The Labin Lines
The earliest historically verified Labin in our family history, so far, is William Labin, born about 1700 and baptized in 1725 at the Church of St Nicholas, Deptford, Kent, England, a shipwright who married an Unknown Elizabeth. The Labin’s came from England originally, although my great grandfather always said that the name was French. After more than 35 years of research I must conclude that he was mistaken. Those who finally settled in Durham County were all colliers (coal miners) and most of them moved to America for a better life.
1.WILLIAM LABAN–my 7th great grandfather Birth abt 1700 in ENG Baptism 1725 22 Oct — Age: 25 St Nicholas, Deptford, Kent, England. Residence 1746 24 Nov — Age: 46 Deptford, Kent, England Occupation 1746 — Age: 46 Deptford, Kent, England–shipwright Residence 1755 10 May — Age: 55 Deptford, England Death after 1755. His parents are unknown. Spouse: 1a.ELIZABETH Unknown 1714 – ? and son 2.WILLIAM LABAN 1734 – 1750.
2.WILLIAM LABAN–my 6th great grandfather Birth bef 1 Nov 1734 in Deptford, Kent, England, one of a set of twins (the other was Elizabeth). Baptism 1734 1 Nov St Nicholas, Deptford, Kent, England Marriage to Elizabeth Rowles 1748 17 Oct — Age: 13 St Paul, Deptford, Kent, England. Death aft 1750 in ENG? Spouse: 2a.DOROTHY Unknown 1730 – 1750 son 3.JOSEPH LABAN 1750 – 1831. 2nd Spouse: Elizabeth Rowles. Oddly, William Laban appears in the marriage index as having married Elizabeth Rowles when he was 13! This was actually quite common in the 19th century, when life was short and childhood even shorter. The other problem here is that we have no evidence that William married Dorothy Unknown, the mother of his son Joseph Laban, and this Dorothy evidently died during or soon after childbirth.
3.JOSEPH LABAN–my 5th great grandfather Birth abt 1750 in England Baptism1781 9 Sep — Age: 31 Measham, Derbyshire, England. Marriage to 3a.SARAH ANNE HARRISON 1831 14 Mar Derbyshire, England Age: 81 Derby, ENG Pallot’s Marriage Index Occupation 1831 — Age: 81 Derby, Derbyshire, England–Laborer Death aft 1831 in Derbyshire, England. Children: 4.JOHN LABAN 1777 – 1797; Thomas Laban 1779 –?; Sarah Laban 1781 – ? Joseph Labin was not baptized until the age of 31, which suggests that he was neither a Catholic nor an Anglican, as both these Christian churches required infant baptism. He chose a Protestant sect, becoming perhaps a Baptist (they emphasized adult baptism) or Methodist (an increasingly popular choice among the poor and middle-class English people). Some may also note that Joseph did not marry Sarah Anne Harrison until 1831, at the age of 81, just before he died! The working classes, especially those in rural areas, tended toward ‘common law’ marriages from centuries ago which state that a man and woman who set up housekeeping and live together as a married couple, have children, etc. are considered married. If they had no established church in their community, but depended upon a circuit preacher who came around a few times a year, most people would not bother with the ‘formality’ of a church ceremony. This was perfectly natural at the time. Even so, some people, like Joseph and Sarah, motivated by their new-found faith, would choose to have a preacher pronounce them husband and wife, thus eliminating any touch of sin.
4. JOHN LABAN–my 4th great grandfather Birth 31 Oct 1777 in Alvaston, Derbyshire, England Baptism 1777 31 Oct Alvaston, Derbyshire, England
Residence 1796 — Age: 19 Yorkshire, England Death aft 1797 in Derbyshire, ENG. Spouse: 4a.MARY UNKNOWN 1777 – 1797. Children: James Joseph Laban 1795 – ? William Henry Laban 1795 – 1861 5.JOHN LABIN (Leabon) 1797 – 1870. John Labin was baptized as an infant, indicating that the family had an ongoing relationship with a particular church. We have no record of a marriage, but civil and parish records were not kept with the precision one would like. The unknown Mary had three children, evidently a set of twins in 1795 and John Labin, our 3rd great grandfather, in 1797, and then Mary died. Childbed fever was, unfortunately, a common occurrence in an age when even physicians failed to maintain proper hygiene. Sometimes a midwife or a physician had to service both animals and people, leaving a newborn calf to minister to a woman in labor. Childbed fever was a result of an infection introduced during childbirth and, without knowledge of infection and without antibiotics, women suffered horrible deaths. That is why so many men in this period had 2 or 3 wives, as childbearing was the most dangerous activity a woman could experience.
