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Orphan Trains-routes

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ORPHAN TRAIN


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Melissa 27 Jan 10 - 05:56 PM
mg 27 Jan 10 - 06:55 PM
Melissa 27 Jan 10 - 07:12 PM
Melissa 29 Jan 10 - 03:02 PM
Melissa 29 Jan 10 - 03:03 PM
katlaughing 29 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM
autoharper 29 Jan 10 - 11:24 PM
Melissa 29 Jan 10 - 11:28 PM
autoharper 30 Jan 10 - 02:58 AM
Melissa 30 Jan 10 - 04:28 AM
wysiwyg 30 Jan 10 - 10:18 AM
Melissa 30 Jan 10 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 30 Jan 10 - 12:52 PM
M.Ted 30 Jan 10 - 08:19 PM
wysiwyg 30 Jan 10 - 10:02 PM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 12:41 AM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 01:37 AM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 31 Jan 10 - 02:12 AM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 02:29 AM
M.Ted 31 Jan 10 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 31 Jan 10 - 02:53 AM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 02:55 AM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 02:59 AM
M.Ted 31 Jan 10 - 06:42 PM
Melissa 31 Jan 10 - 06:51 PM
Desert Dancer 14 Apr 13 - 08:15 PM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Apr 13 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,Tam Lin 16 Apr 13 - 07:34 AM
GUEST 02 Dec 13 - 10:30 PM
Deckman 03 Dec 13 - 12:22 AM
Acme 03 Dec 13 - 12:28 AM
JohnInKansas 03 Dec 13 - 02:58 AM
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Subject: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 05:56 PM

I am trying to find out whether any of the Orphan Trains went through my county but haven't been able to find a list/map.

I've found more information on the Concordia KS museum site than anywhere else online..but still haven't found much about what routes were taken.

Does anybody know where I should look?

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: mg
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 06:55 PM

There are some genealogy discussion groups I think specifically for orphan train descendents..maybe they could help..mg


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 07:12 PM

ah..good thinking, mg. If I end up getting stuck, I can set one of my familytree fiends on it!

I had thought that if I couldn't find a basic map/route, I might check in with one of the places that host Reunions.

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:02 PM

Annual Report, 1984:

http://www.orphantraindepot.com/ChildrensAidSociety1854AnnualReport1.html

map:

http://www.orphantraindepot.com/Map.html


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 03:03 PM

Correction:
The annual report is from 1854


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM

These folks ought to be able to help: CLICK.


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: autoharper
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 11:24 PM

The Orphan Train movement constitutes, perhaps, the largest migration of children in human history. Between 1854 and 1929 some 250,000 youngsters, from babies to 14 years old, were rounded up from the streets and orphanages of the big cities in the Eastern United States. They were bathed, given new clothes, and sent away on orphan trains to be placed in foster homes. Nearly every state received these orphans, with an emphasis on those in the Midwest. Some of the children found families. Some found hard labor and abuse. Today, there are an estimated two million individuals who have descended from those who road the orphan trains. Orphan Train riders were sent to 45 states, using existing commercial passenger railroads. The Orphan Train does not refer to a specific locomotive or series of passenger cars, but rather to the movement, itself.

-Adam Miller

Orphan Trian song and story


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 11:28 PM

Right..and those trains had routes.
Do you have any idea where I could get a copy of the route and what trains were used?


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: autoharper
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 02:58 AM

100 years ago there were 250,000 miles of operational railroad track in the USA (and practically 4% of the adult work force was employed by a railroad). That's a lot of trains and schedules.   Each railroad had its own timetables and schedules. At that time, only about 5% of the railroad cars carried passengers.

100 years ago there were 46 states, and children who rode the "Orphan Train" were placed in all but one of these states. Therefore any one of the railroad tracks in these 45 states may have been traveled by "Orphan Train" riders en route to join their new families.

