Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story


Clipped from The Ottawa Citizen, 28 Dec 1909, Tue,  10

I find these articles that intrigue me and I have to find out more. Who was Lily Roberts? was merely 11 years old and she was the product of the British Home Children. She had been born in England and had been in the employ of Mr. Carr of Drummond. As with the other Bernardo children life was difficult where they were placed and many tried to commit suicide.

Paris Green was one of the most fashionable colors of the 19th century, a vivid blue-green that was used in many household paints, wallpapers, and fabrics. It was also highly toxic, being made with arsenic. (Some think that Napoleon may have been killed by the poisonous vapors emitted from the Paris Green wallpaper in his St. Helena home.) Widely available in hardware stores, it was also used as an insecticide and rat poison.

Paris Green also provided the means for a young Brooklyn girl to take her life in 1882. The New York Times told the tale under the headline “A Strange Suicide”: Louisa Cruikshank, aged just 18, and living “surrounded with every luxury” in her family home on Pacific Street, “frequently expressed a wish to die,” according to her mother’s later testimony. One February morning while walking with her sister to the Brooklyn Public Library, Louisa slipped into a hardware shop and bought some of the popular paint.

The next day, Louisa was playing a waltz on the piano when she fell suddenly ill. Her last words were chillingly calm; “Mama I may as well tell you. I have taken Paris Green. I have done what I said I would do.”

When 57-year-old Harriet Dillon passed away, her cause of death was recorded as “exhaustion and mental alienation.” During the Victorian era, mental anguish, melancholia, and exhaustion were terms sometimes used to describe what we now might call mental illness. Doctors who specialized in the study of mental pathology were often called “alienists,” studying those who were deemed “alienated from society. Or for others, it was a life they had never chosen. 

As much as I searched I could not find out what happened to this poor wee child.


Attempted Suicide by Paris Green -

Clipped from The Morning News, 11 Aug 1906, Sat,  8

PictureA letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen March 16 1928
B. Roberts Barnardo boy writes from Lanark, Ontario.  British Home Children in Canada


Clipped from The Ottawa Citizen, 09 Jul 1909, Fri,  7


Clipped from The Ottawa Citizen, 30 Nov 1909, Tue,  7


Another Lanark Mystery– Paris Green

For the Love of Paris Green –Another Local Murdoch Mystery?

Death from Corrosive Sublimate —Carleton Place’s Revere House

Bitten by the Kissing Bug — A Shocking Conclusion to the Life of Carleton Place’s Daniel E. Sheppard

The Strange Disappearance of Bertha Sumner of Carleton Place

So What Really Happened to Samuel Cram?

A Local Handmaids Tale? What Happened ?

Suicides and Crime Genealogy–Know Your Burial Procedure

Killed by Lightening -or Death by Bear Devouring

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

6 responses »

  1. Thank you for this article, as you know Paris Green was often the chemical of choice for the suicides of British Home Children on Canadian farms. We have accounts of many. Such a sad reflection on the treatment of many of these children.


  2. Very interesting and very sad. Thank you for focusing on the British home children. Their stories are often lost. On behalf of my great grandmother ,Rose Marion Dawson Cook,who came to Canada in 1895 as a 9 year old barnardo girl, thank you.


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