Tag Archives: orphanage

OA: The continuing saga of British Home Child Orphan Annie

Research is a wonderful thing and there is always a story within a story, within a story. The very word ‘research’ tickles something deep in my cerebral cortex.  I have discovered that nothing comes to fruition on one’s own.  Links are found and must be followed and where they lead may not be anywhere close to where you thought you wanted to go. And sometimes in a very round about fashion they take you right back to exactly where you wanted to go in the first place,

Do you believe in serendipity; chance occurrences that result in a happy outcome?  There are many who claim there is no such thing as coincidence.  Either way wonderful things can and do happen.

I have a very dear friend who lives half a world away from me in New Zealand named Judith.  We started blogging on WordPress about the same time and an immediate link was established.  So we began emailing, then messaging and now we Skype each week, she with a morning tea, and me often with an evening glass of red.  This had been going on for some time, not the drinking but the Skyping and one day she asked, ‘What are you working on?’

I told her about my great-grandmother, about British Home Children, and about my research which had been going on for year at this point.  At first I just gave general information, and Judith told me about a movie called Oranges and Sunshine, a movie based on a book, Empty Cradles, by Margaret Humphreys and I told her about, Orphan at My Door, written by Jean Little.

On this particular Skype session I expressed my frustration at not knowing how to proceed with the information I had.  “I even have her address her family lived at from her birth certificate we got from Somerset House in 1963.  She was born February 14th, 1884 and her family lived at 4 Poole Rd. South Hackney.”

There was a long pause and I thought perhaps the computer screen had frozen as it does from time to time.  “Where was she born?” Judith asked.

I repeated the information.  Judith calmly said, “That’s about a mile from where I grew up.”  *Please note this was in a different century.

We marveled at the coincidence of it all.  Judith then said that her sister Marianne still lived in England and at times would go into London. Well next thing I knew this arrived,

4 Poole Rd area today (2)

Obviously the original structures are no longer there but I felt overwhelmed by the very thought of the location, the historical link between two friends and the loving action of a sister thousands of miles from each of us.  It sort of completes a circle, or in this case a triangle on the globe.

Now:

THE REST OF THE STORY

We knew the when and the where but not the why or the who until now.

In 1859 there was a former Cholera Hospital at 60 Commercial St. and Flowers and Dean St. which Annie MacPherson first used as The Home. In the late 1880’s it moved to the corner of Club Row and Bethnal Green Rd. which was on the edge of old Nicholas Slum.  This is where Annie was taken.  Thanks to Google Maps this is what that area looks like now:

club row etc

London, especially East End London was full of designated slum neighbourhoods.

Annie was shipped to Canada as part of the BHC program in 1888.  She left Liverpool with 86 other children on July 12, 1888 on board the ship The Parisian.  She arrived in Quebec on July 21, 1888 and then proceeded to Stratford, Ontario.

Not much is known about her life her until 1899 when at the age of 15 she married James Henry White.

But what of her family in England?  What happened to her folks?  Did she have brothers and sisters?  What happened in a four year period from birth on Poole Rd. to entry as an orphan at Bethnal Green?  Lots of questions and now some answers.

Francis Frampton, Annie’s father, was born about 1843, and lived at Mile End, Islington, London.

He was a widower when he married Edith Davies, having been previously married to Sarah Louisa Langlois who lived from 1847 to 1871 and with whom he had a son, William F. Frampton who was born in 1871.  Presumably she died in childbirth but that is not a confirmed fact.  I currently have no knowledge of what happened to William.

Francis married Edith Davies on April 22, 1873 and they lived at 74 Hill St.

Following family lines gets a little confusing for me, so I will start with Annie’s grandparents.

Francis father was also named Francis Frampton (there were 3 generations I know of named Francis Frampton so I shall refer to them as 1, 2, and 3. Annie’s father was the 2nd).

Francis Frampton 1 was born in 1812 (no date of death known yet), and he married Elizabeth Yorkton Slo (1813-1837). He was a banker’s clerk.

Now Annie’s mother and father were: Joshua Davies, born 1817 and married to Eliza Stevens, also born 1817.  I do not know at this point of Edith Davies had siblings.

