Court House, where he served as Acting Adjutant. At this place they went into winter quarters. He participated in the hard fighting at Chancellorsville May 1-5, 1863, and narrowly escaped capture by the enemy.

July 1-4 Lieutenant Matchette participated in the battle of Gettysburg, July 6-11 was at Hagerstown, Md., and later at Brandy Station. Via the Baltimore & Ohio, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, to whicli the Forty-sixth Regiment belonged, went to Murfreesboro, Tenn., joining the Army of the Cumberland, with which they took part in the fighting with bushwhackers and cavalry at Fayetteville, Tenn., and later at the battle of Lookout Mountain, November 14. During the following winter he was especially selected and given charge of a picked company of mounted infantry from the regiment, with whom he scoured the country for guerrillas, and while thus engaged he had numerous skirmishes and narrow escapes. At this period the regiment re-enlisted at Decherd, Tenn., for three years, or during the war, after which they were given a thirty-days furlough and returned home.

After spending a short furlough at home, Captain Matchette returned to the front, in March 1864, and marched over the Cumberland Mountains to Chattanooga, from which point commenced Sherman’s campaign. The engagements in which he next took part were as follows: Tunnel Hill May 7, 1864; Buzzard’s Roost, May 8; Snake Creek Gap, May 8-10; Resaca, May 15-16; Adairsville, Ga., May 17-18; Cassville, May 19-22; Cassville Station, May 25; Pumpkin Vine Creek, May 25 to June 4; Dallas or New Hope Church (at which place he was selected for promotion to the Captaincy of Company I, the same regiment, for meritorious services on the field) May 25; Burnt Hickory, June 4; Big Shanty, June 6; Lost Mountain, June 9-30; Pine Mountain June 14; Culp’s Farm, June 22; Kenesaw Mountain, July 2; Peach Tree Creek, July 19-20; Atlanta, July 25-28, and the siege of Atlanta from July 28 to September 2. Moving into the city on the latter date, they held it until November 15, when General Sherman started for the sea. During this campaign the regiment lost in the neighborhood of seventy-five men, fifty of whom are now buried in the National Cemetery at Marietta, Ga., besides a great number who were wounded.

On that memorable march Captain Matchette and his men took part in several engagements, among which may be mentioned Milledgeville, Ga., in November, 1864, and Savannah, December 10-21. In Savannah they lived on rice and acorns until they captured Ft. McAllister, where they were supplied by the Government vessels. The Carolina campaign commenced with the battle at Edislaw River in February, 1865; Columbia, S. C., February 15-18; Cheraw, S. C., March 2; Chesterfield Court House, March 3; Smithfield, March 10; Averysboro, March 15-16; Bentonville, March 18-21; Goldsboro, March 21-24; and Raleigh, N. C., April 7-13. Next they went to Greensboro, where General Johnston surrendered, April 27, 1865, to Sherman’s army, which event marked the close of the war. Marching back to Raleigh, they had a review, and thence started for Washington, via Richmond and Alexandria. Captain Matchette was detailed for court-martial duty June 26, 1865, after having the day previous participated in the Grand Review at Washington. He was mustered out at Harrisburg July 22, the discharge being dated at Alexandria, Va., the 16th of the same month, after a service of three years and eleven months., Altogether he took part in fifty-two battles.

Resuming the pursuits of civil life, the Captain again entered the machine shops of the Catasauqua & Fogelsville Railroad, where for a time he repaired engines. Later he ran an engine between this city and Trexlertown for several months, when he was promoted to the position of Roadmaster. Three years later he resigned and gave his attention to building railroads, being thus engaged in the Saucon Valley, also in Chattanooga, Atlanta, Selma, and other Southern cities. For some months he was foreman in the construction of the Alabama & Chattanooga Railroad, now known as the Queen & Crescent.

Going South with the intention of locating, Captain Matchette took his family to Gadsden, Ala., intending later to locate at Birmingham, but not liking the location, in 1870 he came back to Catasauqua. For a time he was in a roller-mill, later was in the machine shops of the Crane Company, and also ran a steam drill at Jordan Quarry, of which he was foreman. Until 1882 he contracted the quarry for the Crane and Thomas Companies, but when the stone was condemned he left the quarry. Since then he has been agent for the Atlantic Dynamite Company, and is agent for the Ingersoll-Sergeant Drill Company. He also has many varieties of machines and drills. His route lies between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers, and his annual sales aggregate a large sum.

During his furlough from the army in the winter of 1863-64, Captain Matchette returned to Catasauqua, and here, April 8, 1863, married Miss Fannie E. Lazarus, who was born in Lehigh County. Her father, Joseph Lazarus, was an old settler of this county, and for some years was a saddler, but now lives retired. The Captain and his wife are the parents of nine children, as follows: Minerva L., at home; Adah S., the wife of John E. Walters, of Catasauqua; J. D., his father’s assistant; Blanche T., Fannie M., Thomas Truman, Sophia S., John Logan and T. Sherman.

For some years Captain Matchette served as School Director. In politics he is a stanch Republican, and for several years has served as a member of the Republican County Committee. After the war he was the nominee of his party for County Treasurer, and in 1888 was nominated for the Legislature, but in both elections the Democrats won. Socially he is Past Master of the Masonic fraternity, and represented the Knights of Honor in the Grand Lodge. He has been Past Commander of Fuller Post No. 378, G. A. R., and is now one of its Trustees. He is a member and has been Major of the Union Veterans’ Legion, located at Allentown. In his religious belief he is a Presbyterian and is Elder of the First Church here. In the work of the Sunday-school he is especially interested, and is the present Superintendent.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

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