Almonte Gazette-November 21 1940
Starting on the return journey from a hunting trip Mr. Rodger Somerville, governor of Lanark County jail, and L. C. Affleck, publisher of The Lanark Era, had a narrow escape from drowning Friday morning. Leaving their hunt camp on Leclaire lake in the Matawatchan district (near Renfrew), early in the morning, the two hunters had to cross the lake to their cars. The boat was powered by an outboard motor and about one hundred yards from the camp shore, the boat suddenly submerged and the two men had to strike out for shore.
Each grasped an oar which enabled them to keep afloat but were hampered considerably by their heavy clothing and long boots. Mr. Somerville was the stronger swimmer and reached shallow water first and shouted encouragement to Mr. Affleck. Both men were exhausted when reaching shore. Shouting to other campers across the lake, about 800 yards distant, they came to the unlucky men’s assistance and supplied them with wood and blankets. After drying their clothes they were able to continue their way home. A considerable amount of camp equipment and personal belongings went to the bottom of the lake when their boat submerged.
The Township of Matawatchan had two communities: The Village of Matawatchan and Camel Chute. Camel Chute was originally named Campbell Chute after a local logger, but when surveyors arrived and asked residents the name of the place the local brogue was misheard as Camel. Matawatchan is an Indian name (probably Algonquin) and in some records it is spelled as ‘Mataouschie’. Some believe it means “running through rushes”, but Indian Affairs says it means “first settlement.” Some current long-time residents think the name should be translated as “hidden village.” It suggests that there may have been an Aboriginal settlement here before the Europeans arrived.
While Griffith was primarily Irish and French in the early days, the population of the geographic township of Matawatchan was primarily Scots and French. Local memory says that the first settler in the Village of Matawatchan was a MacDonald, but soon after there were Wilsons, MacPhersons, McLellans, Hutson’s and many others. Many of the French families are still here but their names have become anglicized over the years. The LeClaire family were very early settlers, and they are still prominent in the area. Read more here– CLICK
W. Rodger SommervilleNotes
L. C. Affleck Notes
In 1921 the year electricity came to Lanark, the Era installed a typesetting machine, the Linotype. This truly was a labor saving device. The first linotype operator to be trained by myself was Miss Bell Currie, now Mrs. Austin McFarlane. She later became operator on the Ottawa Citizen. The Era was the first hydro-power user in Lanark as I did away with the gas engine and bought an electric motor to drive the press.
With a desire to move on to a larger newspaper field, I sold out in 1929 to L.C. Affleck, who continued to build up the business for 19 years. In 1947 the Era was on the market and Erroll Mason decided to try his luck in journalism. Mr. Mason passed away in October of 1961 and the Era continued under the proprietorship of Muriel Mason, and her staff, the Somerville brothers, Ivan and Leonard.