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.
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.
Alfred was born into a long line of mariners but, perhaps realising not only that it was a difficult life but also a dangerous one, he and his four brothers turned their back on the sea and sought other means of making a living.
An assurance agent in Margate, Thanet, Alfred rose to the position of a Vice President of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (pictured) in New York.
Alfred’s father and grandfather were mariners, as were his six brothers. Together with three of his brothers, he took part in saving the crew of the Northern Belle. They were considered heroes and received a medals. But Alfred was to die a difficult death, aged just 45, in a mental asylum.