Francis Frampton 2nd (Annie’s father) did have known siblings, Ann Frampton born 1847, William Frampton, born 1849, George Frampton 1845, and Elizabeth Frampton 1840.  So he was one of five known children.

Francis 2nd and Edith Davies Frampton had 3 known children in addition to their half brother William.  They were:

*Alice Maude Frampton (1876-1958).  This very interesting first known child of Francis and Edith was Baptized November 19, 1876, in the Parish, All Hallows, Tottenham, in the Borough  Harringly.  She died June 27th, 1958. Maude never married.

*Francis Frampton 3rd (1878) who wed Grace Violet Thomas (born 1889). Francis George Frampton was baptized July 28th, 1878 and the baptism record shows their address at 54 Arlington Rd. and his father’s (Francis 2nd) occupation as Grocer’s Assistant.

And then of course *Annie Frampton 1884 – who was Baptized April 24, 1884.

Our family, and Annie Frampton White, wondered for many years what happened that this wee girl ended up homeless and thousands of miles away.  Speculation had been that her father had died and her mother simply could not look after this child.

The truth is much sadder.  Annie’s mother was born in 1853 and died in 1887.  There is another death listed that same day in the same place as Albert Frampton age 0, so I can only assume Edith Davies Frampton died in childbirth, as did Francis 2nd, first wife Sarah.

It would seem that he just could not look after this youngest child.  Her brother and older sister could contribute to the household, even at their young ages but not a child of 3.  There was a record of Francis Frampton, spouse Edith Davies Frampton who died in Pennsylvania.  As soon as I have that specific info I will add it here in an edit.

So folks that is the story as promised.  Many  many questions answered.  Many more to ask.  But for Annie Frampton White this is THE story.happy annie

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The Continuing Saga of Our Own Orphan Annie, Who Turned Out Not to Be Exactly That

Perhaps there are those who are able to go about their lives unfettered

by such concerns. 

But for those like us, our fate is to face the world as orphans,

chasing through long years the shadows of vanished parents. 

There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end,

as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.”

Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans

It seems quite strange that the one descendant that could be classified as an orphan, and who grew up in an Orphanage at 51 Avon St. in Stratford, Ontario, arriving in 1888 at the tender age of four years old, was not strictly an orphan, AND that this information was not known until she was seventy-nine years old in 1963.  So really, in her mind and the minds of her family she was an orphan all those years. 

She had randomly given herself a birthday of May 1883 just so she could say she had a birthday. Annie Dorothy (called Dolly then) Frampton suddenly, in 1963 knew her mother and father’s name, where she was born and what her address was in Hackney.  On February 14, 1964 the family held her official eightieth birthday party. She died a year later.

annie's 80th birthday

At the tender age of fifteen she married her one love, James Henry White, who was nineteen at the time, on December 20, 1899.  The marriage was held at the orphanage, the Annie MacPherson Home at 51 Avon St. in Stratford Ontario.  Annie went on to have fourteen pregnancies, eight of which lived to adulthood.

I knew nothing else and had no idea how to find out more about her parents, and the “why’ of her apparent abandonment.  I mean how does a child be born into a family and four years later be one of the British Home Children living in Canada?

Of course there was much speculation, especially by Annie herself as she grew.  As human beings we try to make sense of who we are and where we are and how come we are.  Annie had told my sister more than forty years ago that she thought she remembered her father’s body lying in the parlour.  I was pretty sure that might have been something her young mind wanted to remember.

Having no idea how to go about finding out information I reached out to the Divine Ms M I mentioned the other day. Not THE Divine Miss M of course.  So a half world away, a cousin who is experienced in genealogy came to my rescue and what a wonderful job she did.

So as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here is the rest of the story.”

It turns out that Annie had not just a mother and father but a sister, a brother, and a half-brother.  Her father had been married and widowed before he wed Edith Davies Frampton, and had produced a son named William Francis Frampton who was born in 1871, thirteen years before Annie’s birth.

Tomorrow I shall go into detail on the who, and a bit of the what, and why of it all.   It is exciting, sad, heartwarming, and reassuring.  Annie died in 165 not knowing any of this and all of her children are now gone, but our generation and those that follow will finally know.

