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History Book

In the 1930s, a federal program during the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, appointed people to conduct oral history interviews across the country.

In Paynesville, Clarence Chisholm conducted over 100 interviews with local citizens. These selections from those interviews were printed throughout 2000 in The Paynesville Press.

Copies of the interviews were provided by the Paynesville Area Historical Society.


Voices of the Past - James Haines

James was born in Canada in 1840. It was there that he received his education and early training. When but a young man of 22 years of age, he moved with his parents to Illinois, where they made their home. James met Harriet during their stay there and on Aug. 13, 1863, they were united in marriage.

Harriet (Starkey) Haines was born in Yellowhead, now called Kanakee, on April 2, 1844, and she received her education and grew to womanhood there.

After their marriage, James and Harriet continued to make their home at Kanakee until 1868. During the summer of 1867, James made a trip westward to Minnesota to try to find a new home. He settled down at Paynesville where he rented a sawmill, which he operated for several years.

The following spring, his family came to join him in company (with) W.P. Bugbee. The trip was made with ox team and covered wagons. On the way, they encountered many hardships.

After James left the sawmill, he purchased a hardware store which he operated until 1886, when he sold it. It was during the year 1886 that the Soo Line and Great Northern Railways were being constructed through this community. The Soo Line right of way passed through some of James Haines' property, the Paynesville of today.

In 1888, James constructed a new building in Paynesville and started in the hardware business again. He remained in this business for some years before selling out. Later, he moved to Los Angeles, Calif., to live.

There were five children in the James Haines family. They were: Herbert, born May 28, 1864; Clement, born Dec. 6, 1865, and died Jan. 4, 1936, at Mendon, Ill.; Luella, born in 1868 and died in 1871; Clarence, born Dec. 7, 1878, and died in 1890 in Kansas; and Angus, who was born 1872 and died in 1873. Luella and Angus were laid to rest in the Paynesville Cemetery.

Harriet (Starkey) Haines passed away at her home in Paynesville on Dec. 1, 1881. Burial was made in the family lot in the Paynesville Cemetery.

In 1883, James Haines was married to Augusta Rien. They had two children, Alice and Estella. James Haines passed away at his home in Los Angeles in 1908. His remains were buried there.

Herbert Haines, more often called "Hub," came to Paynesville with his mother and brother in the spring of 1868. It was in this community where he went to school and grew to manhood.

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