Bringing the pain

The “Victorian Trade Card” at left recently came up for sale on eBay, prompting a friend to send it to me as it concerns “John Payne’s Fish and Fruit Market, Putnam” in my Connecticut hometown. While I had never heard of the business, I soon found John Paine (1850-1919) listed in censuses as a fish peddler, meat peddler, and butcher.[1] A decent treatment of the Paine family in northeastern Connecticut is given in the eighth volume of Clarence Winthrop Bowen’s Genealogies of Woodstock Families. While I have a full set of this work at home, I had loaned the last two volumes for several years to Scott Andrew Bartley so he could use them for Early Vermont Settlers to 1784, as they cover many families moving from northeast Connecticut to Vermont. (The first six volumes are available online.) Fortunately, he had returned them to me only a few days before this card was sent my way!

The Paine family most common in northeastern Connecticut descends from Stephen1 Paine of Rehoboth, Massachusetts. In a prior post, I had mentioned Major Amos6 Paine (Amos5, Daniel4, Samuel3, Stephen2-1),[2] the second husband of my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, who had financed the publication of Life of the late General William Eaton, a memoir of his second wife’s brother, a prominent military officer. This publication was the best documentation for the original maiden surname of his second wife, my ancestor.

Click on image to expand it.

Stephen Paine (DannA, GeorgeB, ThomasC-D) was born at Great Ellingham, Norfolk, probably between 1602 and 1607. He arrived on the Diligent in 1638, settling first in Hingham, Massachusetts, and later in Rehoboth, where was buried 21 August 1679.[3] The main reason I first studied this family is because they are “former ancestors.” In this family chart, my great-grandmother’s great-great-grandmother, Mary Whitmore, wife of Joseph Healy, is identified as the daughter of Daniel and Dorcas (Converse) Whitmore of Thompson, Connecticut, and descending from the Paine family of Rehoboth.

Mary’s birth is given in a 1901 genealogy as 14 September 1735. Per her gravestone in Dudley, Massachusetts, she died 20 April 1802, aged 65, which is within a year of that claimed birth date. However, the proposed parents, Daniel and Dorcas (Converse) Whitmore, had twelve children recorded in Killingly, Connecticut (the northern portion of which later became Thompson, which borders Dudley), between 1723 and 1741, and no Mary![4] Further, Daniel and Dorcas had daughter Abigail on 5 June 1733, son Aaron on 27 March 1735, and a daughter Elizabeth on 13 March 1736/37, making the probability of an unrecorded child in the mid-1730s very unlikely, and impossible at the date above. Of these former ancestors, the most painful to lose was the Chickering family behind Dorcas’s maternal grandmother, which had provided me with a distant kinship to President Benjamin Harrison. With these ancestors gone, Harrison and Chester Arthur remain the only presidents with colonial New England ancestry to whom I have not found any distant American kinship. There is a Mary Whitmore, born 3 September 1735 (recorded in both Cambridge and Lexington, Massachusetts), daughter of John and Lydia (Cutter) Whitmore, which has appeared as my Mary in numerous online trees, but I’m still searching for more definitive evidence of this connection.

Norwich Bulletin, 30 August 1919

As for the fish peddler John Paine who inspired this post, he was very likely from a different Paine family and is not treated by Bowen (although John is mentioned by Bowen in a section on the family of his wife Lillian Bugbee, who is a distant relative of mine via the Child family). John’s father Christopher Paine (1817-1897) of Killingly, Connecticut, was the son of Joseph and Drusilla Paine of Foster, Rhode Island, and that is as far back and I can go, despite several online trees getting a bit wild with alleged earlier ancestry. What a pain! Oh well, these are not even my Paines anyway, and I know there are a few Vita Brevis readers specializing in other Pain(e) families of New England!

Continued here.


[1] Despite the card saying Payne, nearly everything else for the grocer says Paine.

[2] Major Amos6 Paine (1766-1848).