5.JOHN LABIN (Leabon)–my 3rd great grandfather Birth 1797 in Hadleigh, Norfolk, England Marriage to 5a.MARY DAVIS (Davie) 1822 28 Dec — Age: 25 Tynemouth, Northumberland, England. Listed as a marine (or mariner) 1851 — Age: 54 Church St. Hilda, S. Shields, Durham, ENG–Marriage license of son John Labin and Ann Te(n)nant Arrival 1870 18 Oct NY, NY, USA–Emigration from Liverpool on board City of Brooklyn
Residence 1870 Dec New York Ward 11 District 5 (2nd Enum), New York, New York Avenue B, between 8th & 9th Streets. Death aft 1870 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States. Spouse: MARY DAVIS (Davie) 1806 – 1836. Children: Lewis Labon or Leabon 1826 – ? 6. JOHN LABIN 1828–1888.
John Labin 1797 presents conflicting information for researchers, because we have source materials indicating that he may have emigrated to NY in 1850, working as a retail dealer in liquor and owner of a billiard parlor, and dying in Brooklyn, NY about 1870. While interesting, this conflicts with other documentary evidence that John Labin, the grandfather of Thomas Lewis Labin, was a marine or a mariner in 1851 when son John married Ann Ten(n)ant. I have been unable to find mention of his death in England or elsewhere. The John Labin in NY is identified in italics with square brackets around his details below. A third possibility indicates that John Labin, born in France, emigrated to NY in 1870 and died there. Whether, indeed, this is our John Labin, I have no clue, but ‘Pap’ always said his father (really, grandfather) was born in France, and this 1870 connection does verify that possible connection.
[Unverified: John Labin –Residence 1850 — Age: 53 Brooklyn Ward 10, Kings, New York.Occupation 1850 — Age: 53 Brooklyn Ward 10 District 1, Kings, New York, Hotel] [Residence 1860 — Age: 63 Brooklyn Ward 10 District 1, Kings, New York Residence 1863 — Age: 66 6 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn Ward 10, Dist. 1, Kings, New York–IRS Taxes Paid Occupation 1863 — Age: 66 6 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY, Retail Dealer in Liquor, Billiard Room, & Billiard Tables. John Labin, grandfather of Thomas Lewis Labin (my great-grandfather), may be listed as a passenger on the ship City of Brooklyn, arriving in NY 18 Oct 1870 from Liverpool, England. (New York Passenger Lists,1820-1957, MS #M 237 Roll M237_335 List # 993, ancestry.com). The 1870 US Census for New York lists John Labin, born in France, no occupation listed, age 61. He is listed in house #131 (apartment building?) on Avenue B between 8th and 9th Streets, with others from France (1) and Germany; other occupants include a saloon keeper and wife, lumber merchant and family, and moulder and family. (Ship Name: City of Brooklyn Years in service:1869-1878 Funnels:1 Masts:3 Aliases:Brooklyn (1878) Shipping Line:Inman Ship Description:Built by Tod & McGregor, Glasgow, Scotland. Tonnage: 2,911. Dimensions: 354′ x 43′. Single-screw,13 knots.Inverted engines. Three masts and one funnel. Iron hull. History: Renamed: Brooklyn (1878). Wrecked in 1885).]
