The following series of letters, originally to the Isle of Man Times, were reprinted in the annual report of the Home. The Douglas Industrial Home was a charity founded in 1868 and known as "The Douglas Industrial Home for Orphan and Destitute Children" and in 1881 as "Isle of Man Industrial Home .."
1881 saw a major change in its financial status as it obtained money from the charity established by the will of Pierre Henri Joseph Baume, an eccentric French immigrant; the money removed its previous hand-to-mouth existence and allowed it to buy, in 1882, Strathallan Hall, previously Dr Steele's Academy (which had a high reputation and which he sold on the death of his wife) which allowed for accommodation for 90 children. (The building later became a social centre for Onchan RC church and was demolished in the 1960's - somewhat ironic for what had originally been run by a staunch Presbyterian and then by a very evangelical organisation).
The children were given a good education and although it was known as an "Industrial Home" the work in which the children were engaged was of a self-supporting nature. They had a market garden and glass houses and in inclement weather they assembled paper bags which were sold to local shopkeepers.
As will be seen from the following letters each child was provided with a chest of essential and comprehensive items of clothing. This was no form of cheap labour and the families who took in these children were governed by legal agreements as to the their schooling and general treatment. For example, they were to be paid an agreed monthly sum, they were to attend Sunday School and to receive four months education each year. In many cases the young emigrants were joined by their younger brothers and sisters as time went by. In 1897 emigration via the Quarrier Home ceased as Quarrier would not agree with new legislation brought in by Ontario (which formalised the monitoring of such children) as he claimed he provided an excellent service - such emigration restarted on the death of Quarrier in 1903.
[REPRINTED FROM " THE ISLE OF MAN TIMES."]
From Douglas, Isle of Man, to the Childrens City, Renfrewshire, en route for Canada, March, 1892.
At an early hour on Tuesday morning, March 22nd, all was bustle and excitement in the Childrens Homesome, indeed, being up all night preparing for the journey. Both boys and girls assembled together for their parting hymn, "Shall we gather at the river?" after which earnest prayer was offered to our Father in Heaven, asking that a good passage and fair weather might he given. Leaving those dear ones left behind to the care of Him who alone is able to keep us from falling, and the last parting good-bye being said, we left Strathallan Hall at 4-30 a.m.; boarded the S.S.. Ellan Vannin, and sailed from Douglas at 5-40 oclock,en route for Greenock, where, after a most enjoyable passage, arrived at 5-20 p.m., thence by train at 6-15 to Bridge of Weir, and by conveyances (awaiting our arrival) from Bridge of Weir to Mr. Quarriers Orphan Homes of Scotland, where, we need not tell you, a very hearty reception awaited us. Twelve of our 18 young people were at once fitted out with a box of clothing each for Canada, same as those exhibited at our annual meetings here, orders having been received that all luggage was to be on board steamer next day at one p.m.
The village "Orphan Homes of Scotland" formed by the 40 cottages of varied architectural beauty, handsome church of Gothic style with clock tower 120 feet high, bearing aloft its joyous bells to aid in pealing forth the childrens thankful song of praise to Him who is the orphans stay ; also its new schools now being built on the most modern principle, to accommodate 1,000 children, and the Invalid Boys Home, was on March 23 in a high state of expectancy. Wednesday, 23rd uIt., was the feasting day, when all met to enjoy their parting tea and evenings entertainment, given by the 130 lads of promise selected for Canada.
Suffice it to say a very happy evening was spent, as was clearly shown by the happy joyous smiles of over 800 little faces.
If our many friends could only have witnessed the scene when Mr. Quarrier and others commended the 130 youthful emigrants to a Heavenly Fathers care, and heard with what pathos they sang God be with you till we meet again," their exclamation would have been, "Train up a child in the way he should go, that when he grows old he may not depart from it."
At the Y.M.C.A. Institute. Glasgow, on Thursday, upwards of 1,000 friends and sympathizers in the work, including several ministers of the various Christian churches, met with and commended the boys and those going in charge, Mr. J. Thompson, of Cockenzie, an evangelist; Mr. S. Campbell, of the Isle of Man; and Mr. Boyd, who accompanied them, to the care of God.
Busses conveyed the boys to the St. Enochs railway station, Glasgow, and then, on arrival of train at Greenock, to the S.S.. Buenos Ayrean (Allan Line) by tender. At 7 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Quarrier and other friends bade the final good-bye, and, amidst hearty cheers, left for h me. Steam being up, Captain Vi pond got under way, arriving in Loch Foyle at six oclock next morning (Friday).
