Down the rabbit holes of historical research

Posted on Thursday August 09, 2018 at 10:28AM

In 1926, in Manor, Council recorded in their minutes a tax exemption for back taxes and further taxes exempted for a Mrs. (name withheld) because the house in question was being run as a 'maternity home' also known as a home for unwed mothers.  The tax exemption was to apply "for as long a time as she continues on as a maternity home." 

Thus, off I go, down the rabbit hole.

Let me explain. The purpose of my research is to compare these two communities and figure out why today one community (Carlyle) has more than 100 businesses, and the other (Manor) has 3. I want to know why one community has yet to hit its peak population and the other's population continues to decline. We all have theories, some are not at all true, while others seem to have credibility, and that is why I have to depend on the written record  for the information. Sometimes what we think we remember, is not what the record suggests. My idea is, that if I compare the written records with what we know makes a community sustainable today, I should be able to identify historical booboos that we can learn from, given the benefit of hindsight. So,  I've been comparing minutes from 1925-to 2015 in each community to sustainability factors. Once I finish the research, I'll write some about that. But everyday, I keep finding little gems in the minutes that speak to our local history,  that fascinate me, and peak my interest. I've come to think of these little gems as a push down the rabbit hole, because off  I go to learn more about those fascinating bits of history, when I should be entering the community development indicators into their appropriate decades on my spread sheet.

So lets go  back to the maternity home in Manor. A little more research shows that private homes, like the one in Manor, would have been quite rare. Most of these places where shamed women were hidden from polite society were run by churches or the Salvation Army. The mission of the day was to reform these women, and hide their dirty deeds. The idea was if you could keep the secret you might still make good marriage material; that is, as long as nobody knew. Unwed mothers had little other recourse. The babies, of course, were given up for adoption, and then the women went on their merry way. I personally doubt their way was all that merry, the moms would have been so alone then. The babies often grew up without knowing they were adopted.  Moms went on to marry and without a word about having been a mother before. Without records, the details are lost. Still, there was a maternity home in Manor, and that becomes part of the local history.

Wait until I tell you about Rabbit Hole #2--where Chinese employers had to get a permit from Council to hire white women. Yup, 'tis true, and both Carlyle and Manor granted those permits. What is in your history? 

Author: Solomon Matthewson Consulting


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Interesting read !! Great insights and very educational:)

Posted on Thursday August 09, 2018 at 04:53PM

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