It was a beautiful spring day when Howard and Marie Haines and their six children stepped off the train at Helena, Montana to begin a new life. The date was May 6, 1903. It had snowed heavily at the higher elevations the previous day, and the mountain tops around the green valley glistened white in the bright sunshine.

Howard Haines was born January 4, 1870 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania., the eldest of ten children born to Henry and Sarah Haines. The Haines lineage in America dates to 1703 when three Haynes brothers immigrated from England's upper Thames Valley to William Penn's Colony. They settled in a little village named Sample's Manor, near Hagerstown and Harper's Ferry, in what is now Maryland.

Howard's father, Henry, served in the Civil War with the Army of the Potomac. It was at this point that Haynes became Haines. So the story goes, when Henry enlisted the clerk misspelled his name and he never had it corrected. Henry was wounded in action three times but recovered and returned to duty. In November 1864 he was again wounded, this time severely, at Cold Harbor and was permanently disabled. He was invalided out of the army with a $12 a month pension.

Shortly after Howard was born the family moved to Indiana. They remained there for ten years, during which two of Howard's siblings died. In 1880, they again moved, this time to Wisconsin, and homesteaded 160 acres near Rice Lake.

Marie Haines was born Marie Clara LeJeune August 19, 1875 in Honsfeld Germany in the Rhine Valley. She was the fourth of fourteen children of John and Katherine LeJeune. With the rise of the militaristic German Empire in the 1870's Marie's father was at risk for conscription into the Imperial German Army. So, in 1879, when Marie was four years old, the family emigrated to the United States, settling on a homestead near Rice Lake, Wisconsin. John LeJeune quickly learned English, and as he was one of the better educated people in the area, he was elected clerk of the school district and served in that capacity for the next fifty-two years.

The Haines and LeJeune families had neighboring farms, and Marie and Howard became acquainted as children, and married in May, 1893. The wounds that Henry Haines suffered in the Civil War were causing discomfort in the harsh Wisconsin winters, so in August, 1893, the family made plans to move once again. Henry sold his farm and Howard had been working in the woods in Wisconsin and had some money saved, so he and his father both bought small farms near Buckhannon, West Virginia. While the rest of the family, including Marie, took a train to Buckhannon, Howard and his younger brothers, Charlie and John, drove a wagon loaded with household goods the 990 miles to Buckhannon, a trip that took five weeks.

In addition to tending his farm, Howard also spent evenings attending the seminary in Buckhannon to further his education. After completing the seminary he taught in rural schools in the hills of West Virginia for three years. The panic and depression of 1893 brought hard times to Howard and Marie. After three years of teaching for $22 a month, Howard found work in a tannery earning a much better $1.50 a day. The years spent in Buckhannon saw the arrival of six children: Harry in 1893, Katherine in 1895, Bernice in 1897, Francis in 1899, and Jesse in 1901. After nine years of frugaltiy, Howard and Marie had a little money saved. The depression had eased, land prices rose, so in 1902 Howard and Marie sold their little farm, and migrated west, with a year-long detour to Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

During their year in Wisconsin, Howard worked on the LeJeune farm and also worked in the woods cutting timber, poles, and railroad ties. Their family also expanded during the time in Rice Lake, Helen was born in November, 1902. In May, 1903 they resumed their westward migration, and boarded a train for Helena, Montana. Howard chose Helena because he liked the name, and knew there was good hunting in the nearby mountains.

Upon their arrival in Helena, the family spent a few days in a grubby two-room apartment, then moved into a little house on Rodney Street while Howard looked for work. Howard found a job at the Great Northern Railroad freight depot, loading and unloading cars, and they moved to a house in the sixth ward to be closer to Howard's work. That fall the three oldest children, Harry, Katherine, and Bee started school in Helena.

In 1904, Howard got a teaching job at Lump Gulch City, a small decaying mining camp about twelve miles south of Helena. The family borrowed a surrey and lumber wagon, loaded themselves and their worldly goods and moved into a three-room bunk house near the Little Nell Mine, about a mile from the school. Again the family grew, with the addition of Merle in September 1904.

The nearest general store was two miles away, in Clancy, so in 1905 Howard bought an old building next to the school in Lump Gulch City and turned it into a general store. The family lived in back of the store and in the attic. Bennie was born there in November 1906, and Floss in December 1908. The financial panic of 1907 caused the mines to close and many miners left owing Howard money. There were few customers left and Howard was broke and in debt, and the store closed. It took him five years to pay off the debts.

Howard filed on a five-acre placer claim on Lump Creek in 1910 and built a three-room log cabin to house the family. He never proved up on the claim, though, so he never received title to it. During this period Howard returned to teaching, this time at the Travis Creek school. The family also added one more member, Cecil, in February 1911.

In 1913 Howard located 320 acres of public land about a mile and a half north of Lump Gulch and under the auspices of the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909, filed a homestead claim on it. Dorrie joined the family as the eleventh child in February 1913. By October 1914 Howard had built the present homestead cabin, initially two rooms, with another two added later.


(More to come)