All honour is due to the Messrs. Allan for the very comfortable quarters set apart for our young people, and that, too, in close proximity to our saloon berths. Mr. John Boyd (of Ballaquayle Cottage) is more than surprised by what he has seen. He said to the writer to-day, "I had no idea, Mr. Campbell, that such accommodation was provided, nor had I the least idea of the great work that is being done amongst the poor children." We expect to leave Loch Foyle this afternoon about 2 p.m. The boys are all well; able to eat plenty of good food; and enjoying themselves much on deck. The weather is all that could be desired. S. CAMPBELL
s.s.Buenos Aerean, Friday, March 25, 1892.
S.S.. "Buenos Ayrean," Friday, March, 25th. SIR,On the above date, at 8 a.m., we were safely anchored in Loch Foyle, off Moville105 miles from Greenock; boys all on deck, cheerful and happy.
One little lad in ecstasy exclaimed, "Master, when will the dinner be ready ?" At 10 a.m. the S.S.. Anchoria (Anchor Line) steamed up followed by the S.S.. Parisian, (Allan Line), and anchored on our starboard. The Parisian was crowded with passengers, and after shipping mails, &c., weighed anchor at 1 p.m., and steamed. off, leaving her Irish passengers, numbering 200 for the Buenos Ayrean, in addition to upwards of 200 Russian Poles already shipped at Greenock. The latter were in a most destitute condition, and filthy looking in their person. Truly the Russian peasantry must be in a deplorable state, and Russian society at a very low ebb. The pathetic touch of sympathetic feeling, must in every true Christian heart, reveal itself in one unbroken sigh of earnest prayer to God, that deliverance from serfdom and slavery may soon be granted to the down-trodden peasantry of the "Russias." At 12-15 p.m., we weighed anchor, amidst ringing cheers of those on board, passing at 2-45, the homeward bound Signal Station, of Innistruthal, outward bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, with fair wind and bright blue skythe boys singing We are out on the ocean sailing.
A good supper consisting of Irish stew, rice dessert; coffee and bread and butter was served at 5-30, to which, suffice it to say, ample justice was done, to the great wonderment of Mr Boyd, who asked, "Where did they put it all?" Prayers were conducted at 8 p.m. at the conclusion of which all retired to their new quarters, several exclaiming, "Man, a feel awfu funny."
Our daily routine of proceedings was as follows : Boys up at 6-30 a.m., wash and dress, then, weather permitting, a run on deck; breakfast at 7-30; prayers at 10 a.m.; lunch at 12 noon; dinner at 5-30; prayers at 7-15. Hot gruel at 8, and bed at 8-15 oclock; interspersed with a romp on deck, tug of war, watching for whales, ships, icebergs, &c.
Saturday 26: L. 54 x 40n13 x 15w; logged 235 miles. (Note, the daily run is made up at 12 noon each day.) Wet and stormy with heavy sea, ship roiling very much, only 30 out of 130 boys at breakfast.
Sunday 27th: L. 53 x36n20 x 17w; logged 260 miles. Heavy sea, calm fair wind, and brigbt blue sky. Boys, with two exceptions, at break-fast. Bell was tolled for morning prayers at 11.30 a.m. Quite a number of passengers gathered around, some of whom joined heartily in the service. Mr Thompson, of Cockenzie, gave an excellent address on Isaiah, 12th oh. lOv. The writer conducted the evening service. A number of books being distributed among the passengers, who received them thankfully.
Our first happy Sabbath day of rest on the briny ocean was concluded by a short testimony meeting among the boys, One lad thanked God for saving his soul from much sin, anti for bringing him thus far on his way to Canada, away beyond the reach of his former evil companions. Another exclaimed, "Ay! An a ken He saved me." A lad. following with" Im not ashamed to own My Lord, or to defend His Laws." "A! no forget two years ago on a Friday afternoon, when the Lord saved my soul," was the testimony of another. Another chimed in with
He took me from a fearful pit,
And from the miry clay,
He placed my feet upon a rock,
And stablished my way.
Boy number six, sang very sweetly : Now just a word for Jesus.
The writer closing with prayer, by specially remembering all our Island friends and sympathisers in our work of rescue.
Monday 28th: L. 52 x 13n27 x 22w. Logged 269 miles, blowing a stiff south west gale, many of the passengers and boys again sick. Afternoon, dry atmosphere. and clear blue sky. Boys delighted by seeing a whale. One little fellow asked :" Could that whale swallow a man."
