Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The William Gaines Family and their Slaves


Today, I was searching for some images for a project I am working on at work. I found the above picture while searching and thought I'd share it on here since it was new to me. 

The Library of Congress website description states that this was taken in Hanover County, Virginia, in 1862 on the plantation of Dr.William Gaines. The photographer was George Harper Houghton. 

Being curious, I thought I'd look up Gaines in the 1860 census. Interestingly there were two William Gaines listed--both on the same page, so I am guessing they were father and son. 

The first "Wm. Gaines" was indeed listed as "Dr. & farmer." He was only twenty-five years old. Only initials are given for this Mrs. Gaines, who was twenty-seven, and their daughter, who was three. Either Gaines accrued a sizable fortune early, or more likely, was provided a good start by his father as he is listed as owning $29,300 in real estate and $11,970 in personal property. 

The other Gaines, "Wm. F. Gaines," was fifty-six years old and was a "M.D. & farmer." Mr. Gaines, Sr. had $56,000 in real estate and $54,475 in personal property. His wife "J.G." was forty-seven. The next listed household is that of W.H. Wood, an overseer; presumably the elder Gaines's plantation manager. 

William Gaines is shown as owning fifteen slaves in the 1860 slave schedules, living in what looks to be seven slave dwellings. I assume this is Gaines the younger. William F. Gaines owned seventy-four slaves and their twelve slave quarters. I am guessing that those enslaved individuals shown in the photograph above are those of Gaines, the older, but that is purely speculation on my part.

I found that William Gaines, who's date of birth makes it the son, fought in Company I, Fifteenth Virginia Infantry. He enlisted less than a week after Virginia seceded.

Photographer George Harper Houghton apparently took the above image while accompanying soldiers on the Peninsula Campaign from his home state of Vermont. Some of Houghton's amazing work can be seen here.




29 comments:

  1. Tim, I am very intrigued by your post and wanted to say thanks for sharing this tidbit of information. I'm researching my family's (the Gaines') history and have often wondered if my family origins began on one of these plantations. Again, thanks for the info.
    R. L. Gaines

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    1. Hi, my name is Rick Gaines, and I am researching a William R. Gaines born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

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    2. This is interesting. My maiden name is Gaines and I am researching my family as well.

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    3. I am a decedent of James Gaines Jr who fought in the Revolutionary War with is father and 7 uncles and his 7 cousins, he had many family members in the Civil War also! Gainesville Ga was named after his uncles family Henry Gaines. His sons house in Walton Kentucky Abner L Gaines house still there. I am a Blue Licks Chapter Kentucky SR SOR member. I wonder if his lineage connects to William F Gaines. Did he come from Wales also? That's where they came from.

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  2. Hello. Thank you so much for this. I am a descendant of the Gaines family. My 2x great grandmother was a young enslaved girl on the plantation. Her name was Hannah Gaines who after emancipation lived in King William VA. Thanks for the clues and most of all the image.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, my name is Rick Gaines, and I am researching a William R. Gaines born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area. However, the only wife I could find of this William R. Gaines was Francis Vessels. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

      Delete
    2. Hey I’m trying to research my history. My grandfather who from va last name is gaines .

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  3. Hello. Thank you so much for this. I am a descendant of the Gaines family. My 2x great grandmother was a young enslaved girl on the plantation. Her name was Hannah Gaines who after emancipation lived in King William VA. Thanks for the clues and most of all the image.

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    Replies
    1. That's awesome! I'd love to learn about any family stories that were passed down!I've always wondered what became of the Gaines slaves!Shoot me an email...rangergirl15@yahoo.com

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    2. That's awesome! I'd love to learn about any family stories that were passed down!I've always wondered what became of the Gaines slaves!Shoot me an email...rangergirl15@yahoo.com

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    3. Hi, my name is Rick Gaines, and I am researching a William R. Gaines born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message.

      As for you, rangergirl15@yahoo.com, I will send you a separate email soon.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

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  4. The two William Gaines's are distant relations not father and son. Dr. Gaines's Sallie married the other William Gaines who was her distant cousin. The Gaines are no relation to me but I've been researching Dr. Gaines for twenty years.

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    1. I'd love to know what info you may have gathered on the Gaines family descendants...
      I know there are several William Gaineses in my family tree, but am not sure how they may relate to these two.

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    2. Hi, my name is Rick Gaines, and I am researching a William R. Gaines born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message. This goes to both the original author that has been researching the Gaines' and you as well, Gregory Gaines.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

      Delete
  5. The two William Gaines's are distant relations not father and son. Dr. Gaines's Sallie married the other William Gaines who was her distant cousin. The Gaines are no relation to me but I've been researching Dr. Gaines for twenty years.

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  6. My grandfather's name was George Washington Gaines (Hanover Co., VA) and his father's name was William Gaines. I think it is possible that a relative or relatives of mine are in this picture. If anyone has any information, please comment.

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  7. My great grandfather is Hannibal Gaines from one of the William Gaines plantation. His mother is Hannah Gaines...my grandfather was born in 1873. He married Lucille Hickman. They had seven daughters on of which is my grandmother Rose Gaines.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your family's story.

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  9. Replies
    1. Hi, my name is Rick Gaines, and I have the same question. I am specifically researching a William R. Gaines, born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

      Delete
  10. Interesting, Thank you for this great history lesson.All of my Family Are from Va My last Name is Gaines i've since married. My Grand mother Name Was Elanora Gaines She told me stories of our family and about Old man Gaines ..We have family reunions In Va. I love my history and I love the fact that we help build this nation .Anyone want to know bout us more please shoot me a reply

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    Replies
    1. I would like to know more. I am from Virginia and my father is from Hanover, VA

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    2. Hi, my name is Rick Gaines, and I would definitely like to know more. I am specifically researching a William R. Gaines, born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area, and the man I believe to be his father, Fick Gaines. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

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    3. My name is Lydia Gaines and I believe that my family history began in Virginia. Please when your time permits I would like to get any information you might have to help me trace my roots.

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  11. Im doing research on our neighborhood. We live in Hanover farms. Im wondering if the gaines were the owners of this land. Reason I ask is because the roads seem to be named after a family. Gaulding, Gaines, Camille, Madonna, etc. There are even unmarked graves on the other side of my home. If this indeed their farm land I would be interested in learning of the family.

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  12. My great-great-grandfather is William Gaines son of a slave owner I am Katrina games

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    Replies
    1. Hi Katrina, I believe we are in the same boat. My name is Rick Gaines, and I am researching a William R. Gaines born around 1868 in the King William County, Virginia, area. If you believe this relates to your family, please reply or send me a direct email at rwgaines65@gmail.com

      Thank you for your time & attention to my message.

      Sincerely & with respect, Rick

      Delete
  13. Wow all my life I was proud to hear my last name Gaines until lately. I appreciate you doing the research and posting it. To see this is very hurtful to me and it reminds me that my ancestors suffered horrible things. And that my last name Gaines is stained with blood. I hope your work brings more recognition that what was done to us the Hebrew Israelites(African Americans and other brown skinned people) is evil and will be judged by Christ. We will prevail in Yahusha's name amen.

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  14. My great great grandfather's name was Wanah Gains, later census workers spelled Warner Gaines. Birth 1842 Virginia, no father, no mother listed. I see mulatto, later black as his race. I want to know more about he and his wife Emma.

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