Barnett Museum Visitors - Daniel C. Haynes

A Boy who became a Businessman:
Daniel C. Haynes (1824-1875)

Signature of Daniel C. Haynes in the 1838-9 Niagara Falls Museum Register, Niagara Falls Museums 2015.030.3.

Daniel and his family had moved to St. Catharines from Leicester, Massachusetts just two years earlier. His mother was Sabrina Burnapp and his father was Daniel Phelps Haynes (St. Catharines City Councillor, 1852-3), a coal and wood merchant who also operated stagecoach services from the city.On August 17, 1838, Daniel Curtiss Haynes signed the Niagara Falls Museum guestbook. Born in 1824, Daniel would have been only 14 at the time of his visit.

Daniel Curtiss Haynes’ portrait, which was published with a brief biography in “The Canadian Album, Vol.V” (1896). A couple years after his visit, from 1842-3, Daniel attended the prestigious Amherst College in Massachusetts, but did not graduate. He moved home and was employed in his father’s business, conducting a stagecoach route between Niagara and Hamilton. Daniel also delivered mail by stagecoach, 6 days a week, to Port Dalhousie and St. Catharines. In Canada, stagecoaches were still widely used in the 1840’s and 1850’s to fill gaps in transportation and mail delivery between cities where railways didn’t run (or didn’t run regularly).

Daniel eventually became a successful businessman in his own right.  He struck out on his own in a variety of pursuits: as a merchant, an insurance agent and, finally, owning and operating a private bank.

One of his most interesting posts was as a Consular Agent for the U.S. Government. His job was to issue a quarterly report to the U.S. House of Representatives on the quantity and value of goods shipped to the United States from the St. Catharines port. While it was not unusual for these consular positions to be given to citizens of the source country (rather than U.S. citizens), Daniel’s American background and education may have helped him secure the post.

Haynes’ 77 Ontario Street residence, built c.1874. Now home to The St. Catharines Club. Credit: Google Street View.In 1874, Daniel’s success in business allowed him to build a large house that still stands today at 77 Ontario Street, St. Catharines. A two-and-a-half storey Georgian with a portico and a frieze that runs below the roofline, the building has housed the St. Catharines Club since 1927.

Unfortunately, he had little time to enjoy his new home. Daniel died in 1875 at the age of 51 from Bright’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the kidneys. He died in New York, on his way home from a trip to Florida which he had hoped would revive his health.

Daniel left behind his wife, Maria Deveaux Woodruff, and their 2 children. He was a noted philanthropist who gave in life and after death to several St. Catharines charitable institutions, including donating a large parcel of land for the construction of the Haynes Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The St. Catharines Club is a private members association for business people to network and socialize. It is appropriate, then, that they meet in the house of a shrewd but community-minded businessman like Haynes. His biography in The Canadian Album (1896) remembers him as “a most exemplary man, [who] has left the fragrant memory of a strictly honorable and benevolent life. While in business he made many friends, and his word was counted equal to his bond.”

Haynes’ obelisk-style burial monument in Victoria Lawn Cemetery and the inscription for Daniel Curtiss and his wife Maria Woodruff. Credit: findagrave.com.

 Sources:

 To discover more about the people who visited the first museum in Canada, check out our guest registry page

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