6. JOHN LABIN–my 2nd great grandfather Birth 7 Apr 1828 (or 17 Apr 1825) in Tynemouth, Durham County, or N Shields, Northumberland, ENG. Baptism 1828 9 May Tynemouth, Northumberland, England Occupation 1840 Parish St. Hilda, S. Shields, Durham County, ENG–John Labin was a Collier; listed as coal trimmer in 1861 Religion 1851 bef St. Hilda, S. Shields, Durham, ENG Anglican (Church of England). Marriage to 6a.ANN TEN(N)ANT 1851 6 Apr Parish St. Hilda, S. Shields, Durham County, ENG–according to the rites of the Established Church, by banns, by J. Carr, Incumbent. Witnessed by ? Jameson and James Ramsey. John described as a bachelor and Ann a spinster, both “of full age.” John’s profession is collier. They lived in Parish St.Hilda. Education 1851 6 Apr Parish St. Hilda, S. Shields, Durham County, ENG.
John Labin was born in 1828, and baptized 9 May 1828 as John Labon according to the Tynemouth, Northumberland, England Christening records. His father is listed as John Labon and mother Mary. On John and Ann Ten(n)ant’s marriage license, his father is listed as a mariner or marine (if he was in the Royal Marines or was a French Marine or simply a mariner–fisherman, I have found no records to so indicate). Since most people at this time were illiterate, spelling the name “Labon” or “Labin” was probably a choice made by the clerk based on what he heard. Family lore has it that the name Labin was originally something like “de Labine,” but searches in French records have not uncovered the original John Labin under any soundex versions of the name.
Residence 1861 Bishopwearmouth, Durham, England (British Census); Residence 1871 Ryhope, Durham, England (British Census); Residence 1881 Brandon and Byshottles, Durham, England, Browney Colliery, St. John’s Brandon (Eccl), District 12 (British Census); Departure 1884 15 Sep Liverpool, England–Emigration on board Catalonia Arrival 1884 15 Sep Boston, Massachusetts. Death 8 Sep 1885 (or 18 Aug 1888) in Brownsville, Fayette, PA, USA. Spouse: ANN TEN(N)ANT 1833 – 1889. Children: Christopher Labin 1851 – 1864; John Labin 1852 – 1910; Alice Margaret Labin 1854 – 1921; William James Labin 1856 – 1875; Alexander Labin* 1858-1934; Mary Jane Labin 1859 – 1862; Thomas Labin 1862 – 1862; Mary Ann Labin 1863 – 1929; Matthew Labin 1865-1927; 7. THOMAS LEWIS LABIN 1867 – 1951; George Labin 1870 – 1872.
John Labin was a collier (British version of a coal miner). Neither John nor his wife Ann Ten(n)ant could sign their names to the marriage certificate, making an X only. Son Thomas Lewis Labin (my great-grandfather) followed the legal requirements for citizenship at that time, applying for and being naturalized five years later, in 1889. We have no evidence that John Labin was ever naturalized, since he died a year after his arrival in America. John Labin’s wife, our second great grandmother, Ann Ten(n)ant Labin, remarried after John’s death, to a wealthy farmer originally from England named Richard Braithwaite. When Thomas Lewis Labin married Grace Howie and they had a son, they named him Richard, after the second husband. [Some of these documents, such as Thomas Lewis’s naturalization papers, are in the hands of my Uncle Roger Labin.]
Thomas Lewis Labin’s siblings reveal much about 19th-century life in England—Thomas Lewis was the 2nd Thomas born to John and Anne, the first having died in infancy, along with Christopher, George, Mary Jane, and two others who died young—the 1st Christopher and William James. Infant mortality was extremely high in this era, and those in their teens or twenties usually succumbed to accident (drowning or work injury). Our family was lucky that none of the sons had to die in a war in this time. My great grandfather, Thomas Lewis Labin, was born in Ryhope Colliery, in a shack owned by the coal mining company; likewise, his mother Ann Ten(n)ant Labin, was born on Murton Row in a colliery. After coming to America, Ann Ten(n)ant Labin would be widowed and would marry a wealthy landowner named Richard Braithwaite, who employed both Alexander Labin and my great grandfather on his farm.
