Tuesday, June 10, 2014


1963 March for Desegregation


 This is no longer thought to be historical fact, but rather an invented composite, something like the legend of the Pied Piper.  A boy began preaching in either France or Germany claiming that he had been visited by Jesus and told to lead a Crusade to peacefully convert Muslims to Christianity. 

Stephen of Cloyes

Through a series of supposed portents and miracles he gained a considerable following, including possibly as many as 30,000 children. He led his followers south towards the Mediterranean Sea, in the belief that the sea would part on their arrival, allowing him and his followers to march to Jerusalem but this did not happen. Two merchants (Hugh the Iron and William of Posqueres) gave free passage on boats to as many of the children as were willing, but they were actually either taken to Tunisia and sold into slavery by the cruel merchants, or died in a shipwreck during a gale. Some may have failed to reach the sea, dying or giving up from starvation and exhaustion.

THE KING’S DAUGHTERS of 1663 to 1673

Romantic fantasy

The King's Daughters refers to the approximately 800 young French women who immigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673 as part of a program sponsored by Louis XIV.  The girls were mostly lowly servants and, of course, prostitutes from the streets. The program was designed to boost Canada's population both by encouraging male immigrants to settle there, and by promoting marriage, family formation and the birth of children.  Hilary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, and Madonna are all said to be descended from these women.  

There were also Chinese and English programs and entrepreneurial trafficking businesses who imported women to the frontiers of the planet.  “Mail-Order Brides” were one phenomenon.  One horrifying version was the Chinese women in ships with holds where the women huddled during the sea crossing.  If the ships were intercepted by authorities, the holds could be opened to dump the women into the sea.


One example was that 9,000 children were sent to Canada to the Hazelbrae Home in Peterborough, Ontario between 1884 and 1923.  A book about them is The Golden Bridge: Young Immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939” By Marjorie Kohli.  Another source of information is at  http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/the-hazelbrae-memorial.html

I blogged about my aunt whose mother was one of those children.  She had lost her parents in a London cholera epidemic.  Her remaining family in England just recently located evidence of where she went and contacted my cousins.  I blogged about this on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2014 in a post called  “ALL THE ORPHANS . . .” 

That searching English family wondered how my aunt’s family felt about the information, which puzzled me until I realized what genealogical snobs we are.  Everyone has great pride about the Scots great-grandfather, though his ancestral records dead-end with his own father.  The contemporary descendants make pilgrimages to the town with the same name as our fathers.  But the real immigrants were five sisters, whose fates were quite different from each other, depending on the marriages they made.  My great-grandfather was a tyrant who never really succeeded at homesteading in South Dakota.  His children had periods of prosperity.  

ORPHAN TRAINS of 1853 to 1929

An orphan train load

"The Orphan Train Movement was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in rural areas of the Midwest. The orphan trains operated between 1853 and 1929, relocating about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children.  
Two charitable institutions, the Children's Aid Society (established by Charles Loring Brace) and later, the Catholic New York Foundling Hospital, endeavored to help these children. Brace believed that institutional care stunted and destroyed children. In his view, only work, education and a strong family life could help them develop into self-reliant citizens. Brace knew that American pioneers could use help settling the American West, so he arranged to send the orphaned children to pioneer families. "In every American community, especially in a Western one, there are many spare places at the table of life," Brace wrote. "They have enough for themselves and the stranger, too." Many were sent west to find families and new homes, on trains that became known as "orphan trains". Sometimes there would be 30 to 40 young children riding with two or three adults. The children ranged in age from 4 to 18 -- some even younger. 

“Conditions on the early trains were poor, little better than cattle cars. In later years, conditions improved.  The children were encouraged to break completely with their past. They typically arrived in a town where local community leaders had assembled interested townspeople. The children would usually be put up on a stage for viewing and inspection. Children would often sing or dance to attract interest. The townspeople would examine the kids, perhaps feeling muscles and checking teeth, and after a brief interview take the chosen ones home.”

Many siblings were separated during this process because the foster parents wanted to take only one child. Some children became indentured servants (trafficked) to their host families, while most were adopted formally or informally, as family members.  More than 250,000 children rode the “Orphan Train” to new lives.


Carlisle School forced assimilation

When the indigenous people began to be a problem, occupying lands that the new States thought they needed for Europeans, their solution was to push the tribal people farther West.  And farther West.  and farther West.   The Blackfeet were very fortunate: they never had to move and stayed with their backs against the Rockies, though they had to sell the eastern half of the range to make Glacier National Park.  But most tribes were pressured to send their children away to make them less Indian.

For a while Oklahoma was designated Indian Territory and the tribes were moved there.  None of this forced migration worked because more and more Europeans came.


Recent photo of illegal immigrant children being held.

The present children’s migration into the United States is voluntary on their part, but it wasn’t even predicted by the USA.  Authorities have been taken by surprise and are not responding adequately.  Somehow word went around Central America that children would not be denied entry or deported back home if they went into the US.  This was not true.   Another cause appears to be high rates of murder and family violence in three countries: Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador  By now there are hundreds of thousands of young children detained without proper care -- simply plunked into rooms without even chairs.  So far three military bases have been filled up but they are running out of supplies.  Oklahoma has just been designated as a point of collection for all these children, some as young as four or five.  Unaccompanied, destitute, refugees, stunned.

More illegal immigrant children right now.

Putting them in the context of other migrations, voluntary and forced or mixed, is risky.  On the one hand, it makes such a thing seem usual, unavoidable.  On the other hand, it is clearly a miserable recurring and deadly problem that remains unsolved.  It is as old as the forces that drive them: famine, war, disease, economic collapse.  Birds migrate.  Elephants and zebras surge in great hordes across the African continent.  And humans are displaced.

At one point blacks moved north to the industrial jobs.  Now the jobs have rusted out and the workers have gone back to the south, which is hardly prepared for them.  When the dust bowl swept across -- well, wasn’t that Oklahoma, too? -- those who could still manage to travel headed for California.  They tell us that now everyone is moving to the megacities.  

In Valier it feels like entirely too many people are headed here.  (That’s a minority opinion.)  Most people here somehow have the idea that more people means prosperity -- that jobs will come with them and soon we’ll have a Walmart.  They associate increased population with a boom and forget that the Bakken boom comes AFTER the discovery of oil, not before.  It's a mixed blessing anyway.

Some of these adventurous children will soon escape -- many already have avoided capture -- slip through the knotholes and choke points because they are small.  The ones who survive to grow up will have confused culture except to survive, however necessary.   One by one, however they can, they will find niches or die, small bones found in the brush.  The whole country has turned into a giant pinball machine, flashing and bashing as the little balls fall through the holes.

Heading north.


1 comment:

northern nick said...

. . . and we're to double the human population in the next generation??!! Thanks for the context.