Friday, 13 January 2017

What happened to the twelve?

We’re catering to our American readers on the blog this week with another tale from Northfields, Massachusetts. The charity emigrated 12 boys to Dwight Lyman Moody’s Training Homes in 1883 with a view to their being prepared for ministerial or missionary work.

Leonard R. Shaw and his TWELVE

A newspaper article in the Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser on 31 May 1883 announced the departure of the boys; 

“A meeting was held on Tuesday afternoon at the Young Men’s Christian Association rooms, Peter Street, to say goodbye to a number of boys from the Cheetham Orphan Homes in connection with the Refuge, who sailed for America yesterday. The boys, who number 12, have been selected in the hope that they may become missionaries, and they are to be trained in Mr. Moody’s School at Northfield, Massachusetts, an institution which, having 400 acres of farm land about it, gives training to the body, as well to the mind. Some 40 or 50 boys have at various times gone from the Refuge to Canada, but this is the first connection with Mr. Moody’s Training School. The boys, who will be accompanied to their new home by Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, are about 10 or 12 years of age, and have a bright, cheerful appearance. Of course there were no relatives to take leave of them, but many interested friends were present and there were no lack of well-wishing and cordial handshaking.”

Manchester boys
Those interested in the story can read a fictional version in James Stanhope–Brown’s ‘Angels from the Meadow’. Drawing particularly on the Together Trust’s archives as well as Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Massachusetts, the book tells the story of the 12 boys who emigrated to America, as well as detailing Manchester in the late nineteenth century.
We’ve told the story of some of these boys in an earlier blog, detailing their circumstances prior to admission to the Manchester Refuge homes. Eighteen years later an article in the Children’s Haven in 1901 details what happened to those boys;  

Frank – at Hopkens University, one of the best in the country and holds a good position as an instructor in languages.
Ben. – Medical missionary.
Edwin - in a dry goods store, in Hartford County – doing well.
John D. – in Springfield Massachusetts, married and engaged on the Boston and Maine Railway.
John C. - Rev. John C. of Lawyers-ville and Pastor of a Presbyterian Church having graduated from Princeton University, recently married.
Fred – offices of the YMCA in New York.
George W. – In the New England Conservatory of Music.
Alfred - Returned to England and set up own business.
George T. and Austin – lost their lives in water accident whilst bathing.
John  R. – organist at a large church.
Walter – business in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

The tragic drowning of two of the 12, left a hole in the charity’s heart. The other 10 boys went on to have successful careers in Massachusetts and beyond.  

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