[3] Sidney L. Paine, “The English Ancestry of Stephen Paine of Rehoboth, Plymouth Colony,” Register 143 [1989]: 143: 291-302.

[4] A summary of the family of Daniel and Dorcas (Converse) Whitmore can also be found in the 1907 Whitmore Genealogy. For an interesting DNA article on the Jewish origins of the Converse family of Massachusetts, see Carolyn A. Converse, “Y-DNA Studies of an Early New England Family Indicate Possible Jewish Ancestry,” American Ancestors Magazine 20: 2 [2019]: 60-62.

About Christopher C. Child

Chris Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since the age of eleven. He has written several articles in American Ancestors, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and The Mayflower Descendant. He is the co-editor of The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton (NEHGS, 2011), co-author of The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2011) and Ancestors and Descendants of George Rufus and Alice Nelson Pratt (Newbury Street Press, 2013), and author of The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2014). Chris holds a B.A. in history from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

16 thoughts on “Bringing the pain

  1. I was going to say, eh 19th century humor, but then remembered some similar visual jokes from the 1950s, and just a few the other way. Layers of meaning in that advert illustration, by the way.

    Oh and that last line: You talking to me? You talking to me? (Why, I think he is.)

    My mom was proud to have her Civil War soldier grandfather’s surname, Paine, as her maiden name. She thought her uncle a little affected because he preferred to use Payne. I got introduced to that generation’s simple graves early but long thought I was related to Founding Father Tom Paine. An intellectual descendant then am I. The genealogy of thought has more lasting impact than the genealogy of DNA.

    And thanks for introducing me to “cousins” who came to the Society on a visitor’s day, when I was reading, shelf-leaning in the stacks. Their info will make it onto those same shelves one of these days.

    1. The advertisement appears on several other illustrations as well, which you can find by doing a Google image search for John Payne’s Fish and Fruit Market. I liked the one here the best!

      And I am most definitely talking to you! (along with another reader who has written on a different Pain family). That was some time ago I introduced you to that cousin! Sometime between 2003 and 2006 when I worked on Saturdays!

  2. Daniel and Dorcas are on my husband’s tree! This is the first time I’ve read on Vita Brevis about someone I know. Daniel Whitmore is the grandson of my husband’s 8th great grandfather, Francis. Unfortunately, I have not recorded much for Daniel and Dorcas, so can’t unravel your Mary mystery. Now I have a question, if you have time. I see on your chart that this first Francis (b. 1625) is recorded as the son of John Whitmore. Given the great number of Francis’ descendants named John, I suspect it is true. Many folks claim him, but I have not found documentation. Have you?

    1. Thanks for your comment! These family charts, made by friends of my great-grandparents, do have errors, especially for the earliest generations. The first Francis Whitmore (ca. 1625-1685) is of unknown origin, and not the son of John. Several years ago, we also published a Y-DNA article on the Whitmore/Whittemore families, which showed the different immigrants of that surname (Thomas of Malden, MA, Thomas Middletown, CT, and Francis of Cambridge, MA) Thomas were NOT related to one another –

