mentions BHC James Skelland
1891 Census of Canada about James Skelland
Name: James Skelland
Marital Status: Single
Birth Year: abt 1876
Relation to Head of House: Domestic
Religion: Church of England
French Canadian: No
District Number: 167
Subdistrict: Ireland South
Neighbors: View others on page
Robert Nugent 45
Alecia Nugent 34
Martha Jane Nugent 6
Rachel L Nugent 4
Robert G Nugent 3
Richard A Nugent 1
James Skelland 15
1891 Census of Canada about John Sealey
Name: John Sealey
Marital Status: Married
Birth Year: abt 1851
Relation to Head of House: Head
Religion: Church of England
French Canadian: No
Spouse's Name: Sarah Jane Sealey
Father's Birth Place: Ireland
Mother's Birth Place: Ireland
District Number: 167
Subdistrict: Ireland South
Neighbors: View others on page
John Sealey 40
Sarah Jane Sealey 30
Sarah E Sealey 7
Martha A Sealey 3
Charlotte C Sealey 2
Charles Coombs 12
EBEC Daily Tele
An Orphan Boy's Sad tale
Allege Brutal Treatment of a Young English Lad
Who is crippled for life by the cruel action of an Eastern Township Farmer
The Boys own statement
Yesterday our attention was called by an lady to the fact that a young English orphan boy was a present a patient in the Jeffery Halo Hospital, suffering from the effects of brutal treatment he alleges to have received from a former employer and that the boy had his leg so badly broken that he would be crippled for life. A representative of the Telegraph proceeded to the hospital to investigate the truth of the increditable story going the rounds of this city, that an orphan boy could be so harshly abused and his assulant be allowed to escape punishment. When we entered the hospital we were shown a very healthy looking England lad who was seated at a table playing cheekers with another young patient and in the course of an interview with him we learned the following faces, as stated by himself.
The Boy's Story
My name is Edmond Roberts and I am a native of LIverpool England. Both my parents are dead. I think my father died since I came to this country. I left England six years ago, when I was eleven years of age, coming out with Mrs. Birt and a number of other boys and girls. When the steamer readched Quebec and we disembarked we were taken to Mrs. Birt's Home in Knowlton, Quebec. I remained there one wekk, when I was apprenticed for three years to a farmer Mr. John Sealey, who lives at New Island, Black Lake Station, 72 miles from Quebec, on the Quebec Central Railway. I was not informed of the arrangements made by Mrs. Birt with Mr. Sealey, only that I was in duty bound to remain with him fo rthree years. I entered on my duties with him at once and worked for him both day and night. I was obliged to get up out of bed a sunrise. I never received any recompense in return for the work I had done, only the food I ate and the clothes I would wear, that is an old suit of working clothes and a change for Sundays. My master is married and the father of three young girls. He used to constantly beat and ill-treat me, but what could I do? I was young and alone in a strange country, and bound to him for three years. However, I submitted t his harsh treatment for five years, until I reached the age of 16 and could not stand it any longer. Finally I left him on Good Friday of last year and went to live with a neighboring farmer who treated me with more kindness an dconsideration. After I had been away from Mr. Sealey for one wekk, I met a young English boy name James Skelland, who cam eout on the same ship with me and who was living with a kind master names Robert Nugent, also a farmer. I asked him to accompany me to Mr. Sealey's house in order to get my prayer book and Bible that I had left there. He agree and we went together to Mr. Sealey's farm. We entered the house but I became afraid and did not ask for what I wanted and left the house. When we got outside James Skelland proposed again entering to bid Mr. Sealey good night, but I would not, as I was in dread. Young Skelland, however entered the house and I remained outside. In a short time Mr. Sealey came out of the house followed by his wife. He spoke to me in a rough tone of voice and asked if those boots I had on wer the boots he had given to me. I answered "yes" when he told me to take them off. I was in the act of stooping to do so, when he seized me by the hair of the head and lifted me from the ground. Then he commenced to strike me an dknowcked me down violently on the snow. In the meantime Mrs. Sealey was working to pull the boots off my feet, while Mr. Sealey was kicking me about the body and pounding me in the face as I lay on the ground. I was covered with blood and screamed at them tostop. YOung Skelland escaped from the place and ran to his master's house and told him that Sealey was killing me. As soon as I could I made my escape and was afterwards met by Mr. Robert Gill, who was coming to my assistance along with Skelland. They helped me to Mr. Richard Nugent's house where i was employed and remained there until the month of October last, when I was converyed by the Revd. Mr. Faulkner, the Church of England minister, to this city and placed in this hospital, where i have remined ever since under the doctor's care and unable to place my foot upon the ground. I had to remain with Mr. Richard Nugent from April until the month of October.
Reporter - Did youtake steps to have your assilant arrested?
Roberts - Oh, yes sir, I swore out a summons against him and the magistrate said the case would come off the following Thursday, but the Mayor of th eplace stepped in and stopped all proceedings, saying that I was not old enough to prosecute and the matter was dropped.
