GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2002-02 > 1014724112
From: "BBFFRRPP" <>
Subject: [GM-L] "Baby Farms" ... Any in New England? (DEXTER, WATROUS)
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 06:50:36 -0500
My grandmother had a sad start to her life. I am still trying to figure
out her story .. as she grew up with her adoptive parents .. telling her
stories .. and then "walking out of her life" when she was 11.
A quick summary is that: She was a foundling baby in Boston in Feb. 1889,
and spent some time in a hospital and went "into State Custody."
Reportedly, she was named Daisy WATROUS by the nurses (doubt this is true)..
At Age 3 she was adopted by a couple in Melrose, who were Age 55. I now
believe that John and Mary DEXTER were her maternal grandparents. They
renamed the little girl to... Mary Anna Clark Dexter. When she was 11,
Mrs. Dexter died. That summer Mr. Dexter took her to ."The Temporary Home"
in Boston and dropped her off. She never saw him or any family member
One of the stories my grandmother was told as a little girl .. is that she
was placed in "Mrs. Parker's Baby Farm." She also talked about living in
"foster homes." I have thought that this was the name of a "child care
center," or a foster home, or the home of someone who took care of babies.
... But, a few weeks ago I read something on the Internet .. where someone
was discussing the "baby farms" which existed in Canada.
There was a famous one in Nova Scotia, which prompted the movie, "Butterbox
Babies." And, even know the name, Baby Farm, sounds harmless, ..they
were not. Mostly.. they were places where adults would take in .. unwed
mothers who wanted to give up their baby for adoption ... and the adults
would take the baby ... and later sell it .. for their own profits. (If
they had too many babies to sell, they would "get rid of" the extra ones.)
Common sense tells me .. that my grandmother, as a child, would not have
known about .. the "baby farms" in Canada. And, why would she have been
told about a specific one: Mrs. Parker's. Does anyone know if they
existed in New England?
No matter the "stories" my grandmother was told .. between Ages 3 and 10 ..
I now believe that her birthmother was a teen-ager .. who got pregnant .. by
whatever means .. and this event .. caused a big scandal .. for her
well-to-do family. She might have "run away," or she might have been
"sent away." Since she was adopted at Age 3, and the story goes .. that
her birthmother was killed "in a train accident while traveling," it makes
me wonder ... whether the birthmother died during or shortly after
.... I'd also like to ask if anyone is researching a WATROUS family living
in Boston in the 1880's, and might that family have known ... a DEXTER
family.. possibly living in Boston during the 1880's.
Have a good day, Betty
(near Lowell, MA)
|[GM-L] "Baby Farms" ... Any in New England? (DEXTER, WATROUS) by "BBFFRRPP" <>|