      1. Thank you for so kindly replying. Yes, I am familiar with the DNA test, in fact my husband was part of it. Results clearly show his relationship to Francis b.1625.
        As you said, there are several Thomases — Wetmore, Whittemore and Whitmore. Although Francis Whitmore’s son Francis (b.1650) moved to Middletown, CT, where a Thomas Wetmore lived, the blood lines are not the related.
        I have questions about whether any Thomas could be John’s son. Frederick Virkus said John emigrated with 5 children, no names. And Virkus made mistakes, so was he even correct about the number of children?
        I cannot find baptism records in England for Francis, especially since I don’t know from whence they came. John held strong religious beliefs, should I be looking in The Netherlands? John is seen migrating in Connecticut with fellow traveler John Jessup, even having adjoining properties. The Jessop name is recorded in Leyden. In fact, when Jessup died, Whitmore married Jessup’s widow Johanna Kerrich Jessup, who was born there. John Whitmore, however, seems more of a Puritan than Pilgrim, so The Netherlands is a long shot for Francis’ baptism record. Then again, Jessup came to New England later than Leyden Pilgrims, and he moved along with Puritan groups. Were he and Whitmore part of those who stayed behind in Leyden with the Rev. John Robinson?
        Another route for me has been to find if Francis inherited any of John’s “stuff.” I have John’s inventory, but not distribution. And of course, there’s no will since John was killed by Indians.
        Francis was old enough to have been an apprentice at the time John moved out of Massachusetts. So that is a consideration of why he might have left his son behind. If Francis WAS John’s son.
        There is a hint, through naming patterns that there is a connection, but this is not proof. By the way, some say Francis’ father was Nicholas, and NO ONE named their sons Nicholas. Awhile back, I prepared this chart of the children named John and Francis. No other names seem to be used as frequently:
        0. John Whitmore, b. 1589; potential father, not proven
        1. Francis Whitmore, b. 1625
        2. Francis Whitmore, b.1650, Massachusetts (Middletown, CT first settler)
        3. Francis Whitmore, b. 1675
        4. Francis Whitmore, b. 1700/01
        5. Francis Whitmore, b. 1730/31
        6. Francis Whitmore, b. 1761, d. 1763, no children
        3. John Whitmore, b. 1698; no children
        3. Hannah Whitmore, b. 1677, m. Samuel Gipson 1703
        4. John Gipson, b. 1708
        3. Abigail Whitmore, b. 1681, m. Thomas Cooper 1709/10
        4. John Cooper, b. 1720
        3. Joseph Whitmore, b. 1687
        4. Martha Whitmore, b. 1719, married Thomas Savage
        5. Francis Whitmore Savage, b. 1762
        6. Francis Whitmore Savage, b. 1811
        4. Francis Whitmore, b. 1721, d. about 1725
        4. Francis Whitmore (second) b. 1725
        3. William Whitmore, b. 1689
        4. Fitz-John Whitmore, b. 1718/19
        4. Francis Whitmore, b. 1726/27
        3. Elizabeth Whitmore, b. 1679; married Daniel Clark
        4. Francis Clark, b. 1713
        5. Francis Clark, b. 1757
        6. Francis Clark, b.1789
        3. Edith Whitmore, b. 1691/92; married Jacob Cornwall
        4. Francis Cornwall, b. 1731
        3. John Whitmore, b. 1743
        2. John Whitmore, b. 1654
        3. Francis Whitmore, b. 1678
        3. John Whitmore, b. 1683
        4. John Whitmore, b. 1711
        4. Francis Whitmore, b. 1714
        5. Stephen Whitmore, b. 1739
        6. Francis Whitmore, b. 1770
        6. John Whitmore, b. 1771
        7. John Whitmore, b. 1809
        5. Francis Whitmore, b. 1741
        6. Francis Whitmore, b. 1767
        4. John Whitmore, b. 1745
        2. Samuel Whitmore, b. 1658
        3. Francis Whitmore, b. 1686
        3. John Whitmore, b. 1692, d. 1714
        3. John Whitmore, b. 1714/15
        2. Abigail Whitmore, b1660 married Samuel Wilcox
        3. Francis Wilcox, b. 1687
        4. Francis Wilcox, b. 1717
        5. Francis Wilcox, b. 1758
        2. Sarah Whitmore, b. 1662, married William Locke
        3. Francis Locke, b. 1690
        4. Francis Locke, b. 1721
        5. Francis Locke, b. 1743, d. 1753
        5. Francis Locke, b. 1753
        2. Frances (daughter) Whitmore, b. 1671/72
        2. Thomas Whitmore, b. 1673
        3. Francis Whitmore, b. 1696
        4. Francis Whitmore, b. 1718
        5. Francis Whitmore, b. 1743
        1. John Whitmore, b. 1627; possible brother of Francis b. 1625

  3. My ancestor Pain Mayhew of Chillmark, Martha’s Vineyard—as well as his son and a grandson (through his son Thomas)—spelled their given name without an “e” at the end. Many sources “fix” this, but the men’s gravestones, as well as town records kept by the senior Pain in his own hand, show quite clearly that they did not employ that spelling.

