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Hadley's Jacket

Public Submission
Utterson, Muskoka, Ontario
1909 - 1914
Materials & techniques
Commercial velvet, cotton cloth, sequins; hand-sewn
Muskoka Heritage Place 1996.26.1
Arthur Hadley was born in England on March 1, 1893. His father died when Arthur was young and his mother married a widower with two children. Arthur did not get along with his new step-father so his mother took him to the local police station to shock him into behaving. When his mother returned to pick him up a few days later, she found that he had been sent to Canada as an orphaned Barnardo Home Boy.


Arthur was placed with a series of families in Ontario who mistreated and overworked him. He ran away from several homes, eventually being taken in by a family in Utterson, Ontario. He settled into life there, joining the Loyal Orange Lodge, branch 679, and asking his local sweetheart to marry him.


At the outbreak of World War One, Arthur was one of the early recruits, signing up in Valcartier, Quebec on September 22, 1914. During his training in England, he located his family and his mother was able to tell him that she loved him and he was sent to Canada without her permission. After their reconciliation, Arthur had his army records next of kin changed from Mrs. Hadley, Moffat, Ontario to Sarah A. Ferguson, Small Heath, Birmingham, England.


Arthur was wounded in battle on May 26, 1915 and died of his wounds on June 2, 1915. After his burial in the Boulogne cemetery (grave 2347), his fiancĂ©e sent all of his belongings to his mother in England. In 1995, a relative found the package and returned the jacket to Muskoka. Arthur Hadley’s experience as a homeboy was not unusual, but in true Canadian spirit, he persevered until he found a loving home and happiness. His actions show he did not give up his loyalty despite difficulty.
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