My 'Irish' GGrandfather was not Irish at all! I just discovered that my hunch that he deliberately hid his childhood turned out to be true and he did it by inventing an Irish background to camouflage everything about his parents poor Liverpool linage, but why did he choose to become Irish?
I received my package from Bernardos Children's home on Thursday so I had time over the Easter Weekend to comb through the information and insert it all into my family tree. I couldn't pull my self out of his story until I had at least a timeline of events leading up to his 1899 marriage in Quebec where he stated he was 'late of Dublin'. I had been working on two clues to his history for 12 years, his middle name of Garrett which he always used and all his Canadian records stating he was Irish.
Charles Garrett Hayes was christened by the Methodist Rev Charles Garrett at the Pitt St. Chapel & Mission in 1877 Liverpool in Lancashire England. Turns out Rev. Garrett was a notable figure who was known for his work for the poor families of Liverpool. The Hayes family must have had a close relationship with this enigmatic man which set the scene for what I was to discover. I had answered that first nagging question in my head and continued to dig hoping to find his Irish ancestry.
When Charles was 3 his father, a foreman at the Hutchinson Parr Street flour mill, died suddenly. In 1887, at 9, his uncle placed him in a charitable school and his 17 year old sister was sent to the Hamilton Distribution Home in Canada as part of the Dr. Stephensons Home Children group. The next year their mother died so she must have been ill. I have ordered a death certificate, hoping it is her to find out what happened.
During the entire year of 1892, at the age of 14, one of Charles 4 brothers removed him from school putting him to work for a woman selling fish on Duke st, then 'pulling up' roads for the tramways and all of a sudden he was admitted to the Liverpool Sheltering Home. Three weeks after that he was shipped to Quebec and admitted to the Knowlton Distribution Home and placed in 2 newspaper shops finally ending up on a farm in the predominantly Irish community of Morin Flats Quebec. Aha I thought now I am on to something!
In 1894 he was working on the farm of a Methodist Irishman named John Seale who reported that Charles goes to school and church, is improving and doing well. Three Seale brothers from Connaugh Ireland settled in this area in 1850, their old homestead is now a B&B in this now tourist community. I do not know if Charles stayed in the house but he lived on this beautiful farm surrounded by Irish families.
His last known position in 1895 before being 'released' at 18 was working for Allan Hammond another Irishman from one of the orignal Irish settlers of Morin Flats, now called Morin Heights. The Hammond homestead is also now a B&B and I wonder if he was allowed to stay in this home.
He lived amongst the poor Irish in Liverpool and was then 'farmed out' to Canada by the British Home Children scheme but did he come to appreciate and respect the Irish more then his own heritage? Did he learn how to speak with an Irish accent and when did he make his choice to pass himself off as from Ireland, here in Morin flats or 4 years later when he married into a recently immigrated English family from Warwickshire? I do not have any details of his life during his years with these Irish families but it seems to me preferring to be Irish than an orphan from Liverpool shows another emotional connection that he held onto along with the man Charles Garrett. His life did not get any easier but I came down through his DNA and I have been determined to uncover his story and I am hoping he doesn't mind that I did.