This letter is written by Charles Kaine (Kane) ( 1806) the patriarch of the family to his sister Elizabeth (Aunt Bess). Charles certainly was blunt when he wrote to her, “We felt uneasy not hearing from you for so long a time so we thought we would write to you once more to see if you were dead or had forgotten us.” Brotherly love!

I wish I had the correspondence from Aunt Bess to her family so I could see how she responded to some of their comments. Alas, none of her letters survived to be part of the collection of Kaine letters

Page 1 Letter from Charles Kaine to his sister Aunt Bess Aug 2, 1863
Page 2 Letter from Charles Kaine to his sister Aunt Bess Aug 2,13, 1863

13 Kaine Letter August 2 and 13, 1863 Transcribed from the original by Kerrin Churchill January 3, 2020 Charles Kaine (the elder) to Sister Bess from Seaforth to Freshford, Kilkenny, Ireland

Dear Sister

I now sit down to pen a few lines to you hoping they may find you in good health as we are at present. We felt uneasy not hearing from you for so long a time so we thought we would write to you once more to see if you were dead or if you had forgotten us altogether. Dear sister if you are sick get somebody to answer this or if you are dead I hope Mr. Fowler will answer it. We were very much surprised and also very much grieved to hear of the death of  Mr. Mease. We were very much troubled about him and we were not much surprised how much he was missed by all the people there for I am sure if it was one of our own friends that died we could not fret much more than we did for him, We are all alone now. Mary is with Anne now helping her to spin and Eliza is hired with a storekeepers wife within a mile and a half of us. We had a letter from Anne last night and they are all well. We cannot say much about John’s family for we have not heard from him for a long time but I expect they are all well or we should have heard from them. James and his family are well and they have got a young son for which they feel proud. You are not giving me any account how sister Mary and family are getting along and brother James and his family and John Lee and his daughter are they living together yet. Canada is suffering a good deal from the war in the states. The produce market is very ??true? but clothing and cotton is very high, beef and mutton is selling for from five to seven cents per pound here. Seaforth is improving very fast. We have an english church in it now, we have no wooden roads now we have as good gravel here as we had in Ireland and there is a better prospect for a plentiful harvest this year than there has been for a long time. The potato crop is also looking well. We have not seen Charles since the orange walk in Seaforth there was a fine turnout. There was two or three thousand people in Seaforth that day and everything passed off very well.

A Dublin minister by the name Mr. Carmichael preached for them on Sunday and delivered a splendid address on Monday. I hope Mr. Fowler and family are well. When you write let us know what minister is in Freshford now. Brother Joseph and Henry Young and family were here on the twelfth of July. Brother James Young and family and William Cluff and family wish to be remembered to you and all enquiring friends . Write as soon as you receive this as we cannot stop thinking about you day and night. 

So no more at present I remain your affectionate brother  Charles Kaine

P. S. This has been delayed in being mailed in consequence of our son Charles having gone off to the States without acquainting us of it. He is however all right as we are glad to say

Aug 13, 1863 bro C. Kane

Charles sent the letter to his sister in care of the Reverend Luke Fowler. Mr. Fowler was listed as the Rector of St. Lachtains Church in Freshford from 1824 to 1876. Research indicates that a rector was over a group of churches. Mr. Mease, who had recently passed away, was the minister of St. Lachtains Church from 1837 to 1863. Charles was obviously worried about what would happen to his sister as she had worked for Mr. Mease. As he said, “Write as soon as you receive this as we cannot stop thinking about you day and night. 

After a few years in Huron County the Kaine family was settled and getting on in their lives. Charles described how he and his wife were “empty nesters” as their daughters Mary and Eliza were working at spinning and storekeeping nearby. He had time to wonder how the folks he left behind in Freshford were getting along as many different names both in Ireland and Huron County were mentioned in his letter. I hope that when I reach the end of my research into these letters, I will have determined how some of the folks may be related. Sister Mary and brother James in Ireland and brother Joseph, James and Henry Young in Canada for example. An Uncle Joseph was mentioned in a previous letter and might have been the brother of Charles’ s wife, Elizabeth(Bessie).

Seaforth, the town mentioned by Charles, is of great interest to me as in the 1930’s both my grandfather, Irving Brigham Pentland Kaine (1900) and his father, Christopher Charles Kaine (1862) were ministers in Seaforth at the same time. One for the Presbyterians and the other for the Methodists. Little did the patriarch Charles know that his grand son and great grandson would be prominent members of the Seaforth community 70 years in the future. Both my mother and my aunt were born in Seaforth while my grandfather was in service there and I have often heard about the lovely white manse that they lived in. But that is another story. (Please follow link for more on that story if you wish.)

In 1863, Seaforth was a growing place that had it’s first church, the “english church” mentioned by Charles.

