Tree plant­ing cel­e­brates Bri­tish Home Chil­dren

The Glengarry News - - News - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK News Staff

A na­tive red maple sapling was planted and ded­i­cated last week at the Kenyon Ceme­tery in hon­our of Ge­orge Fleming ( 1882 - 1947), a Bri­tish Home Child who ar­rived in Canada at the ten­der age of four, was sent to a re­ceiv­ing cen­tre, and then moved on to a farm just east of Kenyon Pres­by­te­rian Church in Dun­ve­gan.

The tree ded­i­ca­tion took place at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing and din­ner of the On­tario East Bri­tish Home Child Fam­ily Group ( OEBHCF) held in Kenyon Church Hall in Dun­ve­gan.

Mr. Fleming’s grand­son Wal­ter Ham­ble­ton who grew up in Glen Robert­son and lives on a farm out­side Lunen­burg, at­tended the ded­i­ca­tion in hon­our of his mother’s fa­ther, thank­ing the church for per­mit­ting the tree plant­ing and the Kenyon Women's As­so­ci­a­tion for serv­ing a lovely ham din­ner in the church hall.

Thirty-one mem­bers of OEBHCF at­tended the lunch and ded­i­ca­tion, each one re­lated to or con­nected to a Bri­tish Home Child.

Judy Neville, cur­rent pres­i­dent of the On­tario East Bri­tish Home Child Fam­ily Group, help spear­head the group in 2012, two years af­ter her brother, for­mer Stor­mon­tDun­das-South Glen­garry MPP Jim Brownell moved sec­ond read­ing of his bill to pro­claim Sept. 28 each year as Bri­tish Home Child Day. Last year SD& G MP Guy Lau­zon also suc­ceeded in his pri­vate mem­ber’s mo­tion call­ing for a na­tional Bri­tish Home Day.

Among the peo­ple at­tend­ing the AGM and ded­i­ca­tion were brothers Garry and Mur­ray Howes whose grand­mother Phyl­lis Ann Simpson who was born circa 1878 at New­cas­tle on Tyne in Eng­land and ar­rived in Canada at age 17 where she worked for the Howard Du­rant fam­ily in Van­kleek Hill be­fore mar­ry­ing Ge­orge Thomas Bar­ton. The cou­ple had 13 chil­dren.

Peter Jack and his wife Lynda of Maxville who are very ac­tive in the On­tario East Group at­tended. Mr. Jack’s grand­fa­ther, David Rait Jack ( 1883 - 1963) was 14 when he and his three sib­lings ar­rived in Canada as true or­phans from Glas­gow.

From the Quar­rier Homes, Bridge of Weir, in Scot­land, David Jack was sent by ship to Hal­i­fax in 1897 and then sent to the Wil­liam Quar­rier Home in Brockville, On­tario. From there he was placed with a fam­ily out­side Pak­en­ham, On­tario, where he would stay un­til he ran away af­ter he was 16.

In a tes­ta­ment to the hu­man spirit, David Rait Jack ended up in Mon­treal where he mar­ried, had six chil­dren, and in 1919, built a home in Pointe Claire where he lived un­til his death. His ca­reer as a print­ing sales 1 rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Cana­dian news­pa­per publisher Southam stretched across Canada. When he re­tired, his son Roy con­tin­ued in the same job for Southam.

To­day, Peter Jack and his wife Lynda con­tinue to re­search the life and ori­gins of David Rait Jack, also giv­ing pre­sen­ta­tions in schools, se­niors’ res­i­dences and var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Jim Brownell and his sib­lings Tom Brownell and Judy Neville are the grand­chil­dren of Mary Scott Pear­son who was 13 when she ar­rived as an or­phan in Hal­i­fax in 1891. From there she would travel to the Fair­knowe Home in Brockville, Ont., a re­ceiv­ing house for or­phans sent to Canada from Scot­land.

Like many of the Home Chil­dren who en­dured the hard­ship of their child­hood, Mary Scott Pear­son went on to live a pro­duc­tive life.

Canada pro­claimed 2010 the Year of the Bri­tish Home Child and the Cana­dian Post Of­fice is­sued an hon­orary stamp in Oc­to­ber in that year to en­sure the past is not for­got­ten.

The on­line Bri­tish Home Chil­dren Ad­vo­cacy & Re­search As­so­ci­a­tion ( BHCARA) holds the names of over 61,000 names.

Any­one look­ing for in­for­ma­tion about their home chil­dren an­ces­tors can search the registry on­line at www.british­home­chil­dren.com

Li­brary and Ar­chives Canada ( LAC) holds unique and ex­ten­sive records about Bri­tish Home Chil­dren, such as pas­sen­ger lists, Im­mi­gra­tion Branch cor­re­spon­dence files and in­spec­tion re­ports, non- govern­ment col­lec­tions such as the Mid­dle­more Home fonds, as well as in­dexes to some records held in the United King­dom.

To learn more about fur­ther re­sources avail­able to peo­ple re­search­ing their home chil­dren an­ces­tors, con­sider join­ing the On­tario East Bri­tish Home Child Fam­ily Group.

The OEBHCF has ex­hibits at the Aultsville Train Sta­tion and can be reached at on­teastbri­tish­home­child­fam­ily.com or by email­ing OEBHCF pres­i­dent Judy Neville at [email protected]

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

MEMO­RIAL TREE: Mem­bers of the On­tario East Bri­tish Home Child Fam­ily Group gather at Kenyon Pres­by­te­rian Church Ceme­tery in Dun­ve­gan to ded­i­cate a na­tive red maple in mem­ory of Bri­tish Home Child, Ge­orge Fleming, a Bri­tish Home Child who came to Canada in 1886 and was raised on a farm just east of Dun­ve­gan.

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