In order to fully understand how the mystery surrounding Jerome took shape, it is important to know, first of all, how Jerome’s story began. In this section, you will learn about the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the stranger who would become Jerome, as well as his first seven years in Nova Scotia.
People were shocked in those first few weeks of September 1863. Who could be so heartless as to abandon a helpless cripple on a beach? How barbaric! But the people who took him in had more to do than be scandalized. The poor man had to be taken care of. It wouldn’t be easy and it would cost a lot. A man who would never be able to care for himself needed to be housed, fed and clothed.
Jerome landed in one of the most isolated regions of Nova Scotia. He had no name and no identity documents. He appeared out of nowhere. Communication with him seemed to be impossible. If he could speak, he spoke no language understood by those who found him. He was severely handicapped and everyone agreed that he didn’t have his wits about him. During the first seven years of his stay in Nova Scotia, Jerome was totally at the mercy of the people who took care of him. Found at Sandy Cove by the English-speaking Protestants of Digby Neck, he was transferred a few kilometres away to Meteghan, on the other side of St. Mary’s Bay, to be with the Acadians, who were French-speaking and Catholic. All his decisions were made for him, for he was unable to speak for himself.