-Adam Miller


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 04:28 AM

Thanks, Adam.
If somebody asked you how to find out if any of the trains went through a certain county, where would you suggest they find that information?


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 10:18 AM

Railroad enthusiasts for that area. They'll focus on the trains, not who rode them, but they'll probably want to highlight how the trains benefited the area's communities. So look for local train clubs, etc., and quite often the model railroaders and the real-train folks will be the same folks.

A friend of ours has written extensively (and included archived photos donated by other enthusiasts) on train history, and when I run into him I'll see if he knows about any orphan train experts.

I think that what people are trying to point out here is that if a train went through your county, chances are good that one day at least, when the regularly-scheduled, familiar train pulled in, it might have had a lot of ticket-holders who were kids with cards hanging down their shorts, and people seeing this would have said, "Oh! This is one of those Orphan Trains I've heard about." Just think of a usually-partially-empty train, running on its regular schedule, happening one day to be carrying a load of kids. The train is the train-- it's transportation.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:33 AM

Thanks
I'm working toward getting ready to gather some groups of volunteers who will be doing the research/learning/teaching stuff for each topic. I don't want to look dumb and am having a really hard time coming up with anything that will give me a fairly clear guess as to whether any of the trains went through my county. I don't even need to know if they stopped..just whether they passed through on one of our three tracks.

I know they were just regular trains and not a special brand-name, but I also know there's a possibility that the folks running different placement programs could have been given a special rate from one line or another..or they may have avoided one for some reason.

I just want to have enough information to know whether the topic is included in the Project or not.

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:52 PM

My father and uncle, Hans and Wilhelm, were rescued from the orphan train that came through Syracuse, NY in 1923. A local crusading social worker and a Reverend from the Lutheran Church found foster families for several kids destined to go West. Hans and Wilhelm were the only siblings and the Orphan Train authorities couldn't guarantee the boys wouldn't be separated. They were fostered to two families in Jordan, NY so even tho' separated they were in school together and grew up in the same community.

This train stopped in Albany, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, before heading to Chicago and connecting with a southern road.

Don


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:19 PM

Don't know where you are, but the first thing I'd do is find where the old passenger rail stations were in the county and figure out which had trains running to New York(where most orphan trains were from) or Chicago(where NY trains connected to West-bound trains) depending on which part of the country you're in.

As WYSIWYG pointed out, rail buffs of one sort or another are going to be the ones who know about this.

Next, I'd check the newspaper archives of those town/cities for articles, because the arrival of an orphan train would have been well publicized, keeping in mind that the phrase "Orphan Train" is a term of convenience that has been attached to the effort over time, rather than the actual name of the effort.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this is one of those things like Japanese Internment Camps, The Trail of Tears, and Involuntary Sterilization--that is to say, not one of our better moments, so you'll have to dig for information--

Good luck with this!


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 10:02 PM

Social services folks might also recall a number of adoptions in one short period of time, and if these were recorded at the courthouse (probably minus names), a cluster of adoptions all in one short time period should also point to an Orphan Train connection.

I'm thinking that for a student project, the ways all these forms of info interrelate and interconnect could be a unit on its own-- researching how social services connect so many otherwise-invisible dots.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 12:41 AM

Don--Did your father and uncle think the relocation scheme was a good idea?

MTed--I can't rely on old newspapers. All the local papers were absorbed and the reference copy/book things were ruined by water. I don't think we have any Raging Enthusiasts..but setting someone to finding out how the trains hooked up and see how we fit along various trips from NY ought to be an easy task to delegate to a Mild Interest person. Maybe they'll like the topic and take it.

My early information was that children were picked up in NY and Boston. While browsing around (it still seems strange that I can't find maps/routes for any of the organizations that were transplanting children..) I saw mention of a boy who was picked up in KC.

I am in North Missouri. My county had three tracks..no depot museums and as far as I know, no good collection of papers from the time.

WYS--Courthouse! Good idea!

