Part 2: Solving the Haynes family mysteries

Published 7:33 am Friday, August 28, 2009

To recap what was mentioned in the last column, a small collection of old documents was recently found on the second floor area of the former St. Paul Clothing House/Bible Book Store building at the corner of South Broadway Avenue and West Main Street. This historical structure is being converted into the future Community Cornerstone structure.

Five of those documents were based on a person named Daniel Haynes. This was the first mystery to be encountered. And the solution came with the information that Daniel was a member of the U.S. Army who died of wounds just after the end of World War I. The second mystery was solved with the information that he’s now buried in St. Theodore’s Cemetery.

Daniel was wounded on Nov. 1, 1918, and died on Nov. 16 1918. His parents in Albert Lea had the choice of having their son being buried in a military cemetery in France or returned to the U.S.

Email newsletter signup

Museum Librarian Linda Evenson found a news report from the Dec. 16, 1918, issue of the Freeborn County Standard that said Daniel Haynes, 22, was a barber at the Hotel Albert before he enlisted in a national guard unit from the Austin-Albert Lea area in July 1917. He went to Camp Cody, N.M., for training. Daniel was then transferred to France in July 1918 as a replacement and was assigned to a front line infantry regiment.

Another news item Linda found in the Dec. 7, 1921, issue of the Times-Enterprise said the body of Daniel Haynes would soon arrive in Albert Lea for final burial.

Daniel had two younger brothers, William Paul and George David. Thus, there were also diplomas relating to them in this small collection of documents.

Two of these diplomas were certificates of promotion from eighth grade to Albert Lea High School. The one for William Paul was dated 1915, and the one for George David was issued in 1919. There was also an Albert Lea High School graduation diploma for William Paul dated 1919.

What has to be the most unusual document in this collection is the Palmer Method of Business Writing certificate. It says Paul Haynes has “attained to a degree of excellence in the Palmer method of muscular movement business writing and is entitled to this student’s certificate for proficiency in rapid legible business writing.” (This member of the Haynes family obviously didn’t use his first name at various times.)

The document was dated June 6, 1919, and signed by A. N. Palmer, the promoter of a fancy cursive system of handwriting then taught in the public schools. This certificate or diploma also had the gold seal of the Palmer firm of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I had the misfortune of enduring a very unhappy encounter with the Palmer Method of Handwriting during my grade school years. This fancy system of writing was a curse created for lefthanders, period.

Now, there are two more mysteries regarding the Haynes family to be explained. I have been informed that this family came to Albert Lea from the Delevan area. The other is based on their local addresses. From about 1916 to 1954, according to city directories, this family lived at 706 S. Washington Ave. And as I explained in the last column, the father and husband, Joseph J. Haynes, died in 1938. About six years later his wife, Katherine, and two sons moved to 244 1/2 S, Broadway Ave. That address was for an apartment on the second floor and above what was then the St. Paul Clothing House. Thus, this explains the Haynes family connection with this particular building and how these old documents were found in a storage place up in the rafters.

As I mentioned in the last column, I visited the gravesite of Daniel Haynes (1894-1918) in St. Theodore’s Cemetery. In the same plot are the graves of his father, J.J. Haynes (1869-1938), mother Katherine (1870-1965), and brothers William Paul (1899-1966) and George David (1904-1957). Both brothers were World War II veterans.

Special thanks go to Mike Lee for bringing those old documents to the Tribune and for inspiring this and the previous column.

Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.