to Canada, 1833 -1939
by Marjorie Kohli
Once our lessons were finished, Cliff
and I leaned close to Mum as she read the story of the golden windows
told of a young fellow who on many evenings saw the windows in the
on the side of the mountain turn golden. After much coaxing, his
allowed him to walk up there to have a look. I couldn’t wait for Mum to
the page so I could hear what happened. I was certainly disappointed
the boy discovered the windows were made of plain glass. It was the
sunset’s reflection that made them appear to be golden.
Probably many of the thousands of children from the United Kingdom and
Ireland who were being sent to Canada believed they would be crossing
golden bridge to a life with a loving family. But upon their arrival
found their adopted parents simply wanted a “worker” with no thought of
them as a family member.
When these children grew up, many tried to put behind them the stigma
attached to being a home child thus never talked to their family of the
This silence not only from the home child but the organizations who
arranged their immigration has caused much frustration on the part of
Marjorie Kohli, who has been actively involved with juvenile and child
migration issues, has with extensive research, meticulously documented
background details on agencies and key organizers in her 480 page book “The
Golden Bridge - Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833 -1939" which gives
the researcher a golden bridge to data that will facilitate the process
whereby one can access home children records.
Agencies arranged for 100,000 children to come to Canada. But of
particular interest to me are the agencies who sent children to New
Brunswick. I found the following information in “The Golden
* In 1852, Moses Perley, the emigration agent at Saint John applied for
100 male and 100 female children from the Poor Law Unions. According to
his list, Carleton County needed 58 male and 47 female children. It
seems requests for hundreds of boys and girls had been received by him.
* In 1869, a number of lads were reported to have been sent out from
the Wellington Farm School, near Edinburgh and from Devonshire to New
Brunswick to good places in the country.
* In 1871, 50 of Maria Rye’s Children arrived in Halifax and were sent
on to New Brunswick.
* John T. Middlemore, the son of a wealthy businessman of Birmingham,
England brought his first group of children to Canada in 1873. In 1895
some land outside of Halifax and by 1901, had placed 250 children in
* The Kibble Institute, Paisley, Scotland placed through the
immigration agent at Saint John, three boys there in 1901.
* Although the Park Row Certified Industrial School, of Bristol sent 42
children to Canada in 1883 and several others in the following years,
children were mainly sent to New Brunswick between 1895 -
* In 1906, with the help of the New Brunswick government, Mrs. Elinor
Close, of England set up the Ellinor Close Farm Home in Nauwigewauk
with thirteen boys and girls.
* In 1903, the Bristol Emigration Society was using the Sailors’ Home
in Saint John in place of a receiving home.
* George Carter Cossar, Scotland purchased a 600-acre farm near Lower
Gagetown in 1910 which became known as the Cossar Farm, Receiving Home
and Distributing Centre for Scotch Lads but was called “Girgenti” by
* The hostel for female immigrants in 1924 was at 35 Union Street,
Marjorie Kohli’s extensive research incorporates background detail on
the Girls’ Family Society, London Ragged School, Carleton House
Industrial School, Redhill Reformatory Farm School and other agencies,
as well as key organizers such as Maria Rye, Annie Macpherson, Thomas
Barnardo and William Quarrier, along with lesser-known ones.
The 480 page publication “The Golden Bridge - Young Immigrants to
Canada, 1833 -1939" by Marjorie Kohli is available at the Gift Shop
of the New Brunswick Museum in Market Square, Saint John and also from
the Kings County Museum, 27 Centennial Road, Centennial Building,
Hampton, NB, Canada, E5N 6N3. Telephone (506) 832-6009. Fax (506)
832-6409. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.