Frederick George Snow
In 1913, Frederick Snow (3½) was forcibly removed from his home by the Church of England Society for
Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays.
He never saw his family again.
They pinned a nametag on his shirt, and put him on a train alone for the 3-hour trip to impoverished
foster parents in Rumburgh, Halesworth, Suffolk.
When he was 12, he was transferred to St. Augustine’s Home for Boys in Sevenoaks Kent.
When he was 15, he was given the “choice” of emigrating to Canada or Australia.
Staying in England was not an option given to him.
To his caretakers, he was an unwanted commodity to be exported.
He sailed on the Andania in 1925 and was sent to a Gibbs Distributing Home in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
He worked as an indentured farm labourer for 16 hours a day on farms in Ontario and Quebec.
Many of his peers were not allowed contact with their Masters’ families and had to sleep in the barn.
Many were not allowed to attend school nor entitled to medical care.
Many were unpaid for their labour.
When he was 18 years old and no longer “in care,” he wrote his first letter to the Waifs and Strays.
He pleaded with them to “help someone who is living in darkness, and does not know who he is.”
He did not have a birth certificate, did not know who his parents were, why he was taken into care, or if he had any siblings.
Dear Sir: January 11, 1931
I am writing to you, at the advice of Mr. Keeley, Gibbs’ Home, Sherbrooke P. Que. requesting you if possible, to advise me, as to the whereabouts of my parents (if any).
My name being, Frederick George Snow, age 21 years, Born Sept. 17th 1909.
As far as I know, I resided with a Mrs. M. Smith, Pleasure Ground, Rumburgh, Suffolk, England at the age of 4 years, from there I was transferred to St. Augustine’s Home, Sevenoaks, Kent, until the age of 15 years, when I imigrated [sic] to Sherbrooke, PQ Can.
I would more than appreciate your kindness, if in any way you can throw light on this matter for me, and by doing, help one who has been in darkness, and ignorant as to who he is.
I am, Sir,
Yours most Respectfully,
Fred G. Snow
He continued to write to them for information about his family for the next 50 years.
He wrote his last letter in 1984 was he was 75 years old.
He died at age 85 on his unconfirmed birthday in 1994.
Fred Snow died “living in darkness” and “not knowing who he was.”
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