    1. Hello cousin! I also descend from Pain Mayhew of Chilmark (line below). You may already know, but an article by Leslie Mahler from The American Genealogist 76 (2001): 98, discusses the English origins of Thomas Mayhew’s second wife Jane (Galland) Paine, and notes that she was not the mother of a younger Jane, who married her step-son Thomas Mayhew [Jr.] (and whose maiden surname remains unknown) –

      1. Thomas Mayhew = Abigail Parkhurst
      2. Thomas Mayhew [Jr.] = Jane _____
      3. Matthew Mayhew = Mary Skiff
      4. Pain Mayhew = Mary Rankin
      5. Hannah Mayhew ~ Benjamin Searles
      6. Rebeckah Searles = Benjamin Jones
      7. Hannah Jones = Ephraim Perry
      8. Austin Perry = Julia Vaughan
      9. Lurancy Perry = Steven Henry Shank(s)
      10. Mary Rosetta Shank = Willard Lorenzo Severance
      11. Elizabeth Belle Severance = Alton Russell Challender
      12. Willard Alton Challender = Daisy Dolores Horton
      13. Joy Dolores Challender = William Chapin Child
      14. Christopher Challender Child

      1. Thanks for the link to the article about our mutual Mayhew connections. I remembered that you were a Mayhew descendant, but wasn’t sure if we were both heirs of Pain. It’s nice to know that we are, though through two different daughters of his. Mary Mayhew and Jethro Athearn were the “Romeo and Juliet” of Martha’s Vineyard, healing the long-standing breach between their families. Of note is that the marriage did not take place until AFTER the death of Jethro’s intractable father, Simon!

  4. With the availability of wills on line I was checking the validity of my Mary Wyman who long ago I had added to my tree as the wife of Isaiah Newhall. Sadly that Mary Wyman married a Bigelow and there is no other to be found. So sad to lose all those ancestors at once.
    Of John Whitmore I am sure as two of his sons, John and Francis are my ancestors.

    1. Hi, cousin-in-law! I’ve been a Whitmore longer than I was a Johnson and sometimes forget that these are not MY direct ancestors. An interesting lot. Do you have any documentation connecting John to Francis? I’ve been looking for years. Even at NEHGS library and in England.

  5. Hi, Chris, I followed the link in this article back to your article on “former ancestors.” I recently discovered my link to Stephen Hopkins, so I examined the details there with great curiosity. I also have Holmes and Olmsteds/Olmsteads in my tree. Do you know who Stephen Olmsteads parents are? I looked on Ancestry for a record with Stephen Olmstead and Mary Freeman with no success. It bends my brain a little but I like to document all those interconnections.

    1. Hi Marta, the fifth generation section on Robert Freeman here – – cites the Olmsted Genealogy (1912), page 22, which is here – – which is genealogical summary of Stephen Olmsted (1721-1778), son of John and Susannah (Brainerd) Olmstead, and husband of Hannah Fuller. It does not actually say anything about him marrying Mercy Freeman. Maybe one of the other sources in the Mayflower sketch adds more detail.

      Also Hannah Fuller is a fifth generation descendant of Edward Fuller, her sketch – – says Stephen Olmsted married secondly Mary _____.

      1. Thanks so much for the info. After digging around, I discovered that while Stephen is descended from James (First Generation in the Olmsted Genealogy), I am descended from John, James’ brother.

  6. Any relation to John Knowles Paine? Historically significant in the musical world, as he was the first professor of music in the United States (Harvard). Wrote some truly beautiful music which is sadly neglected today!

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