 

 

A Moment in Time

**Note this may only be of interest to family

This is the story of a young girl, born in Hackney England in 1884.  Four years later in July 1888 she was an orphan situated at ‘The Annie MacPherson Home”, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She was sixty years old before she knew for sure when she arrived at the Home.  She was seventy-nine before she knew the date of her birth, the names of her mother and father, and her address in Hackney.  She had assigned herself a birthday just to have something to celebrate. Her eightieth birthday was the only accurate birthday date, and that party was mighty.  She died a year later. But there was great joy in her life as the following photos will show.

This is a peek at a wee book I have put together as a gift to my godmother for her 90th birthday this month. The booklet is about her grandmother, my great-grandmother. I will post it just a few chapters at a time.

I must say it was a surprisingly huge task considering its size, but research took months and I certainly have enough information to write ten books.  But for now that information has been filed.  I have had a few books printed and will present Elaine’s to her at her party.

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Chapter One                                                              Beginnings

                                                                    Annie at 60

This is the story of an incredible woman, without whose participation, none of us would exist today.  She had a sad and hard beginning, one that might make us wonder how she could ever have had any degree of happiness.

But the good thing about life is that, regardless of hardship, pain, and loss, there is still joy to be had.  Perhaps the loss makes the happiness sweeter.

Annie Dorothy Frampton had a beautiful, joyous smile.  This will be evidenced in some photos you will see later.  Her joy was her family.

The very thing she lived her early years without, became her greatest treasure, by her own making.

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Chapter 2                                           Robert White 1832-1916

Before we tell Annie’s story we must start in Glasgow, Scotland in 1832, when Annie’s future father-in-law, Robert White was born.  Little is known about his early years, though we know that on Saturday, the 17th day of April, 1858, in the town of Stratford England, 26 year old Robert enlisted in the 100 Regiment of Foot, Horse Guard.  Less than a year later he mustered out of the Guard for a fee of twenty pounds at Shorncliffe England with a Good Conduct rating.

Robert White wearing his dress uniform

   robert dress uniform                                                                                                                                                              

 robert discharge document

What happened to Robert between 1859 and 1871?   By this time he had immigrated to Ontario, Canada, and a year later, at the age of 40, married 17 year old Leah Strickler in 1872.

Scots had been immigrating to Canada since the 17th century, and around the years that Robert White came to Ontario, 80,000 Scots entered Canada.  From the time of his discharge from the Horse Guard, it was 21 years until the birth of his one and only child James.

Below is Robert’s death notice.  At that time he lived in Paris and died on August 4th, 1916 at 11 pm in his 85th year.  His funeral left the home of his son James White, West River St., Paris, Ontario, on Monday August 7th at 9:30 am for the GTR Depot following a service in the home of James.  Interment was in the Mennonite Cemetery at Bright.

death notice Robert White

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Chapter 3                                      The Stricklers of Preston, Ontario

Let’s for a moment jump back even further in time and place to York Pennsylvania, USA in the year 1822.  Specifically November 22, 1822.

Part of the Pennsylvania Dutch immigration, Reuben arrived in Ontario where he met and married Leah Witmer, who was the first of three wives.  Leah and Reuben had nine children, one of whom, named after her mother, would grow up to marry Robert White many years later.  Women died, often in childbirth and men remarried to have someone care for their children.

reuben memorial page (3)    reuben memorial page (4)

 

__________________________________________________________________

Chapter 4                                               Robert and Leah

 

Leah and Robert married in 1872.  She was 17 yrs. and he was 40 yrs. old.  They had no living children until James Henry White was born in 1880.

In reviewing the Canadian Census Records of the time, it appears that the age difference did bother Robert.

In 1871, Robert properly listed himself as 39 yrs. old.  This was a year before he married his very young bride.

In 1881, ten years later Robert is listed as Presbyterian, Leah as Mennonite, James, the baby, as 6 months old.  Robert’s age is recorded as 44 years old – short by 5 years.

In 1891, Robert lists his age as 49 years.  He was really 59 at the time.  So our many times ‘great’ grandfather only aged 10 years over 20 years.

Interestingly, Annie Frampton, in the same census (1891) is listed under the family of J. Willows, a 34 yr. old farmer from England, who had a number of children listed. (Is it possible this family took her in from the orphanage?)  She is stated as 7 yrs. old.

****Next post is the story of the young Annie and then Annie, her husband James, and their life and legacy