The Darkest Moment in History | Four Children for Sale During Great Depression

The Darkest Moment in History

If you have yet to hear about this tragic story of the four children for sale, here is all you need to know. After this brief summary of the history and more detail surrounding the famous four children for sale photo, following today you will have more insight on the time of the Great Depression.

History Behind 4 Children for Sale

In the year 1948, a photo was released to the public displaying four children sitting on their doorstep. Behind the children, you can see their mother hiding her face, shying away from the camera lens, perhaps because she was ashamed. In the forefront of the photo, to the right of the children, you can see a sign pegged into the ground with the words, “4 CHILDREN FOR SALE, INQUIRE WITHIN”. At first glance, you may think this photo was staged for the sake of art. I wish this were the case. It is true that the mother hiding her face in the photo actually put her children up for sale. The mother captured in the image is Lucille Chalifoux. She and her husband were struggling financially during the Great Depression and were in the process of being evicted. As you may notice in the photo, Lucille Chalifoux was pregnant with her fifth child during this time. Lucille and her husband, Ray Chalifoux decided in order to make it through their financial stress, they would have to put their four children up for sale.

What Happened to the Children?

After seeing the Great Depression Children For Sale photo, it is natural that you begin to wonder where the four children ended up after being sold. It is true, all four children in the photo were purchased, and from what we know, here is what happened to them.

children for sale great depression

Lana Chalifoux (6 years)

The least amount of information was disclosed about Lana Chalifoux and where she went after being sold in 1948. Her siblings never received any information about her whereabouts or how she was doing. After finally being able to reconnect on social media, it was discovered that Lana had passed away from cancer in 1998.

Rae Chalifoux (5 years)

On August 27, 1950, Rae was sold to the Zoetman family alongside her younger brother Milton. After being sold, Rae’s name was changed to Beverly. It is said that Rae and her brother’s new living situation was not that much more superior to their prior home with their real family.

Milton Chalifoux (4 years)

Milton, as aforementioned, was sold on August 27, 1950, alongside his older sister Rae. Similarly to Rae, Milton’s name was altered to become Kenneth. To provide more detail about their living conditions, Rae and Milton were often referred to as ‘slaves’ by their new father figure. The two suffered a lot of abuse in the form of physical, verbal, and mental. This living situation took a negative toll on the lives of Rae and Milton, understandably.

Sue Ellen Chalifoux (2 years)

Sue Ellen also didn’t have an abundance of information shared about her whereabouts during the time she was sold. When the siblings were able to reconnect on social media, Sue Ellen was thankfully still alive. She shared her story about how she was raised close to their original home.

David Chalifoux (unborn)

During the time the 4 Children For Sale photo was captured in 1948, David Chalifoux was in his mother Lucille’s womb. David, like his four other siblings, was also sold following his birth. David Chalifoux went through a legal adoption process and was raised by their father Harry McDaniel and mother Luella McDaniel. David had one of the better experiences with his new family out of the five siblings.

Lucille Chalifoux After Selling Her Children

So what happened to Lucille Chalifoux following the sale of her five children? After she was no longer a mother to her five children, Lucille parted with her husband and later remarried. With her new husband, Lucille had four more children, four daughters to be exact.


When the original five children reconnected, they went to visit their mother. When they saw her, they explained that their mother Lucille seemed to hold no love in her heart or regret for her actions.

Not a Happy Ending

All in all, the story behind the Children For Sale Great Depression photo is not one of love and joy. These children went on to lead uncomfortable lives and were estranged from their families for quite some time. These children will always be known as the children sitting on their porch in the Children For Sale 1948 photo. It is easy to look at a photo and not question the real story behind it. The Great Depression was not an easy time for anyone, this story proves the struggle families were going through. To feel like selling your children is your only option to survive financially cannot be an easy fact to face. Perhaps Lucille and her husband’s choice to sell their children was not the best decision they could have made. But maybe Lucille felt she had no other choice.

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