The Orphan Train Experience

Do you know about it?

What?

The Orphan Train experience was from 1854 to 1929, around the times when slavery was being abolished and things were being invented.
  • The Orphan Train Movement was a welfare program that was the supervised transportation of orphans and homeless children from the crowded Eastern cities of the US, to foster homes in largely rural Midwestern areas.A estimate of 250,000 orphaned or abandoned children in new york were moved all over the u.s and canada. Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in order to help these children. The aid institutions created a program that placed orphaned and abandoned children into homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains which were eventually inherited the name “orphan trains.”

Who?


  • Edith Peterson (Sister Justina)

    • Justina was born in avon and adopted by the Bieganek family took Edith, adding her to an already large family. In her adopted home she had 4 sisters and 7 brothers. Growing up she described how she felt different and how kids used to tell her she was adopted.Anytime she brought up her mother would reply “I am your mother”.Eventually she investigates and figures out she was part of the Orphan Train.After finding out she was thankful and felt whole again.She now considers the orphan train as her family.She was number 41.Justina fills her busy life with her duties in the music department of the St. Francis Center in Little Falls, Minnesota.

  • Mary Jaane Baade Nebraska 1912

    • New York orphanage when she was two weeks old she lived inside the walls of the Catholic institution for the first 26 months of her life. The living conditions weren’t the best.The nuns there stitched the children’s clothing from old bed-sheets. After stepping off the chain they get checked for their condition , but she was spoken for beforehand so she didn’t get checked.She was chosen before had and frank spotted her.After that day she was the last edition to the family.The orphanage kept tabs on the children and visited once a year every July.The town population where she lived was 110, but when she first moved it became 110.5 . She didn’t speak for two weeks straight because she was scared.Her first word was tahasakee and she had a happy child hood.At 19 she was gonna get married , but she need identification so she got papers from the orphanage and when she told the other kids they got jealous.She didn’t look for her reall parents until after her mom died because of the promise she made to her.She found out about her half brother joseph.She meets her mother but she doesn’t claim her.The mail eachother unti the mother dies.


  • Charles Frederick( About his father)

    • The little boy stepped off the orphan train in Rockford 105 years ago. He spoke only German. On the pin on his jacket tt said he was 6 years old and his name was Charles Frederick.He was loaded into a covered wagon with other children who’d been shipped west from crowded New York City orphanages.Durand was where the were headed for and where they would be parceled out to farm families.When the train arrived, townspeople wanting a child would come to examine them and make a choice.‘The next day they arrived in Durand, where the different farmers picked them up,'” Frederick says. His father went to the Lennons, a family that had come from Ireland in the 1850s and farmed 160 acres north of Durand. The boy worked hard and had the chance to attend a one-room school off and on for four years. However, the Lennons were not a warm family and his father never felt loved.

Where and what?

  • The Orphan Train Movement was a welfare program that was the supervised transportation of orphans and homeless children from the crowded Eastern cities of the US, to foster homes in largely rural Midwestern areas.A estimate of 250,000 orphaned or abandoned children in new york were moved all over the u.s and canada. Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in order to help these children. The aid institutions created a program that placed orphaned and abandoned children into homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains which were eventually inherited the name “orphan trains.”

  • Orphan Trains stopped at more than 45 states across the country as well as Canada and Mexico. During the early years, Indiana received the largest number of children.