Reporter - Di no person know that you were being treated so cruelly by Mr. Sealey.
Roberts - Yes sir, it was known by the Rev. Mr. Hewett, of the England church of Montreal, who wanted to take me to that city. The boy here exhibited his let which he had spread out on the bench he was sitting on and pointing to it, he said - "It is a bone in the leg which was broken and festered. Dr. Blair operated on it and cleaned it and every since it does not pain me, but befor ethe operation I suffered very much and I think that I will be crippled for life. I cannot move about any place only when wheeled on this chair (pointing to a movable chair) an it is a year since it happened". The boy added that before coming to Quebec a subscription was taken up to assist him and the sum of $10 was collected, which was handed to the hospital authorties and.......who so brutally ill treated him, who magnanimously subscribed fifty-cents.
A number of leading Prostetants in this ciry are interesing themselves in the boys' behalf and among the number Mr. Sol Cutter, who will see the boy justly dealt with.
This is a sad case on the boy's account and an expose of the brutal treatment young England orphans are sometimes subjected to by countrymen of their own, who take them with the promis of a home and kind treatment, which in many cases turns out the very reverse. This is the second case of a like nature that the Telegraph has exposed within the past year.
1891 Census of Canada about Charles Coombs
Name:Charles CoombsGender:MaleMarital Status:SingleAge:12Birth Year:abt 1879Birthplace:EnglandRelation to Head of House:DomesticReligion:Church of EnglandFrench Canadian:NoFather's Birth Place:EnglandMother's Birth Place:EnglandProvince:QuebecDistrict Number:167District:MéganticSubdistrict:Ireland SouthNeighbors:View others on pageHousehold Members:NameAgeJohn Sealey40Sarah Jane Sealey30Sarah E Sealey7Martha A Sealey3Charlotte C Sealey2Charles Coombs12
Investigating the Charge
Alleged Ill-treatment of the Oprhan Boy Roberts
A letter from Mr. Sol. Cutter who is at Black Lake.
Interview with the Boy's former Employer and other Persons
Yesterday's mail brought us a letterf rom Mr. Sol Cutter, well known in temperance circles of this city , who is a present at Black Lake, a mining and farming district 73 miles from this city, on the line of the Quebec Central Railay, investigating the statement madd by the young English orphan boy, Edmund Roberts, who is at present under treatment in the Jeffery Hale Hostpital suffering from alleged ill usage recieved from a former master named John Sealey, to whom he had been apprenticed by the authorities of Mrs. Birt's home at Knowlton, Que. Mr. Cutter writes as follows:-
The sad statement made by Edmund Roberts a short time ago, and published exclusively in the Daily Telegraph, is being investigated by me and I find the same to be only too true, and the substance of all the cruelty the boy received as stated by himself, corroborated by many persons here. I reached Black Lake on Monday evening at 5:15 o'clock, by the Quebec Central Railway, and found myself in a bustling little mining town. On making enquires as to where I could find John Sealey, I was informed that both he and his wife were in a certain public house close by. I proceeded to the place in question and learned that they had a short time previously left for home, some seven miles distant. I next applied for a carter to be driven there, but was unable to find any person anxious to go to to be found in that part of the country after dark, so I was obliged for the time being to postpone my trip and here and then commenced to make enquiries about Sealey and the treatment of the boy Edmund Roberts had received at his hands. I soon ascertained that the matter was no secret. Nearly every person I approached was cognizant of the facts. A well known resident at Black Lake said that he had heard of the cruel treatment of young Roberts and saw the boy at the doctor's having his let dressed. During supper in the Black Lake hotel I met with Mr. Joseph Hohnston, superintendent of the Central mine, who said that he knew the boy and the abuse he had received. Mr. Johnston knew that the boy was compelled to work from early in the morning until late at night in all kinds of weather. He saw him commence work in the winter season at day -break and continue his labor until late at night and after that take care of the stock on the farm. Another resident of the place said that the boy worked so early and so late that he had no time for proper sleep and he had known him to drop off to sleep many a time while working, from shere fatigue. On one particular occasion the boy was occupied in the barn with a lantern in his hand, when he fell to the ground perfectly exhausted and went to sleep, and for that he was severly beaten. After supper Mr. Johnston kindly offered to drive me out to Sealey's. I accepted his offer and we preocced on our journey at 7 o'clock. It was very dark and stormy and a nsaty drive through miles of wooded country until we reached the farming district. The first sign of habitation was a dim light issuing from a farm house. My companion then began to give me a history of the different farm house occupants, the most of them being honest, industrious people, but there were exceptions. At a distance stood the burned house "where Nap Michel lived, who ran nearly two miles after his throat had been cut and two bullets in his body". A short distance further on was shown to me "the spot where a man was suspected of killing his mother". Such facts were related to me by my companion as we drove along in the darkness. Such facts were related to me by my companion as we drove along in the darkness. I could understand why I could not procure a carter to drive me out in these parts in the night time. We went along slowly until we reached the farm house where Mr. Robert Nugent resided. We entered a comfortable dwelling and after the preliminaries of an introdcution I read the article of statement of young Roberts from the Telegraph to