22 Nov

My mother has been keeping a family tree for years. I remember when she first started doing it I told her I’d never want to maintain it. I simply had no interest in it, thought it was boring. The funny thing about getting older is that you realize just how much you don’t know. Aging is teaching me to never say never.

Last year I was doing something with my grade nine students called ‘The Reading Minute’. I modeled what I wanted them to read for a couple of weeks before I expected the students to share. At the beginning of each class period, someone would share an interesting piece of reading with the class. This sharing usually took a minute or less, and there were no immediate follow-up assignments. I encouraged them to take their readings from a range of sources, from poetry to nonfiction. They could find their texts in newspapers, magazines, novels, text-books—anywhere we, as readers, come across interesting text. All of the Reading Minutes share one goal: to demonstrate that there is a world of reading richness out there.

One night while I was visiting my mother I asked her to show me her family tree computer software. While looking over the family tree, I found an obituary of my great-great-grandfather. I decided it would make a fantastic reading minute to share with my students. I was right, some of them were really interested in it and ended up bringing in things more personal to their own families. Now, I’d like to share it with blogdom. Here it is:

DINES – Charles Wood Dines (1840-1915) – was born on January 25, 1840, in the town of Natchez, Mississippi, USA. Natchez is today one of the finest old cities in the United States of America. At the time of Charles Wood Dines’ birth there was considerable unrest in the area and Natchez had, over the past two and half centuries, been under five different flags: French, British, Spanish, Confederate and American. It was after the French/Indian War, around 1730, that Natchez became the 14th British Colony. When the other colonies rebelled against King George III, Natchez did not join them. Spain then moved in and planted the Spanish flag there which held for a while but finally the United States laid claim to all territory formerly held by the British. In 1798 Spain withdrew.

The first steamboat came to Natchez in 1811, and, between the advent of steam on the river and the growth and sale of cotton, Natchez became one of the wealthiest (probably the wealthiest) town in the world.

In the 1840’s Natchez was said to be “Queen of the Southwest”, and it was in 1845 that the beautiful Varinna Howell married the tall austere Jefferson Davis, who, 16 years later became the first and only President of the Confederate States.

The early life of Charles Wood Dines is not too clear. However it is known that he married Mary Ellen GREEN in the year of 1858 and there were two daughters, Antoinnette and Martha Ann (Annie), born before he enlisted in the United Sates Navy in 1862 to serve as a Gunner’s Mate on the “S.S. Kineo” under the command of Captain Watters.

In a diary which he kept during his Civil War Service he has written about various encounters with the enemy on the Mississippi River.

He had enlisted in New Orleans in 1862 and was discharged in Washington, DC, in 1865. After his discharge he apparently returned to his wife and two daughters somewhere in the vicinity of L’Etete, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. It was there on March 11, 1866 that his son Sydney Smith DINES, was born. His wife, Mary Ellen GREEN, died when Sydney was 7 months old. The three children were placed in the homes of friends who subsequently became their foster parents.

Charles remarried in 1868. His new wife was the former Emmeline McVicar of Pembrooke, Maine. They resided in Eastport, Maine, where their daughter, Viola, was born in 1874.

For several years prior to his death, he operated a billiard Parlour owned by Charles Hume on Water Street in Eastport, Maine. To his friends and associates he was known as “Skippy”.

Charles Wood Dines died in Eastport, Maine, in 1915 at the age of 75 years.

NOTE: It is interesting to note that at the end of the Civil War in 1865 the United States passed a law whereby all discharged military men were to receive a pension.

At the time of his death, in 1915, Charles Wood DINES was receiving the sum of $30.00 per month.

The preceding was taken from the Dines-Gates Connection Newsletter # 1, 1981 by Ann Dines Theriault.

Two marriage dates 1857 or 1858?????

Charles Wood Dines served in the Navy during the Civil War in the United States.


3 Responses to “Heritage”

  1. Leanne November 23, 2010 at 12:34 PM #

    Very cool. And I love that assignment! Almost makes me wish I did teach high school English!

  2. Stephen Helms May 17, 2017 at 10:18 PM #

    Young Sydney was taken in by George & Elizabeth Helms.Upon his 16th birthday, he became Capt. Helms’ asst. light house / fog alarm keeper at Green’s Point, New Brunswick. He took over as keeper upon the Death of Capt. Helms, in the winter of 1906/07. He held this position ’til Mar of 1936, when he retired,at age 70! For his long service, he was given a medal from King George 6th, presented by the local member of Parliament. Later Sydney’s son Prescott Helms Dines served as keeper for 27 years before the light was decommissioned in 1963.

  3. Russell March 3, 2018 at 5:07 PM #

    My 3x great grandmother was Martha Anne Dines, I have very little information about her, and your article confirmed my suspicion that Charles Wood Dines was her father. Her daughter Nellie Brown was My 2x Great Grandmother. For some reason Her and her Daughter Nellie moved to southern NJ around 1887. Do you happen to have any other records or information you can share? awesome article.

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