Avis Emptage had a difficult and complicated life but in 1913 she married Harold Harding and could have hoped for years of happiness to come. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
For more than 100 years, child migration schemes removed children from their families and friends and the places they knew. The children were sent to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Rhodesia. Supposedly to give children with poor lives a better chance, it was also a means of increasing the population of these still new countries. At least three of the children were Emptages.
Ann Phoebe Hopkins was brought up in Canterbury, inland from the Kent coast. So the life she experienced in Margate after she married Alfred Burnett Emptage, a mariner and lifeboat man, was quite different from anything she had experienced previously or could even have imagined.
At a time of severe gales, in January 1871, the Brigatine Sarah, carrying coal, was aground on Margate Sands. The crew of the lifeboat Quiver and a local lugger Ocean went to the rescue.
Frances’ brother Alfred and sister Rosamond had emigrated to the USA in 1882 and 1884. In 1887, aged 16, Frances followed but rather than join her siblings in New York she travelled west to California. In 1890 a San Francisco newspaper published an article describing a rather difficult position she had got herself into.
Rosamond was just 14 when she left England and sailed to join her brother, Alfred James in New York. She joined Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (pictured) as a stenographer.