Tragedy, Remembering James Haines, a Young Life Lost Too Soon


Relationship JAmes

According to a family bible, James Haines, my 3rd Great-Uncle was born 1 July 1853, likely in Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada.  He joined brothers Joseph, Alexander and George, as the fourth born, to John Hains and Alice/Alise Edith Childs.  By 1859, children numbered seven, with the addition of sisters Mary and Lizzie and a brother, William John “John” (my 2nd g-grandfather).

James birthday

James was seven, when his mother died, in 1860.

By 1861, his father’s sister Patience (Hains) Ameraux/Emroe was residing with the family in the Parish of Richibucto, likely helping to care for the young children and household, while John worked as a laborer.

James 1861

Their life was a good one.  On New Year’s Day, 1880 his sister Mary writes in her journal:

Today I am very dull and lonely, for when we were all seven children at home with my father, how many happy days we had together, and this is one of the days we all loved so well.

mary Jan 1

On Christmas Eve 1880 she writes:

Part of the day was pleasant, and part of it was not so pleasant.  I have been thinking of that night 16 years ago when we were all seven children together with dear father. How happy we were; and tonight I sit so far from home and all alone.

Mary Dec 24

A few years after his mother’s death, James’ father married Jane Clare [online unsourced trees give a date of 29 May 1865; but given the age of their eldest child, they could have been together earlier]. By 1871 the pair had three daughters (the eldest age eight), residing with them in the Parish of Richibucto. Family letters imply that Jane was loathed by her step-children, and the feeling was mutual.  James’ elder brothers had departed the uncomfortable environment and gone to sea, while James’ sisters were sent to live with relatives; only James and John remained at home, working as laborers.

James 1871

The gay and gleeful childhood home described in sister Mary’s journal, was no more, likely driving James and John to join their brothers at sea.  In 1875 James sailed on the Merchant Fishing Vessel, Mary E. Daniels, out of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

daniel ship

 

map james

Sadly, on 3 Mar 1875,  James, a fisherman and boy of 21,  drowned someplace between Gloucester and Georges Bank (a large elevated area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia).  His death was recorded in Gloucester.

James death

James death notice, with tribute, was in the local paper:

James obit

“Lost at sea” is the ultimate tragedy.  Historians estimate that over 8,000 fisherman of Gloucester have perished since the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, at Cape Ann, in 1623.  Overall 1875 was a tough year:

James recap

About a month after James’ death, the Schooner Mary E. Daniels arrived from Georges with 115,000 pounds of codfish, one of the largest hauls of the season.

James fish

On 7 May 1875, brother Alexander writes of James death to his sister Mary:

….Dear sister, you wrote to me to know how brother James was lost, or if he will ever be found.  He was lost overboard about 50 miles from Cape Ann in the act of taking in the foresail in a gale of wind, and was not missed until a half an hour after. And he was then five or six miles astern. As for his body being found, that is impossible, for it is likely devoured by the finney tribe ere it was many hours in the water.  I have a photograph belonging to him that he had taken before he left Richibucto, and he has had some in Gloucester. And if I can find one of them I shall have some copied off to send to you and father….

letter from Alex page 1 letter from Alex page 2 letter from Alex page 3 letter from Alex envelope

His sister Mary, recorded the death in her bible and in her journal, sad thoughts on his birthdays:

Jmes and edith haines death

July 1 [1880]: This is another day to make me feel sad and gloomy, dear brother James’s birthday.  How I wish I could forget these sacred days.

James bday

July 1 [1881]:

This is poor dear James’s birthday, but he lies sleeping beneath the dark blue sea.

James bday 2

My Aunt Natalie and her sisters were poets, I suspect this tradition came from the Haines side of our family; Alexander Haines, wrote a poem of remembrance, for his sister Mary, date unknown:

My Brother

I had a brother James by name
And he loved most dear
But now he’s gone and left us here
To shed for him salt tears

He was a gay and brisk young youth
His heart ner harbored fear
But now he’s lost and left his friend
Tho for him shed many a tear

He’s but a boy in years yet a man
Both hardy, stout and brave
But now he lies with many more
On their wide and watery grave
It’s little I thought when amongst that crowd
I saw his smiling face
That in one short week he would sink in the deep
To be food for the finney race

On board of a vessel on Georges Bank
Was the crowd in the last verse named
But it’s little I thought when I saw him then
That I would ner see him again
The Mary E Daniels was the vessel that took
Him away from Cape Ann Shore
And that same vessel was the one that robbed
A father of a son he adored

by Alexander Hains, Gloucester

poem Jamespoem James2

Rest in Peace Young James……We Remember You Always.

Fisherman statue

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