Paynes Journeys to North America 1872-1921

Fifty Years of Payne Journeys to North America,
1872 to 1921


Although my grandfather was born in Chicago in 1892, and I have known for some time of his sojourns in Canada both before and after the Great War, there have been tantalising clues to various other forays that members of the Payne family made away from the the part of the English Midlands which had been their home for over two hundred years.  Apart from the few shreds of documentary evidence which have survived in the family papers, the text of an interview conducted by my father with his great-uncle Hallam in 1959 has been an important source of information.  One of the difficulties of using such second- and third-hand evidence is in the assessment of its reliability, and finding evidence to support the 'family legends'.  It has taken some years, but the discoveries have been accumulating, and the following account is a summary of what has been found to date.
Background : Building in Derby
Henry & Henrietta Payne 
1898 Derby, England 

The late 1860s and early 1870s were a busy time for Henry Payne (1842-1907).  After marrying Henrietta Christina Benfield (1843-1912) in 1864 at Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire, they moved to Litchurch, Derby.  Hallam claimed that he started off working on the points for Midland Railways, but no proof of this has yet been found.  He also claimed that Sale the solicitor took a shine to him and lent him ten pounds which enabled him to start building houses in Grange and Douglas Streets. Henrietta, even though she had two young sons to look after - Charles Vincent was born in 1868, and Charles Hallam in 1870 - was running the family grocery and bakery at 67 Douglas Street.  They reportedly obtained a licence to sell beer from the premises at around this time, a tradition which was to continue in the Payne family for almost a century.

A letter to Henry from the civil and mining engineer J.T. Woodhouse in early 1870 refers to an enquiry by Henry regarding land in Church Gresley which had belonged to the Payne family until the late 1830s.  It is possible that Henry was either trying to locate surviving family members, or perhaps hoping for an entitlement to some long-lost inheritance.  He also applied for a copy of his birth certificate in April 1870, from the registrar in Burton-upon-Trent.  Two years later he left for Baltimore, Maryland, on the first of what would be several journeys by the Payne family seeking their fortunes in North America ...

1872 : Henry Payne in Virginia & Nebraska
1880 : Farming at Bladensburg in Maryland
1890-1892 : Chicago, Pullman & The Worlds Fair
1912-1914 : Lesley Payne with the CPR in Saskatchewan & Eatons in Winnipeg
1919-1921 : Final Years in Winnipeg

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This page last updated 4 August 2003 © Brett Payne All Rights Reserved