The stories of 38 Home Children who were sent to the two townships, Darlington and Clarke (now the Municipality of Clarington in Durham Region). There were nearly 700 Home Children sent here between the years 1869 and 1949 – read all about them in this new book!
As more and more digitised documents are made available to the public at large in electronic format, this project may never end. It will be an ongoing task to collect the material about an era of our history that started in 1869 and ended as late as 1949. For now, phase one – this book – will have to suffice. It features 38 of the nearly 700 Home Children I was able to locate. Later phases will include the addition of war service, marriage and other information for as many of the nearly 700 as I can find. This information, once assembled into a database, will be presented to all branches of the Clarington Libraries to assist others in their search for ancestral information.
After all the books, tv shows, etc. that have been produced about the Home Children, there are still those who do not know what is meant by that term. The Library and Archives of Canada at Ottawa explains it this way….
“Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada.”
The children who were sent to Canada were destined to be agricultural workers or house servants; however, little thought was given to how these children would react to this new way of life. Some, as young as 5 years old, were put to work on farms, and many, on their first day, were told to go out and milk the cows. Some of these little fellows didn’t even come to a cow’s knee and the beasts frightened them so very much. They were, for the most part, city kids, never having seen a cow in their life. Not only did the boys have a hard life of farm work sun-up to sunset, but the girls were sometimes sexually abused.
The children who were sent to, or taken in on the farms of the former townships of Darlington and Clarke (now the Municipality of Clarington) were well treated. Most wrote glowing reports in later years about how much they owed their foster parents for the teaching and training they had received. Many of the girls were adopted into the families who took them in. After hearing the horror stories from elsewhere in Ontario, I was pleased with my neighbours for the way in which they and their ancestors had treated those who came here in that 80 years of upset they all no doubt suffered.
There were over 24 homes and organizations in Britain who participated in this mass emigration scheme – 24 of them are listed in the book. For information on the others please see the website at Library and Archives Canada.