The descendants of John (Johannes) Mathys (1828 - 1904) who migrated from Rutschelen Switzerland to England and married Sarah Jane Treble (1840 - 1929).

I am working to produce a book in the next two years based on the life of John (Johannes) Mathys and his descendants in Great Britain. The work is being carried out in conjunction with various members of the family, in particular Joy Hanson and her mother Eileen Hutt nee Mathys (and Ann Brown).

Any information for inclusion in the  Mathys Family Information Centre will be gratefully received. You can enter it directly yourself via the Information Centre. You will first have to register by clicking the register button to the right and following the instructions. Alternatively you can send it to me at (or if preferred by mail to me: Jonathan Mathys, Lakeview, The Gas Works, Moorhaven, Ivybridge, Devon, England PL21 0HB.

The Story of the Swiss Migration

swiss house The Mathys family are first known to have come to Ruetschelen with Melchoir coming in 1672 from a nearby village of Bleienbach and built a house on the outside of the village. He had to buy the right to live in the village. Four generations later Andreas Mathys married Vreni Blatt in 1826. They had 9 children which were raised in the house built about 1815.

In mid C19 the people of Switzerland were suffering much hardship due to the repeated failure of the potato harvest. In the villages of Ruetschelen, a rural area some families had been given charitable sums to feed their starving children. With the opportunities and travel to the New World opening up the community decided to give families the chance of emigration to Canada, New Orleans and other developing areas.

A group of 41 parents and children left in 1850, each person being given 7 Francs. In 1854 the Parish Council elected had good representation by the Mathys family with Johann Mathys the Gemeindepresident, Jakob the secretary, and Isaak the representative for the emigration-Auswanderungwesen. The council met in the Gemeindehaus and made a very important decision.  To finance paying back the loan for the first emigrants and to fund further groups the emigration 574 of the ancient oak trees on village land would be felled .The bark for the oaks was valuable for tanning and would realise 1000 Francs and the wood would be used for sleepers for the railway tracks and total value estimated was 13,000 Frs. Opportunities were offered by the agents to Monte Video, Canada, New Orleans and many destinations which were opening up.

crest In 1856 we know that 41 people left the village. Johannes Mathys was one of 9 children of Andreas and Verena Blatt. Living in the traditional farmhouse on the N end of the village, without much land- The children would have been crowded into small rooms. Though the house looks big the rear part housed the animals in winter. Johannes had learnt the trade of carpentry from a Master in Solothun and decided to take the opportunity of going to start a new life, taking with him his much treasured woodwork tools. The group of 41 left probably for Basel and then by rail to Paris and onto Le Havre. The story of the felling of the oaks and the tears of the mothers saying goodbye is depicted in a mural in the new Gemeindehaus in Ruetschelen.

Once arrived in England Johannes made his way to London. There he found much building work going on, smart new shops in the West End. Here was a chance for his skills, for the shop fittings were well crafted in wood. A firm of shop fitters called Treble and sons took him on. Romance was soon to follow for he fell in love with the bossís daughter Sarah. They married in 1864 and set up house in de Beauvoir Road. For their honeymoon a year later; Johannes took Sarah to Paris and then to his home village to meet his family as described in Sarahís fascinating diary.

Johannes did well in his work and they had 10 children over the years including Lizzie who went to Bolivia. He and Sarah had strong family values and they brought their children up with a sense of adventure, enterprise, creativity and integrity, which is manifest in our children today.