Thursday, August 04, 2005

Seth Silver Haines ~ A Waynesville Notable ~ February 1, 1824 ~ February 11th, 1895

Seth Silver Haines came from a notable Quaker Waynesville family. (See a photograph of the home of Seth Silver Haines in Waynesville, Ohio.)

Noah Haines, the father of Seth Silver Haines, was a respected citizen and “weighty Friend”. He was one of the pioneers of the area. He was the postmaster of Waynesville, he was a county commissioner and he also worked on the committees to develop the roads in the area. He was on the building committee for the 1811 White Brick Meetinghouse (Miami Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends in Waynesville, Ohio), as well as a multitude of other Quaker committees. He was one of the negotiators between the Orthodox and Hicksite Quakers in 1828 during the Hicksite Separation. He was appointed the first overseers of Miami Monthly Meeting and he served as Clerk of the meeting, too. Noah Haines worked on the Quaker Indian Concerns Committee and was involved with the Quaker Mission to the Shawnee in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Noah Haines, the son of Robert and Margaret Smith Haines was born on February 6th, 1781 in Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia. There were three sons of Robert and Margaret Smith Haines who moved to Ohio from Virginia. In 1807 Noah, the eldest brother, moved to Old Town in Greene County, Ohio where he owned about 3,000 acres of land. There he married Anna Silver (b. 3 mo. 20th 1786 in Salem Co., NJ) on June 22, 1808 at Miami Monthly Meeting. He died of tuberculosis, as well as other members of his immediate family, on July 19, 1834 at the age of 54 in Waynesville. He was buried the next day in the Hicksite Friends Graveyard, July 20, 1834 (5th Row, #2). He was moved later to Miami Cemetery (Section F). His will is in the Warren County Probate Court Archive in Lebanon, Ohio, OCP 64#7-DE ½ p. 27, dated August 11th, 1834. The administrator of his will was Joseph B. Chapman, his son-in-law, and his heirs were his widow, Ann, and his minor children. David Evans of Waynesville became the guardian of his surviving children: Noah (age 19), Ann (age 17), James (age 16), Seth (age 14) on September 14, 1835 (OCP67, #14).

The children of Noah and Ann Silver Haines were:
  • Margaret (1809) who never married (She survived her three married sisters, all of whom died of tuberculosis a few years after marriage, and reared their children.)
  • Mary (1809-1812)
  • Charlotte (1811) who was married to Joseph B. Chapman
  • Amos (d. an infant in 1813)
  • Letitia (1814) who was married to Dr. Elias Fisher of Waynesville
  • Noah Silver (1816) who was married to Elizabeth Evens
  • Ann Silver (1818) who was married to Henry Edwin Drake of Lebanon, Ohio,
  • James (1821)
  • Seth Silver Haines (1824) who was married to Eliza F. Hinchman. She was the child of Griffith and Mary B. Allen Hinchman. She was born on January 17th, 1829 in Coshocton, N.Y. She died April 1st, 1912 in Waynesville, Ohio.

Noah's youngest son, Seth Silver Haines, was also a prominent member of the Waynesville community. At the age of 17 he became a clerk in the store of Joseph B Chapman on the southwest corner of Main and North Streets. In 1845 he bought out Mr. Chapman and embarked in his own business. He sold his Waynesville business in 1850 to Thomas L. Allen and Benjamin Evans and became a partner in the Cincinnati based wholesale dry goods business of Wynne, Haines & Company. He also founded the Cincinnati firm of Haines & Chapman. After his retirement he spent his time managing four farms. He was a public servant as well. In 1856-1857 he was the area’s representative to the Ohio House of Representatives. He had been Clerk and Treasurer of Wayne Township. He had also been on the Board of the Waynesville Academy. His records as treasurer of the Wayne Township Schools exist from 1849. He took his turn as the Waynesville District School Director. In the 1870s he would become the President of the Waynesville National Bank. He was the President of the Miami Cemetery Association for many years. In 1874 he tried to establish the Miami Valley Narrow Gauge Railroad but that venture failed and damaged his reputation.

Seth Silver Haines, and a group of other distinguished local men hoping to capitalize on the railroad boom, was involved in the attempt to build a Narrow Gage Railroad, the Miami Valley Narrow Gauge Railway from Cincinnati to Xenia through Mason, Lebanon and Waynesville. S. S. Haines was the President of the company. The company was incorporated on November 7, 1874. It was usually referred to as the Miami Valley Railway. The small communities along the proposed narrow gauge track were excited by the prospects of a railroad going through their communities, especially Waynesville. The idea of building a narrow gage had been discussed for years. Waynesville already had one railroad, the Little Miami, on the east side of the Little Miami River. Waynesville's sister village, Corwin, was a station on the railroad. None-the-less, having another train going through town would boost the sagging economy of the 1870s. Unfortunately, scandal would rock the Miami Valley Railway. During the bidding process, there had been made a “secret contract” made between Seth Silver Haines and one of the bidders, John B. Benedict. Benedict and Haines became partners and Haines was to receive $185,000 in Bonds and Stocks of the Miami Valley Railway from Mr. Benedict if he received the contract. This fact became public notice in The Western Star newspaper of Lebanon on February 6th, 1879. S. S. Haines always contended that the monies received were not intended to become his personal funds but would be given to the Miami Valley Narrow-Gauge Railroad Company. Eventually there would be a lawsuit against the company and also a bondholders’ suit. In the midst of all this turmoil Seth Silver Haines resigned his position as president on March 27, 1879. The Miami-Gazette newspaper fervently defended Waynesville’s favorite son, but The Western Star took the opposite position. The two newspapers were full of news about the lawsuits and replete with defense or criticism of S. S. Haines. The Miami Valley Narrow-Gauge Railroad was never completed. Questions about S. S. Haines motives in this case would never be fully quieted.

His son, Dr. James Wilkins Haines, a physicain who practiced in both Cincinnati and Waynesville, would be a teacher and one of the presidents of Miami Valley College. Dr. James W. Haines was a noted Quaker minister and preacher. He was also a spiritualist.

For a detailed account of the history of the ill-fated Miami Valley Narrow Gauge Railroad see, Narrow Gauge in Ohio: The Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern Railway by John W. Hauck (Published by the author, 1986), pp. 29-46.

Richard Haines & his Descendants, Vol. 2 by John Wesley Haines, Captain, Supply Corps, U. S. Navy (Ret.), A Quaker Family of Burlington County, New Jersey Since 1682, p. 153

Quaker Records of the Miami Valley of Ohio by Eileen Davis and Judith Ireton (Cook-McDowell Publications, 1233 Sweeney St, Owensboro, KY 42301, 1981).


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