“Built in 1863, the frame and clapboard-sided building with tower and spire is a fine example of Carpenter’s Gothic architecture.  Carpenter’s Gothic is a Canadian adaptation in wood of European stone architecture.”
Location of Seaforth, Ontario

Seaforth would be incorporated as a town in 1868 with a population of 1,056 people. Charles indicated that the “wooden” or corduroy roads were being upgraded with gravel which must have made travelling around the area so much easier. It may have been the reason that Seaforth was the location of the Orange walk mentioned by Charles. In a pioneer town of 1,000 residents, it must have been quite a sight to see what Charles described, “There was two or three thousand people in Seaforth that day and everything passed off very well.

The Orange Order is a fraternal organization that was influential in the history of Ontario. The Orange walk takes place in parts of the world to this day and commemorates the Battle of Boyne on July 12, 1690 when King William III of Orange defeated King James III.

“The Orange Order was founded as a political and religious fraternal society in the Irish province of Ulster in 1795. It takes its name from the Prince of Orange, King William III, who reclaimed Britain’s Protestant monarchy when his forces defeated those of the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne, 12 July 1690. The Order emerged in Ulster as a product of the rivalry between Catholic-Irish and Protestant-British ethnic groups. Its principles included allegiance to the British monarchy, Protestantism and conservative values such as respect for the laws and traditions of Great Britain.

The Orange Order was a political and religious fraternal society in Canada. From the early 19th century, members proudly defended Protestantism and the British connection while providing mutual aid. The Order had a strong influence in politics, particularly through patronage at the municipal level, and developed a reputation for sectarianism and rioting.”

“The Order was the chief social institution in Upper Canada, organizing many community and benevolent activities, and helping Protestant immigrants to settle. It remained a predominant political force in southern Ontario well into the twentieth century. There were scores of socially prominent citizens who were granted honorary membership but did not actually participate in official lodge business. Surprisingly given its great prestige, although there were many members drawn from the upper and middle classes, lodge membership was predominantly drawn from the ranks of labourers, street railway workers, teamsters, and other elements of the working class. Besides sentimental patriotic or imperialist motivations, many Orangemen joined because the benefits of mutual aid, security, and health supports made it easier to survive the difficulties of working class life. Middle class members, such as professionals, small-shop owners, and tavern-keepers, saw membership in terms of commercial gain through the steady attraction of lodge members as clientele. The Order’s secrecy, solemn oaths, and masonic-type rituals bonded men together as part of a greater whole, and dressing in the order’s distinctive sash and regalia for the Twelfth of July parade let members show off their status and achievements to the greater community. The Grand Orange Lodge of British America Benefit Fund was established in 1881 to provide fraternal benefits to members and remains as a modern insurance system.

The Orange Order became a central facet of life in many parts of Canada, especially in the business centre of Toronto where many deals and relationships were forged at the lodge. Toronto politics, especially on the municipal level, were almost wholly dominated by the Orange Order. The highly influential weekly newspaper, The Sentinel, promoted Protestant social and political views and was widely circulated throughout North America. At its height in 1942, 16 of the 23 members of city council were members of the Orange Order. Every mayor of Toronto in the first half of the twentieth century was an Orangeman. This continued until the 1954 election when the Jewish Nathan Phillips defeated staunch Orange leader Leslie Howard Saunders. “

Poster from the Orange Order

The last comment Charles made in the letter was in relation to his son Charles who had gone to the States without letting his parents know! Times never change!

Note: I think that it must be the same Charles who wrote to his aunt from Peru as was shared in the previous post.

3 thoughts on “Letter #13 August 2 and 13 1863: Are You Dead?

  1. Thanks, Kerrin. It was an interesting read, as always and ‘are you dead?’ is certainly a memorable phrase! Also, I didn’t know about carpenter’s gothic.

    Happy New Year and love from Andree and Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that it will be nice to know who is who. Nevertheless it’s a great letter and story.
    I imagine that the Orange walk was a big event that everybody in the area wanted to see. I read that, at the time, in English Canada, about one person out of three was a member of the organization or supporting it. There is an impressive drawing of a huge Orange march in Montreal in 1877. To make such a deployment must have been something even on a smaller scale as in Seaforth. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Kerrin, I hope you are doing well. I just found this mail (which went directly to my promotion folder that I was cleaning up). I hope it doesn’t happen again as receiving your articles are always a pleasure to me. In a way it’s telling me that you are still busy and active in spite of the current situation. Thanks for your recent comments on my articles 🙂 At least you too knew that I wasn’t dead or sick! 🙂 I am slowly settling into my new house. It’s a process of trial and error and I balance that with research for future articles and keeping an eye on what is going on in the world. Quite an eventful time we live through. Who knew that we would see “barbarians” storming the Capitol so easily. On days like these, I can see how distopia can become reality! Looking forward to hearing from you. Cheers, Dominique

    Liked by 1 person

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