Tombstone Tuesday – March 30, 2021- Robert Wesley Hayner

Robert Wesley was born on December 26, 1839 in Louth, Grantham, Ontario. He was the son of Henry Hainer and Nancy (Schram) Hainer. He lived his childhood in Louth, Ontario. In the 1851 Canadian Census, Robert can be found with his mother, Nancy, and her new husband John Patterson. He has two siblings listed also, Mary and Melissa. At this point, there surname is spelled Hainer. His father Henry had died in 1846 when Robert Wesley was seven years old.

He married Dorothy Ann Morgan, daughter of David Morgan and Charlotte Fox Morgan, in Grimsby, Ontario on December 30, 1862. I do not find Robert Wesley in the 1861 Canadian Census. Dorothy Ann Morgan is 19 years old and living alone in a boarding house the 1861 census.

Robert Wesley Hayner Photo supplied by Donna Hoffman

Dorothy and Robert Hayner had two daughters. Addie Jane was born in Ontario in 1863 according to her death certificate. Mary Morgan was born in Port Hope, Michigan in 1871, two short weeks after the enormous fire which raced across lower Michigan ending at Lake Huron near Port Hope. (for more information on this fire, see the article on the Needles in the Haystack Blog post -

Wesley, “Doreatha“ and Ada Jane Hayner can be found in Rubicon Township, Huron County, Port Hope, Michigan in the 1870 Federal Census. It is at this time period that I find Robert Wesley Hainer is now known as Robert Wesley Hayner. In Canada, the surname was Hainer with an “i” but once he came to America it was Hayner with a “y”. Sometimes he is known as Wesley and other times as Robert.

I do not find Robert and Dorothy in the 1881 Federal Census. Dorothy is found in Detroit after Robert’s death for about twenty years in Detroit City Directories. It is known that they left Huron County when the lumber trade dried up after the forest fires that ravaged the “thumb” area of Michigan of 1871 and again in 1881. It is thought that they settled in the Marine City or Smith’s Creek area after the 1871 fire. It is where Mary Morgan Hayner, Robert and Dorothy’s youngest daughter, met and married Charles Densmore in 1889.

One hundred and twenty five years ago, Robert Wesley died March 30th 1896 in a farming accident. The story that has been passed down in our family is that he was at his daughter’s residence, in the barn, in a horse stall working with a horse when was kicked in the head by the horse. He was found dead in the stall.

Rest in peace, Robert Wesley

Love, Jan

Robert Wesley was my two times great Grandfather.

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