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September 26, 2018

Starving Boys Taken From Parents in 1892 pt 2

Carcassian Passenger List - Mustin brothers
When 10 year old Ernest and 12 year old George Mustin set foot on board the ship Carcassian on June 16, 1892 they must have been frightened.  They sailed together with a group of children from the Middlemore Homes in Birmingham England. All they knew was they were being sent to Canada to work as farm hands in Ontario. 

13 days later they landed in Quebec City, Quebec and were immediately sent on to Stratford, Ontario, where they would be part of Ms. Macpherson's Home for Children. More strangers. More adults bustling them here and there without telling them where they were going. Would they be together? Would the authorities separate them? Those young lads were expected to comply, do as they were told, speak only if spoken to, and behave themselves.
On July 11th John Hackett applied to take George on as a farm hand on his farm. Ernest was taken in by a German family headed by John Geinhselder living in Milverton Ontario where he was to work as a farm hand.
Middlemore Homes had inspectors in Canada who visited the homes where the children were placed. Luckily Library and Archives Canada holds the Middlemore records and after sending for records for Ern and George we learn that young Ernest attended a wedding with his new family in March 1893. The inspector noted that Ernest was with a "nice family of Germans where he's well looked after." Young Ern was attending school and church regularly.

His brother George was not doing as well. His first report in June 1893 stated that George was not a strong boy, so not much help with the chores, but was "able to do a bit." George wasn't happy and it seems the hired hand bullied him. He was told he should be grateful he had a home and that he must do better. In the winter of that year, the head of the house had an accident and George was kept out of school in order to help out. George's last report in 1898 shows he had managed to grow stronger and adapt to his new life.


April 1898 was the last time Ernest, who was then 16 years old, had an inspection. That report read "April 1898. Ernest very small and weak for his age and can’t do a great deal. Goes to Church and Sunday School and has a good home where they take —— [???]"
His time with Middlemore was done. He left the family and moved to Perth County where by 1901 he was found working as a servant for the Rogers family. Ernest's story has a happy ending, for in 1904 he married Alice Bell, a beautiful young woman 6 years his senior. The couple had 4 children during their 44 year marriage. His brother George never married but remained close to Ernest all their lives. It is not known if they ever had contact with their parents after being removed from the home, but it's doubtful. Ernest did not know his mother's name for when he married her name was left blank. What I find distressing is that his parents went on to have another son the year after the two brothers were removed from the home. I have not yet found out what happened to that child. I do know the father Thomas died in 1925 as an inmate of the local poorhouse, his mother Ellen having died the same year Ern married.

This was a family rife with tragedies for my research found that Thomas Mustin's father was killed by his daughter's lover in 1904, and his grandmother Hannah Mustin was raped and beaten in her village when she was 89 years old. Perhaps tragedies follow families? I have no answer to that question.
Be sure to read Part 1 of Starving Boys Taken From Parents in 1892.

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