Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Mystery Man: JOHN RINES b 1730, Immigrant to Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, Canada

 There's no doubt about it: my 5th great grandfather JOHN RINES is my most difficult brick wall, and definitely is a mystery man. There are THREE  different "origin stories" from descendants, concerning how he came  to settle in Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

(SIDE NOTE HERE:  JOHN RINES was absolutely  NOT the son  of JOHN RAINEY Sr b 1717 & JENNET  STRAYHORN of Scotland & Virginia or their son JOHN RAINEY Jr & ELIZABETH HUNTER of  Caswell  Co North Carolina, as has been erroneously reported in numerous online family trees. That family & their descendants can be traced & documented in Virginia & NC and never set foot in Canada)

ORIGIN STORY # 1: According to several historical sources from Hants County, Nova Scotia,  JOHN RINES or RANES, born about 1730,  was "of Corn Hill in Massachusetts" when he was conscripted into the British Army during the French & Indian War.  According to this origin story, JOHN decided to stay in Canada, and became "the first settler in Maitland Village" in Hants County after the expulsion of the French Acadians. He married, in about 1759, ELIZABETH TOAL/TOWLE (some sources say the marriage took place in Onslow, Colchester County, Nova Scotia). According to these historical sources,  JOHN's home was "on a knoll just this side of the foundry site, built over an old French cellar."

However, there is a problem with the location of Corn Hill, Massachusetts, which is near Truro in Barnstable County, on Cape Cod. There were NO families with the RINES or RANES surname (or any other spelling variations) living in that area during that time period. The only RINES family I have been able to trace settled in the 1690s-early 1700s lived in what would become Maine & New Hampshire. Many of there were mariners.

ORIGIN STORY # 2: HENRY J RINES b 1826 Maitland, Hants, Nova Scotia, a grandson of JOHN RINES & ELIZABETH TOAL of Maitland, died in 1894 in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine USA. In 1887  he wrote down the RINES family history as he remembered it in a letter that was requested by his son JOB RINES. Much of what is known about the descendants of JOHN RINES & ELIZABETH TOAL comes from that 1887 letter.  His "Origin Story" was as follows: 

Riten (written) as near as I can remember with notes of the conversations with grandfather (JOHN RINES I) that they originated from Oak Hill in Massachusetts near Boston and that the way he and his wife came to Nova Scotia was that they wanted to get married and neither of there (their) parents would hear to it so they ran away and went to Nova Scotia and there were married and they raised there (their) (illegible) family that I recall to mind. 

He goes on to say that JOHN RINES & ELIZABETH TOAL  were married at "Onsloo", which would be Onslow, Colchester County, Nova Scotia; then lists all the children of this couple. (I have solid DNA matches to many of their descendants, so it appears that this list from HENRY was correct!).

ORIGIN STORY # 3 WILLIAM H RINES,  born abt 1880 Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, was the youngest son of HENRY J RINES by his 2nd wife ISABELLE PHILLIPS.  In the 1887 letter to JOB RINES,  WILLIAM weighed in with this 3rd "Origin Story"

The Rines family originated from Haverhill or Oak Hill in Massachusetts whether they emigrated under that or some other name we no (know) not, or how they came in Nova Scotia we no (know) not as I am of the third generations and all I no (know) we gather from my father (HENRY J RINES), hew (who) is of the second generation and and is the youngest son of the youngest son. But my father says he was either a soldier or in the navy of the (illegible). And was taken prisoner to Halifax and at its close when released, married and settled there in place of returning home. Be this as it may we find ourselves there. But now I find us about all returned to our native soil and seated from Portland.

So what's a genealogist to do? Which is the correct "origin story"--or is there an element of truth to all of them? Clearly according to all three sources, JOHN RINES b 1730 was from "some darned hill" in Massachusetts. But the only RINES family that I've been able to trace in New England is the one that settled in what would become Maine & New Hampshire.

Unfortunately records seem to be scarce for Nova Scotia during the time period in question (1755-1790s)--at least for a researcher living in the US.   I have not yet found where JOHN RINES & ELIZABETH TOAL are buried, or any kind of land grant record or military record that might shed some light on how they ended up in Canada.

Judging from poll tax records for Hants County, JOHN RINES left Maitland late in life, and settled in Kennetcook, Hants County, by 1791, where he lived next to my other 5th great grandfather, PATRICK McDONALD (b 17 Mar 1727 Inverness, Scotland, d aft 26 Nov 1801  Kennetcook). By 1792, his son (my great x 4 grandfather) JOHN RINES II was also listed in the poll tax records, living next door to both his father and his future father-in-law, PATRICK McDONALD. PATRICK's daughter ELIZABETH McDONALD, married JOHN RINES II on 22 Nov 1795 in Rawdon, Hants, Nova Scotia, Canada.

In the poll tax records 1791-1795 , the RINES surname is spelled RYANS, RYAN, and RINES.  

Source for much of what I know about the RINES & McDONALD families: "Rawdon & Douglas: Two Loyalist Townships in Nova Scotia" by John V Duncanson.

Suggestions & Comments greatly appreciated!

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2023

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