Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

My Namesake

I grew up in a village, population of about 6oo, in the sixties and whenever anyone asked my name, the next question asked: how do you spell it? I’ve gotten so used to my name being misspelled and mispronounced that I found myself responding to ‘Elaine’, ‘Eilene’, ‘Ailene’, ‘Arlene’, ‘Darlene’, ‘Earlynn’ or anything that sounded close, because I got tired of saying, “I was named after my father who’s name is Earl”. At that time in my life I would have given anything to be named ‘Jane’.

Now, looking back, I realize that my name was chosen to honour my dad, and I do. I make sure that it is spelled and pronounced correctly and proudly say “I was named after my Dad”. He was an amazing man, although he called me “Leaner” more than he used my real name. His nickname for me stuck to the day he died.

My dad, Earl Douglas Hines, was born in Essex, Ontario August 14, 1926, the youngest of four children of Wm. Edgar and Josephine Hines. He grew up during the depression, the son of a railroad worker. He used to tell us stories about his escapades riding the rails in his teens, to go visit his aunts and uncles. He managed a pool hall when he was sixteen and he could ‘shoot stick’.

He enlisted in the army when he was eighteen, went through basic training and was sent to California, awaiting orders to be shipped out, when the war ended, so he didn’t see battle. He came back home and started looking for a job. He applied for employment as a corrections officer, with a glowing letter of recommedation from a local politican, but wasn’t accepted, so he applied to Ford Motor Co. of Canada and was hired. He worked in the foundry for a few years, and was laid off, so he became a bartender at the Aberdeen Hotel in Essex. After he was called back to Ford’s he stayed there until he retired after 45 years. The last twenty years he worked
in the crib, handing out tools and doing inventory.

Dad was very witty, he had a come-back for anything. he was also a prankster, and would relate how he got people at work, by putting mustard in a pair of gloves, or he would tell us jokes that he heard at work. He had an elephant joke that he told often, and I still remember his face as he told it. The joke was ” How do you catch an elephant? By digging a hole, filling it with ashes, lining the edge with peas, and, when the elephant comes to take a pea, you kick him in the ash hole”.

My dad loved his garden and I was his “little helper”. Although it took some trial and error handling the hoe when I first started. I remember when I was about six years old, I was out hoeing the weeds in the garden, and there was a stubborn weed and I couldn’t get it. so, instead of asking for help I just started swinging the hoe over my head when my brother, who was two at the time, came up behind me. I didn’t see him, and I took a swing and caught the top of his head, he had to have ten stitches to his scalp and I never raised a hoe over my head again.

I remember another time, when I was about eight, dad had just brought about a thousand tomato seedling to plant in the garden. He wanted to get them planted before the rain came, in a few hours. Well, everybody started out helping, but after a short while, the rest of the kids wanted to go play, so dad and I finished planting all of the tomato plants. It was raining by the time we finished and that day I earned the honour of him calling me “his little helper”. Whenever he would go out in the garden he’d ask “where’s my little helper?” and everyone knew who he was talking about.

As I grew up, my dad and I remained close. When my mom was working, I would be the one that made sure his shirt was ironed for work, the way he liked it, and when they seperated, we would go out for coffee, to talk, I was good listener and always had time for him.

We used to go out to bingo a few times a week, if I didn’t have any extra money, he’d say “I’ll pay for you, and you can pay me back by winning the jackpot”, we split our winnings 50/50. The last time we went to bingo, was the last time he was able to go. He had been diagnosed a few weeks earlier with lung cancer and would be undergoing chemotherapy. He wasn’t responding well to the chemo and they stopped it after a few treatments.

For the next month I spent as much time as I could with him, we talked and laughed, and cried. He kept his sense of humour and wit right until the end. My youngest son was living with his dad up north, but moved back home the end of January. He went to visit dad with me and dad remarked “Kevin, you’re growing into a real handsome young man,” and I replied, “well, he should, he gets his looks from you.”

The last time I spoke to him, he was worried about me being okay after he was gone, and I assured him that I would miss him, but I would survive. He passed away two days later, on February 7, 1996 and I go to his grave-site every year before Christmas and place a blanket on his grave. he is buried in the family plot, beside his parents and grandparents.

Filed under: Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, ,

Black Sheep Canadian Ancestors – The Quaker Loyalist Turncoats

This is a story about two brothers, born into the Society of Friends at Sugar Loaf, Upper Canada, who turned their backs on their religion and country in McKenzie’s Rebellion 0f 1837. They had come full circle from the previous generations of Doanes , who were branded Tories in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary war, and killed, exiled or hung for their actions.

Joshua Guillam and his brother, Joel P. were sons of Jonathon Doan, who had come to Sugar Loaf in the Niagara district from Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the early 19th century, probably to escape the prejudice of being a relative of the notorious Doan Gang of Plumstead, Bucks County. Most of the Doanes in the region left the state. Jonathon Doan removed to Yarmouth Township in 1813 and was a respectable farmer, miller and tanner and agent for the Baby lands in the township. He was a prominent member of the Society of Friends and had a meeting house on his property. Jonathon placed many Quaker families from Pennsylvania on Baby lands in the area.

Joseph went on to be a farmer, and in 1832 When Joel started his own tannery, Joseph joined him. They were well-known in their community for being reformists and when a meeting was held to muster up men to join in the rebellion in December of 1837, Joseph and Joel were very outspoken and Joseph was elected Lieutenant.

In the next days Joseph and Martin Switzer persuaded men in the area to gather arms and ammunition and distributed them to 50 men under the command of David Anderson and Joel supplied the provisional wagons. they headed to Scotland, near Brantford where they met up with loyalists under Allan Napier MacNab. the rebels fled and Joseph and Joel reached the United States, with a 100 pound bounty on their heads.

In the U.S., Joseph joined the rebels and reached Detroit, and was ready to cross to Windsor where he heard that 600 rebels were ready to join him, with settlers in London already revolting. The rebels raided Windsor on Dec. 4, led by Generals Bierce and Putnam and burned the steamer ‘Thames’ killing several people.

When the rebels were dispersed by Col. Prince, twenty-five had lost their lives and Joseph and Joel were court-martialed, along with 42 of their fellow rebels in London under Henry Sherwood. Joseph was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. He joined six other rebels whose sentences were not commuted and hung on Feb. 6, 1838. He was buried in the Quaker burial ground in Sparta, Ontario and Joel went on to marry his widow.

Filed under: Canadian Genealogy Carnival, Carnivals, Doane/Doan, Family Files, Genealogy, Loyalists, , ,

March 2009