Young Immigrants to Canada

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Baroness Elsie von Koerber

In 1872 Baroness Elsie von Koerber applied to the Canadian Government for the position of Immigration Agent to the German speaking countries of Europe. Upon arrival in Europe she encouraged the immigration of Swiss settlers who moved into the Nipissing District in Ontario.

Madam von Koerber was aware of the work of Annie Macpherson and Maria Rye and began to consider a similar operation with Swiss orphan children. In 1877 she began her work with children by acquiring the assistance of Annie Blaser, of Berne, and a brother from the St. Chrischona mission in Basel. Land was obtained near Magnetawan, Ontario and a house was constructed by the brother and a few young men he brought with him. Miss Blaser came to Canada in 1877 with the first of the children, about 51 in number. In 1878 Miss Blaser returned to Switzerland to accompany more children to Canada to join the first group.

The children were trained in agriculture and were placed with local farmers. Miss Blaser also took in young lads who helped with the building of the home and with the fields.

Baroness von Koerber was not reappointed as a Canadian Immigration Agent in 1880. She was replaced by Otto Hahn who took over the work and used the home for lads from Wurttemburg but the work with orphans ceased. The emigration of orphans was not very popular with the Swiss authorities and thus no effort was put into continuing the program.

References:

For more information see Joan McGee's book, The Swiss In Ontario.

If any one has additional information on any of these children please contact me.


UWInfo | Young Immigrants | 19th Century Immigration | Genealogy | Local History

© Marjorie P. Kohli, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1997-2010
Last updated: October 26, 2010, and maintained by Marj Kohli