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New book on the way from Cornwall's 'little historian'

Published on January 5, 2015
Sara Lauzon, Cornwall's 'little historian', is penning a book about the House of Refuge, once located on Eleventh Street. The facility is now a home for the aged.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Cornwall's 'little historian' is at it again - but she's thinking big this time.

Sara Lauzon, who has made a name for herself in Cornwall with reams of material uncovered about the House of Refuge and bodies buried at its Eleventh Street locale, is penning a book about the now-defunct residence for the physically disabled and mentally unstable.

Lauzon, who graduated university in 2014, is looking to put her history degree to good use by furthering the story of one of Cornwall's dirty little secrets.

'Ghosts' will tell the story of the House of Refuge and the people who lived at the facility, from 1913 to 1952.

"There were 906 inmates there," said Lauzon. "Yes, they were called inmates.

"And that means there are 906 stories to tell."

While she is unlikely to get into the specifics of each case, Lauzon wants to cast more light on the House of Refuge and its role in Cornwall's history.

Lauzon said telling the stories of these people, who are often left in the shadows while the spotlight shines on more popular politicians, athletes and philanthropists, has become an all-consuming joy.

Many people who lived at the House of Refuge, and died there, were buried on the property.

"I'm hoping people will come and speak to me about it," she said. "Especially now that they will know what this is all about."

Lauzon expects it will take about a year to finish her book.

"Now that I'm finished university, I have the time to write," she said.

Her book will also focus on St. Paul's Home, another Cornwall facility similar in nature to the House of Refuge that operated in the Seaway city from 1907 to 1964.

"There a lot of transfers from St. Paul's Home to the House of Refuge," said Lauzon.