When Thomas married Grace Howie, they named their first (and only) child after Richard Braithwaite. Thomas Lewis Labin would be a farmer or miner his whole life, while his son Richard would work in the coal mines, trucking, and other trades before settling down on a farm with his large family. The marriage records indicate that John Labin and Ann Ten(n)ant Labin were both illiterate when they married, but they must have learned to read and write eventually. This was common in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially among the working class poor who often put their sons out to work in the mines or sent them on board ships as cabin boys when they were only 6-8 years old! They put their daughters out to work as housemaids or as laborers in the factories springing up during the Industrial Revolution. Richard Labin, Sr., for example, had only a 3rd-grade education, as he had to begin working either in the coal mines or on the farm at the age of 8. Despite this, our grandfather read voraciously and was self-taught in mechanics and carpentry. He and his sons also enjoyed hunting, an activity denied the working class in England, where hunting was a ‘gentleman’s’ sport.
JOHN LABIN and ANN TENANT LABIN (my great-great grandparents) arrived in Boston, MA 15 Sept 1884 on the ship Catalonia from Liverpool, England. According to the passenger list, John (age 54) and Ann (age 50), as well as sons Matthew (19; listed as “Matt”) and THOMAS LEWIS LABIN (17; listed as “Thos,” my great grandfather) traveled in 2nd class or Intermediate compartments–still considered Steerage, but a better class than for the poorest travelers, still lower than the Saloon or Cabin, for the 1st-class (rich) passengers. All 3 men are listed as miners, all citizens of England, and all intend a “protracted sojourn,” a term used to refer to immigrants who intend to become citizens. John and Ann have 4 pieces of luggage, while Matthew and Thomas have just 2, and they all list Pennsylvania as their destination. Passenger List Info—Arrival Date: 15 Sep 1884 [John] Age: 54 years Estimated Birth Year: abt 1830 Gender: Male –Ethnic Background: English. Port of Departure: Liverpool, England. Ship Name: Catalonia Port of Arrival: Boston, Massachusetts. Microfilm Roll Number: M277_94. The Ship’s Master during this voyage was Captain Alexander McKay. According to the Ships List and other sites, the Labin’s likely paid about $35 (probably in gold) the intermediate class (second-class)–still considered steerage by the shipping line–as compared to $60, $80, or $100 for 1st-class tickets, a total of $140 for the family.
What did these tickets actually cost? In 2008, $35.00 from 1884 was worth $792.39 (using the Consumer Pricing Index), so passage for the 4 Labins (John, Ann, Matthew, and Thomas Lewis) would have been about $3169.56 just for the ocean cruise; docking fees and taxes, food and lodging once disembarked, and passage overland to their destination in Pennsylvania would have been an additional price. The tendency then was to over-charge new immigrants who had no recourse but to pay once landed in America. (http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/fares/fares1887.html http://www.measuringworth.com).
During my research in this area, I discovered why John and Ann Labin were separated from sons Matthew and Thomas. Standard procedure for passenger ships such as the Catalonia was to segregate passengers based on gender and marital status. One area was strictly for married couples, while a second section was for female passengers only, and a third section was for male (single) passengers. So, although families travelled together on the same ship, they were not in the same compartments. Whether they were able to be together during the day, at meals, and so on, is yet to be determined.
The SS Catalonia: SS Catalonia launched 1881. Built in Clydebank (Glasgow), Scotland by J & G Thomson in Yard #180 for the Cunard
Steamship Company. Port of Registry: Liverpool. Propulsion: Steam Compound exp. 4,841 gross tons, length 429.6ft x beam 43.0ft, one funnel, three masts, iron hull, single screw, speed 13 knots, accommodation for 200-1st and 1,500-3rd class passengers. Launched: Saturday, 14 May 1881. Type: Passenger Cargo Vessel. Tonnage: 4841 gross tons. Length: 429 Feet. Breadth: 43 feet. On 18 Apr 1883 she transferred to the Liverpool-Queenstown-Boston service and commenced her last transatlantic crossing on 19 Sep 1899. In Nov 1899 she made one voyage as a Boer War troop transport and in 1901 was scrapped in Italy. (North Atlantic Seaway, vol.1 by NRP Bonsor; http://www.schiffspost.com/flot te_catalonia.html; http://www.clydebuiltships.co.uk; http://www.clydesite.co.uk (eds.: Joe McMillan Collection, Gavin Stewart, Paul Strathdee, Bruce Biddulph from the original records by Stuart Cameron); http://www.shippingtimes.co.uk; and http://www.norwayheritage.com).