Mr.Nugent, who was joined by his wife, and both corroborated the statement as told by the boy. Mr. Nugent said he was sitting by the fire talking to a neighbor named Mr. Thomas Gill one evening last April when this boy, James Skelland, burst in upon them with tears streaming down his face and cried out "Joh Sealey is killing Roberts". Mr. Gill seized a lantern and left the house for the scene, which was about half a mile distant and returned with Roberts, who was covered with blood and very much abused. Then both boys related the same story as to the assult and the same as published in the Telegraph. Roberts was limping and said he was very much hurt. His face was badly cut and the blood oozing from his ears. The next day Roberts proceeded to Magistrate Cross and made a statement of the assult. Squire Cross issued summonses for Sealey and five witnesses, but the summonses were never served, because I was told the mayor of the place interfered and stopped proceedings. Roberts walked lame for several days and seemed to be getting better, but later on he got worse and finally lost th euse of his limb. After further conversation I was in the act of saying good night to Mr. and Mrs. Nugent, when I told him that he would probably be called upon to substantiate his statement in court. A look of fear overspread his countenance and he exclaimed "I hope not" and added that Thomas Gill would be a much better witness. We next proceeded to the farm owned by Mr. Thomas Gill. We had to wake him up. Mr. Gill is a kindly, respectable looking old man. He corroborated the statement made by Mr. Nugent in an honest simple manner that left no room for doubt. He also said that he was a neighbor of Sealey's for many years and in a position to know what took place, and he related many instances of John Sealey's cruelty to the boy Roberts. He added that he was afraid of bodily harm if he went to Sealey about the matter and that when obliged to go there on business he never went alone. Mrs. Sealey had even threatened to split his head open with an axe if he ever set foot on their farm. We left Mr. Gill and concluded to beard the lion in his own den and proceeded to see Sealey. After we had tied our house to a wood pile, we searched for a door, but could not discover any, so we rapped on the side of the house and soon we heard a voice calling out "who is there?" We answered "friends" and were told to come in through the wood shed, which we did by climbing over about ten cords of wood with some difficulty. HOwever, we managed to get into a sort of house, it was ten o'clock and before us stood a tall sandy complexioned man, with rather forbidding countenance, who struck me at once as likely to be cruel and left now doubt of the boy's statement on my mind. We were not offered seats, but my companionsat on the window sill and I appropriated the only chair I could see. Mr. Sealey, for he it was, asked us our business. I told him I came to see about Edmond Roberts and asked him if he had seen the boy's statement that appeared in the Quebec Daily Telegraph. He answered "no" when I read it to him and his wife, who by this time came on the scene. SEaley interrupted myreading several times with exclamations "that is a lie" and when I finished reading they both yelled "that it was all a cursed lie" We questioned Sealey about the boy and the night he returned for his Bible and prayer book. He denied everything, even to having any unpleasant words with Roberts. Mrs. Sealey interferred and told her husband to keep silent and he did.
There is one person and only one on the island, I am told, that does not fear John Sealey and that is his wife. Mrs. Sealey is possessed of a good flow of language, but not very choice. She talked of their kindness to the dear orphan boy and their great interest in him, that he had done nothing except play with the children and attend school. Sealey had agreed, I was afterard informed, to give the boy three months' schooling in each of the three years as per contract, but in the whole five years that the boy lived with him he only went to school about three weeks. Mrs. Sealey even denied ever having spoken harshly to Roberts, although they claim that Mr. Drummond, the agent of the Home, told them that he (Roberts) was one of the devil's best angels and he had to tie him to a tree and cowhide him. I had written down all the evidence I Had heard in the case and read it to them, when Mrs. John SEaley went into a prefect frenzy of passion and abused her neighbors with a terrible tirade and concluded by saying that she hoped God would forgive them and the poor little boy Roberts before he died and she would meet him in heaven. I urged SEaley to do something for the boy, but he said he would not unless compelled. At this stae of the conversation another poor little fellow entrusted to their care, under, I should judge, 12 years, entered the room. He looked like he had only quitted work somewhere and was dressed in a very dilapidated suit of clothes, which were patched in all colors. I questioned the boy, but it was plane to be seen that he was too much afraid to tell the truth. However, by dint of cross questioning I learned that he had frequently been whipped, but as he said, not of late. The poor little fellow wore a pair of men's moccasins greatly too large for him, and which seemed to be a burden to drag around. I left the SEaley farm and drove back to the hotel which we reached by midnight and intened to pursue further enquiries to-morrow. I am told SEaley is well off and owns his farm, which is well stocked and is consequently well able to care for the boyhe destroyed.
If the St. George's Society had interviewed the people here they would not have given up the case and I trust that they will enter into a thorough investigation at once and see that justice is done to Edmond Roberts. I am ready and also know of others who are willing to contribute towards the expense entailed. I would like to hear again from the St. George's Society on the subject.
Yours truly Sol Cutter, Black Island, April 7, 1891