top of page


looked after.jpg

Henry Morton Stanley


British explorer, journalist and politician, Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), was in kinship care, foster care and the workhouse as a child. Henry Morton Stanley was born John Rowlands. He never knew his father, who died shortly after he was born. He was abandoned by his mother, 18-year-old unmarried Elizabeth Parry, almost immediately on his birth and handed over to the care of his grandfather, Moses Parry, who lived in Denbigh, Wales. John was about 6 when his 84-year-old grandfather died in 1847. The boy was taken to live with another couple, Jenny and Richard Price, and his care paid for by two uncles. When the Prices decided the rate was too low, and the uncles declined to pay more or care for the child themselves, John Rowlands was transferred to the St Asaph Union Workhouse. When he was about 15, John left the workhouse and, after being rejected by several relatives, was taken in by a cousin, Moses Owen, a schoolmaster in Brynford. 9 months later, John went to live with his Aunt Mary who introduced him to another aunt, whose partner worked in insurance in Liverpool. The clerkship John Rowlands had hoped for in Liverpool didn’t eventuate, and eventually he signed up as a cabin boy in a ship headed for America.

John Rowlands landed in New Orleans in 1859 and became Henry Morton Stanley after he became friendly with a merchant, Henry Hope Stanley. Henry Morton Stanley was a soldier and seaman before he became a journalist. He was sent by the New York Herald in 1869 to find the Scottish explorer, David Livingstone, who hadn’t been heard from since he left for Africa in 1866. Stanley became a celebrity on his return to the States. After Livingstone died in 1873, Stanley decided to continue with exploring Africa. He was financed by the New York Herald and Daily Telegraph in London and left for Lake Victoria in 1874, reporting on his trip in The Congo and the Founding of its Free State (1885).

bottom of page