Tuesday 29th: L. 50 x 41n32 x 13w. Logged 203 miles. At 4 am., nearly all pitched out of our hammocks by the rolling of the ship. Glass gone down quickly; severe gale blowing. At breakfast the tables were entirely swept of dishes, food, globes,lamps &c., smashed to pieces ; everyone holding on by anything they could catch. 12 noon, passed a steam tramp and the ship Charles Eustace of Glasgow, outward bound. Reader, just imagine yourselves comfortably seated at teaand we in mid-ocean, 1,000 miles from land, engines full speed head on, not registering two miles for the last hour, sea running mountains high, and our decks being continually swept from stem to stern by the rolling waveyou will then have some idea of what a storm is in mid-Atlantic.
Wednesday 29th: L: 49 x 38n.34 x 27w; logged 107 miles. Heavy sea, but bright sunshine all day. Boys all, with three exceptions, on deck, cheerful and happy.
Thursday 31st: L. 4.7 x 20n.39 x 36w; logged 247 miles. We are now in the midst of a terrific storm; boys ordered to their bunks, every one holding on by anything he could got hold of. Ships cook met with a serious accident. Intermediate saloon tables, when all were at dinner, gave way, precipitating the passengers underneath, and covering them with food, broken dishes &c., two men having their legs slightly hurt. The heavy seas that were being shipped caused the water to run up the ventilator, and thence down into the second deck to the discomfort and fun of the boys.
Friday .1st April, "All Fools Day": L. 44 x 39n.---44 x 27w; logged 273 miles. Storm abated, much rain and heavy sea. All ordered to keep below. Our "Island Home" boys free from sickness and all well.
Saturday, 2nd April: L.42 x 32n-48 x 28w; logged 240 miles, making us now about 2,000 miles from beautiful "Mona," with a fair wind and bright blue sky. At 3 a.m. rounded the Filcenmist Bank of Newfoundland, and at 7 a.m. sighted one of the North-German Lloyd Greyhounds, going full speed, the spray flying over masts, and sometimes entirely enveloping her from sight.
Sunday, 3rd April: L. 42 x 47n.54 x 37w; logged 272 miles. Windand rain. The church services, morning, afternoon, and evening, were, owing to the unfavourable weather, conducted in the boys quarters, a number of the passengers and ships officers being present. Mr Boyd, who has been suffering from sickness, much better to-day. Captain expecting a storm, accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightning.
Monday, 4th April: L. 43 x 17n59 x 25w; logged 196. Heavy storm during the night; ship labouring very much. The storm gone. We are now in a dense fog. 7 a.m.: A beautiful clear morning, with bright blue sky; 210 miles from Halifax.
Tuesday, 5th: A beautiful morning. Have now passed Lambro Head, and sighted the Citadel, having logged 210 miles, making a total of 2,492 from Perry, and 2,597 miles from Greenock. Now landed at Halifax, at 8-30 a.m., all well and happy, and thankful to God for His goodness in thus keeping our little company from accident of any kind.
Our Manx boys are a credit to the Isle of Man,and the Scotch boys to the Orphan Homes of Scotland. Their conduct on board ship has been exceedingly good, and could not, I fearlessly say, be surpassed by others from elsewhere. May we ask our many friends and sympathisers to kindly remember us in their prayers to God. It does our hearts good when we know we are being remembered at the mercy seat. May I add, dont forget the dear old Home at Strathallan Hall, the children and workers. There are there upwards of 100 little mouths yet to fill and little feet to clothe. We daily remember you all before the Throne. The captain of the Buenos Ayrean, who is a very kind man, said to me several times during the voyage that he never had seen 130 boys in one lot conduct themselves so well before. Their conduct, said he, has been admirable.I am, your obedient servant, S. CAMPBELL.
The Childrens Home Boys.
As formerly noted, we arrived at Halifax on Tuesday, 5th April, at. 9 a.m., all well. We cannot part with the good ship "Bueunos Ayrean" without expressing our warmest thanks to Capt. Vipond for his acts of kindness to the boys, which will not soon be forgotten. The arrange ments made by the Messrs Allan, for the comfort of the children, were most commendable.
