Douglas Cemetery

Joseph Loomis Payne 2018

Joseph Loomis Payne was born March 2, 1842, in Randolph, Ohio, son of Connecticut native Solomon Loomis Payne (b. 1799) and Massachusetts native Martha Sage (b. 1806).

In 1850 Joseph was attending school with two of his siblings, including his older brother John S., and living with his parents in Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio. By 1860 his father and family had settled in Ganges, Allegan County.

Joseph stood 5’6” with blue eyes, sandy hair and a ruddy complexion and was a 20-year-old farmer living in Ganges, Allegan County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. According to one source, he was among the second wave of recruits to come out of Ottawa County and did not in fact enlist until the end of May, along with Albert Hamlin, Calvin Hall, Nelson Davis and David Davis, Albert Gardner, James Rhodes, Perry Goshorn, Sylvester Gay, Joseph Solder (Josiah Schuler), Quincy Lamereaux, William Suret and John Ward.

He was sick in the hospital, possibly in Philadelphia,  from August of 1862 until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After the was discharged Joseph returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company I, 8th Michigan cavalry on April 7, 1865, at Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County for 1 year, and was mustered on April 8, crediting Ganges. Joseph joined the Regiment on May 9 at Pulaski, Tennessee, was sick at Nashville, Tennessee, and was transferred to Company E on July 20 and was mustered out with the regiment on September 22, 1865, at Nashville.

Joseph returned to Michigan after the war, probably to Allegan County.

He married Ohio native Mary K. Pratt (1842-1931) on September 6, 1868, in Ganges, Allegan County, and they had at least two children: Bertha (1869-1874) and Edith (b. 1872, Mrs. Weaver).

By 1870 Joseph was back in Ganges working as a farmer and living with his wife and daughter; next door lived his brother John Payne and his family.

Joseph and his daughter Bertha were killed in an explosion at a steam mill owned by John S. Payne on May 1, 1874, in Douglas, Allegan County. His obituary read:

“Earth to earth; Dust to dust.” The last token of respect paid, the last sad duty performed. In Douglas cemetery lie the remains of Joseph Payne and his little daughter. The place that once knew them will know them no more. How true the saying, “In the midst of life we are in death.” Little did he think as we saw him passing to his accustomed duty, with happiness beaming from his countenance, that in the short space of one half-hour the sad accident would occur, which launched him from time to eternity. Sorrow and sadness hang over the community. Never have we seen more heart-felt sympathy or more genuine kindness than was exhibited o that day; each viewing with the other in rendering all the assistance within their power. Medical skill was of no avail, the injuries were too severe. The little girl lingered but a short time, but his hardy constitution battled with death for about ten hours, loth to give up its claim to life.

My Payne, by his kind ways and obliging disposition rendered himself a favorite with all who knew him. He was a kind father and affectionate husband and the community sympathizes with the bereaved in her affliction. She will miss him — she will miss the joyous prattle and sweet companionship of little Bertha, but should console herself with the thought of Him who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”                                              

Joseph and Bertha were buried together in Douglas cemetery.

By 1880 Mary was living in Ganges with her daughter Edith. She eventually remarried to George Kingwell and was living in Ganges, Allegan County in 1900. In 1916 Mary applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 823979) based on Joseph’s service in the war.

note the inscription near the base of the stone: "Little Bertha"

note the inscription near the base of the stone: "Little Bertha"