The Cunard Line: “Founded in 1840 as the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, the name was changed to the Cunard Steamship Company, Limited in 1878 but that was soon shortened to the Cunard Line. The first trip was made by the Britannia on July 4, 1840, in 14 days and 8 hours. Cunard sailed from Liverpool to New York and Boston with a stop for some years in Halifax. Queenstown was also added to the route for the mail service. By the 1880s, the voyage was taking less than 6 days, in the faster ships, from Liverpool to New York. Cunard also added routes to various other countries. They ran weekly, sailing on Saturday, with their mail vessels and fortnightly, sailing on Tuesdays, with other vessels. In 1934 the Cunard and White Star Lines were merged, forming Cunard-White Star Limited but White Star ships continued to sail under their own livery and are included in the White Star Line fleet list. Another name change took place in 1949 to the Cunard Steam-Ship Company Limited and, in 1962, to Cunard Line Limited. The rise in popularity of air travel caused the demise of transatlantic passenger ship travel and Cunard concentrated on pleasure cruising and cargo operations after 1970.” (Source: http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/cunard.html). Funnels, Flags, and Night Signals of the Transatlantic Lines (from The History of North Atlantic Steam Navigation, by Henry Fry, 1896, p. 292.). The Cunard line: Funnels: Red with two or three narrow black bands and black top; Flags: Red, with yellow lion holding world; Night Signals: Blue light and two Roman candles, each throwing six blue balls.http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/funnels.html.
7.THOMAS LEWIS LABIN–my great grandfather ‘Pap’ Birth 18 Dec 1867 in Ryhope Colliery, Sunderland, Durham, England Baptism 1868 11 Feb Primitive Methodist Register Book of Baptisms, Flag-lane, Sunderland Circuit, Bishopwearmouth Parish, Durham, ENG Baptism by John Watson. Residence 1871 — Age: 4 Ryhope, Durham, England; Residence 1881 — Age: 14 Brandon and Byshottles, Durham, England; Departure 1884 15 Sep — Age: 16 Liverpool, England–Emigration; Arrival 1884 15 Sep — Age: 16 Boston, Massachusetts–On board The Catalonia; Naturalization 1889 9 Sep — Age: 21 Bellefonte, Centre County, PA– Naturalization authorized by L.A. Schaeffer, prothonotary at Court of Common Pleas.
Marriage to 7a.GRACE HOWIE 1890 11 Sep — Age: 22 Cumberland, Allegheny County, MD–Marriage certificate/license signed by Clarence Buel, Rector of Emmanuel Church. Property 1899 30 Jan — Age: 31 Crewe, Nottoway County, VA–Deed for cemetery plot (section #90 in Robertson’s Cemetery, recorded in deed book #13) signed by M.J. Robertston for $10 cash, sold “seized in fee” w/general warranty, sworn by W.C. Butler, Justice of Peace. Residence 1900 — Age: 33 South Huntingdon, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania; Property 1918 20 Dec — Age: 51 Shippingport, PA–Diamond ring guarantee from I. Press & Sons, Wholesale Jewelers, Phila, PA, weight: 50/100. Value $51.87. Residence 1920 — Age: 53 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Residence 1930 — Age: 63 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Residence 1935 — Age: 68 Rural, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Residence 1940 1 Apr — Age: 72 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania, United States–Age: 72; Marital Status: Married. Death 1951 30 Sep — Age: 83 Point Marion, Fayette, Pennsylvania, United States. Spouse: GRACE HOWIE 1870 – 1944; son 8. RICHARD LABIN 1891 – 1963.
The family story of the Labin family emigrating from England and the Howie’s from Scotland to make a better life for themselves in America indicates that Thomas Lewis Labin and his brother Alexander Labin met the Howie sisters–Grace and Janet–on the boat from the UK. It was common for departures to take place from Liverpool or London, for example, with additional stops in Glasgow, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland on the way to America. It is a romantic enough notion, but it never happened! Some of the Labin’s, parents John and Ann Ten(n)ant Labin and sons Matthew and Thomas Lewis Labin arrived in 1884, while Alexander had preceded them in 1881. Immigrants had to wait 5 years to become naturalized citizens with jobs and sponsors, etc. Thomas and Grace married about a year after his naturalization. During this time period, wives (or fiancees) were not required to go through their own individual naturalization. Once their husbands became citizens, the wives and children were sort of carried on their coat tails, as it were. Grace Howie, her sister Janet, and parents Robert and Mary had arrived in 1882 on board the SS Lord Clive. Since Alexander and Thomas did not arrive at the same time nor on the same boat, and the Howie’s likewise arrived on a different boat at a different time, the story of a shipboard romance is simply a myth. More likely, the Labin’s and Howie’s met when they all settled in the same area in PA (near Snowshoe).
