John Isom Gaines

Photo added by Chris Hanlin

John Isom Gaines

Birth
Death
27 Nov 1859 (aged 38)
Burial
Madisonville, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Memorial ID
20916455 View Source

John Isom Gaines was born in 1821, the son of Elizabeth Clark Gaines. He rose to prominence as an orator in Cincinnati around the time of the anti-Black riots of 1841, when he was only twenty. He became recognized as a leader of Cincinnati's Black community as an abolitionist and an advocate of free public education.

At least one of his speeches was published, his "Orations, Delivered On The First Of August, 1849, Before The Colored Residents Of Columbus, Ohio" (now available in reprint). The best source of information about him is "John Isom Gaines: The Architect of Black Public Education," by Samuel Matthews, in Queen City Heritage, Spring 1987. See also Chapter 8 of Nikki M. Taylor's book, "Frontiers of Freedom."

Gaines was originally interred in the old "United Colored American" cemetery in Avondale. His monument was installed a year later, in 1860. Because Gaines was only 38 when he died, the monument was purposefully carved in the shape of a broken shaft, a symbol of life cut short. Halfway up the shaft is the symbol of a beehive, the emblem of the United Colored American Association (UCAA), which had founded this cemetery. Three thousand people attended the ceremony when his monument was installed. His grave and monument were moved here in 1884.

John Isom Gaines was married to Louisa Martin. They were married on June 19, 1845. She survived him. She worked as a dressmaker and lived on New Street. She later married Elijah Delaney of Piqua, but she continued to spend time in Cincinnati. She died in Cincnnati in 1881 and is buried in this cemetery.

John Isom Gaines and Louisa Martin Gaines had four known children:

(1) Arabella Gaines, born around 1846, buried in this cemetery in 1881. She never married and had no children.

(2) Samuel Gaines, born about 1848, appears in the census of 1850. He does not appear in the census of 1860 but seems to be the same as the James S. Gaines (James L. Gaines?) who appears as a 12-year-old child in the census of 1860 and afterward disappears.

(3) John I. Gaines, Jr., b. 1849, died young. "The Liberator" for 27 April 1860, p. 4, says that John Isom Gaines, Sr., bore the loss of his namesake son "with Christian resignation," and noted that three other children were still living.

(4) Morris (or Maurice) Christopher Gaines, b. abt. 1851. He became a music hall performer in England. He travelled to Capenhagen and Berlin. Wendel Dabney says that in 1902, Maurice Gaines was "in London, England, manager of a theatrical troup of which he was himself some years ago the leading song and dance artist." He married a woman named Elizabeth and had a son, Maurice Christopher Gaines, Jr. The father, Morris Gaines, Sr., appears to have died in Battersea in 1935.

The only known grandchild of John Isom Gaines (Sr.) is Maurice Christopher Gaines, Jr., born in London on June 14, 1879. Maurice, Jr., married a woman named Ethel (last named Hill?) and both of them worked as acrobats in vaudeville - in England, France, America, and Africa. In 1904, Maurice Jr. and Edith had a son named Alfred. (This appears to have been Alfred Lyttleton Gaines, who died in 1986). In 1912, Edith and Aldred had a daughter named Edith Mauricia Gaines, and in 1919, a son named Arthur Maurice Gaines, born in England. Are there living descendants out there somewhere?

- bio and genealogy by Chris Hanlin

John Isom Gaines was born in 1821, the son of Elizabeth Clark Gaines. He rose to prominence as an orator in Cincinnati around the time of the anti-Black riots of 1841, when he was only twenty. He became recognized as a leader of Cincinnati's Black community as an abolitionist and an advocate of free public education.

At least one of his speeches was published, his "Orations, Delivered On The First Of August, 1849, Before The Colored Residents Of Columbus, Ohio" (now available in reprint). The best source of information about him is "John Isom Gaines: The Architect of Black Public Education," by Samuel Matthews, in Queen City Heritage, Spring 1987. See also Chapter 8 of Nikki M. Taylor's book, "Frontiers of Freedom."

Gaines was originally interred in the old "United Colored American" cemetery in Avondale. His monument was installed a year later, in 1860. Because Gaines was only 38 when he died, the monument was purposefully carved in the shape of a broken shaft, a symbol of life cut short. Halfway up the shaft is the symbol of a beehive, the emblem of the United Colored American Association (UCAA), which had founded this cemetery. Three thousand people attended the ceremony when his monument was installed. His grave and monument were moved here in 1884.

John Isom Gaines was married to Louisa Martin. They were married on June 19, 1845. She survived him. She worked as a dressmaker and lived on New Street. She later married Elijah Delaney of Piqua, but she continued to spend time in Cincinnati. She died in Cincnnati in 1881 and is buried in this cemetery.

John Isom Gaines and Louisa Martin Gaines had four known children:

(1) Arabella Gaines, born around 1846, buried in this cemetery in 1881. She never married and had no children.

(2) Samuel Gaines, born about 1848, appears in the census of 1850. He does not appear in the census of 1860 but seems to be the same as the James S. Gaines (James L. Gaines?) who appears as a 12-year-old child in the census of 1860 and afterward disappears.

(3) John I. Gaines, Jr., b. 1849, died young. "The Liberator" for 27 April 1860, p. 4, says that John Isom Gaines, Sr., bore the loss of his namesake son "with Christian resignation," and noted that three other children were still living.

(4) Morris (or Maurice) Christopher Gaines, b. abt. 1851. He became a music hall performer in England. He travelled to Capenhagen and Berlin. Wendel Dabney says that in 1902, Maurice Gaines was "in London, England, manager of a theatrical troup of which he was himself some years ago the leading song and dance artist." He married a woman named Elizabeth and had a son, Maurice Christopher Gaines, Jr. The father, Morris Gaines, Sr., appears to have died in Battersea in 1935.

The only known grandchild of John Isom Gaines (Sr.) is Maurice Christopher Gaines, Jr., born in London on June 14, 1879. Maurice, Jr., married a woman named Ethel (last named Hill?) and both of them worked as acrobats in vaudeville - in England, France, America, and Africa. In 1904, Maurice Jr. and Edith had a son named Alfred. (This appears to have been Alfred Lyttleton Gaines, who died in 1986). In 1912, Edith and Aldred had a daughter named Edith Mauricia Gaines, and in 1919, a son named Arthur Maurice Gaines, born in England. Are there living descendants out there somewhere?

- bio and genealogy by Chris Hanlin


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