1928 - 1945
Find A Grave Memorial
a place called "Ideal
Maternity Home" opened
up in East Chester, Nova Scotia. It was opened and run by William and
Young. William was a medical missionary with the Seventh Day
church and Lela was a former teacher who was claiming to be an
but in reality was only a midwife.
Ideal Maternity Home was at first
a cottage with
four bedrooms but would expand over the years, as the "business" got
to include 54 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms. A woman expecting a baby could
pay between $100. and $500. upon arriving at Ideal and that would
them with room, board and cover the cost of adopting out the baby. If a
baby did not live, there was a charge of $20. for a burial in a butter
box lined with satin.
unwed mother could work off her
expenses if she
did not have enough money to pay for them. With all of the fees
"selling" of babies, the Young's were able to pay off Ideal Maternity
and owned it outright by 1933. Some parents who came to the maternity
only for the birthing services were told that their child had died when
in reality it had not. This child would be put up for adoption.
on the needs and wants of a "customer", the Young's would separate
or they would lie and say that children had siblings to accommodate
individual couples needs.
there were adaptable were
"sold" for up to
$10,000. Unfortunately, not all babies were healthy or
Any child that was sick, had a birth defect or was a little dark in
was considered "unacceptable" and was starved to death, being fed only
a mixture of water and molasses and starving to death took about two
The babies who died were buried in wooden boxes used to carry dairy
which is where the term "Butter Box Babies" comes from. Each box was
with satin and the bodies were buried on the property next to a
that was nearby, buried at sea or burned in the furnace of Ideal
Maternity Home. Some babies who were healthy ended up dying due
the unsanitary conditions and lack of medical care at Ideal Maternity
It wasn't until they had been in "business" that they were forced to
a Registered Nurse.
maternity home managed to operate
without a license
for over 17 years even after on March 4, 1936 the Young's were on trial
for two counts of manslaughter for the the death of a woman named Eva
and he baby.
Young's won their case and
continued with business
as usual. Things always seemed to go in favor of the Young's and
if they didn't, they were able to make threats due to the many people
"Society and Politics" who had "bought" babies from them. In
there was an amendment to the "Maternity Boarding House" act, and the
were forced to apply for a license, which luckily they were turned down
inspections were made of the
Home which resulted in it closing it's doors on November 17,
The Young's seemed to not care and still advertised that they had
Babies For Adoption". Legal troubles were to follow and this
lead to the Young's reputation being ruined. They left Nova Scotia
broke after living there for 35 years.
eventually died of
cancer and Lila
moved back to Nova Scotia and was once again teaching. She died in 1969
of Leukemia and her final resting place is the Seventh day Adventist
which is close to the place where the Butter Box Babies are buried.
Friday, November 27, 1992 at
11:00am, a memorial
service was held for all of the babies who were murdered by the Young's
and for the survivors. The service was held in Chester, Nova
at St. Stephen's Anglican Church and the church was full.
order a copy of the book
written about this
tragedy by clicking here:
page honoring the Butterbox
Memory Of The Butterbox Babies
Deaths Occurred in Nova Scotia
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