At Halifax the youthful emigrants were disappointed in not seeing a covering of snow, and the sleigh in vogue. Here the officials of the Canadian and Pacific railway offered to make up special, but, to save trouble, the better part was chosen by waiting for the regular train. Two second class sleeping cars were set apart for the boys, and at 2-30 p.m. the final start was made. Speeding on by river and lake, through forest and glen of varied hue, we reached St. Johns, N.B., the rays of its electric light enhancing the scene. On crossing the boundary line, and dashing along through mountain pass and by the still waters of "Lake Moodie," we could not but wonder why more people do not embrace the opportunity of viewing by rail the gorgeous scenery along the C. P.R. route through Maine. The delay caused by a goods engine running off the line near "Mousehead," was repaid by the grandeur of the scene around Natures glories speaking forth the almighty creative power of Him who said "Let the dry land appear, and it was so." Here the gurgling spring from the hill side brought to mind the poet Tannahills
Bonnie wee well on the breest o the brae.
On resuming our course, and crossing the Ottawa, we could discern the mountain track, and look with wonder on the peaceful stream emerg ing from the neighbouring lake, and then notice its winding course along the margin of the tapering mountain peak, until near its further end the rivers course suddenly turns into an extensive wood by the side of the rugged mountain, with snow-capped peaks, and afterwards entering a dark glen, through which a torrent stream rushes amongst boulders and brushwood, interspersed by little islets, giving it a zig-zag decent to a narrow ~gorge, hemmed in on Every side by giant precipices, through which the (C.P.R. wends its way, a strip of blue sky causing the bright sum-ray to strike through the tall forest tree, thus lighting up the sparkling stream below. On, on we rush with frantic main, making up lost time, and. reaching Montreal at 9 am. Leaving at 9.40, we arrived at Brockville at 3 am. on Thursday, where several friends awaited our arrival, and conducted us to the Fairknowo Home. On being shown to our comfortable sleeping quarters, we were, "I guess," not long ere we were in the land of nod, amongst wae fu noises on a troubled sea; some imagining they were still aboard.
In expressing our thanks to the C.P.R. Company for their successful endeavour (notwithstanding the delay inadvertently caused) in passing us quickly on from Halifax to Brockville, we cannot do so without adding our testimony to the very creditable manner and conduct of their officials along the route, and especially to Mr P. L. Caven, for his untiring efforts and gentlemanly endeavours to make the young people comfortable throughout the journey
The Daily Times says :" One of the most interesting meetings ever held in Brockville was that held in one of the leading churches last night, on the occasion of the reception tendered the 130 Scotch and Manx boys who arrived at Fairknowe Home the day before. shortly after five oclock the boys marched from the home to the church, in charge of Mr Thompson, Mr Campbell, and Mr Boyd, and as they passed along the street, they attracted much attention. They are a remarkably fine looking lot of boys, and were most favourably commented on by all who saw them. They are well dressed, and have bright intelligent countenances, glowing with health and youthful vigour. Arrived at the church they filed into the basement, where a most substantial tea awaited them, to which, needless to say, ample justice was done. A more interesting scene could hardly be imagined than was presented by the happy smiling faces of those 130 boys who have been rescued and trained in the way they should go (the Scotch children) by Mr Quarrie, in his far-famed Orphan Homes of Scotland; and the Manx by Mr Campbell, of the Isle of Man Childrens Home. After tea several hymns were sung. At seven oclock an adjournment was made to the body of the church, and in a few minutes the spacious edifice was filled to its utmost capacity by interested citizens. So great was the crowd that those who came late had hard work to get inside the door. There must have been six or seven hundred people in he building. Mr Thompson presided, and on the platform with him, besides Messrs Campbell and Boyd, were the Rev. Mr Weeks and the Rev. Mr Cameron, St. Johns Church. The proceedings opened with prayer, after which a lengthy programme was rendered by the boys, in a manner which did them great credit. The singing of some of the boys was remarkably fine. Excellent addresses were given by Mr Weeks, Mr Cameron, and others. Mr Peter Hislop (who with his wife and family have again settled down in Canada),said: Being an old boy of Mr Quarries Orphan Homes (which I am proud of having been), I would like to say that I will never forget the Homes for what they have done for my two sisters and another brother. This young man returned to the old country to look after one of his sisters; and having done well in Canada, commenced business, was successful, and showed his success by aiding the work of the Homes in several ways."
The proceedings throughout were thoroughly enjoyed by all present, and everybody seemed sorry when it was over. One hundred of the boys party have already been fixed in good homes. In my next will be a few hints by the way on Mr. Boyds surprises received when visiting amongst the homes in which some of our former boys have been placed.
Isle of Man Childrens Home, Strathallan Hall, Douglas.
Brockville, April 8th, 1892.
Thanks to John Caine for additional information on the Home and Wendy Taylor for a copy of the pages from the annual report.
See also <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~britishhomechildren/zisleman.htm> for lists of these children.