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 01:37 AM

My friend found a listing for a book..it might not interest anyone, but there are several pages to read (and a map that shows a pin in a town just north of us!) and I thought I might as well add it to this thread. It has some general information and a few pictures of street boys.

http://books.google.com/books?id=a_ydkMyk17wC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 01:40 AM

(thanks for the up-top links..I didn't come up with anything when I used the Search and appreciate being able to see them!)


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:12 AM

Hi Melissa

My father was six years old at the time and he and Bill were without family but each other.The Sands family and the Lawler family, later the Maxon family kept the boys as close as possible during the depression.

Dad told me later in life they knew it was the best of a bad situation.
Both parents had died of TB by 1923 and the nearest relative was an Uncle they had never met in Chicago. Dad said the separation was awful for a six year old boy but the Lawlers were wonderful people and they had horses. Dad's first ride to school was in a buggy. Bill said after awhile whats was dificult became normal and they never thought of it again until their kids wanted to know more about the family history.

Don


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:29 AM

"what was difficult became normal"...guess that's kind of how childhood works, huh?

I've been spending quite a bit of time with the subject online and so far, I haven't seen any awful stories from folks who were train children..I have seen plenty of non-participant opinions about the horrible wrongness. It surprises me that the children whose stories are available to me don't seem to show resentment.

It's sure not something that fits with the current way of thinking.

Thanks, Don.


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:51 AM

I'm an old English teacher, and you can't fool me with lame excuses like"All the local papers were absorbed and the reference copy/book things were ruined by water." Check this: Misouri Digital Newspaper Project. And is a very famous rail line that go through northern Missouri, so famous, in fact, that you should it--


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:53 AM

Melissa,

I some cases this was a way for bad parents to get rid of the unwanted. In others it was the only hope for kids who were doomed to life on streets that could have been deadly. The intent of the trains was one of desperation to begin with but it was a good intent.

Some time the end result was no improvement but I believe the facts show that in most cases, when boiled down to pure survival, kids who went west fared better than they would have on the streets of Boston, New York, or even Syracuse. Not every orphan found a life of hard work and virtual slavery, not every set of brothers were split up. Many, like my Dad and Uncle Bill, became a part of a family and were raised by kind and good people.

Jack and Bills story is probably more typical than you imagine. In an odd way the orphan train was the means by which they found their futures away from the streets of city.

And also, the current way of thinking will eventually be judged by some with what they consider to be a better way of thinking.

Don


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:55 AM

Lame excuses?!

..if you're not pulling my chain, let me know and I'll provide an appropriate reply.

I don't remember saying I don't know anything about our rail lines and their names and if our local papers are digitized in ANY collection, I'll eat my hat.

But, thanks for the link. I will probably be able to find good stuff there.


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:59 AM

Don,
I'm actually heartened by the fact that the problem was noticed and a solution/remedy was found. If the same situation was trying to be handled today, I do not think a sensible, practical Idea would be tried..it would be shot down before it had a chance to hatch.


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:42 PM

I was just being droll--I'm sorry if it struck you the wrong way.   As I said, I wish you the best with this project, I think it's a story that needs to be told.


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:51 PM

I wasn't too het-up, MTed..just kind of wanted to check and make sure you weren't being insultive. It would have been a shame to miss a chance to shoot you a snappy comeback.

The link/book my friend found has a map for Children's Aid Society placements and one of the marks is very close to my home county. I figure that's close enough for me to keep Orphan Trains on the list for Suggested Topics.
It seems like one that ought to be included in the series of stories we're running in the paper..so although it's a small audience, the story will get told here.

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 08:15 PM

After Tragedy, Young Girl Shipped West On 'Orphan Train' - from NPR, an interview with Christina Baker Kline, author of a novel entitled, "Orphan Train".
Kline's book is fictional, but it's based on the very true history of thousands of children shipped to the Midwest. Kline joins NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss the history of the trains, how young girls were often passed over by families and the most surprising fact she learned from train riders.


