The Haslett family described herein is one of the numerous families descended from a Thomas Heslett who arrived in Ulster about 1600. Two of his descendants became mayors of Londonderry and Belfast. This book is about a branch of the family that located in the Whitehill townland of Taughboyne parish, county Donegal, and in the Sandville townland of Donagheady parish, county Tyrone.
In 1807 Matthew Haslett of Sandville became involved in a bitter landlord-tenant dispute with the 1st Marquess of Abercorn. The Abercorn-Haslett dispute over Sandville and Drumgauty lasted at least six years and may be the longest landlord-tenant dispute in Ireland’s history. Matthew’s brother, Rev. James Haslett, was the curate at St. Michaels Church of Ireland church. The rector was the Reverend Andrew Hamilton, distant cousin to Abercorn, but not a friend.
Matthew’s surveyor son, John James Haslett, seized an opportunity to participate in a substantial way in the economic development of the central part of Ontario. Mathew’s grandson, Thomas Calhoun Haslett, attained a prominent position in Ontario’s legal fraternity. A second grandson, William Woods Haslett, was a soldier in a unit sent to suppress the Riel Rebellion. Later he had a long career in the North-West Mounted Police, including being in charge of the important Tagish Post in the Yukon for the first three months of 1898. A third grandson, William Templeton, became mayor of Vancouver. A granddaughter, Margaret Bateman, became Director of the Henry George School of Social Science in New York.
In WWI at least five of Matthew and Rev. James Haslett’s great grandsons served at the battle for Vimy Ridge.
Earl Haslett may be reached at eahaslett[at]gmail.com