*”Alexander Labin was born in Sunderland, England 18 March 1858, the son of John Labin and Ann Tenent (Tenant/Tennant). He was educated in the common schools of England and then became a coal miner until 19 September 1881 when he emigrated to the US. He first settled in Danville, Montour County, PA, working in the blast furnaces. He soon moved to Snow Shoe, Center County, PA, where he worked in the coal mines until 1882 when he went to Philipsburg, Center County, PA, and continued coal mining there until July of that year. Alexander moved to Dunbar, Fayette County, PA, coal mining there just two months before being employed by Richard Braithwaite* on his farm near Brownsville, Fayette County, PA. After two years of farming, he moved to Brownsville and returned to the mines. In 1898 Alexander Labin was elected as a member of the council for Brownsville, doing himself credit and providing satisfaction to constituents. The following year he became a policeman as well as a health and truant officer. On 24 October 1883, Alexander married Janet (Jeanette/Jeannett) Howie, daughter of Robert Howie and Mary Pope who had emigrated from Scotland and were living in Snow Shoe. Janet Howie was the sister of Grace Howie, who married Alexander’s younger brother, Thomas Lewis/Louis Labin.” [our great-grandparents]. “Alexander and Janet had eight living children and two who died: John, Robert, Mary, Matthew, Alexander, Thomas Lewis, James, and George Poundstone.” (Source: Hart, J. Percy. Hart’s history and directory of the three towns, Brownsville, Bridgeport, West Brownsville: also, abridged history of Fayette County & western Pennsylvania. Cadwallader, Pa.: J.P. Hart, 1904).
* Richard Braithwaite was a wealthy farmer who became Ann Ten(n)ant Labin’s 2nd husband after John Labin died. Thomas Lewis Labin worked for him on the farm, and his son with Grace Howie was named Richard in honor of this step-father.
8.RICHARD LABIN–my paternal grandfather Birth 21 Oct 1891 in Redstone Township, Fayette County, PA, USA; Residence 1900 — Age: 9 South Huntingdon, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania; Education 1900 — Age: 9 PA,WV–Richard Labin (Sr.) had a 3rd-grade education. Occupation aft 1905 — Age: 14 PA Coal miner. Marriage to 8a.RUBY ISABELLE MOORE 1913 28 Jun — Age: 21 Weston, Lewis County, WV, USA; Residence 1915 — Age: 24 Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Residence 1917 -1918 — Age: 26 Not Stated, Beaver, Pennsylvania–WW I Draft Card; Residence 1920 — Age: 29 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Residence 1930 — Age: 39 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Residence 1935 — Age: 44 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Residence 1940 1 Apr — Age: 48 Springhill, Fayette, Pennsylvania, United States Age: 48; Marital Status: Married; Residence 1942 — Age: 51 Fayette, Pennsylvania–WW II Draft Card; Death 1963 30 Jul — Age: 71 Chuluota, Orange, Florida, USA. Cremation & Burial 1963 Jul Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Pt. Marion, PA. Medical 1963 — Age: 72 Chuluota, Seminole, FL–Cause of death: intestinal obstruction; carcinoma of recto-sigmoid colon. Spouse: RUBY ISABELLE MOORE 1896 – 1972. Children: Ruth Evaline Labin 1915 – 2004; Eugene “Bud” Labin 1918 – 2003; Jean (‘Sis’) Labin 1918 – 1972; Eleanor Grace Labin 1919 – 2011; 9. RICHARD LABIN, JR. 1923 – 2001; Roger Lee Labin 1932 – ; Hubert G (‘Buck’) Labin 1935 – .
© Copyright 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD (except as noted)