I have been researching my family for several years, finding many different surnames. Francis Haite appeared, working as a shipwright in the Royal Navy Dockyard at Chatham, just down the road from me.
On my tree I had his parents and many of his descendants all the way down to myself. His father was also a shipwright. I always thought it odd that I could find no sign of Francis dying. Then, by chance, I found his name on the Captain Cook Society website, with the same parents and children as on my tree. It is an unusual name, I think you will agree. Then I read that he worked as a ship’s carpenter on Cook's First Voyage—pretty ideal for a shipwright in those days.
From the Cook chronology on the CCS website, I learned why he was never buried here: he died at sea, on 30 January 1771, a month after Endeavour left Batavia.
The tree on the CCS website names Francis’s wife as Margaret Locke. I don’t consider this surname proven, based on what I’ve seen. The tree also shows Francis’s father’s father as Edward Hait, with a wife named Susan. I believe she was Susanna Polley, and the marriage took place on 4 April, 1690, at Rochester.
Francis Haite’s two sons became naval clerks in the same dockyard. I imagine their mother forbade them to go to sea, so as not to share their father’s fate.
One of the sons, Thomas, appears to have lost his barn in a fire, according to the following report that appeared in the Hampshire Chronicle, 16 April, 1787.
Sunday morning bout two o clock a dreadful fire (supposed to be wilfully occasioned) broke out in a barn belonging to Mr Summerset of Brompton near Chatham which entirely destroyed the same with a quantity of straw etc in it also the stabling, a cow, several pigs etc Mr Summerset’s horses were with difficulty saved. The fire then communicated to Carpenters Row where Mr Strover, Mr Pank Mr Sherlock Mrs Douglas and Mrs Simmons became sufferers. The first four had their houses entirely burnt down except Mr Pank of which a little brickwork is remaining. Mrs Simmons house was pulled down to prevent further ravages. Mrs Douglas and Mr Sherlock lost all their property and Mr Strover and Mr Pank nearly all, particularly Mr Strover. Mrs Simmons had also some barns burnt down entirely. Lt Orrick of the navy had a stable and laundry destroyed and his house was with difficulty saved. Mrs Orrick being ill was obliged to be carried out of the house. Mr Thomas Haites one of the clerks of Chatham dockyard has his stable etc burnt down. It is impossible to describe the confusion the people were thrown into. The soldiers, both from the old barracks and the marines barracks, attended and were very useful. Capt Lane by his exertions saved Brompton from being burnt. There was also a good supply of water from the dockyard. The fire was got under control about 5 o clock the next morning. The loss to the insurance offices and the sufferers is estimated at £3,000.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 28, volume 37, number 3 (2014).
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