A Letter from John Hains to his daughter Mary

I have encountered many a genealogist who document only their direct line. Many times, in documenting the lives of your collateral relatives (aka siblings of your direct ancestors) you will find that your distant cousins hold documents or photos that offer glimpses into the lives of your direct ancestors or help to break down brick walls.

For hundreds of years, people who wished to stay in touch with others had only one way to do it, they wrote letters, the only means of long-distance communication.  Today I share one such letter written by my 3rd great grandfather John Hains to his daughter Mary in which he names a number of his children, including my 2nd g-grandfather William John  (who was working as a chemist for Cabot in Chelsea, Massachusetts).

john haines.png

john haines2.png

John Hains was likely born 5 Mar 1824 in Fredericton, York, New Brunswick, Canada to Joseph Hains III and Nancy Ann Boone (see post here).  By 1848 he had moved to Richibucto, Kent, New Brunswick where on 17 Mar 1849 according to church records (1848 according to the family bible) he married Alice/Alise Edith Childs, daughter of Joseph Childs and Jannet Dunn.

Family Bible.jpg


The couple had seven children: Joseph, Alexander, George, James, Mary Alice, William John and Elizabeth (aka Lizzie). Alice died in 1859.  John married second Jane Clare, daughter of James Clare and Elizabeth Langen.  They had four daughters, Alice, Annie,  Caroline “Carrie” and Christina.  John later resided in Derby and owned a farm in Miramichi.  He spent some winters in Boston, Massachusetts near (or with) a few of his children, who resided there.  John died 20 April 1901 in Derby, New Brunswick.


1851 – likely Richibucto (Kent County census records have not survived)
1861 – resides in Richibucto, age 37, native NB, G. Laborer, Episcopalian
1871 – resides in Richibucto, age 47, English origin, Laborer, Church of England
1881 – resides in Parish of Derby, age 57, English origin, Carpenter, Church of England
1891 – resides in Parish of Derby, age 66, born NB, parents born England, Mechanic/Bridge Builder, Church of England
1901 – resides in Parish of Derby, age 76, born 5 April 1824, born NB of Dutch origin, Farmer, Church of England/Episcopalian

**The original letter is held by Mary’s g-granddaughter who is one of our DNA matches! She shares 29.0 centimorgans across 3 DNA segments with my uncle, her third cousin, and 45 centimorgans across 4 DNA segments with me, her third cousin once removed.**

letter page 1

letter page 2

Lower Derby

15 Jan 1896

Dear Daughter,

I received your kind and welcome letter which I read with much pleasure I also received your present which I much prised and for which I return many thanks I crave —- your indulgence for delaying so long in my answer one thing is my eyesight is getting so bad that I can only manage to write in clear weather besides I have had poor health since the winter set in but we have a fine winter so far.

As snow is concerned we have very little snow but cold weather. I had a letter from George a few days ago, he was in San Diego, he still has a notion of me going to San Diego, he thinks it would be better for my health, but I think I am too old and feeble to go so far. I also had a letter from John [William John] with my allotment in he has his land paid for he is thinking of leaving Calbot [Cabot] soon as Calbot [Cabot] is not doing with him as he promised. He wrote me that Alex was to see him lately about going into business, he was on his way to Portland to buy another Vessel that he was selling the old one. John says Alex is doing well at the fishing. Annie says she received your letter she has neglected to write but she will write soon. Carrie has another young son making three in all. So no more at present I remain your affectionate father

John Hains

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim Morell on April 12, 2017 at 6:04 PM

    First, may I ask your name??Second, thank you for thinking of me and sending this info. I am VERY pleased. It is all very enlightening.

    John’s daughter, Annie Elizabeth (my grandmother – born 1865) married Walter Morell in the mid 1880’s and they had 10 children including my Dad, also James (he was the youngest of the 10, born 1907). My Dad was interested in his genealogy, but spoke mostly about the Morell side of the family. Hence we know very little of Grandma (Annie Elizabeth) and her Haines family roots other than what she wrote in the attached, which I believe you have seen on the NB Archives website. Dad told us the Haines were a Loyalist family that emigrated here after the 1776 Revolution. They began life on Keswick River in what is now Hainesville. Grandma’s father ended up living in Richibucto, an English-speaking community in a predominantly French-speaking area (the french are called ‘Acadians’, many of whom were later expelled to Louisiana (the ‘Cagens’). Richibucto is on the east coast (probably 50-60 miles south of Lower Derby, just outside Miramichi NB. Walter, Annie’s husband, descended from Hugh Morell, an Irishman who came to Miramichi NB in the 1820’s to escape an oppressive life in County Monaghan.

    One more thing … I have at home (we are in Florida right now) a framed sketch or photo – quite large (maybe 18″x24″) – of a bearded ‘Grandfather Haines’. My Dad wrote something about him on the back of it … his name, maybe birth/death dates, etc. I’m 70 years old and, quite frankly, don’t know what to do with that picture. Do you have any suggestions?? I also have newspaper accounts of her death. I certainly remember her, in her late 80’s and 90’s, as the matriarch of our family. She was kind, generous and capable. She knit mittens and socks year round to give to us kids for the cold winters we have in N.B. And she read Burgess Bedtime Stories to us (Reddy Fox, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, etc). She celebrated her 95th birthday at our home in the fall of 1960 and died the following May.

    With thanks!! Jim Morell Fredericton, NB Canada

    On 12 April 2017 at 16:48, Passage to the Past’s Blog wrote:

    > passagetothepast posted: “I have encountered many a genealogist who > document only their direct line. Many times, in documenting the lives of > your collateral relatives (aka siblings of your direct ancestors) you will > find that your distant cousins hold documents or photos that offe” >



  2. […] A Letter from John Hains to his Daughter Mary by Linda Hall-Little on Passage to the Past’s Blog […]



  3. Linda,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in this week’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2017/04/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-april-14.html

    Have a great weekend!



  4. Posted by Charles Hall on April 18, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    All interesting stuff and some nice replies



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