Henry Atcheson Thompson

Position on the quilt

Henry Atcheson Thompson My dad was Henry Atcheson Thompson born on 11 Nov 1901 Gateshead, England died on 29 Oct 1983 in Chilliwack B.C. Placed in Fegans Orphanage in England on 20 November 1910 dad arrived in Canada April 1914, age 12, with his youngest brother Richard, age 7, as BHC. The boys landed in Halifax along with 120 other boys then travelled by train to 295 George Street Toronto and eventually on to farms in the Port Perry Ontario area. The middle brother Sheriff, age 9, was too sick in 1914 so was sent over through Fegans in April 1915. Dad's mother [Alice Thompson] died in 1908 at only 26 from TB. Before she died my Grandma Alice sent her three [3] young sons to live with her parents, a grandpa, 3 siblings and a great aunt who had means to take care of her 3 sons. In 1910 Alice parents, 3 siblings and great auntie decided their grandsons/nephews were upsetting their adult lives so sent the three [3] boys to Fegans and sealed their fate to become BHC boys. It clearly indicated on the Fegans admission forms signed by the auntie that all 3 young brothers were NOT related. How awful to isolate the boys instantly. The three [3] brothers [my dad Fegan # 2789, Sheriff # 2790 and Richard # 2791] being sent to Canada in 1914/15 were not of course indentured on farms close to each other but all in Port Perry area in Ontario. The two younger brothers did not find my dad until 1919 or so. Dad grew up, raised and provided for our family in Oshawa Ontario. Dad was a restless, unsettled man. In 1983 dad died in Chilliwack, BC all alone. He had gone west to look for Sheriff who unbeknown to him had already died. About 1958 Dad did go west on a trip to see his one brother Sheriff, wife and visited my 2 first cousins. Dad showed my cousin Carol the scars on his back caused by the farmer through the BHC who treated dad like an animal and forced him to stay in a barn for several years. Dad did not receive through BHC scheme the promised education or family support, or clothing or wages or nurturing which played havoc his entire life. There were simply not enough checks and balances by the Canadian government to oversee all the boys spread out on so many farms. It was not until 2010, 27 years after his death, that I discovered dad was a British Home Children with such a heartbreaking beginning to his life. This discovery helped me understand my dad, as dad never talked about the conditions of how he came to Canada. I wish I had known why dad was so lonely and lost. He was always looking for something! I now believe it was a reason as to why the family in England did not want the three [3] brothers. In October 2010 through Marjorie Kohli, the author of The Golden Bridge, and Fegans Orphanage I was able to connect with my two [2] first cousins in British Columbia. We celebrated our first family reunion; they are in their 70's. Luckily their dad Sheriff had shared some stories of when the brothers where young and kept family photos and letters which helped me immensely to place my dad’s past together. A lifetime lost of family connections but caught in time to catch up. Ali [Alice] Thompson