~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 11:42 PM

thanks for the link, Becky. I'll ask my local library to buy it.

In recent years we've had state & national enquiries into the Stolen Generations (part-indigenous children taken from their families to be brought up "properly" ie. either adopted out if they were light enough, or trained as servants/outdoor workers), babies taken from unmarried mothers, as well as into abuse of children in government or religious care.

We've also had oficial apologies to the Stolen Generation & the mothers who lost their children. The enquiry into abuse in institutions is ongoing.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: GUEST,Tam Lin
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 07:34 AM

For those who are interested, folksinger, storyteller, and autoharp virtuoso, Adam Miller is performing a free concert of folksongs about stories about the history of the Orphan Train Movement (1850-1929), at 2:00 p.m., on Sunday, April 21, 2013, at the Pendleton Community Public Library, 595 E. Water St., Pendleton, Indiana 46064.

http://folksinging.org/calendar.asp


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 10:30 PM

I know these are old post but maybe this will still help
sorry i am so late

http://geoalliance.asu.edu/azga/sites/default/files/LessonFiles/GeoHistory/Orphan_Train.pdf


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 12:22 AM

I'd like to add a little to this wonderful thread. My contribution goes to Finland, not America, but I hope you'll enjoy the connection. I have a DVD of an award winning film made in Finland and Sweden titled "Mother of Mine." It tells the story of the 70,000 Finnish children that were evacutaed to neutral Sweden during WW2. The portrails of the "orphan trains" are heart rendereing. The film is in both Finnish and Swedish, with Inglish sub titles. I bought my copy on line through "Film Movement." I highly recommend it ... bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: Acme
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 12:28 AM

It is going to take me a little while to pull up the memories, but while I was working at Ellis Island NHP (yes, THAT Ellis Island) as a National Park Service interpretive historian ranger in the late 1970s I learned about a specific train called the "Klein train" that carried orphans from New York City out west. I've always wondered, so every so often I search for it. I'll trace this thread and see if there is anything more I can add later.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Orphan Trains-routes
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 02:58 AM

As has been pointed out, there were not "orphan train routes" as such. When kids were herded onto trains and "sent west" the trains went wherever the tracks were.

Old maps will show where the railroads ran, and should be fairly easy to find. ANY ROUTE to any town you could buy a ticket for likely was at one time or another a host to an individual train. For information on when one of these trains may have gone through a given town/area, it probably will be necessary to search in the "local histories" of the area of interest.

Many towns, townships, counties, and even states have published "Histories of ... ," often to celebrate "centennials" and/or semi-centennial reminiscences. Libraries in larger towns are fairly likely to have a copy of any such published histories, and state (and occasionally local) historical societies exist in some places. The passage of one of the trains would have been a significant enough event for someone to have written a "memory piece" about it.

A surprising number of small town newspapers have survived with some archives, or the archives of ones that folded are sometimes "adopted" and preserved by successors.

Railroad workers were fairly commonly "unionized" and "union newspapers" found by accident have contained "years ago" columns. Local Rail buffs might be able to steer you to an archive. (These were most often monthly publications, so a small archive can cover a lot of years, if you can find someone who can take a look or help you to look.)

A few old newspapers quoted in local histories have indicated that prior to running a group of orphans through a given area "recruiters" sometimes passed through to "sell the idea" of adoptions, before any orphans were sent from "back East" and local old newspaper archives might report the appearance of one of these even if they didn't mention when a train went through. (Check the want ads?)

Also vaguely reported was that adoption of the orphans sometimes was by an "auction" (slave auction?) conducted by the orphans' escorts, on the pretense that funds from the auction would be returned to the orphanages back where that crop of orphans originated. I've seen no reports of any such funds being accounted for, but maybe ... some of it did get back (?). Some of it most likely just bought a ticket to the next town for the orphans that "didn't get placed," until that group ran out of orphans.

John


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