A Paine legacy

Following up on my previous post about the tragic later life of my great-great-great-uncle John Merrick Paine, this post covers other places I have run across his name in my genealogical research and in tracing his descendants. One of the only other places John Merrick Paine’s name is found in Google Searches is in the provenance of this portrait of “Mrs. Samuel Chandler” and her husband “Samuel Chandler.”

These portraits were painted by Samuel’s brother, Winthrop Chandler, a house painter who studied portrait painting in Boston. A number of paintings are reproduced in Clarence Winthrop Bowen’s The History of Woodstock and seven subsequent genealogical volumes. Most of his portraits remain privately owned, and the portraits of Samuel Chandler and his wife are the only works by Winthrop Chandler at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

As the provenance notes, “John Paine was raised by Capt. and Mrs. (née Anna Paine) Chandler, who had no children of their own. Paine thus inherited Chandler’s 300-acre farm as well as the portraits of the Captain and his wife, painted by Chandler’s brother around 1780.” This John Paine was the youngest child of his parents, and his father died a year following his birth; his mother died thirteen years later. The provenance goes on to state that the portraits went to John’s son “John Paine, Jr.; his son, John Merrick Paine; his son, Dr. Robert Child Paine, Thompson, Connecticut; his widow, Mrs. Robert Child Paine; her children, Mrs. Prudence Paine Kwiecien, Hamilton Child Paine, and Agnes C. Paine, Thompson, Connecticut, who lent it to the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, from 2 June 1947 to 7 November 1955; purchased 1955 by Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch; gift 1964 to NGA [National Gallery of Art].”

Of course, this prompted me to make a chart showing the inheritance of these portraits (which shows all the descendants of Lieut. John Merrick Paine). The provenance summary is correct except for reference to Mrs. Robert Child Paine’s “children, Mrs. Prudence Paine Kwiecien, Hamilton Child Paine, and Agnes C. Paine.” This last Agnes C. Paine was Robert Child Paine’s widow, Agnes (Child) Paine, as Robert and Agnes only had two children – Hamilton and Prudence.

The chart inspired me to research these distant relatives further. Dr. Robert Child Paine graduated from Dartmouth and was a doctor in Thompson. While both of his children would return to rural northeastern Connecticut, they both lived in larger cities in the northeast. Hamilton, who never married, lived in Boston for many years working for the post office. His sister Prudence married in 1930 and moved to New York. After her first husband died in 1935, she lived in New York City, marrying secondly an importer and former Polish consul in New York, Roman Kwiecien.

Prudence and Roman’s only child, also named Prudence, was born in Manhattan in 1950. After her second husband’s death in 1953, the elder Prudence returned to northeast Connecticut. As shown in several passenger lists on Ancestry and noted in her daughter’s obituary, the mother and daughter traveled extensively in Europe. When the younger Prudence M. Kwiecien died in Webster, Massachusetts in 1997, she was the last descendant of Lieut. John Merrick Paine of the Civil War.

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.

11 thoughts on “A Paine legacy

  1. This post was fun to read. I am related to you! I knew of Winthrop Chandler because he is my 6th great granduncle. I am descended from his and Samuel’s brother William.

  2. Chris your careful genealogical work is excellent, and always with a very readable narrative. Question: as an amateur genealogist, I have tried to avoid long-gone aunts and uncles in my family tree. I know it’s valuable when one hits a brick wall with a direct ancestor to explore those siblings; what are the pros and cons for me otherwise? Thank you!

    1. Thanks Judy. While I certainly do not chase every rabbit hole in my tree, I largely only pursue siblings of ancestors when I have some genealogical reason, such as if a distant line of the family might have family records or photographs, or a biography or other record of a distant (especially unmarried relative) may expand more on the family than my own ancestor’s records.

      here’s an old two part post on a similar pursuit – https://vitabrevis.americanancestors.org/2015/07/search-family-photos-1/

      and followed up a few years later with this – https://vitabrevis.americanancestors.org/2018/05/contact-those-cousins/

  3. Technical question: Obituary link goes to Genealogy.bank. Is it becoming necessary to subscribe to several other gen-sites due to different range of databases that Ancestry & others will never have? Thinking of My Heritage and so forth.

    1. Robert, this topic could probably be a post (or full article) on its own. Definitely depends on what time period and region you are researching. This can very for me depending on the project at hand. The two newspaper sites I use the most are newspapers.com and genealogybank. While the reference here to genealogybank is for a more recent obituary, I have used that cite for more 18th and 19th century death notices that have often been abstracted in other publications, to see the full context, which might have more information like in this previous post – https://vitabrevis.americanancestors.org/2015/12/multiple-searches-new-jersey-marriage/
      I will use several other databases on occasion, and I’m sure I’ll miss finding some papers that are actually somewhere online.

  4. Any relation to John Knowles Paine? A seminal name in American music, being the first professor of music at Harvard. Also an important composer, one of the Boston Six. A very accomplished composer, his music is largely neglected today.

    1. Hi Steven – John Knowles Paine descends from Thomas Paine of Cape Cod (a different immigrant). John’s great-grandfather Joseph Paine (b. 1741) appears here in our database as a sixth generation descendant of Mayflower passengers William and Mary Brewster – https://www.americanancestors.org/DB2728/i/51962/175/71745983 – and here as a sixth generation descendant from passenger Stephen Hopkins – https://www.americanancestors.org/DB2728/i/48707/197/1416952095

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